(Written by William)
Before reviewing The LEGO Batman Movie Arkham Asylum, let’s take a look at a little bit of history. Before this set, LEGO released two other versions of the Arkham Asylum; the smaller #7785 LEGO Batman Arkham Asylum in 2006 with 860 pieces for a price of $79.99, and the larger #10937 LEGO DC Super Heroes Arkham Asylum in 2013 with 1619 pieces and a price of $159.99. The newly released #70912 LEGO Batman Movie Arkham Asylum is 1628 pieces for a price of $149.99. Seeing how similar these last two sets are, both in piece-count and price, it would be reasonable to expect them to be quite similar. But they are not. I had a chance to review both sets (I will link to the review of the earlier set at the end), and they are very different both in style and size. The new set looks bigger, and the extra five minifigures are very noticeable. 🙂
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM DESCRIPTION: To get the basics, let’s start with the official description of the set: Bust into Arkham Asylum with Batman and banish The Joker and the other Super-Villains with the Phantom Zone Projector element. This highly detailed set from The Lego Batman Movie features the massive Arkham Asylum model with many different areas—including Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s office, ward office, four cells, an ‘x-ray’ security scanner, canteen, visitors’ room and laundry room—plus a separate five-story lookout tower, police car and loads of play-inspiring accessories. With 12 minifigures—and plenty of Super-Villain characters among them—also included in the set, the role-play possibilities are endless. Includes 12 minifigures: Batman, Robin, Aaron Cash, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Barbara Gordon, Poison Ivy, The Joker, The Riddler, Two-Face, Catwoman and two GCPD officers. Arkham Asylum measures over 11” (30cm) high, 18” (46cm) wide and 9” (24cm) deep. Lookout tower measures over 11” (29cm) high, 3” (10cm) wide and 1” (5cm) deep. Police car measures over 1” (4cm) high, 5” (15cm) long and 1” (5cm) wide. 1628 pieces. Price: $149.99 – BUY HERE
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM CHARACTERS: In larger LEGO sets that are based on a third-party franchise, you can often find interesting or lesser know characters. Here we get Dr. Harleen Quinzel and Aaron Cash. Most people will recognize the doctor as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s trusted sidekick. However, before becoming the clown’s main squeeze, she was a respected doctor at Arkham Asylum. Then we have Aaron Cash, who is a senior guard at Arkham. He made his first appearance in 2003 in a comic series called “Arkham Asylum: Living Hell”. In the story, Aaron Cash helped bring Arkham under control when a riot broke out. However during the riot he was attacked by Killer Croc, which led to him to losing his hand and getting it replaced with his iconic hook.
While the description of the #70912 LEGO Batman Movie Arkham Asylum lists 12 minifigures, the statue at the front could definitely be counted as an extra monochrome minifig with a very nice newish hairpiece. Speaking of hairpieces, nearly every one of them in this set has something unique to offer. The gold hair-band in Detective Barbara Gordon’s hair, the white flower and green leaves in Poison Ivy’s hair, the built in goggles in Robin’s hair, the built in hat on The Riddler’s hair. Even The Joker’s hair and Catwoman’s mask comes with some small updates.
Then the characters also got various accessories. Batman has the new utility-belt in yellow and his characteristic black batcape, Catwoman has the same utility-belt in orange, and Robin got a brick-built Phantom Zone Projector with a red camera and a magnifying glass with cross-hairs printed on the glass, plus a shimmering yellow cape. Dr. Quinzel carries around a clipboard with patient information, and we already mentioned Aaron Cash’s hook hand.
Since this is a quasi-prison/insane asylum, you’d hope it has plenty of inmates/patients, and with five minifigures in orange jumpsuits you definitely get the feel of a full operation. With all this minifig-greatness you would think that LEGO may skimp on the building itself, but that’s not the case at all. Let’s take a closer look…
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM BUILDING: As I mentioned earlier, the building actually feels bigger than the previous version of the asylum. It achieves this by focusing little less on the tiny details and putting more effort into the structure of the building and creating interactive scenes. This results in a more robust set, while simultaneously bringing the piece-count down. Don’t get me wrong, the details are still present, but the pieces to create them are chosen more selectively. For example, the choice to use snow breaks up the monotony of the structure, and the pillars create depth to an otherwise simple wall.
Besides being impressively large, the other focus of this set is playability. There are so many settings for your minifigures to have interesting interactions; there is Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s office, the ward’s office, four prison cells, a canteen, a visitors’ room, a laundry room, a lookout tower, the steps/entrance and upstairs balcony at the front, and the second-story walkways at the back. There are also various objects to create the prison yard; a bench with a barbell stand and barbell, plus two dumbbell hand weights, a picnic table, and a basketball hoop attached to the lookout tower.
While each of these areas may not be bursting with detail, there is always something interesting to draw the eye or play with. For instance, the visitor’s room has those nice phone handsets, each of the cells come with stickers reflecting the inmate’s personality, and Dr. Quinzel’s office got a really awesome swivel chair. And my most favorite section is the canteen, complete with lunch trays, plates, and a full spread of food!
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM EXTRAS: If all those minifigures and the massive main building weren’t enough, there is more! The surprisingly tall lookout tower overseas the whole facility, and you also get a Gotham City Police car with opening doors and trunk.
The vehicle has a boxy style that kind of evokes a classic noir feel. It also should be noted that if you want to separate the canteen buffet and the X-Ray machine, you can easily do that, and thus make them a separate part of the facility.
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM PIECES: We have already discussed how magnificent the minifigures are in this set. Much of the money spent on new parts is in fact found in the minifigures. However, there are a few other elements that are worth noting. The large round corner bricks only appeared in about a dozen sets so far, and this is only the third set with a black version.
The lunch trays are 2×3 tiles, which are still very rare, and here they come in a nice shade of light-blue. Speaking of tiles, you get a good number of 1×1 tiles with digital pad printing located on the prison cell doors and on the laundry machines. Other printed tiles include the 2×2 clipboard and the 1×2 security tapes.
If you are looking for useful parts, you might find the spotlights above the prison cells interesting. They utilize a 2×2 round brick with pinholes, and hollow studs. They kind of look like a very short R2-D2 style droid body with lots of interesting connection points. You also get some 1x1x3 bricks to create the pillars. Otherwise the set mostly utilizes basic LEGO elements, and stickers to add variety.
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM TECHNIQUES: I can’t write a review without mentioning at least a couple of techniques. So, I found two that are a bit different than in other sets, and worth mentioning. Looking at the pictures, you may notice that the main building comes in three separate sections; the middle portion and two side wings. In most LEGO sets of this style and size, the side buildings would securely connect to the main structure, while still remaining removable (usually using LEGO Technic pins and bricks with holes). However here the connection points are more or less just there to line up the buildings – they don’t actually snap together. This may make it hard to play with the set on uneven surfaces, or having it on display where it might get jostled around. But it does make the set very portable.
The next technique I wanted to mention is used in the x-ray machine. It is basically comprised of two walls with stickers and an internal section with two false wall panels. It is the false walls that make up the interesting technique. You start by limiting the range of view you have access to – in short, a window is constructed. In this case this is done with stickers, but there is no reason why you can’t use just bricks. Second, you control the view of what is seen by creating the false panel. Here stickers are used again to add a minifigure being x-rayed. This false panel is placed in between what you expect to see, and replace it with what you want the viewer to see. The effect is increased by the fact that you can look at the machine from a different angle and see the minifigures going through the x-ray machine. It’s only the view port through the “machine” that is altered. A simple yet brilliant solution to imitate a complex machine from real life. In the video-review below JANGBRiCKS will show you how this feature works, along with the other interesting details of the set.
➡ LEGO BATMAN MOVIE ARKHAM ASYLUM SUMMARY: I know $150 is a pretty steep price point for many, but I have to say that this set really gives you your money’s worth. You essentially get a full cast of characters and so much variety of play that the novelty won’t wear out any time soon. As far as a playset, this version of the Arkham Asylum definitely blows the previous versions out of the water. There are so many things to do and interact with, and you also get a robust cast to make a wide range of story scenarios.
I thought I’d miss the heavy detail work from the previous version of Arkham, but the smart choices didn’t have me dwell on this fact. Generally, I felt satisfied with the set even as a display piece. However, I think more intricate detailing might matter to those who are looking for an expert level display set. On the other hand, the set does deliver on both size and composition. The angled walls are striking in and of themselves. And the small touches of snow, stickers, and the occasional window do a great job distracting your attention.
Also, those who are looking for unique parts might find this set a little scant on rarity of building elements, since it’s mostly the minifigures that are unique here. All in all, these are fairly minor quibbles however compared to what you get. I would highly recommend it. The set should be available at most LEGO retailers, and you can also find it at The LEGO Batman Movie section of the OnlineLEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the The LEGO Batman Movie Arkham Asylum? Do you have it already? Or are you planning to get it? How do you think it compares to the previous versions of Arkham? Feel free to share your thoughts and own review in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
- The LEGO Batman Movie Sets Review – Part 1
- The LEGO Batman Movie Sets Review – Part 2
- The LEGO Batman Movie Sets Review – Part 3
- The LEGO Batman Movie Sets Review – Part 4
- The LEGO Batman Movie Sets Review – Part 5
- Brick Breakdown: Arkham Asylum – Part 1 (2013 set)
- Brick Breakdown: Arkham Asylum – Part 2
- The LEGO Batman Movie Minifig Series
- The LEGO Batman Movie New Trailer & Sets!
- First Wave of 2017 LEGO Sets Available Now!