The shark repellent is a reference to Batman: The Movie (1966). In the movie, Batman is trying to dislodge a shark attached to his leg while hanging off of a helicopter ladder. He calls out to Robin to throw him "shark repellent bat spray", which he used successfully.
Will Arnett revealed in an interview about how voicing Batman affected his voice, saying, "It's real gravelly. It doesn't feel great doing it a lot, and so when we do the sessions that are like four hours long, it would hurt. It's hard to sing doing it, because I'm a bad singer anyway, so I'm thinking about trying to keep in time and then doing the voice. The rap at the end of the movie was hard. (I told the song writers) this is how it's going to be, I can't do it any better, and then all the things they call 'exertions' like running, jumping, you have to do all those kind of separately, and sort of shouting stuff too. To shout doing the Batman voice is rough."
Billy Dee Williams voiced the nefarious Two-Face in this movie. Williams portrayed Two-Face's "good" alter ego, Harvey Dent, in Batman (1989). He was very eager to also portray Two-Face, but did not get the chance to, due to Joel Schumacher taking over the franchise with Batman Forever (1995), and re-casting the role with Tommy Lee Jones.
The airplane at the beginning of the movie is under the name McGuffin 1138. "McGuffin" is the cinematic and literary name given to an object or person which is of vital importance to the characters, but whose actual function is immaterial to the plot. "1138" is a reference to THX 1138 (1971).
Bane's voice and accent, in this movie, is based on Tom Hardy's portrayal of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). The voice is done by Doug Benson, a stand up comedian and podcaster, who has done his comedic impression on Hardy's Bane since The Dark Knight Rises (2012) was released. The directors were fans of Benson's podcast, and hired him based on that.
The week of the film's theatrical release, The CW aired commercials featuring LEGO versions of Green Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, voiced by Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, and Melissa Benoist, respectively.
At commissioner Gordon's retirement party, when Bruce Wayne picks up a magazine of himself on the front page, on the back page, there is an ad for Barris automobiles, George Barris created the 1966 batmobile for Batman (1966).
Zach Galifianakis stated in an interview about voicing The Joker, "It was really fun! I've only done a couple of sessions, it's crazy. I'm lucky. I was telling diarrhea jokes in coffee houses ten years ago, so I'm very fortunate."
The villains from Batman's Rogues Gallery that appeared in the movie include: The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, The Scarecrow, Bane, Two-Face, Catwoman, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Polka-Dot Man, Mime, Tarantula, King Tut, Orca, Killer Moth, March Harriet, Zodiac Master, Gentlemen Ghost, Clock King, Calendar Man, Kite Man, Catman, Zebra-Man, The Condiment King, Captain Boomerang, The Mutant Leader, Hugo Strange, Red Hood, the Kabuki Twins, The Calculator, Dr. Phosphorous, Magpie, and Egghead.
Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine, a music artist known for doing comedic lounge-style covers of pop and heavy metal songs, can be seen in Lego form performing "Man in the Mirror" at the Gotham Winter Gala.
The film includes appearances of not only Batman's Rogues Gallery of recognizable villains, but also many lesser-known faces such as Orca, Dr. Phosphorus, and The Mutant Leader from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012). Also included were some of the most obscure and campy enemies Batman has ever faced, including The Eraser (a pencil-themed villain), The Polka-Dot Man, Crazy Quilt, Kite Man, and King Tut, a pharaoh villain from Batman (1966).
The pilot at the beginning identifies his flight number to the control tower as "Flight 1138". This is a reference to George Lucas' first movie, THX 1138 (1971). The number 1138 was hidden in many of his successive films, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises. It became an inside joke for his fans, and since then the number has also been used in numerous other media not affiliated with Lucas, as an homage to his work, and continuation of the joke.
The trailers for the film feature different variants of the Bat Suit. One of these variants is labelled "2011 Comic-Con Exclusive". This suit is a minifigure that was given out in raffles at New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con in 2011 to coincide with LEGO re-launching the Superheroes theme. The minifigure is based off of Christian Bale's suit from The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Another recognizable suit that is visible is Terry McGinnis' suit from Batman Beyond (1999).
At Superman's interview, they telecast the footage of Superman fighting with General Zod. During that, the news ticker header reads, "Superman and Zod's icy relationship" and footer reads "File footage courtesy of Z.Snyder and A.Mokri". Z.Snyder and A.Mokri refers to Zack Snyder and Amir Mokri, who were the Director and Cinematographer on Man of Steel (2013), respectively.
Director Chris McKay originally wanted to include several villains from R-rated films among the Phantom Zone prisoners, but he was forced to drop them, as they was deemed too inappropriate for an all-ages movie to include them. Some of said dropped villains McKay wanted included Bill (from Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)), Annie Wilkes (from Misery (1990)), and Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (from Gangs of New York (2002)).
Originally, Barbara Gordon followed much closer to her comic incarnation, in that she was going to be a librarian, who was secretly taking part in vigilantism, before crossing paths with Batman. At one stage in this version of the character, Barbara's vigilante persona carries a copy of the Scarlett Pimpernel novel on her being.
In the scene in which Richard (Robin) looks at different superhero suits that Bruce Wayne has on moving hangers, he almost chooses a suit labeled "Nightwing". In the DC Universe, when Richard Grayson grew up, he and Batman had a falling out, and Grayson gave up the Robin persona and became a superhero named "Nightwing" who operates in Blüdhaven. Dick Grayson does wear the suit eventually and (temporarily) ends up on a plane bound for Blüdhaven.
Various actors and actresses provided voices for villains, but did not receive credit for their part. These include: Riki Lindhome as The Wicked Witch of the West, Laura Kightlinger as Orca, David Burrows as Mr. Freeze, Matt Villa as Killer Croc, and Lauren White as Medusa. Most of these actors and actresses provided voices for other characters as well.
The Arkham guard with the hook hand, who shows Barbara Gordon the "monkey and dog" video, is Aaron Cash, a recurring character in the comics who gained popularity through the Batman: Arkham video games.
When Commissioner Gordon is talking to Batman about what teams of people he would ask to help him fight back against the team of villains, one of the teams she mentions, "Fox Force 5", isn't from the comics, but is a reference to Pulp Fiction (1994). Fox Force Five was the television pilot, in which Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) starred, about a team of five women who banded together to fight crime.
In the scene in which Richard (Robin) looks at different superhero suits that Bruce Wayne has on moving hangers, he almost chooses a suit labelled "Clawed Reins", a reference to classic movies actor Claude Rains.
Zach Galifianakis (The Joker) took inspiration from a familiar source, as he believed that the character deserves that validation. He feels that way, at least in part, because of how "unpredictable and clever" The Joker is, a characterization for which Galifianakis drew inspiration from Jack Nicholson's famed 1989 take on the role.
Before deciding on the classic look for Dick Grayson's Robin costume, some other costume options were explored. These including a Robin Hood-inspired outfit, a contemporary hoodie, and a gymnast outfit.
When Bruce Wayne pulls out a copy of Brick! magazine at Commissioner Gordon's retirement gala, the advertisement on the back cover is for Barris Automotives. George Barris designed The Batmobile for Batman (1966).
The gremlin Minifigures in the movie are identical to ones that appeared in the Gremlins themed expansion to the game LEGO Dimensions. An actual Minifigure of Stripe from the film is included in the set, but looks more distinct than the rest, who more closely resemble the generic gremlin enemies in the games actual content.
After Jeff drives through the guard gate at the energy plant he sings "Nothing bad ever happens to me." This is from a song by Oingo Boingo titled "Nothing Bad Ever Happens" from their album "Good for Your Soul".
Not only is the Bat Computer voiced by Apple's "Siri", but when Batman assembles the Scuttler, it makes the Apple Macintosh "boot-up" sound when it is completed. This may be a tribute to Pixar's titular character from WALL·E (2008), who also makes this sound when fully charged.
Many people thought this would be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but just like the original The Lego Movie (2014), it ended up being snubbed. That made them mad enough, but they were even madder when the film The Boss Baby (2017) was nominated despite it's heavily mixed to negative reception falling short of The Lego Batman Movie (2017)'s highly positive reception.
In the movie, the character Sauron, originally from The Lord of the Rings, was played by Jemaine Clement. Clement is a singer, comedian, and actor from New Zealand, which is where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. Also, he is one half of the New Zealand folk comedy duo "Flight of the Conchords". His partner, Bret McKenzie, had a small role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
Ralph Fiennes (Alfred) is also the actor who played Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter film franchise. LEGO Voldemort makes an appearance in this film, but is voiced by fellow British Actor Eddie Izzard.
In the Fortress of Solitude, Batman is instructing Robin step-by-step how to get to the projector and says "That's excellent listening". This is making fun of quicktime events (qte) in video games, that became very popular in video games in recent years to the point of heavy players criticism. This is referenced later again in the movie.
Zach Galifianakis, the voice of the Joker, has been nominated for the Annie Award for Best Voice Acting, making this the second Warner Animation Group film to be nominated, the first being Storks (2016) with Katie Crown, the voice of Tulip.
When Bruce Wayne is preparing to leave for the party, we hear a few seconds of the Al Jarreau song "Girls Know How". This song also figured prominently in a scene from Night Shift (1982), which starred Michael Keaton, who portrayed Batman in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).
Throughout the movie, a running gag is shown that the Joker is much better than the rest of the other villains, who are called 'lesser known', which sadly includes the big names (e.g.; Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze).
Near the end of the movie when Gotham is breaking apart, Harley Quinn is wearing a T-shirt that reads "Smylex". This is the product that Jack Nicholson's Joker creates in Batman (1989) to kill people with a smile on their face, ala the movies version of the comic books "Joker Gas"
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Villains in the Phantom Zone include King Kong, Lord Voldemort (from the Harry Potter film franchise), the Kraken and Medusa (from Clash of the Titans (1981)), Gremlins (from Gremlins (1984)), The Wicked Witch of the West and Flying Monkeys (from The Wizard of Oz (1939)), Daleks (from Doctor Who (1963)), Velociraptors and the Tyrannosaurus Rex (from the Jurassic Park film franchise), Sauron (from The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Agent Smith (from The Matrix trilogy), Jaws, the Great White shark (from the Jaws film franchise), Lord Vampyre, The Mummy, and the Swamp Creature (from LEGO Monster Fighters), and the Skeleton Warriors (from Jason and the Argonauts (1963)).
Early on, The Joker says that his plan is not like the "two boats" plan or "the parade with the Prince music". This is a reference to The Dark Knight (2008), in which The Joker (Heath Ledger) hijacked two boats and threatens to blow them up, and to Batman (1989), in which he (Jack Nicholson) holds a parade to distract Gotham from his schemes.
At one point in the movie, after Batman agrees to work with the others to stop The Joker, the cast offer to help Batman, and he replies "What am I going to do, get a bunch of criminals together to fight the criminals? That's a stupid idea." This was a jab at Suicide Squad (2016), in which criminals fighting criminals was the plot of the movie. Coincidentally, criminals fighting criminals is what saves the day in both movies.
Batman/Bruce Wayne and The Joker re-create the climactic scene from Jerry Maguire (1996)], with The Joker saying, "You had me at 'shut up'", instead of Renée Zellweger's line, "You had me at 'Hello.'" While neither says the line, "You complete me", Heath Ledger's Joker used that line in a similar scene in The Dark Knight (2008) .
According to The Lego Movie (2014), the entire fictional universe exists in The Man Upstairs' basement workshop. Therefore, the two tectonic plates, on which Gotham City stands, are most likely two tables pushed together in the "real world".
When Batman and Robin are fighting the Phantom Zone villains towards the end of the film, there is a scene where Batman is spinning Robin around while Robin kicks away a bunch of Agent Smiths. This scene, including its angle, is a direct nod to the scene in The Matrix Reloaded (2003), where Neo spins around on a pole kicking a bunch of Agent Smiths during the rooftop fight scene.
The Daleks are not identified as such. Rather, they are called "British Robots", and the audience is told to "ask your nerd friends". Also, the Daleks are not voiced by the official voice, Nicholas Briggs, and three variants on their voices can be heard: two lifted straight from Doctor Who (1963), one American accented Dalek without ring modulation, and one British Dalek that sounds more modulated.
On a marquee in the background in Gotham is a "Two Shades Darker" screening at that theater. Fifty Shades Darker (2017) screened at theaters nationwide the same weekend as The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
Unlike The Lego Movie (2014), this film does not feature any of the figures with the toy's iconic yellow skin, but instead, has more human and monstrous skin tones. The closest is a brief clip from The Lego Movie (2014), featuring an obstructed view of Emmet falling into the void that leads to the real world, shown when the Gotham newscaster discusses the fragile plates, on which the city is built. This also confirms that this film takes place after the events of The Lego Movie (2014).
Several of the villians that come from the Phantom Zone also recently appeared in Lego Dimensions (2015), a toys-to-life game produced for all current game consoles. Daleks and Velociraptors are featured as drivable vehicles in the Doctor Who Fun Pack and Jurassic World Team pack, respectively. The Harry Potter team pack featured Voldemort as a playable character (though in the game, voice clips of Ralph Fiennes' portrayal of him were used). The Gremlins team pack has Stripe as a playable character, who closely resembles the other gremlin figures used in the film. Sauron also appears in the story mode of Lego Dimensions (2015), though in his humanoid armored form, and not as a playable character.
When the villains get released from the Phantom Zone, there's one notably missing: Zod, who was mentioned in the brief Superman news segment. This may be either because he had escaped again in the meantime or, more likely, because Superman would have gotten involved in getting all the outcasts back where they belong, obviously stealing Batman's light in his own movie, no less.
When leaving Arkham Asylum, Barbara Gordon suggests using the incarcerated villains to fight the Phantom Zone villains. Batman comments that "using bad guys to fight bad guys is a stupid idea". That's the entire premise of the Suicide Squad.