We live in an era where every movie and franchise through time is being given a gritty reboot, shot completely in shades of black, teal, and orange with shaky cam and lens flare. The series that started this change has now taken a new form, Legos, and the Dark Knight rises again!! [Note: This post is spoiler-free but I do recommend you seeing it.]
Today’s Post is dedicated again to the rock star @rockyreasons. She’s so awesome with her future Ph.D-ness that she could eventually become a Batman badgal. Follow her!
Or not so dark? Christopher Nolan’s 2005 realistic reboot of the Caped Crusader with Batman Begins set movies on a path for gritty realism and making comic movies for adults. Since then, we’ve seen everything from Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the soon to be released Power Rangers go from bright, colorful, and comical to moody, brooding, and dark. Even the Big Blue Boy Scout, Superman, has gone to the depths of darkness and hasn’t returned yet. Yet, the Lego movie takes the dark tropes and absurdity of the series and revels in it.
Batman did not just take on one bad guy. He took on ALL the bad guys. Every last villain you can think of in the Batman rogues gallery is there including the more ridiculous ones. You see a death device carrying penguin, a Siri-controlled monster truck jet, batman singing a death metal theme song and that’s within the opening ten minutes of the movie. Why is this happening and what is going on??? I will let Scott Niswander at NerdSync give his opinion.
The basic premise of the video is that the Lego Batman Movie is a reflection of the times and what America society is needing similarly to the Adam West Batman of the 60s. He draws a parallel to the tone, writing style, and overall campiness as it’s strengths. It also serves to strengthen his argument as most of the modern remake movies are written to appeal to both children and adults. We don’t even need to talk about Lego selling a billion Legos after the release of the movie. I completely agree with Scott and that brings me to why the Lego Batman Movie is not only the best Batman movie we’ve seen since the Dark Knight, but possibly the best superhero movie since then also.The Lego Batman Movie is fun.
It’s bright, colorful, nuanced, and deep. Batman goes through a midlife crisis and struggles with developmental issues. The Joker has self-worth doubts, and an unrequited relationship. Adoption, family, coping mechanisms, and even modern-day policing methods are thinly veiled behind the Lego exterior. The movie itself also makes fun of the ridiculous-ness of its own series’ failures in a self-aware way.
Ideally, that’s what should make a comic movie special. The ability to move in a medium the is one part ridiculous but somehow makes sense. The idea that there is a 30-year-old billionaire, playboy, ninja, dressed up as a flying rodent with a small military’s worth of arsenal to fight deranged murder clowns and an astounding level of MD and PhD level villains with alien Jesus as his best friend is insane but works. The premise itself is not supposed to be serious, why does the movie have to be?
My biggest issue with ALL of the most recent superhero movies is that they don’t allow themselves to embrace their history. They are ashamed of their legacy instead of embracing it. While I’m on it, let’s get this straight before the next DC universe film comes out: Superman is not supposed to be dark and gritty. Superman is supposed to be lighthearted and filled with wonderment. He doesn’t wear a mask partially so you can see him smile. All comics used to have that feel. You know they weren’t meant to be realistic and that was okay.
The Lego Batman Movie breaks its reality continuously with self-aware jokes, references to pop culture and media, and the absurdity of it even being made out of Legos. I’m not saying every movie needs to be like this, but I can say this was needed. Now that we have seen a blockbuster movie without 20 shades of brown, hopefully we can expect the actors in the movies to at least have fun. I want to go to a movie to get away, laugh, and feel genuine emotions. Comics and movies as mediums can do things no other platform can. They endure time, constantly evolving while simultaneously remaining the exact same. That’s the importance of a movie like The Lego Batman Movie. It reminds us of its past and future at the same time.
Have you seen the Lego Batman Movie? What stuck out to you about the portrayal of Batman? Do you have a preference for the Dark Knight or the Bright Knight? I know we expect more movies like this to come down the line, what other Lego movies would you like to see? Are Legos just magical? Let me know in the comments below.