With the latest Batman, Dark Knight, movies it is hard to imagine batman made into a children’s movie, that is at its base a comedy, and yet takes on tensions that have been in America since its founding and are prominent tensions even today: Family and Friendship vs. Individualism.
There are two phrases referring to the family and community that I have heard as an adult: Edmund Burke’s “little platoon” and the then First Lady, Hillary Clinton’s book, It Takes a Village. With age, and possibly a little maturity, I see that both statements are true.
A few thoughts come to mind when I think of America’s ideal man, the rugged individual, whether from the movie Shane, and the even historical and somewhat mythical heroes like David Crockett and Daniel Boone, to Hunter Thompson’s Raoul Duke, Gordon Gekko, and even the Coen Brothers, the Dude. Lego Batman may begin the movie as the individual hero, alone; the movie takes on Batman having to overcome himself.
What we see in the first Lego movie is a coming to terms of a father-son relationship and acceptance of everyone’s uniqueness through open creativity using legos not just the making the image on the box. The Lego world and figures are communal. It is through Emmett’s story we see the natural desire that Emmett has to have a community and see him for what he is, which he does not even know until the end, a master builder.
Lego Batman is the ideal vigilante super hero, except he does not have even have superpowers, he is just one ultra-cool, kick-butt hero. Two powerful scenes struck me near the beginning of the movie, the first as he is defeating the Joker, Lego Batman denies their unique hero-villian relationship, all the way to the point of stating that he, Batman does not need the Joker. The second scene is as Lego Batman leaves the praise of the entire city of Gotham behind and returns home to his island, which it is mentioned is bits really and physical island but all a reference to an emotional island. The fourth movie trailer #4 presents both of these scenes.
With all the one line humor stated by Lego Batman, the audience is presented with the dilemma of the movie, Lego Batman overcoming his attachment issues as we see presented as his emotional island.
With the help of his father-figure, Alfred, his newly adopted son, Richard Grayson, and his platonic friendship/co-worker/possible crush Barbara Gordon, Lego Batman confront his attachment issues in order to successfully defeat the Joker in his latest plot to destroy Gotham.
Lego Batman perhaps does not quote Burke and or Clinton, but does open up to acknowledging those around him becoming part of a family…
The movie ends with the song, “Friends are Family” with the lead vocals by Will Arnett and Jeff Lewis.
I am looking forward to the sequel…