Individualism is the Enemy

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…

Lego Batman…the Anticipation is Almost Over

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I have been thinking about the newly released Lego Batman since seeing the first trailer almost a year ago. Not focusing on the expense of movie tickets, but we do not go out to see all the latest and greatest, but use special occasions to take the family or a majority of the children to see a movie.

So what is the special occasion for taking the family to see Lego Batman?  That is just it…this is the Lego Batman Movie and that is enough.

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I was truly surprised by the themes and success of the the first Lego Movie.  I waited to see in the comfort our own home. As I sat down to view it with some of the children, I am sure the thought of “taking one for the team” shot across my mind.  I can say that I was beyond surprised and enthralled about the theme that “Everyone is Awesome.” Maybe because I thought we were all awesome?

The character who stole the show though…was Lego Batman!

Even at the end, in his most gracious Batman way, he lost Wild Style, aka Lucy, to Emmett.

Over the last few months as further trailers and clips have been released,

A few questions have come to mind:

  • Are the Lego Movies the next Pixar studio franchise, always a hit, always with a message?
  • Is Lego Batman the franchise for the Lego Movies or can Emmett or another character(s) hold their own in Lego Movie 2 or other spin-offs?
  • What is or are the themes for Lego Batman?

This last question I foresee there may be two themes that have come across the trailers, clips and now even seeing the song titles to the movie soundtrack that was just released as well: 1. Individualism and Friendship; 2. Subtlety of Pride and Admitting mistakes (Humility)

I am still not a betting man that the movie will overtly present these themes, but I have caught glimpses.

More than anything, I am anticipating a movie that will be enjoyable and the theater as a whole will have moments of laughter.