Things have been hard for Bruce Wayne recently.
At least on the big screen. While in comics, cartoons, video games, and pretty much all other media, Batman’s bat-shaped star is shining as bright as ever, his cinematic presence has fallen in quality dramatically since its peak in The Dark Knight.
Sure, we’re getting an eventual solo movie from Ben Affleck, and that’s great. But in the meantime, we’ve had to suffer through the Caped Crusader’s horrendously out of character appearance in Batman v Superman, and the character was even forced to turn up for five minutes in the appallingly bad Suicide Squad, no doubt much to Sadfleck’s annoyance.
But there is hope. Blocky, plastic hope.
With the release of the latest poster for The Lego Batman Movie, Warner Bros has proven that at least somebody working with the studio actually understands the character.
They get that yes, sometimes he’s moody and dark and serious. But they also completely totally get the other side of Batman: the parody version that we’ve all fallen in love with, and seen in various forms across countless fan projects over the years.
It’s clear from every element of the poster—from the long list of secondary characters and villains that have been included, to the poster’s tagline that references a popular fan joke (“Always be yourself… unless you can be Batman”) that this isn’t a movie that’s being made to tick corporate boxes.
The LEGO Batman Movie is being made by fans who know their Bat-lore, and that’s absolutely wonderful.
We need more of this kind of movie. Not just at Warner Bros, but across all studios—a film that can labor quietly under the radar because it’s not being watched too carefully by Higher Ups who are wont to make ridiculous kneejerk reactions.
To a certain extent, all superhero movies take themselves too seriously. Part of this is probably thanks to the largest failings that the Batman franchise has endured, such as the campy, over-the-top Batman and Robin.
If movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man have taught us anything, though, it’s that being colorful does not make a superhero movie bad. A comic book movie can definitely be fun, and successful.
So here’s hoping that The LEGO Batman Movie does well (it’s hard to imagine a scenario where it wouldn’t), and that studios will see the benefit of letting passionate creators produce interesting, enjoyable superhero movies.
Because a movie that’s two hours of Bruce Wayne quietly sobbing isn’t what fans are wanting.
If things carry on the way they’re going, though, that’s what we should be expecting from The Batman.