There is an episode of Batman: The Animated Series (season four if you own the box set) called Legends of the Dark Knight, where three Gotham City kids claim that they have seen Batman in action. They each tell their story, with the tone of each story harkening back to a different era of Batman from the comics/animation. There is a kid whose hair is like Robin’s was in the 40’s (with that weird part) who tells a very 40’s, Dick Sprang-style Batman story. And the girl who kinds of looks like Carrie Kelley tells a story that looks a lot like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. They even meet a kid who they don’t like very much (whose name is Joel) who has heard that the Batmobile can ride up walls. And the kids tell him to shut up. They don’t want to hear him talk about Batman. Because he’s Joel Schumacher…as a kid.
That episode does a great job of nodding to the rich history of the character. The entire series does, but Legends of the Dark Knight acknowledges (as Bruce Timm does in the commentary) that every version of Batman is legitimate because it has added something to the mythos. Even if you hate the idea of a campy Batman because he started out as a dark, noir character…or if you blame the 50’s comics or the Adam West TV show for ruining the public’s perception of the character…and even if you see the campy version of Batman as a reflection of the McCarthy era book Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham and the way it affected the comic book industry as a whole…you have to admit that some of the most iconic Batman things came from that time period, including the Batmobile itself.
Yes, the current cinematic version of Batman is a very dark version, even to the point where he kills (and turns Superman emo)…so it was a breath of fresh air to see the trailer for The Lego Batman Movie before Batman v. Superman. Even more so AFTER watching BvS.
I loved The Lego Movie. It pleasantly surprised me by being more than just a two-hour toy commercial. Yes, it was a two-hour toy commercial. So was Toy Story 3, but it was good. And Lego Batman was my favorite character. So, I am very much intrigued by the trailer for The Lego Batman Movie. Like the Legends of the Dark Knight episode of Batman: TAS, I love the way that it nods to the rich history of the character, successfully combining the campy and the darker elements of Batman while satirizing them both in an affectionate way, clearly made for and by people like me who love the character.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to The Lego Batman Movie? What is your favorite version of Batman? Watch the trailer and comment below.