Sorry, Batfleck: Lego Batman is the only Dark Knight that matters now

In the 1960 s, there was never any doubt who was Batman. Cuddly crimefighter Adam West, equipped with Toys R Us batsuit and ACME shark repellent, was the only Dark Knight in town. These days, Warner Bros seems determined to assault us with an army of caped reformers of all shapes and sizes. On Tv theres teenage Batman, or at the least Bruce Wayne, in the weeny kind of Gothams David Mazouz. The DVD and download realm is owned by the small screen Bat-veteran Kevin Conroy, most recently presenting up in the controversial Alan Moore adaptation The Killing Joke. At the multiplexes theres Batfleck himself, a six-foot-four colossus of raging testosterone and Superman-baiting alternative facts prone to bouts of completely superfluous ultra-violence against male and female foes alike.
And then of course theres Lego Batman, voiced by Will Arnett. In hypothesi this is the kid-friendly take on the Dark Knight, the watered-down, ersatz,( literally) plastic version. In reality fucking Justice League, and Afflecks forthcoming solo turn in The Batman, which the Oscar winner now cant even be bothered to direct this is the only caped crusader you need to care about right now. Hand it to Moore, he did at the least understand that any genuinely classic Batman story ought to feature the Joker. The original Killing Joke graphic novel even opened with a scene in which the Dark Knight acknowledges his very identity is defined by opposition to Gothams clown prince of crime. The Lego Batman Movie plays beautifully on such shared histories, reimagining the Joker as a sort of tearful jilted lover who cannot possibly imagine that his greatest adversary deems various other DC icons Bats has a whole list of them to be his true classic nemeses. “Its in” stark contrast to the DC Extended Universe movies, the latest of which, Suicide Squad, featured a storyline in which Batman and The Joker barely speak to each other. If you are going to include both in a movie, it surely induces sense to at least reference the pairs twisted eternal bond, even if the main focus is elsewhere. Why is it that the makers of The Lego Batman Movie seem to understand the caped reformers essential mythology much better intuitively than the makers of DCs live-action movies? Batmans history has been one of constant vacillation between the original solo caped crusader and later, often controversial additions to Gothams pantheon of heroes, from Robin to Batgirl and beyond. The boy wonder became so unpopular at one point that fans voted to kill off the Jason Todd iteration in the Death in the Family comic book arc. Not to be put over, Joel Schumacher introduced the Dick Grayson version in eye-poppingly awful big screen endeavors Batman Forever and Batman& Robin, promptly killing Chris ODonnells career and very nearly doing for Val Kilmers and George Clooneys in the process.

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