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So…I’m not sure how much of this is true and whatnot, but I heard the other day that apparently my four year old nephew got kicked out of his pre-K class for calling his teacher something he heard in the recent hard-R Marvel smash hit Deadpool, something naughty that rhymes with “brother-trucker.” And while I fully believe my brother probably shouldn’t have let him watch the movie, I can see why his child wanted to; I can see why every child I know has wanted to…

Because it’s fun!

As I’ve harped over and over again, comic books, by their very nature, are supposed to be fun, aimed squarely at kids with garish costumes, goofy monikers and lessons learned regarding truth, justice and all that stuff. It’s only common sense that a wide-eyed tot would cling to the smart-aleck antics of the foul-mouthed mutant merc, the easily accessible laughs and dumb action a crowd-pleaser on levels as opposed to what’s showing at the movie-house across the hall, where you’ve got three hours of a badly-lit Superman and Batman working through their various psychological issues amongst some morally confusing sturm und drang in the pouring rain.

Kids don’t wanna see that. No one wants to see that.

Thankfully, the studio wizards at Warner Bros. have actually been listening to the kids for once, utilizing the hilariously amped version of the legendary Caped Crusader (Will Arnett), filled with all types of brilliantly misplaced stoicism, from The Lego Movie; director Chris McKay, along with writer Seth Grahame-Smith, have managed to put together the most fun version of the Dark Knight and his 75+ year mythos ever put on screen (at least since ’66), amounting to what I consider an absolutely real Batman movie that finally isn’t ashamed to have a good time with itself and its deep cuts (Condiment Man? Really??).

As most of these films do, it opens with Batman saving Gotham from yet another intricate plot by the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) to destroy the poorly built city. After breaking the Clown Prince of Crime’s heart by admitting Superman is a more formidable foe than he is, the Joker finally gives up, checking into Arkham for good and admitting total defeat…or has he?

Will his rogue’s gallery locked away and the Gotham City Police Department no longer in need of a winged vigilante, Batman is forced to do something that might just, once and for all, break the bat: learn to self-care and care for others, starting by actually paying attention to the doofy young orphan, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera),  he’s recently adopted. Of course, this introspection doesn’t last long as said Jester of Genocide eventually unleashes a torrent of non-DC properties from the famed Phantom Zone, ranging from Dracula to the Eye of Sauron, upon the city.

Mocking every aspect of four-color culture, let’s face it: this style of heroic storytelling is the future. Featuring rapid-fire meta-jokes laced with classic Zucker-Abrams-Zucker gags, like the aforementioned Deadpool before it, it’s easier to reach and teach this new generation of funny-book fans when their heroes are lampooned; it’s easier to make fun of their heroes rather than it is to respect them and why not? If we have no heroes in real life anymore, why should we have them in fiction?

A knowing wink is all it takes anymore be a superhero. Hell, it’s all it takes to become President of the United States.

Which, when you get down to bat-tacks, is all well and good—we’ll be dead soon and this next generation will be the comedy tastemakers and political digressers, so more power to ‘em if they learn to be beautifully cynical as such a young age. Start ‘em off early with a goofy Batman, let them learn the reality of the world as they get older. And at least do it with a PG-rating, natch!

The Lego Batman Movie is not only going to be the most entertaining comic book adaptation in a long time, but I’m willing to say it’s also definitely the most brutally honest comic book joint released this year, or any year, really. A Watchmen with banana peels, a Deadpool with child-care credentials, a Dark Knight Returns for the current cultural zeitgeist.

It’s like the Joker’s plastic surgeon once said: if you gotta go…go with a smile.

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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