The premiere of The LEGO Batman Movie is just around the corner, meaning the not-so-serious animated take on The Dark Knight will be entertaining audiences with his lighthearted antics and anti-social behavior. For months now the film has been demonstrating how its version of one of the most popular superheroes of all time will be different from all other previous on-screen incarnations, but there have also been one key point which all the movie and television Batmen seem to have in common: they’re not exactly known for their close friendships with those around them. In fact, most iterations of Bruce Wayne have depicted the character as altogether standoffish and whose closest companion refers to him as “Master Bruce”. In other words, Bruce Wayne could use a few friends.
This is a major theme in the film, from what’s been seen in various trailers and TV spots anyway. LEGO Bruce Wayne and the Batman are notable celebrities in their own right. And yet, when Bruce heads home, Stately Wayne Manor remains largely empty, except for the occasional sounds of Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) and, as the film introduces, a young potential partner for the Caped Crusader in Robin. But that’s not the way Bruce handles things, and like its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, LEGO Batman aims to explore the idea of strength through teamwork and the necessity of a social circle that consists of more than your butler.
That’s what star Will Arnett and director Chris McKay wanted to explore in a new interview with Variety, where they discussed one of the key questions the movie intends to ask about its titular masked vigilante and his solitary existence. Arnett said:
“I’m just a loner in the sense that nobody wants to be my friend. We really loved the idea that he’s Bruce Wayne, he’s Batman, he’s a superhero, he’s a billionaire playboy, and yet he’s got no friends. Why?”
Meanwhile, McKay dug in a little deeper, saying one of the goals of The LEGO Batman Movie is to find out if there’s a way Batman can fill the hurt hole in the center of his chest with something other than punching villains in the face – even villains who desperately want to be his nemesis.
“We wanted to attack Batman’s core problem and make a film about him overcoming the hurt in his heart and maybe letting some people into his life,” McKay said. “It’s something that other Batman movies can’t do because, he’s Batman, but we wanted it to be ‘About a Boy’ meets Michael Mann, with a lot of jokes.”
A less gritty, but no less heroic take on Batman may be exactly what the character needs right now, and it may also be a welcome change for audiences eager to see the lighter side of the Dark Knight.