Full disclosure, big Spider-Man fan here. No newsflash to be sure, but if you’ve read my reviews of the Ultimate Spider-Man LEGO sets, you know the biggest problem I have is the fact that it’s the same Spider-Man minifigure in every set.
Every. Damn. Set.
Spidey is one of those characters that has so many outfits in his closet that Marvel loves exploiting any opportunity to take them out and strut them around. We see this over and over in toy lines, big events like the upcoming Spider-verse that boasts Every Spider-Man EVER and in the destined to be mostly terrible new season of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, Web Warriors (Prove me wrong, guys… please).
After I reviewed 76023 The Tumbler, it promptly went up on my shelf. I cleared out some other models to make room for it and by “cleared out” I pretty much mean threw everything that was in the way on to the ground. I know I gave it a 4 out of a possible 5 but like I said in the review, it’s a great looking model and unless I’m staring at it for extended periods of time, the flaws don’t really bother me that much. I like looking at all the weird angles, the big balloon tires in the front, the expertly crafted winshield. My shelf isn’t very big so I’ll vroom it a little back and forth. It was during a fierce session of vrooming one night that I started thinking about the obvious: LEGO needs to make more UCS Batmobiles.
The Tumbler is huge and very detailed and the LEGO model, lack of Batpod aside, managed to capture it all fairly successfully, enough to pass muster from a casual glance and an occasional vroom. Looking at it, there on my shelf, I think to myself how cool it would be to have more UCS Batmobiles. And not just any old one that’s appeared in the films and TV because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of them not all of them have the same appeal as the Tumbler. The comics alone have heaps upon heaps of Batmobiles and the general public probably wouldn’t recognize any of them. But if LEGO took something from TV or film, something people are familiar with, something people have developed an affection for, and created some kick-ass UCS sets, I have no doubt they would be successful. The key is to pick the right vehicles to go with.
It would be super easy and not to mention just plain lazy to just pick out all the Batmobiles from all of the films to date. After all, in terms of exposure they are probably the ones that most fans of Batman, hardcore and casual alike, over the age of 30 would recognize and are familiar with. But that would be way too easy and doesn’t acknowledge the contributions that other entertainment genres have given on this subject matter. So let’s spread the love around a bit show some love to the Batmobiles from film, television, video games, and comics.
When the recent Research Institute set came out, there were a lot of people that were really excited to see it, both because it was a decent idea and because it was a set that could be used for positive role-model toy for girls. There were some people that weren’t, a lot to just indifference, but some that just get angry when you say the word “girl” without also including some derogatory reference. I assume that those people are registering on the site right now, just to complain without ever reading another word. Sadly, those comments won’t be approved until after the contest voting has wrapped up.
I have a vested interest in this, because I have a two-year-old daughter. She loves stuffed animals, Duplo, and Tonka trucks. I have a closet of Lego sets put away for her, and in all of them there are four female minifigs (three are in the Research Institute). There are some mini-dolls in there because I have a few Friends sets in there too (the ones I didn’t part out for myself, because the part selection in Friends is fantastic).
The Ideas sets this year are a rare and welcome exception
Let me be very clear… I’m talking about the gender imbalance in LEGO sets. There are plenty of other things we could call out about LEGO… the lack of diversity, the problem with how certain ethnicities are portrayed (or not), the lack of handicap figures (which I find surprising primarially for much LEGO does to donate to hospitals where the “just like you” factor could make a big difference). These are things that I think should be talked about too, but I’m only going to pick one fight at a time.
This was all the diversity there was in the original trilogy…
I’m also aware that the problem is much bigger than Lego. The idea of equality, especially gender equality, just unleashes a whole heap of stupid inside the nerd realm. Lego is part of that, which means it’s just a reflection of the bigger problem. Except Lego isn’t just a nerd property, and it isn’t just licensed sets. It’s a kids toy. I could write many, many articles about the problem with the entire girls toys vs. boys toys, or the problem with pinkifying to make something “girl friendly,” and I have posted stuff like that on the forums… but Lego is loved by girls and boys, and that’s where the problem is.