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Cool Dad Job: Caped Crusader, Plaything

Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Six new sets to celebrate the Dark Knight’s 80th anniversary.

Why so serious? It’s a reasonable question to ask the folks behind modern superhero flicks, which seem specifically designed to scare the bejeezus out of children. No wonder LEGO Batman, who went full MVP in 2014’s The LEGO  Movie has stuck around. In the wake of starring in his eponymous film, the plasticine crusader — self-involved but noble, slapstick but brave — became a comforting presence. Kids love him for his goofy earnestness, voice artist Will Arnett’s dig at the entire hero-industrial complex, and adults love him for not existing in the same cinematic universe as Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. Is he the hero we deserve or the hero we need? Neither. He’s the hero we can count on to make us smile. And there’s a lot to be said for that. He’s also a damn good father figure to his ward, LEGO Robin (depending on who’s playing with the minifigs).