Over the past few months, Simon has really grown up. I mean, he’s constantly growing but lately he’s just been spouting at full speed. Part of this has lead Simon to finally being interested in Batman on his own. For the past three years Simon has been way into different things like a stuffed lion that we named “Lion Friend” (don’t you judge me on my creativity), Thomas the Tank Engine, Pixar Cars, Dinosaurs, Sea Creatures (or Dangers of the Deep as Simon calls him) and now he’s finally into Batman.
At long last my prayers have been answered. So a couple months ago Simon and I set up the Batcave that I bought for him four years before he was born and we began to play and immediately I realized it. I was in Batfan hell. Why? Because playing Batman with Simon is the most frustrating thing in the world for fans of Batman. Let me explain.
1) He doesn’t respect character’s dynamics.
Look, I am well aware that I am playing toys with a three year old but would it kill Simon to learn that the Joker is bad, Batman is good and Catwoman treads the line. Batman and Joker will be in the middle of an intense hostage situation and all of the sudden Joker starts asking Batman if they can be friends. No Simon, they can’t. Batman is a symbol of justice while Joker represents the chaos within all of us. Also he is holding Robin over a vat of lava (bowl of beans) and I think Batman would be a pretty bad superhero if he just ignored that. But that is playing with Simon. Characters constantly change sides and apparently everyone knows where the Batcave is because there is a constant parade of visitors to the cave (most convicted felons and murderers) and Batman just watches them come and go.
2) So much punching.
When Simon isn’t busy upsetting the entire Batman universe he is using his characters to punch other characters. The Riddler will have taken over Gotham Jail and right in the middle of broadcasting his riddle to the world he is punched in the face by Commissioner Gordon. Or Mr. Freeze. Or a cat (more on that later). The point being that anytime I try to give these characters any kind of story or character development they get punched in the face. Anytime Batman tries to explain to Robin the values of following the rules of the road, Batman gets punched in face. So much punching. Simon, Batman is more than just about using his fists. He’s about solving mysteries, being a detective.
3) Commissioner Gordon can’t get into his car
This is just me being a nitpicker but Simon really struggles getting Commissioner Gordon in and out of his car. I offer to help but he says he can do it. This really clogs the flow of the story. Let me paint you a picture. Bane and Two-Face are robbing the bank. They stand side-by-side threatening the city with their power. Batman arrives on the scene quickly followed by Commissioner Gordon in his patrol car. Tension runs high as everyone waits for Commissioner to get out and give directions. Commissioner is stuck in the car. He seems to have tipped over on his seat. Tensions slowly fall as the car magically floats to it’s side and tries to shake the commissioner out. Frustrated, the car drives off leaving Batman to handle the situation alone. Two-Face suddenly punches Bane. Batman rides a dinosaur.
4) Universe crossovers galore
Speaking of Dinosaurs, apparently they are prevalent in the world of Gotham and no one cares. Also no one seems phased by the talking cars that are half the size of the citizens and the random sea creatures and cats (more on that in a second, I promise) that roam the streets. At first when Simon brought in multiple Batmen I handled it by suggesting that we were living in a multverse and each Batman was from a different universe and it worked. All the Batmen looked different so it fit that one was from the 60’s, one is the globetrotting 70’s Batman, etc. Then came the dinos. Now just about anyone can come into this universe with no consequences. I mean, I am all for crossovers but even I can’t justify what Lightening McQueen is doing in Gotham.
5) Every problem is solved by a cat
The cat. I’ve alluded to him before and now you can finally learn all about, Mittens. Mittens (name given by Simon) was the spare cat that came with Catwoman. Yet Mittens as gone far beyond her owner in fame. Mittens the cat, for whatever reason, has become Simon’s go-to toy.
Mittens drives the Batmobile, she can defeat anyone, if kidnapped by Clayface (Dad) she will immediately escape any deathtrap. There is nothing Mittens can’t do and it drives me crazy. In Batman’s world Batman is the greatest there is but in this world he has been usurped by Mittens. In fact Batman was kicked out of the Batcave the other day after he refused to hug Mittens. Speaking of…
6) Batman doesn’t hug
After every play session Simon wants most characters to hug it out. I can understand that but I try to tell him that Batman doesn’t hug. He is vengeance. He is the night. His parents were brutally taken from him in a dark alley and he doesn’t have time to hug it out with Two-Face. Then Simon looks at me, with his big, sweet eyes and says, “But Dad, Batman loves his friends.” And maybe my heart melts. Maybe it’s okay if Batman (Dad) opens up, accepts these changes so that a little boy can have his own type of Batman. Maybe just the fact that a father and a son can play Batman together is enough. Maybe it’s all…
Catwoman just punched Batman in the face and threw Robin into the lava (beans). Oh it is on Simon, it is on. Let’s play again.