WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, in theaters now.
Presumably everyone reading a site called Comic Book Resources agrees that Bill Maher's strident anti-comic book stance, first expressed in a blog post following the death of Stan Lee and since doubled- and tripled-down upon, is wrong. That Maher seems to think all comics are superhero stories is enough to prove his ignorance, unless he's somehow arguing that Maus and Fun Home are "immature," in which case his ideas of maturity are so baffling that they're not even worth engaging with. Even if we humor Maher and engage in the debate about only superhero comics, his blanket dismissal is strongly wrong, demonstrating both a misunderstanding of the genre's inspiring qualities and an adolescent view of what counts as "mature."
Maher could learn something about maturity from The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, the sequel to the 2014 animated blockbuster based on the popular construction toys. That it can be described as "mature" is self-demonstrating evidence of the film's thesis: That the dismissal of silly and innocent pleasures is a sign of a more adolescent mentality than the ability to embrace them. It's a lesson that not only Maher, but a large segment of comic book fandom, should take in.
If there's a grain of truth in Maher's comments, it's that there are fans who try too hard to justify the "maturity" of their interest. They have a lot more in common with Maher than either of the two might want to think. Where Maher dismisses superheroes as kids' stuff, certain strains of fandom are a bit too determined to prove that superheroes aren't for kids, all while ignoring that a vast majority of popular superheroes were created for the entertainment of children.
Something made for kids doesn't make it off limits for adult enjoyment, but many fans, and a not-insignificant number of creators, think the only way to prove their interest's maturity is to rework everything as dark and hyper-serious. It's an angry teenager's idea of "maturity," and the mentality of Finn, who controls half of the action in The LEGO Movie 2.
The LEGO Movie 2 begins where the 2014 original left off, with a pre-adolescent Finn being told to play with his younger sister, Bianca, whose Duplo creations lay waste to the LEGO landscape of Bricksburg. Cut to five years later, and a now-teenage Finn still loves LEGO, but his imagination has turned darker. Bricksburg is now Apocalypseburg, a Mad Max-esque wasteland where everything is gritty and angsty.
Everything, that is, except for Emmet, who's as happy-go-lucky as ever. But even he feels the pressure to fit in, especially to please Lucy. However, when Lucy, Batman, Benny, Unikitty and MetalBeard are kidnapped by a mysterious emissary from the Systar System, Emmet believes he finally has the chance to prove himself. Teaming up with Rex Dangervest, an edgier Chris Pratt-voiced minifig, Emmet is finally ready to get "serious."