Last week I bought this:
I am twenty six years old and I have absolutely no shame in buying Lego at my age. I bought myself Metalbeard for my twenty fifth, and still get the odd little set for Christmas (this year it was a couple of Bionicles, including the remake of Toa Pohatu, one of my all time favourites).
As for the set above, I was agonising over it for months before finally resolving that I had £12 to treat myself with and damn the consequences. I could care little for the S.H.I.E.L.D hover-fighter thing, although it does look cool and has adorable little guns on it. I’m mildly impressed to see the Miles Morales suit version of Spidey, but there was really only one reason I wanted this kit:
Turning the symbiotic sequel to Venom into a minifigure is no small ask. Smaller and more lithe than Venom, Carnage’s real visual horror comes from the constantly shifting tendrils that make up his very skin, the long and wicked claws and the incredible speed with which he moves, so kudos to Lego for having a stab. Between the paintjob that covers almost every surface and the tentacle-backpack I don’t think they’ve done too bad a job, and certainly the face is a perfect match for the terrible grin classic to all the alien symbiotes.
My concern isn’t so much how they pulled off a Carnage mini-fig, it’s whether or not they should have done!
It’s cool, sure, for a guy in his twenties, but I’ve seen what Carnage can do to someone. Where Venom enters into a Faustian deal with the host, offering power and fulfilment of any number of wishes in exchange for a little self-control, his offspring shows no such restraint, seizing control, obliterating the mind of the host and demanding nothing but bloodlust and destruction. Witnessing it completely dominating someone is a terrifying thing that I’d rather children of mine not consider until they’ve accepted a few lesser evils along the way.
Urgh, when did I get grown-up about Lego?
The simple fact is I – like many others – paid to watch a two hour advert for Lego and loved it. The successes of that film are well documented, it’s an impressive thing to capture the true joy of a toy like Lego in a film and they managed it in spades, bringing together the versatility and joy of history’s number one toy product into a feature that spanned generations in its appeal. It also threw in some ingenious political commentary and social analysis to boot for those who like a little more meat in their stories.
And that’s reignited the love, plain and simple. Nostalgia came and said “Why did you even leave?” and it was absolutely right. I can’t decide if it was the DC jokes, subtle jokes targeted at the adult audience, or just Morgan Freeman saying “Emmet, you didn’t let me finish before, because I died.” And I loved the characters it created, the world that seemed to organically spring from the disparate worlds that Lego collects within its catalogue of genres, and how it all tied back to the real world.
I’m not wholly ashamed of the fact that I fell for this ingenious marketing scheme, that much effort thrown into a project of this magnitude really should be given its dues. I suppose my greatest fear at this point is my lack of space.
Lego As A Grown-Up
Let’s not forget here that somewhere up the chain is a group of people who have not only grown up loving Lego but now have the heavy burden of making it for the rest of us, adults who play Lego, live it every day because it’s their job to, and I’m sure more than a few of us have had that dream when we were kids. A lot of the people who now have that job have grown to realise it has little to nothing to do with the fantasies they had when they were young, but so many of us would still rather that job than our own.
The Lego Ideas system really opens up the field for those of us who enjoy getting creative with Lego to see our best creations in with a chance at hitting the shelves. Failing that it’s an excellent excuse to play around with Lego for a while.
I for one have always wanted to see a union with D&D, modular mini-dungeons filled with classic monsters and traps complete with short scenarios included at the back of the instruction book, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to see something similar. Usually I don’t share my best ideas on here, but if anyone has the time or the inclination to set it up you’re welcome to it.
Lego is also used as a prototyping tool. Engineers and architects often use it to create basic models of their end product. Technic was created with a more engineering mind, and serves as a recognised educational tool. More recently a set of simple white blocks were released for construction. Lego is very aware of its utility, and they’ve managed to spread into some very serious industries as well as dominating the toy market for decades.
Short version, there is nothing wrong with buying Lego, it’s a serious thing for serious people who do business. Now if you’ll excuse me, Miles and Cletus have a score to settle.