I was listening to the latest TBU Podcast the other day and the classic “would Robin work in a Batman film” discussion arose again. From what I understand, most people are for the idea but don’t know how he could be implemented in an effective way. I did like Melinda’s idea of establishing the character before jumping forward in time to where the age of the character might not be such an issue for some people, but I think that Robin can be brought in to the Batman film universe sooner than the reboot. I believe that there is an opportunity to include Robin in Man of Steel 2, or at the very least for Dick Grayson to make an appearance.
If we look at DC continuity, specifically the New 52, it is established that Batman has been working for five years but as an urban legend; it takes the outing of Superman for him to reveal himself. If this is the case in the movie universe, we won’t have to worry about an origin story for one (which is great) but by that point, we could say Batman has a Robin, or at least a Robin in training. Depending on the interactions between Batman and Superman in the film, we could be introduced to a young Dick Grayson, maybe training in the Batcave or travelling with Bruce as his son. I don’t think we need to see a Robin in ‘Man of Steel 2’ and I don’t think there’ll be a place for him, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reference him. We don’t even need to see his origin; just the presence of a boy in the Batcave is enough to establish the character. The only issue with this is the reaction to ‘Man of Steel’ as before I’d be able to say: “don’t treat us like idiots, we all know the origin and if not, we have the ability to research”, but after so many complaints of “it jumps around too much”, maybe the mainstream audience would need to see an origin for Robin, but that could be saved for Batman’s next solo film.
A common comment about the relationship between Batman and Robin is how “creepy” it is, my co-hosts even used that phrase, but I disagree. Not to disparage my partners, as there is admittedly a stigma, but the relationship only seems to be referred to in that way when looked at with a certain perspective. If people were mature enough to look past this, I see no reason why Robin couldn’t be a child. Given both Bruce and Dick’s childhoods, and Bruce’s wealth, I don’t think the real world would look upon it as disturbing if Bruce were to adopt Dick. I don’t think the ward angle could work anymore but I believe people would understand Bruce’s adoption of Dick after his parents’ death as an empathetic act. Even the most cynical followers of the story wouldn’t be calling deviancy, but rather the playboy Bruce Wayne is simply looking for another angle to attract women with.
If you don’t buy the adoption of Dick Grayson route, what about Robin being Damian? Sure it messes with continuity a little, but at least it’s a real character and really Batman’s son. That way there is absolutely no angle to attack Bruce for foul play, the only issue there is that why would Bruce endanger his child’s life for no reason? Whereas with Dick he is empathetic of his need for revenge which he turns in to a way to avenge all the wrong doing in Gotham. So maybe Damian wouldn’t work, but I believe the point I just made strengthens the argument for why Dick would work. It’s not like Batman is grabbing a kid off the streets and turning him in to ‘Hit Girl’, he is recognizing that there is anger and pain in a boy and instead of letting that eat at him and destroy him, he teaches him to use it as fuel for doing good throughout Gotham, as we’ve seen in so many great interpretations of Robin’s origin.
So what I’m saying is there is definitely a place for a Robin in the Batman film universe and a young Robin at that; I don’t think it could be considered odd especially if we look again at Melinda’s idea. I would like to see a young Dick Grayson, training in the Batcave in ‘Man of Steel 2’, I would love to see him in costume as he trains but we don’t need to see him actually fighting crime as there will be no place for him considering the scale of the film (it is still a Superman film after all). After that, when it comes to the next Batman film we can make a jump in time to where Robin is a little older, not Chris O’Donnell older, but at least to an age where the audience isn’t questioning child endangerment laws.
I would love to see Robin in a Batman film, and I want him young and enthusiastic, I know they’ll mute it as they did with Superman, and I know they won’t put him in trunks and pixie boots, but I want a colourful Robin, not a Batman clone. I know it will be very dependent on the tone of the film and they’ll want to stay as far away from ‘Batman and Robin’ as possible, but if we could inject a sense of fun in to the franchise, I’d be the first one in line to buy a ticket.
What do you guys think? Is there a place for Robin in the Batman movie universe? When and at what age would you introduce him, if at all?
Posted by Joe Jinks