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Friday, July 04, 2008

Babbling Meandering Thoughts on Robin

Heheh, I'm always interested in this debate. In a sense, I can see both sides. I love Robin, but Robin is really really hard to make workable in a movie sense.

Ultimately though, I do think that people arguing against Robin ever appearing in a movie are deluding themselves. It's not because of my own fondness for the character. (Or fondness for disliking, as the case may be.) It's because, no matter how much these fanboys may grouse and groan, Robin's a very important and undeniable part of the Batman mythos.

I mean, heck, when it comes down to it, Batman himself only existed for what? Two years? Before they made the Boy Wonder. That leaves sixty-eight years where there is a Robin, (or an ex-Robin) in some form or another. And thanks to the Adam West show, Superfriends, the Justice League, and any of the Batman cartoons, Robin's pretty well cemented in the minds of any non-comic fan too.

Heck, even folks who've never heard of A-listers like Green Lantern or Flash know that "Dick Grayson" is/was "Robin".

And Nolan, Bale and company can keep making movies and pretending he doesn't exist, but it's kind of like trying to ignore the big elephant in the center of the room. Eventually they're going to have to find a way to deal with it. They're deluding themselves if they think otherwise. People are going to keep asking.

I do get some of the problem though. By nature, Dick's role was to represent hope and a tiny dose of brightness in the darkness that is Batman's life and Gotham City. That's not something that can translate well to these sorts of movies which I think tend to bask in the darkness more than comics are apt to.

I think personally, if *I* were going to do a movie-take on Robin, I'd skip Dick Grayson altogether. I'd have a few lines at the beginning establishing that there was a Dick. That he was Robin. That he lightened Batman up a little. Then they had a falling out and he split. But I'd start it with Jason Todd. Blowing the fuck up.

Because let's face it. The non-comic book audience knows how the Batman and Robin story goes. But when Robin blows the fuck up? That startles people. I remember being fairly young and finding out that one of the Robins actually DIED. I didn't read comics at the time but I was aghast. It works as a good anecdote to the Robin-lightening effect too, if you kill him.

Then I'd basically have the story borrow liberally from "A Lonely Place of Dying". Not the events exactly, but the whole Batman-losing-it-even-more, kid-figures-out-Batman's-identity, kid-tries-to-help-without-Batman's knowledge kind of thing.

I think Tim's personality would work well for this sort of movie. He's contemplative and kind of gloomy. No clownish antics or cheesy lines to try to lighten the deal. No "Holy Rusted Metal, Batman!" or "Chicks dig the car." For all the problems I have with Dixon's writing in some respects, I always thought he did well in re-envisioning a Robin that worked well in this cynical age. The general lack of smart-aleckness would be rare and welcome. (And heck, Batman's reluctance toward getting a new sidekick would probably work well in channeling Christian Bale's own dislike of the concept. :-P)

That said, I do think a straightforward Dick-as-Robin story would probably work fine as long as, like Loeb says in the linked article, they take it slow. Also, I personally would prefer that whether they went with Tim or Dick, they didn't put some kid in his twenties in the costume. I get that thirteen's probably too young to work on the big screen without people twigging on to the idea that dragging a child into vigilante-dom's a bad idea, but I think there IS sort of blank spot age range there that could work if they try.

I really do think they'll have to do something eventually though. It's not really something that can be ignored forever. They'll look like total chickenshits, afraid of a teenager in elf boots. Yeesh. :-)


  • At July 04, 2008 6:42 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    You ever see the fan-mad movie trailer for "Grayson"? That had an interesting take on a Robin movie. Adult Robin retired from super-heroing, putting the costume back on after Batman is killed...

  • At July 04, 2008 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think the Robin storyline from Dark Victory would be a good template for a movie Robin.


  • At July 04, 2008 10:07 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I like your idea, but I'm wondering if it might just work better if they didn't try to shoehorn Robin into a Batman movie, but instead just gave him his OWN movie, that would have Batman in it, instead of the other way around.

  • At July 04, 2008 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why bother with Robin? Just go with Dick Grayson, orphan boy who Batman saves and in turn saves Batman.

    He doesn't even need to wear a costume. It's not his acrobatic abilities that tie him to Batman, it's the fact that they both were orphans who witnessed their parent's death and were unable to do anything about it.
    But unlike young Bruce Wayne, Dick has someone there to bring justice to his parents.

    As someone said, use Dark Victory as a template. If ya really want "Robin" you could have that scene where villains discover the batcave, Dick Grayson (wearing a face mask/hood) holds off the villains from discovering Batman's secret identity, until Batman arrives, saves him, and brings them all down.

    Then at the end of the movie Bruce adopts Grayson and we see Dick settle into Wayne Manor as credits start rolling or something. Maybe show Dick making a comment about someday driving the Tumbler and Bruce responding with some comment that foreshadows that Dick will someday do the superheroing gig too.

    Thus Bringing a conclusion to the Nolan verse where Batman continues his work, but now is no longer alone and has finally managed to find a bit of light/happiness in his life.

    Boom, ya got a sorta Robin, ya definately got Dick Grayson, and it's still a very character driven story. The action scenes could be just Batman fighting Harvey Dent or whatever, and the Dick Grayson story is just a side story.

  • At July 05, 2008 12:34 AM, Blogger Jon said…

    I definitely like the idea of a Robin movie where he is the main character set against the dark background/settings of Gotham. But a young Robin, not some 20-something Robin.

    Although, having a 13 year old Robin in a grim Batman setting would be hard to pull off too.

    But it would be tricky to do a Robin movie and not have it come off as silly. He is the light to Batman's dark. I think that is a harder sell than the dark we see in most of the movies. However, they played it out well in the Spider-Man who knows.

    I have a hard time picturing a Robin movie outfit that looks nothing like the Burt Ward costume or the Bat Nippled Robin costume from Batman Forever. Ugh....


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