Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Case Against Robin

PhotobucketWill there be a Robin in the future installments of the Nolanverse Batman saga? Some arguments have been tossed around in the media. Christian Bale threatened to quit the franchise if they ever introduced Robin. Jeph Loeb, however, defends Robin. I can see where both of these guys are coming from, though I must admit I've never liked Robin.

The idea of Robin as Batman's little teenage sidekick has always bugged me. Why would a crazy loner vigilante hang out with some kid? There's Batman, a terrifying figure wrapped in a black cloak stealthily lurking in the darkest shadows...and then there's his teenage sidekick, dressed in bright primary colours and sticking out like a sore thumb. The original rationale for his introduction was to "brighten up" the gloomy atmosphere of the original Batman comics, which were seen as being too grim for its time. There was also a need for Batman to discuss his detective work with, like Watson for Holmes. Neither of these two points are relevant in the Nolanverse.

Ever since Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns became a huge hit, we've seen comic book characters become darker and grittier. Granted, this isn't always a good thing, but for Batman it just suits the character. The dark, grim Batman lives in a world populated by insane people, and whether or not our hero is just as insane as the criminals he catches is open for debate. It's this darkness that was captured so well by Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. There is no place for a colourful sidekick in that world. It would just break the subdued, realistic picture that Nolan brilliantly painted as a backdrop for the world of Batman.

Secondly, Alfred already serves as a great sounding board for Batman. The Alfred we see in the Nolanverse is wise, insightful and sarcastic. The banter between Bruce Wayne and his butler is brilliant and funny, and serves both for exposition and character development. Alfred is the voice of reason, the foil to Bruce Wayne's single-minded craziness, and has saved Bruce's life on more than one occasion.

Robin can be a good character when written well, in the comics. He works well as a standalone character too, if ever there is a movie to be made with him in it (perhaps a live action Teen Titans?). However, I sincerely hope Christopher Nolan leaves Robin out of his Batman movies. Perhaps it's time Robin is dropped from the Batman mythos. There is no reason canon can't be revamped.

This has been your Batman-related post for this week. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, check out Kirsty's article on the Joker for more Batman goodness.

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