Sunday, April 1, 2012

Robin is Necessary to the Batman Franchise...

if you want the franchise to be about Batman.

Why is it that the Batman movies always become so focused on the villains, no matter who's directing the franchise? People find evil more fascinating than good, the villian/anti-hero more intriguing than the hero, at least in our culture people see good as static, unchanging, you know, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." However I believe that one series, Naruto, has shown that to not *necessarily* be true, The key to keeping the good guy interesting is to keep him growing and changing just as much as his villainous characters. The Batman problem is that once you move beyond the early years of Batman's career there's something of a... plateau in his character. While he does face new enemies and new situations, once Batman/Bruce Wayne has figured out how he wants to be Batman he's in a rut until something comes to shake him up. The most obvious way to shake up Batman's life is to introduce a love interest, preferably one that has dubious morals and this has been done excellently with characters such as Catwoman, Andrea Beaumont, and Talia al Ghul (whom I greatly dislike). However, Batman has mastered the art of love 'em and leave 'em though actually he's been left as well. The thing is that romantic dalliances are easy to get rid of. It hurts but it's not hard to do, especially when one's subconscious is working against one, as in Batman's case.

The one life-shaking commitment that Batman hasn't been able to get rid of are his relationships with his sons, and I believe that an objective read through of the comics and the cartoons will show that Dick Grayson is the person who remade Batman into Bruce Wayne. Before bring Dick into his home, Brice could disappear into the cowl and there's nothing that anyone, even Alfred could really do about it. Bruce's reasoning seems to be that with both romantic assignations and for parental relationships, the people involved are adults, they got into relationships knowing who he is and what he's after so whatever pain they feel at his choices, while regrettable, is their choice to experience. They walked in and they can walk right out. The same cannot be said for the young boy that Bruce first gave shelter to, and the love an responsibility that he feels for Dick turns his internal world upside down. Truly there's nothing that any writer has been able to add to the Batman mythos that's been as effective at throwing the Dark Knight off of his plateau and it pains me that a certain director is so set against including Robin because it's "unrealistic" as if a man dressing up as a bat and revolutionizing crime and law enforcement in a metropolitan area because his parents were killed in front of him at nine years old is realistic.

That is not to say that I don't appreciate Mr. Nolan's vision; his Batman movies has completely revitalized the franchise and I love that he takes the story seriously, treats it like what it is-a story-and make the best story possible. If anyone can shake Batman up without Robin it is Mr. Nolan, but--call me a doubter-- I just don't think that's possible. And I do believe that that's why he is focusing on the beginning of Batman's career before he reaches that plateau that requires a Robin, when the shaping of who Batman is is still in flux.

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