So earlier today I was talking to my friend and we got onto the subject of whether or not Robin should be in Batman v. Superman. That further spawned the words from his mouth: "Robin's just a camp little kid from the 60's. Needless to say, we are no longer friends and if you want to talk to him, I'm pretty sure he's still in A&E.
So this article is addressed to all the people like that. The ones who only know him from the Adam West series (which I will never insult) and Batman Forever. But hey, Fergus, wasn't there another movie in that series with Robin in it? And like, George Clooney as Batman? No, no there was not. Why do you ask? That's just a dumb idea.
Robin was introduced one year after the first Batman comic hit the shelves. One year. In other words, he's been part of the Batman canon for longer than Alfred and for the same amount of time as the Joker. So if being part of that mythos for 74 years doesn't make you integral then I don't know what does.To avoid confusion, I'm gonna specifically talk about Dick Grayson, as he's the original Robin, but if enough people ask for it, then I'm all up for doing an article on each of the other main Robins (i.e. Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne)
So first off, what I perceive as the major thing that makes Robin well characterized is the parallel between himself and Batman. Robin was orphaned at the age of 8 due to gangster Boss Zucco and that alone gives them a connection which inks a page almost by itself. He was even adopted by Bruce Wayne and helped by the Caped Crusader to bring his parents killer to justice. Dick (don't giggle guys, its a real name) looks up to Batman/Bruce as a father figure but also as a friend who helped him come to terms with his parents death. In turn, Bruce sees some of himself in Dick and wants to try and guide him down a better path to prevent him from having his whole life consumed by it like his was. He really cares for him and it shows, creating some interesting situations where Bruce can be overprotective, which is when Robin can really show how independent he can be.
Dick Grayson's humour is another thing which I reckon makes him so timeless. it provides a balance for the brooding and always serious Batman. While we all love the Batman, sometimes it's nice to get a little change off pace from the darker, grittier tone we often get (which I'm not saying is at all a bad thing) and seeing a bit of light-hearted banter from the boy wonder. It's a small thing, but it's one that I for one really enjoy and think fleshes him out as a fully-fledged human being who developed this sense of humour to try and deal with the baggage of his parents death. It's the flip-side of how Bruce deals with it, separating him as his own man and not just a miniature Batman.Another thing that's related to that is relationships with other characters. He feels like a real guy when you see the dynamics he has with Jason Todd, Damian Wayne and Barbara Gordon. Treating them all in a way that makes complete sense for someone in his position, but also in a way that really shows his heart, giving Jason a chance and not just alienating him completely when he maybe deserves it, extending a hand of friendship to Damian and giving Barbara a chance to "fly" even when she lost her legs.
He also isn't just batman's little pet dog. He's willing to stand up to him when he verges on crossing the line and sticks to his guns even when given the bat-stare, which is a super-power in its own right. He comes into his own a lot when he's seen as Nightwing and isn't Batman's sidekick but rather his own persona acting under his own authority, 'Nightwing: Year One' is a great example of this. But even as Robin we get a lot of great character moments. The 'New Teen Titans' is a great example of how great a hero, detective and all-round character he is. But the times that most highlight this are ones where he defies Batman and comes out right. It happens more than you might think that through his intervention Bats is prevented from making some really bad decisions, often under psychic influence or scarecrow's fear gas.
Another small thing, but one that I've always liked about Grayson, is his acrobatics. It gives him his own fighting style, separating him from other Robins and other crime fighters through his unique movements which often look fantastic when drawn right. It's not a large detail, but it is one of the many small things that culminate in a three-dimensional character.
Finally, his hair... Hehe, just kidding. What he does also have going for him is one more thing: his time as Batman. Yeah, you heard me right. He became Batman for a time, actually, it's happened twice (to my knowledge, though it may have happened more) and you know what? He's awesome at it. Seriously. And I really liked seeing him with the gritty Damian Wayne as Robin. It was an interesting role reversal of the dynamic duo that highlighted both of their personalities.
As for the aforementioned question of whether or not he should be in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (can someone please get an abbreviation for that?), well, it would depend. I mean, it's looking like a pretty crowded film but if he had a small role and was done well, I think I'd like that.
So that's my thoughts on why Dick Grayson is awesome. Have I convinced you? Did I miss anything? Feel free to say in the comments and let me know if you want an article on each robin (I won't be hurt if you say no).