Personally, I only watch superhero movies during summertime for a few hours of quick, adrenaline fueled mindless explosions and choreographed fight sequences. By now I have come to expect the unavoidable lens flares, bloodless massive catastrophes, and overwhelming exposition. To me every superhero movie is essentially the same: A misunderstood or tormented protagonist must save the world from a forgettable villain all the while struggling to maintain a healthy romance or balanced personal life. Thankfully these narratives end within two hours; right after the climactic city destroying scene where death of civilians is apparently non-consequential. Because of this, for me, watching a superhero movie is a daunting experience as it makes me feel like an impostor, or a poser. I definitely think they are fun, but because I have not invested myself in engaging with their source material (comic books), I feel eternally lost and disinterested.
I watched Batman Begins back in 2005, but instead of admiring Christopher Nolan's resurrection of the once tarnished brand, I only kept thinking how much I would have liked to see another actress portray Rachel Dawes. Ironically enough, by the time The Dark Knight premiered my prayers were answered in a ridiculous twist of fate. Katie Holmes was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and God did I detest her even more! Thankfully, she died at the end of the movie. Regardless, Heath Ledger's Joker was enough to turn an ignorant person like myself into a fan. That is... until the release of The Dark Knight Rises. The movie felt contrived, ill-paced, and far inferior to its predecessor. But that's just my opinion. I know nothing about good superhero movies, nor do I claim to think my opinions are valid. I only write this to illustrate my relationship with Batman and his origin story.
This admission brings me to the purpose of this article. As a self-aware, ignorant fool with no absolute understanding of Batman's comic book existence, or his ties to the DC Cinematic Universe (aside that his parents died and that he is some kind of millionaire), I was completely dumbfounded by the traction and controversy of an individual named Jason Todd. Red Hood, Nightwing, and Robin: These were among some of the first connections that culminated my search for the importance of Jason Todd. I groaned and almost gave up then and there. I cannot fathom spending the time necessary to research a franchise that is 76 years old... but I did. And this is my present for anybody who is as illiterate about the Cape Crusader as I am.
The initial backlash and autonomous mentions of Jason Todd began with the various theories and conclusions that were derived from this promotional image of Jared Leto portraying the Joker in the upcoming film Suicide Squad. At first I didn't realize this movie was separate from the one Ben Affleck was filming, but that's another story. See? I told you I didn't keep up with the cinematic universe for DC or Marvel for that matter. At any rate, this image caused a lot of controversy. Initially, I thought it was because he looked like a deranged meth addict. And although that may add fire to the flames, the significance behind the stirred emotions was actually due to the significance of his tattoos. According to Jason-G169, Reddit user, Leto's Joker is actually Jason Todd, Batman's rash, foolhardy sidekick that became the second Robin after Dick Greyson became Nightwing. Trust me, I know, all this information makes no sense to me. I guess I should have been reading comics instead of doing my homework as a I kid because now I'm just confused.
Let's focus. The significance of Jason Todd, like I mentioned before is that he became the second Robin, but unfortunately was killed by the Joker. Apparently this was due to a fan vote tally that sided with having the new Robin killed off brutally. Except this wasn't the end of Jason Todd. He came back decades later as Red Hood, an anti-hero, who had previously been another incarnation of the Joker. (I know, what the hell is going on?) Comic books are an art form that take a lot of patience. Kudos to those who spend countless years making sense of it all.
Jason Todd was son to circus acrobats that were murdered by a criminally and was consequently adopted and raised by Bruce Wayne. He was brought up training and fighting crime and was eventually given the opportunity to don his own Robin suit. He's had a major impact on Wayne for when he died at the hands of the Joker, Bruce spent years mourning over his inability to protect and considers it to be his greatest failure thus reinforcing his obsession with the Joker.
The reason why this information is of great significance to the upcoming Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movies is that it could potentially tie the universes together, including the Nolan version of the Dark Knight. But trust me, I am not getting into those theories. I'm just trying to understand the importance of Jason Todd, and who he is for that matter.
Intriguing as that perception may be, all I need to know is that Jason Todd was originally killed the Joker and was later miraculously reincarnated into Red Hood, a previous Joker persona. So all in all, Jason and the Joker are heavily intertwined. This would definitely prove to be exciting for fans and moviegoers alike. I just needed to clarify why his name kept causing outrage online. However, the idea seems feasible. Nolan has been known to pull the rug from under audiences, so his role as producer may benefit the future of the franchise from mediocrity.