Is ‘Batman v Superman’ teaching us to live without a Robin?
If Robin is Batman’s sidekick, then what is Batman to Robin?
Breakfast conversations these last couple of weeks in our kitchen have been dominated by one conversation: who is going to win the epic battle between Batman and Superman? There’s endless excited discussions and plenty of theories, especially from my son who is glued to watching all those videos.
I must admit that we haven’t yet seen the movie yet, but it got me thinking that sidekick Robin was only mentioned - when his costume was shown, indicating he had been killed by the Joker. When I pointed out to my kids that Robin would always help Batman out of any jam, they said, “Who is Robin mum? There is no Robin.” Of course Robin is probably not in the movie but holy smokes Batman, what happened to the dynamic duo I grew up watching on TV? To be honest, I was never allowed to read comics as a child so I had no idea that Superman and Batman existed in the same comic space but it got me thinking about the meaning of superheroes and sidekicks as they pertain to our everyday lives. If Robin is Batman’s sidekick, then what is Batman to Robin?
Looking at my husband and kids across the breakfast table engrossed in their “Batman v Superman” conversation made me think how in social media we all self-promote ourselves and want to be the Batman of our lives but what is this teaching our kids about the dynamics, nuances and fluidity of relationships? I don’t know anyone who would knowingly advertise themselves as Robin. And I have to wonder why, because Robin is a likeable fellow and smart. It’s the dynamic duo that solves crimes and catches bad guys and have each other’s backs; it isn’t just Batman and, after all, Superman too has super smart Lois Lane to balance his equation.
In my work as an executive producer in television, my life revolves around assigned roles, whether as part of a crew or in front of the camera, every person in my world has a specific role to play. If a production is to run smoothly then everyone must play their role and stick to their boundaries. My productions must be well-oiled machines but people are not well-oiled machines and rarely stick one hundred percent to their assigned roles. I have often found myself being Batman at times and Robin at other times, at work, at home and with my friends. I worry though that our kids are only being exposed to one side of this equation. The constant bombardment of films elevating the role of the lone superhero is disturbing especially as my pre-teens youngsters think that being a dominant hero, boss, master and leader are the only roles worth playing ignoring the fact that Batman too is learning from Robin - learning how to be a father, mother, sibling and friend and so growing as a person too.
Unconsciously, we’re all pushing our kids to become the Batmans. I now realize that we need to make the Robins come out as well… My to-do list keeps getting longer! Fortunately, in the next Batman film a Robin may have already been cast.
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