Dick Grayson has been an essential part of the Batman story since its first onscreen romp. Burt Ward portrayed Robin, Batman’s ward and sidekick, in 1966’s Batman: The Movie and the original television series based on the film and the DC comics. Now, The Lego Batman Movie follows the story of Batman and Robin as they hustle to save Gotham from the Joker and a host of other bad guys — and, Robin is the best part of the whole movie.
For fans of Robin and Batman’s long-standing relationship, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Robin’s always been loyal to Batman, but his more recent iterations rarely take any shit from the Bat — or they do so grudgingly. Michael Cera voices Robin in Lego Batman, downplaying Robin’s sass and ramping his wide-eyed innocence and youthfulness up ten notches for a character that should be annoying, but just ends up winning over the hearts of audiences everywhere.
Here are six reasons Robin is the best part of The Lego Batman Movie.
6. “Rip!” Or: tighty whities and repurposed Reggae Batman.
Robin is psyched to find out that his guardianship is being split by two super important people: billionaire Bruce Wayne and Mr. Vigilante Justice himself, Batman. And if Robin is going to be Batman’s sidekick, then he needs a costume, right?
Enter: the costume carousel in Batman’s Batcave. Unfortunately for Batman, Robin eventually settles on Reggae Batman but tears off his spandex for just the underwear bit, which makes it an exact replica of the 1960s TV show version of Robin’s costume.
5. Innocence is bliss when it comes to crime fighting.
Batman is more than happy to take advantage of his new ward’s good nature. Upon finding out that Superman has the portal gun that can send Joker to the Phantom Zone hidden away in the Fortress of Solitude, he sends Robin in to fetch it. Robin’s life is at risk the entire time as he jumps through forcefields and follows Batman’s every order.
But Robin is never scared in Lego Batman because he truly trusts that his newfound father figure has his best interests at heart. Angsty Batman movies are already in large supply, so having such a pure character as a main player is really refreshing.
4. Robin is easily the funniest character in the movie.
From his dramatic, giggling whispers (“Hello, secret camera!”) to his throwdown with Jaws, Robin gets the biggest laughs in Lego Batman. Whether he’s sliding around on the enormous table in Wayne Manor or carrying around a checklist of his best qualities to show potential adopters, Robin is a laugh-a-minute sidekick with undeniable franchise power.
Saying that Michael Cera was the perfect pick for a role is a rare sentiment, but it’s well-deserved this time around. Cera, who voices Robin, perfectly captures Robin’s sunny sensibility and rapt wonder over everything Will Arnett’s Batman does. Plus, watching Robin constantly try to hug Batman is everything you never knew you wanted.
3. A very fun Nightwing reference
The Robin featured in Lego Batman is Dick Grayson, the first of several people to take on the Robin mantle. He eventually becomes Nightwing in the DC comics. There’s a brief moment in the film where Robin dons the blue-and-black Nightwing costume only to slip back into his sparkly-caped Robin suit moments later.
Robin also tries on several different Batman outfits on the costume carousel in the Batcave. The montage is funny but also acts as a reminder that Dick does, eventually, take up the Batman mantle for a period of time from Bruce Wayne.
2. He’s honestly just psyched to be here.
Blind enthusiasm is the name of Robin’s game in Lego Batman. He wears a sparkly cape, always wants a hug, and is ridiculously happy to “find out” that Batman and Bruce Wayne share custody of him. (That’s not to say that Lego Batman paints Bruce and Batman as a couple for a little while, but the movie totally paints them as a couple for a little while.)
Robin calls the Caped Crusader “Batdad,” Alfred is “Grandpa,” and the Lego Batman crew is referred to as his “family” the whole time. It’s equally precious and suited to the tone of the movie.
1. Robin is responsible for the moral of the story.
Batman’s problem is identified pretty early on in Lego Batman: He’s afraid to be a part of a family again in case he loses the people he cares about (again). But the moral of the story is that family and friends make everything better. Alfred adopts Dick for Bruce, thus beginning Batman’s journey toward self-acceptance and becoming a better person. By the end of the film, Batman accepts Robin’s hugs with gusto and is happy when Robin calls him “Dad.”
Maybe a Robin is what other contemporary Batman films are missing.
The Lego Batman Movie is now in wide release.