DC's new TV show will star a murderous Robin who curses out Batman, and it makes a classic mistake of the superhero genre

DC Universe
  • The trailer for the first DC Universe original show was released on Thursday.
  • It stars Robin killing a bunch of people and saying, “F— Batman.”
  • It’s not reminiscent of the characters’ comic book roots, and is brutal and devoid of fun.
  • It falls into the “dark and gritty” trap that other superhero projects have suffered from.

If you predicted that Robin would be a murderous vigilante with anger issues and say “F— Batman” in DC’s upcoming “Titans” show, then congratulations. You hit the jackpot.

The first trailer for the show was released on Thursday. “Titans” will be the first original series for DC’s streaming service, DC Universe, that goes live this fall. It stars a Dick Grayson/Robin (played by Brenton Thwaites) and is far removed from what fans know of the character’s comic book roots.

This Robin kills, and he looks like he’s not only pretty good at it, but doesn’t hesitate to do so. The trailer features Robin stabbing a guy in the throat, stomping another one’s face in with his boot, and seemingly using one’s gun against other bad guys.

After he massacres this crew of thugs, Robin declares “F— Batman” with blood splattered all over his face.

And that’s not the end of the mayhem. The rest of the trailer features quick shots of bloody havoc brought about by other characters, as well. It looks like Robin won’t be the only “hero” with a taste for violence in this series, and at just under 2 minutes, the trailer shows at least four sequences of graphic bloodshed.

Beyond that, the footage has a dark and angsty tone throughout, as it centres on a young girl (Raven, played by Teagan Croft) looking to Grayson for help in controlling her dangerous, haunting powers. Popular characters in “Titans” and “Teen Titans” comics make brief appearances, like Starfire (Anna Diop) and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter).

It’s surprising the show will be this savage. Judging by previously released images of Robin, the show was bound to be somewhat gritty. But the level of violence is unexpected and even disturbing. It looks like Zack Snyder was given a low budget, and told to “just go nuts.”

To clarify, Snyder isn’t involved in this show. But the footage is reminiscent of both his “Watchmen” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in the way it depicts this sort of viciousness. That’s disappointing, and confusing, because DC’s film universe has been distancing itself from the tone of “Dawn of Justice.” But its new television universe seems to be falling into the same trap.

It’s ironic that this trailer drops on the week of 10th anniversary of “The Dark Knight,” the Batman movie that inspired more “dark” superhero movies starring characters that didn’t actually benefit from that vision, like Superman and Spider-Man. The Titans don’t benefit from that vision, either. The great thing about “The Dark Knight” was that even if it was a darker portrayal of Batman, at its core it was a story about hope. That’s something that seemed to get lost in the conversation.

In the comics, the Teen Titans (which this series is based on) are all about hope, too. They’re a group of young superheroes who are the next generation of heroes. Some, like Robin, are proteges to characters like Batman, while other characters, like the shape-shifting Beast Boy, are not. But the thing that binds them all together is that they are all truly good people.

They don’t kill, and while Robin has certainly had his disagreements with Batman, nonchalantly saying “F—” him isn’t his style. And, most importantly, they’re fun. Beast Boy is a jokester who can transform into animals. He doesn’t belong in this grisly universe.

“Titans,” judging by the trailer, is desperately trying to grab people’s attention in a shock-and-awe way. But the DC Universe streaming service has been called a service for fans. Well, fans aren’t familiar with a sadistic Robin. The Titans have always been taken seriously and mature stories have been told about them. But “serious” and “gritty” aren’t synonymous with one another.

Watch the full trailer below:


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