It seems a constant argument amongst fanboys about what to do with Robin when it comes to the Batman film franchise. Many fans have this deep-felt hatred for the character, and I can't help but wonder why? Sure, when handled wrong he can be annoying and just flat-out ridiculous, but then again, why fault him for something like the 1960's Batman TV Show or Batman & Robin, for problems that were all over the place and had nothing to do with the Boy Wonder. When Robin is handled well and dealt with utmost respect, his character surprisingly works and can add a fascinating dynamic to the Caped Crusader and his adventures.
I initially became a Batman fan because of Robin. He was my favorite character for all of my childhood, so from a pure nostalgia standpoint, I hate it when I see other Batman fans treat him as if he was garbage that has no point in even being associated with the Batman mythos. There is a deep-seated prejudice against the character of Robin, especially whenever talked about in regards to film. Let's face it, all of the films that have ever featured Robin were pretty bad, with the small exception of Batman Forever, but then again, as I mentioned earlier, George Clooney nor Adam West made a good Batman. My point is, if you're gonna condemn Robin purely because he was in a few bad movies, then why don't you condemn Batman as well? Batman finally got his shot for redemption, and until someone decides to stop blaming the mistakes of the past on Robin, he can never be given his shot for redemption. So this is where I'm taking my stand and presenting my case as to how I think Robin can be done in live-action, and be done the proper justice the character deserves onscreen.
It all starts with the comics. Like Batman, Robin has had his ups-and-downs in regards to the comic book realm. Most Batman fans still have the bad taste of the campy-Dick Grayson-Robin from the '50s and '60s, and many are still celebrating the end of the second-Robin, Jason Todd, at the hands of the Joker, not to mention the current Robin, Bruce Wayne's son, Damien, who is just so lifeless and annoying. But look at Batman, does anyone still let DC live down the Azrael monstrosity of Knightfall, and what about the '50s and '60s Batman as well.
Regardless, Robin has had his shining moments in the comic books. Tim Drake, who resided over the identity of Robin in the comics from the late '80s to 2009 was the most worthy successor to Dick Grayson of all the Robins, I'd actually even venture to say he was better than Dick, and who doesn't love the original Dick Grayson-Robin from the early '40s and the edgier, older portrayal of Robin in the '70s (which is where the Batman: Animated Series got its inspiration for their awesome version of Robin from).
The common complaint from fans, is that Robin can't be done in a dark and satisfying way on film without it being stupid and cheesy. Part of me does agree, the concept of a ten-year-old child going out at night and fighting crime is a horrendous possibility that will have mothers all around the world in outcry. That is why Robin shouldn't be introduced as a ten-year-old child, but rather as a fourteen-year-old Dick Grayson.
Think about it, the reason as to why Robin has never been done justice in film before is because no one has ever really tried to take the time and figure out how to properly do it because no one has ever seen a good live-action interpretation of the character. Here's my thought, introduce the character of Dick Grayson, aged 14, in one film, have his parents be murdered and him be taken in by Bruce, and then in the sequel, have an eighteen-year-old Dick assume the mantle of Robin. It could work.
In the first film, after Dick's parents are murdered and he is taken in by Bruce, he's just at that ripe age where it would be believable, that if he was athletic enough, he could hold his own in a fight against an adult male; plus, he's still a teenager so he needs a legal guardian, thus he must accept Bruce's offer to live at Wayne Manor. Then, in the 2nd Act of the film have Dick discover Bruce's secret identity of Batman as Dick is trying to exact revenge on his parent's killer, and Bruce manages to calm Dick down and takes him under his wing, beginning to train him up as his sidekick, under the provision that once he comes of age, 18, he can start fighting alongside Bruce as Robin, which happens in the sequel.
As for his personality, maybe tone him down a bit. He can still be spry, optimistic, and energetic, but make him less of comedic relief and more of a guy bent on revenge, but understands the line and will not cross it. As for costume, mute the red and green colors, plate it similar to Batman's costume from The Dark Knight, and voilà, you just got the perfect screen Robin.
Ta'da! That's it! See how simple it is, and see how marvelous it could work out and weave into the dark tapestry of a grittier version of Batman? I should get paid for this idea. Maybe I will someday.