Zack Snyder’s DC Cinematic Universe is even more brutal and darker than we suspected. With Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, we have heroes that are disengaged from humanity, brutal, harsh, and very postmodern. Superman is bored and tired with saving humanity, Batman flat out murders people, and now thanks to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tech Manual, we learn that Robin was also an ax murderer.
In the comics and in the extremely popular Arkham video games, Robin fights criminals with his wit, his training, and his quarterstaff. The thing I always loved about the Caped Crusader and his allies, is they pushed the limits, they went right up to the line, but they never killed. I loved the sequence in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight when the following conversation takes place:
Salvatore Maroni: [Batman holds him out over a ledge] From one professional to another, if you’re trying to scare somebody, pick a better spot. From this height, the fall wouldn’t kill me.
Batman: I’m counting on it.
[he drops Maroni off the ledge, breaking his legs]
Batman will gladly break every bone in your body, he will put you in the hospital, we will do what he needs to do, but he never kills. But that’s not how it works in Snyder’s universe. This Batman has no problem using guns, (the same weapon that was used to kill his parents as he watched) driving the armored Batmobile through other cars, and even blowing up a flamethrower and watching the user burn to death.
Many people assumed that Batman became this way after the Joker murdered Robin, as hinted with the shot of the Boy Wonder’s suit on display in the Batcave. In the movie, it appears that Robin used a quarterstaff as is tradition, but thanks to the official tech manual, we find out he actually used a halberd. That’s right, Robin was fighting with an axe. A brutal weapon that has multiple blades at the end of a long pole, and a sharp spike for impaling people on BOTH ends. There’s no way you can look at that and say that it’s not lethal. This is a killing weapon, and instead of subduing criminals in Gotham, Robin was chopping off entire limbs. What appeared to be a quarter staff on film, was really just a broken Halberd.
“That was Zack saying, ‘Look, maybe we should just make it look like it’s been broken and smashed.’ So we deconstructed it in order to film it.” – Doug Harlocker, Props Manager.
Snyder’s dark, violent, and subversive view of superheroes worked great in Watchmen, but the World’s Finest deserve a director that understands them.