10 Ways Titans' Robin Is Better Than Batman Forever's (And 10 Ways He's Worse)

Dick Grayson fans must be ecstatic right now. Every week, the DC Universe streaming app releases a new episode of Titans, which stars Brenton Thwaites as Robin. The show currently holds a critical approval rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and people are tuning in to see this live-action reimagining of one of DC Comics' most popular teams. In the case of Robin, there's still a lot to unpack as the series promises that we'll see him develop into Nightwing over time and discover why he fell out with his former mentor. "The whole point of [the show] is to tell the story of Robin breaking away from Batman and a life of fighting crime that he didn't exactly agree with," Thwaites explained to in a recent interview, "and beginning the search for his own identity and his own moral center."

Considering the last official live-action adaptation of the Boy Wonder was Chris O'Donnell in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, comparisons will naturally be made. Thwaites' version of the character is certainly more established and in line with the comics than O'Donnell's, but that doesn't mean that everything is spot-on. Some things work really well, while other things could be improved upon. That isn't to say that these concerns won't be addressed or remedied as Titans progresses, because these are still early days in the show's development. Nonetheless, let's take a look at what Titans' Robin does better than Batman Forever's Flying Grayson and what it does worse at this moment in time.

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Robin on the Titans premiere
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Robin on the Titans premiere

Even if you aren't a fan of Titans, you cannot deny the action scenes are awesome. Brutal, yes, but there's so much to savor as you see the heroes throw down and teach the criminals a lesson in thuganomics. Robin, in particular, has shown that he isn't taking any prisoners and he'll make sure you'll remember his name.

Unfortunately, Batman Forever was a product of its time. In those days, it was more about the glitz and glamor of superhero films than the substance. You never saw Batman and Robin show off what they could really do. Instead, it looked like any old pub brawl after a few pints.


Out of all the Robins, you'd say that Dick Grayson has the best relationship with Bruce Wayne. Granted, they haven't always seen eye to eye and had their differences, but Dick has always been the best "son" and most reliable of the lot. Batman Forever played on the differences between the two, but they were there for each other when it counted the most.

Titans has seen Robin denounce everything that Batman stands for. There's some real tension between the two – the reasons are a little unclear now – but it feels wrong. Of course, they won't agree on everything but you'd expect them to make up before things got this bad.



A big characteristic that the live-action versions of Robin have ignored is his leadership ability. Let's face it, he's more than Batman's sidekick. He's successfully led his own teams in Teen Titans and Titans (and later, Justice League), and it's something that he deserves a lot more credit for.

While Titans hasn't exactly shown us the full team in action, we have seen how he's able to step up and lead others. The fact that Dove told Hawk they needed Robin on their side shows that she recognizes his talent and leadership in the battlefield. He'll undoubtedly bring together this motley crew and turn them into crime-fighting heroes in no time.


Chris O'Donnell as Robin in Batman Forever

It's weird to even type this, but Titans' Robin isn't a very likable guy. This is unlike the character in the comics. When Amy Rohrbach met him on the show, he wasn't pleasant to her and no one has really connected with him. Maybe his personality might develop and he'll become a little friendlier over time, but for the time being he's as prickly as Wolverine right now.

In Batman Forever, Robin felt like the life of the party. You just knew that you'd have a good time if you hung out with him. He didn't feel unapproachable or cold, choosing to embrace everyone he met. He'd certainly be on most people's Christmas card lists.



Who could ever forget the nipples and fake muscles on the Dynamic Duo's costumes from Batman & Robin? If you look closely (or, from very far away), Robin already had all of that in Batman Forever. Still to this day, it remains one of the funniest things about that wild and wonderful era.

Fortunately, Titans took more inspiration from the costumes of the DC Extended Universe. Dick Grayson's outfit is practical, but it also has some protective features. The chest plate, for example, appears as if it could withstand a knife attack or major blow, while the rest of his gear keeps his insides from getting splattered across the streets.


Robin in the Titans premiere

While Titans' Robin is undoubtedly a ferocious fighter, he does tend to take things a little too far. In a recent episode, he beat a regular citizen for not wanting to assist him with information. We get it; everyone gets frustrated, but you don't go around beating people in the streets because they didn't want to tell you the time.

Batman Forever's Boy Wonder was angry that his family met their maker. At one point, he thought he'd cross the line with Two-Face, but he didn't. He kept it together and never gave anyone the indication that he was Frank Castle parading around as Batman's sidekick.


Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson in Titans

Dick Grayson could easily mooch off Bruce Wayne for life. For heaven's sake, the dude is a billionaire who has made his fortune available to his ward. Additionally, if he ever got lippy about it, you'd just need to blackmail him and say you'd reveal he's Batman to the world and put a young child's life in danger.

Yet, Titans' Robin isn't like that. He almost feels ashamed for what he's gotten from Bruce. He works as a detective in Detroit – for what's most likely terrible pay – and pays his own bills. Although, Dick is hardly ever at his job, so you must question his work ethic here.


Rachel Roth and Dick Grayson in Titans

It's pretty evident that Titans' Dick Grayson prefers to sit by himself and mope over who-knows-what. For some reason, he stopped speaking to Hawk and Dove, ghosting them years ago. Then, to top it all off, he wanted to dump Rachel Roth with the other two and free himself from any responsibility.

With friends like Robin, who needs enemies? He's also shown a predisposition to lying and you can never really tell if he's telling you the truth. Honestly, he's that friend you fear coming over and hide away the silverware just in case. In Batman Forever, the Boy Wonder never let down his best buddy, Batman, and even saved his life.


Brenton Thwaites as Robin in Titans

Dick Grayson seems to display some Tim Drake characteristics in Titans as he utilizes a lot of high-tech gear and investigative skills. At the same time, this isn't unusual for the character as we've seen him rely on technology in the comic books. Although, Benjamin Percy and Christopher Mooneyham's Nightwing run implied that he's a bit of a technophobe.

Batman Forever showed us a Robin who knew enough about motorcycles, but he was more of a meathead than a thinker. In fact, some of the things that he did really made you question if he was suited to be the Dark Knight's partner in crime.


You know how superheroes love to keep their real identities secret? Well, Dick Grayson isn't very good at that in Titans. Right off the bat, Rachel Roth knows his crime-fighting alter ego. So do Hawk and Dove. Then, the cherry on the cake: He allows Beast Boy to get into his car without knowing him from a bar of soap. Undoubtedly, he'll know he's Robin in due course as well.

Now, it's good that Dick is so trusting of people, but he's got to calm down. In Batman Forever, you didn't see Robin run around and tell everyone that he's a part of the Flying Graysons and spill the beans with regard to Bruce Wayne's address.


One of the more annoying things about Batman Forever was how Dick Grayson treated Alfred Pennyworth. He did that thing where you befriend the help, but deep inside, you secretly pray they know their place. Seriously, Alfred is a senior citizen; you shouldn't call him Al or whatever. Treat him with some respect!

In Titans, Dick has had a conversation or two with Alfred on the phone. You can see it's a civil relationship and Robin sees him as an equal rather than the butler. As the show develops, it would be terrific if we saw him and Dick meet up again à la Nightwing: Alfred's Return by Alan Grant and Dick Giordano.


Dick Grayson as Robin

Again, it's early on in Titans, but we haven't seen Robin display any of the circus training he's fabled for. In the comic books, he'd be swinging from the ledges and spinning through the air as he takes down the bad guys. While on the show, his fighting style is more reminiscent of Ben Affleck's Batman – which makes sense, but you'd think he'd combine it with his own skills.

Batman Forever didn't have this issue. We actually saw O'Donnell's Robin utilize some of his circus abilities and he never missed a beat to remind us where he was from. It would be welcome to see Thwaites' Boy Wonder do something similar.


Brenton Thwaites in Titans

While Dick Grayson is friendly and chatty in the comic books, we've seen versions of him in Teen Titans and Young Justice where he says just enough. He acts much like Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where he's still got a personality but he isn't afraid of embracing the silence either.

Titans' Robin acts much the same way. He isn't mute, but he chooses when to speak. Rather than ramble on, he'll pick his words carefully. O'Donnell's Robin in Batman Forever would speak for the sake of making noise. At times, he was annoying purely because he was opening his mouth to be noticed.


If Jason Todd didn't exist in Titans, we would understand why the show's creators decided to do what they did to Dick Grayson's personality. Yet, the second Robin is a part of the show and we'll meet him soon enough. So, why is Dick taking so many personality traits from Jason? It's rather baffling.

Of course, we've seen instances where Dick has lost his cool in the comics and done some questionable things. In fact, there was a time when he thought he'd actually ended the Joker's life. Still, it feels foreign to see Dick as brutal as Jason here – especially since he was relatively tame in Batman Forever.


Brenton Thwaites as Robin in Titans

Along with his derriere, Dick Grayson is known for his fantastic hair. Sure, that weird mullet thing he had going a few decades back was peculiar, but hey, even the Man of Steel rocked the hairstyle of the trailer gods. While Batman Forever's Robin decided to sport a hassle-free buzzcut, many fans missed Dick's flowing and luscious locks.

Fortunately, Titans took note and Thwaites has a mane of hair that makes Jason Statham jealous. Every strand is perfect when he's in his civilian attire, and he looks like his comic book counterpart when he's in costume. Hopefully, the mullet doesn't return when he evolves into Nightwing – or maybe he'll just tie it into a man bun.


In the early '90s, comic book artists, such as Rob Liefeld, drew many characters out of proportion – especially female heroes. They were voluptuous but to the point of insanity and disbelief. As a reaction, many artists began to do the same to Dick Grayson in his Nightwing outfit, focusing on his derriere.

Like Kim Kardashian, Dick has become known for his rear. In Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, we received several booty shots of the character in his skintight pants. Unfortunately, Titans hasn't provided his fans with any curves yet. Things might change in the future, but this new Robin isn't very bootylicious at the moment.


Dick Grayson and Raven in Titans

It was a little weird how Bruce Wayne invited the orphaned Dick Grayson to live with him in Batman Forever. In 1995, Chris O'Donnell was already 25 years old and certainly looked it. By that age you'd expect him to be capable of looking out for himself, and not need to be anyone's ward.

That's why it's refreshing to see Brenton Thwaites' Dick as someone who's able to stand on his own two feet and act his age. Sure, he has a trust fund, courtesy of Bruce's many billions, but he still tries to carve out his own life like he did in the Nightwing comic book series.


Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson in Titans

Yeah, Titans is largely a gloomy show. In fact, you could play a drinking game for every time you see a smile and you'd be sober. It's a little surprising, though, since Dick Grayson is DC's answer to Spider-Man. He's meant to be quirky, funny, and talkative – much like he was in Batman Forever. He's the light to the Caped Crusader's darkness.

In Titans, Robin has no sense of humor – bar that terrible dad joke about pineapple on pizza. He isn't funny or fun to be around, as it looks like his lower lip drags on the floor. Dude, you're a detective and driving a Porsche; stop moping!


Dick Grayson in Titans

Even though Dick Grayson has led the Titans and partnered with many, he does his best work alone. This isn't to say that he's not capable of working with a team, but that he's more comfortable doing all the heavy lifting on his own. It's like working on a group project; you know you'd do better on your own rather deal with the other anchors in your squad.

While it's still early days in Titans, Dick has displayed his ability to find clues and solve mysteries on his own. Yes, he knows when it's time to call for backup, but he's equally adept at being a lone wolf.


Chris O'Donnell as Robin in Batman Forever

If there's one thing we know about Dick Grayson, it's that he breaks hearts as easily as he does skulls. His charm is constantly cited as one of his most attractive qualities and he's a major hit with the ladies. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a comic book character who's dated as many superheroines as Dick.

In Titans, though, Dick seems to have no game. He comes across as brash and obnoxious, with an aloofness that isn't exactly appealing to the ladies. On the other hand, Batman Forever's Robin knew all about how "chicks dig the car" and wanted to cruise in the Batmobile all the time.

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