So, I know it came out a few years ago, but I recently re-watched Under the Red Hood, and I just had to point out the one thing that really bugged me. And surprisingly, it’s not Nightwing being put on a bus halfway through the movie, despite having the perfect voice actor playing him (NPH as Nightwing? Voice acting match made in heaven). No, it was teenage Jason’s Robin costume.
This right here. He’s wearing Tim’s costume. Almost exactly.
Now you might ask, why is it a big deal? After all, dressing other Robins in Tim Drake’s costume has pretty much become animated Robin cannon. Dick Grayson wears it in both Batman The Animated Series, and Teen Titans.
The green, black, and red costume was pretty much the old Robin costume, but with pants added and black on the outside of the cape. The change from the short pants is explained in the comics as Batman wanting Robin to have more protection in the wake of Jason’s death (can’t you see the kevlar? Batman says it’s there, so it must be, even though it’s drawn like spandex). But it’s not really a plot point or truly essential to the character. It’s just the old fare + pants really, and that’s why it’s used in modern animation. The scaily green panties are just far too dated and weird for any modern audience to take seriously.
Tim’s black and red costume on the other hand…. that costume is significant. For those of you not in the know, this is why he switches to it from the green version:
Tim gets rid of the green and changes his Robin costume to honor Superboy. That’s the reason for that costume change. It’s very significant and important to his character. So to give that costume (which has so much meaning for Tim specifically) to Jason, is just so bizarre and irritating. I know Tim wore it in Batman TAS without the Superboy context, but it was still Tim’s costume.
And they even have Jason wearing the old short-pants version of the costume earlier in the film, so it’s not like they have Jason wearing the black and red the entire film.
Which means that Jason, as a character, decided to switch to the black and red costume sometime in his tenure as Robin, and that makes it even more strange because Jason never knew Superboy, so the significance of that costume is completely removed. These sorts of things are deliberate decisions made by the animators/designers. Especially because the short-pants costume is the one he wears in the actual comic book arc. So they chose to give him Tim’s red and black costume as a teenager. And it baffles me - I presume it’s mostly fans who already know the comic who are going to be watching these direct to DVD movies anyway (Under the Red Hood is certainly not a story suitable for little kids), so they’d know it’s Tim’s costume. They could have just as easily given Jason the green pants costume to show him as a teenager versus a little kid. Like I said, there’s already a cannon acceptance of Tim’s first costume as just being the standard Robin costume, regardless of who is wearing it. But the black and red costume was all about Superboy - Tim honoring a dead comrade and friend. There is no reason Jason should be wearing it. And it pisses me off, and draws me out of the drama of the film to see him in it. I just don’t know why they made the choice to do it. There’s no logical reason that I can understand why you’d put Jason in the black and red instead of the green.
Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling irritated about this? It’s a wonderful movie, but I love Tim and Superboy’s friendship so much, that seeing that costume on Jason just pulls me out of what’s going on in the story.
[Edit] I’d like to note here (rather than via continuing to comment via re-blogs) that there are ways to do a red and black costume that don’t look like Tim’s Superboy homage. They do that very successfully in the new Young Justice cartoon. Here, Dick Grayson is wearing a black and red Robin costume that looks nothing like Tim’s. It uses the same color palette, but is very distinct in its design.
(Design by Phil Bourassa)
The designers in Under the Red Hood didn’t make a unique Robin costume like Phil did for Young Justice. If they really wanted a red and black costume they could have designed a completely new Robin costume, and I wouldn’t have complained at all. But they didn’t, they used Tim’s. And that’s why it bugs me, because Tim created that costume for a very specific purpose. Giving it to Jason completely ignores the significant relationship between Tim and Connor that caused Tim to alter his costume.