Written By Cadeem Lalor
When it was announced that Ben Affleck would write and direct a solo Batman film I was hopeful that we would finally see The Red Hood brought to the big screen. The Red Hood is a vigilante who uses deadly force to control crime in Gotham, which puts him at odds with Batman. The most interesting part of this story-line is The Red Hood’s identity, Jason Todd, the second robin. After being murdered by the Joker, Todd was resurrected and returns to Gotham. Although he ultimately wants to protect the city, he is heavily motivated by revenge against the Joker. Todd also harbours a level of hatred for Batman, since he knows Batman still couldn’t kill the Joker.
The story features the almost timeless discussion of to kill or not to kill, which is also echoed with Marvel characters like The Punisher and Daredevil. It is this discussion that reveals that Batman has thought of killing The Joker. The only thing stopping him is the fear that he will never come back from it. He worries that he will kill every criminal if he allows himself to kill the one that deserves it the most. The Injustice story arc reveals how Superman’s murder of the Joker led to a downward spiral into outright tyranny and reading that series actually improves my experience of The Red Hood.
Aside from the moral dilemmas offered by The Red Hood, there is also the exploration of the relationship between Batman and Jason Todd. There is the obvious father-son dynamic in their early interactions. There is the saying that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. For someone to truly hate someone else there must be a feeling of betrayal or anger, which can be anchored in feelings of love. Some studies even show that love and hate involve the same neural circuits in the brain. The link between the two is epitomized when Todd confronts Batman on his inability to kill The Joker, arguing that it should be done since The Joker took them away from each other.
It has since been confirmed that the solo film will feature multiple villains and take place in Arkham Asylum. The Red Hood’s live action debut may still be a long way off, but there is some hope of seeing the story in DC Extended Universe (DCEU). We know that Robin is dead (presumably Jason Todd) and that Harley Quinn was an accomplice in the murder. The Red Hood story can offer a triumphant return of Robin to the big screen. One that is action packed, but also poignant.