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– by David Kozlowski

The recent news of a DCEU Nightwing movie caught most comic book fans off guard. Let’s be honest, the announcement caught just about everyone off guard, particularly the majority of mainstream moviegoers who probably know little to nothing about the character. Given the DCEU’s struggles over the past few years, one has to wonder if it’s wise to introduce a Batman spinoff film while the the general public is still trying to wrap their heads around Cyborg, Shazam, and Aquaman movies. However, if you take a step back, this might be the smartest, and slyest move in the entire DCEU slate. In Nightwing, not only do you have a younger and lighter version of Batman, there’s also the aspect of being Batman’s adopted son. Anyone who grew up with a driven, strong-willed parent knows it’s no picnic growing up in their shadow. Additionally, modern superhero films really haven’t dealt with this kind of setup before (to a lesser extent, the first Thor movie kind of addressed such a father-son relationship). The former Robin looking to become his own man, in his own city, and yet following in his mentor’s footsteps… that’s a lot of baggage and conflict, which are also key ingredients for a solid film.

Nightwing director Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie, Robot Chicken) might seem an odd choice for a live-action superhero film, given his recent animated work, but I contend that he’s the perfect choice. In Nightwing you have all of the physicality of Batman, but minus the brooding angst. Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne at a young age — both suffered the tragic losses of their parents — forming an obvious bond between the two. By contrast to Wayne, Grayson lives in the moment, he’s emotionally the complete opposite of Batman, and humor is one of his key tools — McKay’s offbeat projects have positioned him to capitalize on this, as indicated in several recent Tweets, which the folks over at Batman-News caught:

McKay has a clear affection for Nightwing, and also appears to know his comics lore, too. He expresses several more thoughts in a series of additional remarks:

So, even if you weren’t particularly sold on a Nightwing movie, based solely upon the merits of the character alone, perhaps McKay’s passion and excitement for Grayson will convince you. This film provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a different side of Batman too; presumably via flashbacks we might get to see Batman as a parent and mentor in a way that hasn’t been shown on the big screen before. This movie gets cooler the more I think about it! For those of us who’ve followed Nightwing in DC Comics over the years, we’re already sold on the premise. For hardcore fans, the expectation is getting the casting just right. The role requires a particular physique and energy — this is a deeply acrobatic hero analogous to Marvel’s Daredevil. Additionally, I’m hoping that this film will employ practical effects and be more gritty and grounded; Nightwing certainly has his own gadgets, but he’s best known for his use of Escrima Sticks (a Filipino martial art). Again, McKay seems to realize the importance of the body type and skillset:

The concept of a “son of Batman” movie might be unexpected by the public-at-large, but it might just be the perfect counterpoint to whatever film Matt Reeves and Ben Affleck are making. I’m also curious to learn how much Batman factors into the film, as surely his presence is required — the question is one of balance, too much Bat and its no longer a Nightwing film; too little Bat and we lost the core father-son dynamic that really needs to be explored. I can’t wait to see where this goes. Where do you fall on the Nightwing spectrum: Hardcore fan, or casual moviegoer? Let us know in the comments down below!

Source: Batman News

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.