Review: Son Of Batman Animated Movie
Good morning! This here’s a little something for my comic-reading, cartoon loving family! The geeks!
What happens when the much-vaunted bachelor Bruce Wayne or rather his world famous alter-ego Batman suddenly finds out he has a son – and not just another boy but a barely-teenage psychopathic sociopathic homicidal maniac?
Son of Batman sheds some light on the matter.
Son of Batman is an animated cartoon produced by Warner Premiere/Warner Bros Animation/DC Entertainment on April 22 2014 and distributed by Warner Home Video. It was adopted from the Grant Morrison/Andy Kubert 2006 story Batman and Son.
The plot is simple. Someone tries to take over the League of Assassins created by dreaded Ra’s Al Ghul – in fact, as appearances go, the old man who has lived for over five hundred years is done in. Killed. Exterminated by Deathstroke, who apparently for the sake of this continuity has been retconned as Ra’s protégé.
And according to his daughter Talia Ghul, he’s so cooked (literally) his greatest invention, The Lazarus Pit cannot bring him back. But then, to truly take over the League, Talia and her son Damian (Ra’s daughter and grandson respectively) have to be killed. Seeking revenge, Talia hides Damian with his father – the Dark Knight. Batman.
Then begins a clash of values and ethics as Batman strives to go between loner and father in less than a day. Damian is self-important, arrogant, rude, obnoxious – in fact the boy barely has a single redeeming quality. His solution to every problem is one-dimensional – kill. And even his grandfather Ra’s didn’t sound so bloodthirsty.
Alfred, as is with the case of a lot of Batman’s portrayals in other media provides the wit and emotional core of the movie. In a delightful scene, Damian is the very image of pompous spoilt idiot. After some back and forth about tea, Damian says, “Watch yourself Pennyworth. I’m not so young that I don’t understand sarcasm.”
And Alfred, with his characteristic calm replies, “Well I, am much too old to care.”
I for one think it’s about time Nightwing had his own animated movie to himself. I mean, he’s been holding Bats down for quite some time (check him out in Batman: Under The Red Hood). Though Damian’s analysis of his fighting was on-point, I think he has age and experience on his side.
A winning combination.
While the movie as a whole is an entertaining, too many absurdities reveal themselves quite early. Having Damian blind Deathstroke, one of the world’s (at least DCU’s) strongest armed/unarmed combatants is just dumb. In fact, Deathstroke’s whole characterization is just wrong. He flees from a ten-year old, and then asks said ten-year old to fight him. The Deathstroke in this movie is skill-less, tactless and basically a bull in a china shop – breaking everything in his way.
Let’s not even talk about Ubu’s betrayal, Ubu who has been Ra’s right-hand for a while. Ubu would NEVER betray Ra’s – and yet he does for no other reason than to have a threesome in a presidential suite. Ha.
The League of Assassins is easily the most feared criminal organization in the world – and, according to the movie, stuck in time. Their stronghold is breached and the most they have to offer in terms of defense are arrows and stone-launchers?! Talia is presented as an easy-to-be-rid of damsel in distress here; not the equally-capable villainess groomed to lead the League in her father’s stead – the Talia we saw in Hush for example. And the moment Nightwing meets Damian for the first time, stopping his death slash in midair?
In his fight scenes, Damian does not look disadvantaged at all. In fact, he could very well be Batman for all the difference his height and age made. He fought Ubu who is quite the hulking giant – fought him to the point where Ubu is afraid and runs for his life.
And at what point did Damian adopt Batman’s ‘no kill’ philosophy? Note: at the Gotham Coliseum as they ran from the Man-Bats, Batman brings the roof down on them. There would have at least been one fatality in there – ONE. How does Bats – or in this case DC – get away with that?
Again, why exactly did Damien spare Deathstroke? And at what point did Damian bond with his father so much he would spurn the mother he swam fifty miles to save to stay with his absentee father? And then, in spite of being stabbed through both arms and having one broken (something that conveniently disappeared in all the following chaos), how did Damian still manage to thoroughly kick Deathstroke’s ass? And check this: Damian hacks the Batcomputer and breaks into Bruce Wayne’s office, and when asked he says “I hacked into NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) when I was six” and “this office has the security of a chicken coop” respectively.
And then Batman throws a shuriken at his son – and is surprised when the boy actually catches it. What if he didn’t catch it? What did Bats think would happen?
In my opinion, Kevin Conroy is still the best Batman voiceover artist ever, but Jason O’Mara who voices the Dark Knight here and as well as in Justice League: War (get Comicpanel Magazine to read my review on that) is running a close second.
Though his Batman hardly ever gets emotional, his composed Batman is the ish. Damian voiced by Stuart Allan sounds just right too, but Talia (Morena Baccarin) sounds like a bored housewife. Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson) is also so wrong for no reason I can quite put a finger on. He had the lines – but he sounded like he was reading for a recital. In fact, the entire voice-casting sounded like the artists came into the studio individually to record their lines – there was hardly any emotion between character dialogue. The fight scenes were cool – except for where Ra’s is deflecting bullets from guns that surround him.
All in all, Son of Batman is not so bad – but if you’re looking for pulse-racing adrenaline pumping action featuring Batman, you stand a better chance watching Batman: Under The Red Hood again.