Batman has fought crime in Gotham City for years, with his former Robin, the now Bludhaven based hero known as Nightwing dropping in every once in a while, Gotham crime knows to fear the Dark Knight. So when a new vigilante moves into town, one that will cross the line Batman won't by killing villains and drug dealers, Batman plans on stopping him. Batman tries to stop The Red Hood but he always seems to be a step ahead. Batman eventually comes to believe that Red Hood may be the murdered former Robin, Jason Todd. Meanwhile, The Red Hood is quickly making enemies, the biggest being Black Mask. So when Black Mask enlists the help of The Joker, we have a three way battle between Batman, The Joker and The Red Hood himself. Will Batman take out his former partner? Will The Joker kill again? Will Red Hood kill The Joker once and for all?
The Story: As a fan of the original story, this story captures it well and adds it's on spin. While A Death in The Family is classic, the story is sub par, and gladly the film knew this and omitted most of it, only the Joker beating Jason Todd with the crowbar and blowing him up was taken from that comic. Everything else was given it's own spin for the movie, instead of randomly throwing Superboy Prime in and having him punch a wall to bring Jason back, Ra's Al Ghul and his Lazarus pits were brought in instead, which made a hell of a lot more sense. The ending was changed as well, as in the comics you may recall the final showdown between Red Hood, Batman and The Joker never ended because of the explosion in Bludhaven, and luckily this couldn't happen in the animated film and it's better for it.
First Appearances: This movie was monumental in many ways, portraying the debut of Jason Todd, The Red Hood, and Black Mask in animated form for the first time ever. Also, making their DCU Animated film debuts were Nightwing, Ra's Al Ghul and the always illusive and A-List character of Al Ghul's bodyguard Ubu! Oh yeah!
The Voice Acting: This film had an AMAZING cast, a truly great cast. Bruce Greenwood (Christopher Pike in Star Trek of 2009) portrayed Batman and did an fantastic job as The Caped Crusader. He did so well that he's going to voice Batman in the upcoming "Young Justice" cartoon that debuts later this year. Simply said, if Kevin Conroy were to step down as Batman, I would accept Bruce Greenwood as the definite Batman voice with no problem, that's how good he is. The Red Hood's voice actor, Jensen Ackles (of Supernatual and Smallville Season 4) gave Hood's character the voice I've always envisioned him having and did a great way of portraying his snarky humor and comedic timing, while still coming off as serious in the heavier scenes of the film. Throw in the amazing voice talents of John DiMaggio (Bender of Futurama) as The Joker, Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as Nightwing and the scene stealing Wade Williams (Prison Break) as Black Mask. If you aren't a fan of Black Mask, you will LOVE him by the end of this film.
The Artwork and Choreography: The artwork in this movie is great, it's crisp and comparable to the artwork in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, yet it has it's own style. The fights are choreographed perfectly, there's even one scene where The Red Hood and Batman fight side by side, and it looks amazing, there are no words to describe it, but what I love best is you can see the obvious teammate influence when Batman and Nightwing fight side by side. Also, throw in the fact that no two fights look similar, so there's always something enjoyable.
Nightwing: This is honestly the only thing I disliked in the film. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate him, and Neil Patrick Harris voices him perfectly, he just had no purpose. He pops up, helps Batman when bats really didn't need his help, then shows up again and has no bearing on the end of the movie. Really, it's not a big complaint but him randomly popping up telling bad jokes was kind of annoying, because while Dick does joke around and lighten the mood, he also knows how to be serious. Also he had a weird buzz-cut, where's my traditional Nightwing with long hair or a ponytail?!
Final Rating: Honestly, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I watched this film three times, and there was nothing I could find wrong with it. It's enjoyable by comic fans and non-comic fans. I even had a friend watch it, one that believes all Superheroes should have powers like Superman or The Flash, and by the end he'd changed his position on that and decided he really liked Batman and Red Hood. The actors are great at their roles, and portraying the necessary emotion, whether it's the Joker's psychotics, Red Hood's attitude and jokes or the deep scene with Jason and Batman, it comes off the way it should when you read the comics. This is, without a doubt my favorite DCU Animated Film and one of my favorite films in general. I'd love to see a continuation to this, and more voice work by this amazing cast, especially Greenwood, Ackles and DiMaggio. I'd recommend this to anyone, comic fan or not, because it's a great story, with an amazing cast and it's action packed, as well as an emotional story. Definitely a 10/10 rating for this great movie.
Well, that's it for this review guys. I didn't get SUPER in-depth because while the story is reused it's still interesting because things have been added to enhance the story so it's not rehashed. I hope you guys found it informative and enjoyed it. Also, below I've included a link for the next DC Animated Film, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. It's based on the second arc of Superman/Batman and will feature the two title characters along with Supergirl, Darkseid, Doomsday, Granny Goodness and even more characters. And under that is last week's poll results. So, I'm outta here, I'll be back this week with another edition of Ratings and Rantings, as well as the topics for next weekends "Top Five 5", so until then, I'm your friendly Neighborhood Blogger-Man, Jason Todd!
Last week's poll question asked "Whose Comics would you like to see crossover and lead to a team-up?"
Last Place with 11.1% - Tie between Superman/Lex Luthor and The JLA & Deathstroke's Titans.
2nd Place with 33.3% - The Femme Fatales of the Batfamily and House of El, Supergirl and Batgirl
Winner with 44.4% - The Gotham City Sirens and The Birds of Prey. Dini, Simone, make it happen!