Sunday, August 1, 2010

Batman: Under The Red Hood Review

Hey everyone, Jason Todd here once again for another animated movie review, this time I'll be taking a look at Batman: Under The Red Hood, the animated movie adaptations of "Under The Hood" and "A Death in The Family." I plan on giving you guys an in-depth, impartial review based on what I thought of this movie, regardless of my fondness of the Red Hood/Jason Todd characters. Also, below the review are the poll results from last week, and of course, don't forget to vote on this weeks new poll as well. So, without further hesitation, I present to you, my review of Batman: Under The Red Hood.

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!


  1. I'm glad you liked it JT! It sounds like you looked at it objectively as well. Bringing in your friends for a viewing to keep you accountable also shows some serious integrity :)

    I've yet to see the movie, but I'm wondering if Nightwing is just there to provide that "Robin who worked out" juxtaposition. Maybe the whole story would seem too dark without him.

    I read that this movie was really violent. I also noticed that with the Wonder Woman animated movie(you know that whole decapitation thing). What are your thoughts on the subject in regards to these animated features?

  2. Well thanks Kello :) I watched it with Falisha but I figured watching it with a non-comic buddy (closest thing he gets to a comic is Smallville) and seeing if he enjoys it would show anyone can enjoy it, even a non-Jason Todd fan like yourself :P

    That's exactly why he's there, they even mention "That's the Bat's ex-Robin, Nightwing." but yeah, I wouldn't have minded that but his cheesy one-liners and such seemed annoying. Honestly, I was nit-picking because I couldn't have just ALL likes ;) lol

    Well this movie was violent in a weird way, like they show other things and just Joker swinging the crowbar, but you don't actually SEE Jason get beat, and when Red Hood says he has the heads of drug dealers in a duffle bag, people react but they don't show them, unlike the decapitation in the Wonder Woman movie like you mentioned.

    I think that the violence is kind of more implied than showed for the most part, but I don't mind it. The movies are meant for all ages, and I understand that but I feel like certain things can be done tastefully without robbing a child of their innocence or anything and still stay interesting for adults who know what to expect.

  3. Great review JT! As you know, I was waiting on your post/opinion of this movie, so next week I'll definitely rent this off of the PSN. I'm definitely happy to hear this movie was pretty true to the original(and AWESOME btw)Red Hood story, and I'm also glad to see that they actually addressed the whole Jason's return/SB Prime thing. When I've actually seen the movie I'll say more, but there's a lot I want to say about the resurrection thing, but I don't want to read any spoilers as to how they did it in the movie, so I'll just move on.

    This film was PG-13, right JT? As such, I figure they can get away with a few scenes of violence, so long as there aren't like super graphic deaths and buckets of blood. Jason's death would probably be one of the more brutal deaths from a mainstream Big Two title(especially for the 80's!), and to be honest, I'm kind of relieved to see that the beating itself isn't really shown... I hate that scene...

    Well, I am fully psyched to see this movie now. I'll be back here next week to chat some more.

  4. Thanks X, I'm glad I could convince you to check it out, can't wait to see what you think about it. And yeah it was PG-13, and they like, showed backgrounds, the crowbar swinging and Joker making jokes and laughing and you hear sounds from it but they never show him outright bashing Jason.

    I'll be waiting on your thoughts buddy!

  5. I can't comment of the film because I don't know when (if) it's out over here, and atm it's too expensive to import... :(

    Also, I thought Black Mask was in The Batman?

  6. First off Hi Jason Todd love the handle. He is one of my favorite people in the bat-fam as well. In both just as JT and the Red Hood. Second loved this animated movie Watched it twice now think it is my fav animated batman movie yet. I imagine u read the graphic novels of the same name? There was a few things i missed from it i wish were in the movie mostly Quotes tho lol And i wish Mark Hamil woulda still been the Joker vioce

  7. Nagash - You're probably right, I hated that show so I didn't watch it besides the two episodes I saw when i determined I hated it.

    Kr1min4l - Thanks for commenting and following me buddy. Glad you're a Jason Todd fan, and I'm really glad you enjoyed the movie, so now people know I wasn't just showing favoritism Lol. And yeah I have Under the Hood and The Batman issues with the final confrontation on my shelf right now. I also missed Hamill but I think DiMaggio is the best Joker voice sense Hammill, sucks that he's gonna retire as The Joker.

  8. Great review JT (and sorry for being a little late to the party)! This sounds like the best DC animated film've actually got me excited for it! I'm glad they took the parts of the original story that were incomplete (the final battle) or not so good (Superboy punching the walls of time) and either removed them or made them work within this self-contained movie.

    And great idea to bring in an "objective" view...not that yours isn't, but at the same time it's cool to hear that someone who's not a fan of the comics still enjoyed it. That's always the biggest potential misstep for these movies, I think...making them too in-jokey or too reliant on the viewer's prior knowledge of the comics.

    Anyway, I'll definitely give this a rent. I also still need to watch the Crisis on Two Earths movie...double feature, maybe?

  9. kool what els batman wise u readin? u get the red hood the lost days? i got the first 2 not too bad i like. i didnt get bk in2 comics until last year with the Kevin Smith 3 part he did. i got a kinda blog just starting again tho but if u wanna follow me that would be cool. Oct will be a good month for comics we get to see how Bruce will react to all that has happend since hes been gone all one shots cant wait. the return of Bruce Wayne has been good so far and Batman and Robin and Red Robin i wanna pick up the new batgirl tho is that any good does anyone Know? Can u look my blog up by my name or no?

  10. Marc - Thanks Marc, and glad you could show up fashionably late lol. I'd definitely say this is the best DCAU film so far, with Superman/Batman Public enemies in 2nd and Wonder Woman in third. And yeah they changed a few thing but it adapted well.

    Thanks again, I felt like showing someone else who specifically didn't like non-powered heroes and such would think and I was surprised he enjoyed it almost as much as I did, if not more. As for Crisis, lemme know what you think if you check that out too, I didn't enjoy it but you may, so I'll be interested in seeing what you think.

    Kr1min4l -I just finished Widening Gyre (by Kevin Smith) and I'm following Batman, Batgirl, Red Robin, and sometimes read Detective Comics and Batman and Robin. I haven't cared for Return of Bruce Wayne and stopped after the first 2 issues, I just didn't enjoy it much. But I am interested in seeing how Bruce reacts in October, like you said. Batgirl is definitely worth checking out, it's one of my favorite comics from DC and is almost always good. And yeah, I'm following ya now buddy.

  11. Sweet I gota get batgirl the widening Gyre was awesome i though but i am very pro Kevin Smith Movie wise i think he is great Didnt know he did comics till the batman Cacophony After i tracked down DareDevil Gardian Devil by Smith i Thought it was good i wanna track down green arrow the sounds of violence by smith and get the green hornet that he is working on

  12. I'm also a Kevin Smith fan, I've got Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dogma, Clerks II and Chasing Amy on my DVD shelf. I really enjoyed Cacophony as well, I may check out that Daredevil comic too.

  13. Haha, fair enough - it wasn't the best show, but I prefer it to Brave and the Bold.

    Marc - go watch Crisis on Two Earths, it's pretty damn good.

    Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl, Jay & Bob, Clerks II, Zack & Miri all on my DVD shelf.
    So yeah, all his current movies he's written. He didn't write Cop Out, and that looked terrible. Jersey Girl on the other hand got bad reviews and yet me and my housemates liked it...

  14. I got or have seen all but Zack and miri also by view askiw Vulgar was kinda strange did watch it tho my understanding is The Green Arrow the sound of violence is where the villin in Cacophony came from i think he also wrote a spider man comic i wanna find that as well

  15. I've seen Mallrats, Dogma and Zach and Miri, just don't own em. And I read his Spider-Man/Black Cat comic, it was pretty good, not as good as his Batman or Green Arrow work though.

  16. Nice His Horror Movie should be the next one to come out I think I just Started d/l an listening to his SModcast amusing cant wait 4 vol 2 of the widening Gyre

  17. Well, sir, you ALREADY KNOW how I feel about this movie. This movie was definitely worth watching a few times. I loved EVERYTHING about it. Lol Even if nightwing was there for a combine time of maybe 10 minutes. Lol. I enjoyed watching it with you. We'll definitely have to watch it again next time we hang and have NOTHING to watch. Lol.

    So fantastic review sir. I'm glad you weren't biased and just said EVERYTHING was great about it. Damn good reviewer sir. :)

  18. Mallrats is one of the most criminally underrated movies of the last twenty years. Anyone who truly loves comics owes it to themselves to watch that and Chasing Amy.

    Smith's comics have been hit or miss for me, although as I mentioned the other day, I really liked Cacophony and I'm looking forward to reading Widening Gyre.

  19. Kr1min4l - I also can't wait for Vol 2, I didn't know Kevin had a horror movie coming out.

    Falisha - Thanks for commenting :D I'm glad you enjoyed it as well, it really is the kind of movie everyone can sink their teeth into.

    Marc - Definitely agree with you Marc, and one of my favorite things is the way he subtly puts stuff in, like in Mallrats Silent Bob tries to use the Force Pull and something else knocks it down and brings it to him, then in Jay and Silent Bob he does it again but this time it actually works.

    I'm thinking you'll enjoy Widening Gyre Marc, I thought it was REALLY well written, and the ending came outta nowhere, I really hope you don't encounter any spoilers before you read it.

  20. It has been pushed back a few times because of funding as well as Kevin once had a dream that after a certin number of movies he has made that he would die so if that was the case he didnt want a dark one to be his last, also copout was how he raised the money for it so i think he wont have anyone to have to please i belive he has free reign

  21. I just looked on Amazon, which says the Widening Gyre hardcover won't be coming out until December. :(

  22. Ouch.... I'd just try to pick up the issues, should cost about the same anyway right?

  23. Maybe, but I'd rather have it in book form. I don't really have anywhere to put a bunch of comic book issues anymore. Oh well, plenty to do and to read before then! I've probably bitten off more than I can chew as it is. :)

  24. Good point dude, I definitely know what ya mean there. Speaking of that, what are you reviewing this week?

  25. Heck if I know. Any ideas? :)

  26. You'd give me THAT kinda power?! Bwahahaha! But no, really, I'd love to see another Spidey trade reviewed, or if you have anything with Booster Gold or something. I'm cracking under pressure!!! Lol

  27. Good point, I haven't written a Spider-Man review in a while. Next week, maybe...I just brought my laptop and a few books I've read recently to the library, and I'm going to try and hammer out two or three reviews. Whichever one actually gets finished goes up on Friday, lol.

  28. Glad I could partially help :P Sounds cool though, I'm actually working on Ratings and Rantings right now, so great minds think alike.

  29. Hooray! New Ratings and Rantings today, or tomorrow?

  30. I honestly don't know Marc, everything's done except Red Robin, Red Hood and Deadpool #1000 so it just depends on if I wanna read them yet or if I wanna go do something else, but if not tonight than it'll definitely be up tomorrow.

  31. hey, someone who doesnt hate jason todd!

    This movie was great. I loved the revisionism's. It should have been written more like this in the comics.

    The problem with this film was tht it was just 77 minutes. There was a lot they could've done with more time. I would have preffered cutting out the Amazo and The fearsom hand of four. Why couldn we hav deadshot or Bane? Arnt they the goto assasins in gotham?

    Also this version of Black Mask was extremely different from The War Games, War Crimes Black Mask. Not a sadist who'll rip a dead guys face off. Maybe I just havnt come accross his other incarnations. He was a mobster and not much else. Isnt Sionis supposed to be more sophisticated and calculated? Im not complaining, this version is more enjoyable.

    Also where was Tim Drake?? how awsome would a good Red Robin hav bin. And Babara, theres a definite refrence to her in the final scene.

    They definitely handled Nightwing poorly; first the look, and then the personality, and the fact tht he never interacted with Jason. Another aspect they should have explored-had they done nightwing properly-was how dick left bruce cause he was too dark and aggresive, the same reasons why batman let go jason as robin in 'a death in the family'. the best stuff of Battle for the cowl was the jason-dick, interface. there are sooo many levles to it; from sibling rivalry to complete injustice. similarly with red robin. Also one of the great things abt the three of them is tht thier different aspects of Batman; the psycho, the hero and the detective. Also the ego complex between the three. yea i would've like to hav seen the dysfunctional family dynamic. maybe im projecting. lol.

    I think there was a major influence from the Nolanverse here, from the eyebrow line of the cowl, to the whole presentation of the joker, the violence and the look of the city. I LOVED the new joker. The jokers always been drawn pretty erratically, this is how i imagine him as an aged 50 year old pro. i like tht they made him big, like he can actually take and give some punishment, in the Ledger/Nicholson vein. They also kept him an arsonist, explosives guy. No joker gas, He had some scene stealing moments tht i loved. in the prison, at the end...and my favourite when he strts off eating crisps and ends killing the black masks goons. I liked in the end how they made sure there was no mistake who was top dog in the villany department.

    Anyway i hope this movie does good things for jason todd. I dont like them turning him into a complete villain; and wht kind of villain? catwoman type villain or Two Face type of villain? Joker kind of villain? hav liked to have seen tim drake and jason todd become batman fro a while before bruce returned.

    oh well. those are my thoughts.

  32. That's me! Lol, yeah a huge JToddz fan. And thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

    You know, I didn't mind Amazo, then again I could have seen them making this a two hour movie and I wouldn't have minded, like you said. I think Bane is kinda over used, and Deadshot would've been cool but the ultimate Goal was for someone to die there, and you can't really kill those two off.

    I agree, but in Under The Hood (the comic) that's pretty much how he was written for the most part, punching guards, running from Jason's RPG and being pissed off all the time.

    I don't think Tim was even in the actual comics now that you mention it, he didn't meet up with Jason until Teen Titan #27 I think where Jason ambushed him.

    You're right again about the stuff about Jason and Nightwing not interacting, I also think that was a missed chance, but the ending left it so they can always do more if they want to. And as for Joker I couldn't agree more with everything you said, except he did use Joker gas, on the guards, even though they never showed it, because when Jason chased after him, before he killed him, they showed some dead guards with grins.

    I also hope they do good things with Jason, just let him stay an Anti-Hero, or help out occasionally like Catwoman or something.