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Son of Batman Review

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Damian Wayne makes his debut in the new DC animated movie universe!

How can you not get totally excited about a DC Animated movie inspired by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's Batman and Son? Okay, maybe the Damian haters aren't too happy, but for everyone else, it's thrilling they chose this story to tell in their own way. Naturally, it's only inspired by the source material, so don't expect it to stay true to Morrison's script. Some elements remain, but for the most part, it is absolutely its own story.

I wasn't sure what to think when I heard Damian's voice in the previews, but upon watching the whole movie, I do think Stuart Allan's a good choice for Bruce Wayne's son. He conveys the blunt arrogance you'd expect from the character. You may think he sounds like a brat at times, and that's the whole point -- it definitely fits. The best moments with him aren't when he's viciously attacking Ubu or arguing with his father. Damian truly shines in pretty much any and every scene he shares with Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by David McCallum). McCallum's dry delivery is the perfect contrast as these two take verbal jabs at one another. In a movie filled with sword attacks and exploding helicopters, it's the banter between these two that becomes the most entertaining part of the film.

I won't lie to you, I wasn't the biggest fan around of Jason O'Mara's performance as Batman in Justice League: War. To me, it lacked the determination and force you'd expect from the Dark Knight ,and that really stood out right with his first line in that movie. This time around, however, I was digging it a lot more. Sure, it's not Kevin Conroy or Roger Craig Smith, but the potential's certainly there and, aside from one bad line (which, to be fair, is an issue with the script and not him), this movie changed my mind about him.

Ra's al Ghul (voiced by Gustavo 'Gus' Fring Giancarlo Esposito) only has a very brief appearance, but, man, it's awesome. Despite immediately thinking of Breaking Bad when Ra's spoke (sorry, I just couldn't help it), it still felt like a pretty fitting voice for the character. It's calm yet still commanding. Watching him deflect bullets and slice foes was good fun, it's just too bad we didn't get to see a little more of him before he's removed from the picture. His daughter, Talia al Ghul (voiced by Homeland's Morena Baccarin) doesn't get much depth here. She's either blatantly hitting on Bruce or acting like an emotionless hard-ass. Without spoiling it, she basically becomes a plot device, but hey, at least she gets a badass scene or two before that occurs.

The PG-13 rating alone should imply this one isn't for the younglings, but just in case you've decided to disregard the rating, I'll elaborate. Son of Batman isn't as violent as The Dark Knight Returns, but it still has plenty of blood. There's nothing over the top with gore, but there's a whole lot of stabbing, slashing and shotgun blasts that'll put some people in dire need of some band-aids. As for language, someone almost drops a certain four letter word (spoiler: it begins with "f") and Slade gives Batman a very... blunt name. It's a name which would likely make younger kids to ask their parents what the nickname means. So yeah, this movie definitely isn't geared towards a younger audience and the rating should make that clear, anyway.

Seeing as this is part of the new continuity, it's a shame Deathstroke, a very popular and deadly character, was handled like this. First and foremost, instead of coming off as confident and formidable lead villain, he felt far too pompous (his delivery plays a role in this, obviously) and more like a guy who wants to be the big bad but really isn't cut out for it. To make matters even worse, he's honestly given no respect as a combatant. In this movie, it would have been amazing to see Batman and Damian need to work together to best Slade Wilson. Instead, his encounter with Batman literally made me exclaim, "what?!" and what followed was used to make Damian look like the badass. Damian endures an unrealistic amount of damage and keeps on trucking just fine, but I will admit, it's a wicked showing for him. I get that's needed -- he's the main focus of the movie, after all -- but to have Slade Wilson struggle with the ten year old feels like its wasting the character's potential in this new animated timeline. If you don't care about Deathstroke, this won't bug you. But for everyone else, it's a major bummer. Oh, and one more thing: it almost felt like his agenda was made for Bane. Maybe they didn't want to use him because they're hopefully saving him for a different film down the road (fingers crossed for Knightfall!)? Well, at least Deathstroke had a cool design (with his mask down), so at least there's that.

I'll be blunt: the subplot with Langstrom wasn't all that engaging. When you're introducing us to the dynamic between Batman and his arrogant son, the scenes with Langstrom's family just left me wondering when we'll get to see more of the title characters again. I mean, it wasn't necessarily bad or anything along those lines, but it didn't add the emotional weight it was seemingly going for.

Nightwing's intro offers a great laugh, but unfortunately, he feels like a missed opportunity after that point. It would have been neat to see him ease into the role Tim Drake had in Grant Morrison's story, but instead, his part feels very limited and sadly, we never get to see a display of his very rad agility. Plus, a fight -- one that many fans would love to see -- is glossed over for a laugh. Don't get me wrong: I did chuckle, but I would have much rather watched the entire thing unfold (static bits are shown during the credits, though).

Eventually, the movie shows Batman utilizing different equipment in his fights. You don't need to be the world's greatest detective to know you can't beat everyone with your fists and feet, after all. However, Batman displayed no intelligence whatsoever in his fight with Killer Croc. I understand why the outcome had to go a certain way, but it would have been great to see him at least attempt to use some different technology instead of simply punching and kicking to no avail. It should have been clear that melee options wouldn't cut it after brutally punching Croc in the face multiple times accomplished nothing. This probably won't be a big deal for many, but as a battles junkie, it stood out to me.

Two more minor gripes: some of the shots seem to last just a little too long. It's almost like the scene needs to cut away a second or two before it actually does. Like I said, it's a minor gripe, but this occurs quite a few times, so it generates a few awkward pauses. Also, the opening battle is certainly cool, but when you have to animate that many characters, it means some are just going to stand around and do nothing as chaos is unfolding around them or they'll wait for an odd amount of time before taking action. It doesn't ruin the battle, but it's noticeable a couple of times.

DC Animated has produced some absolutely fantastic projects (e.g. Under the Red Hood, Wonder Woman, Superman vs. The Elite, etc), so it's understandable to begin one of their new movies with fairly high expectations. Son of Batman is able to deliver some satisfying action and the dynamic between Damian and Alfred is legitimately hilarious, but everything else doesn't leave much of a mark. It's not bad, but it's not really all that memorable, either. I'd say if you're a big fan of the DC Animated universe -- and I suspect that applies to a lot of you -- then sure, give this a purchase. Even if you don't love it, it'll likely be tempting to give it a re-watch one day (I know I sure will) and the bonus features are worth checking out (especially the Assault on Arkham one). It may not be the next Under the Red Hood, but it's still an amusing ride.

111 Comments
Posted by thebluedragon07

I would say 3.5

Edited by Wardishy

Just watching this now. 10 minutes in, first impressions;

- Deathstroke doesn't seem right. Way out of character. Blustery and foolish. His voice is annoying and doesn't suit him at all. And he was once Ra's Al Ghul's right-hand man?

- Machine guns that fire arrows? Pretty bad-ass.

- Not seen enough of Damian yet to judge. It's easy to think that the voice doesn't suit him but he's a little kid, he's not going to have a harsh or deep voice or anything.

- The ninjas of the League of Assassins were absolutely TERRIBLE combatants. Slow as hell, and I saw several shots where they got the jump on a merc and just ineffectively slashed the gun before getting shot. If you're fast enough to get close and they're surprised why wouldn't you just go for a killing blow? They're assassins, geez.

- Also, what?! The Lazarus Pit can't restore a body that's been burnt back to life? But it's fine with Jason Todd who was inside a building when it exploded and fell on top of him? Is that a legit limitation of the Lazarus Pit or is that total BS?

Edited by Shallbecomeabattoo

1/5 for me. Definately the worst DC animated movie to date and the only one I won't be buying or rewatching. Wow. Sooooooo bad. The violence is too much, in that "look at me I am so mature and kewl" kinda way and it has no purpose other than that and no meaning. Wounds disappear in a matter of seconds and nothing really sticks.

Characters are acting out of character all over the place (Batman ripping off a BIG bodypart of Killer Croc! WTF?!? Thats more than torture, thats disgusting) and Deathstroke gets beaten by Bruce in a matter of seconds.

Also Damians character arc makes no sense, since he completes it without earning it and without any real reason or motivation either.

Again, HORRIBLE movie. Horrible. If thats the trend for those movies I am off.

Edited by feedonatreefrog

@shallbecomeabattoo said:

The violence is too much, in that "look at me I am so mature and kewl" kinda way and it has no purpose other than that and no meaning.

Edited by NICKXH

I don't know which one is worse. This or Justice League: War. Both terrible. But in different ways. Which makes me extremely worried for future DC animated features that are set in this so called same universe. I guess I'm going to look forward to 1 movie out of 3 a year then.

Posted by SupBatz

I could have looked past all of the film's flaws if there had just been more showcasing of Bruce's relationship with Damian. For a movie called Son of Batman, we really didn't see much development of the father-son relationship between the two characters. Instead, we got far too many action scenes and scenes that just took us out of the film's primary action (looking at you, Langstroms).

2.5/5 from me. I was really expecting this to be one of my favorite DC films. I am a gigantic Damian fan, and I was not satisfied.

I do hope that we get a Batman Reborn film someday with Dick as Batman. We need something to make up for all of the lost potential here.

Posted by Ultron345

Why am I not surprised?

Posted by redwingx

Terrible movie, deserves 2 out of 5 stars.

Edited by Captain13

Poorly written. Poorly voice acted. Incompetent enemies.

And the inverse rule of ninja is way overused.

1/5

Every DC direct to dvd film since Flashpoint has sucked. I think that's around when Bruce Timm left :-/

Posted by Teerack

I don't like the title. I don't like when they emphasize Damion being Batman's son when honestly in every way that matters Jason and Dick are his sons to. Tim to pre-52, It's a little hard to see Tim as his son now when his parents are alive and Tim still cares about them.

Posted by Jasoninthewoods

@shallbecomeabattoo said:

The violence is too much, in that "look at me I am so mature and kewl" kinda way and it has no purpose other than that and no meaning.

Now you're going to bring the cult of Morrison in here to defend him with there lives ;)

Posted by Grimoire

Don't care for bad guys winning anything so if Deathstroke gets kicked around it will not bother me.

Posted by Novemberx2

all the voices feel wrong

Posted by DaseanComerWCR
Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse
Posted by Redskull490

I give it a one star, because i hate comics.

Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse
Posted by Phaedrusgr

It was really bad...

Posted by feargalr

Disappointing...

Posted by CyberWarrior

Terrible. The worst is that this happens in the new animated DC Universe.

And, well, in case someone didn't notice: the one eyed guy killed by Damian was not Deathstroke, but a sick-twisted-mutagenic-defective-parodyal clone of Slade Wilson.

Posted by DaseanComerWCR
Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse
Edited by Rainja

I haven't watched this or read the story this is actually based on but I watched a few scenes and let me tell you, I WAS NOT IMpressed. -_-

Don't get me wrong, the action was good but if u know these characters, Like Deathstroke for instance, u will know, there is no damn way, a 10 year old assassin is going to be beating him in any battle. I mean Slade was struggling Ina sword fight trying to over power this youth.LMFAO.... Really?????? he is going to physically struggle with a 10 year old's strength???....gshhh talk about disrespect to Deathstroke. I all thought that maybe there were going to gang up on him or something.....but noooooooo, 10 year old Damian came and dealt with Deathstroke, The EXPERIENCED, SUPER ASSASSIN, who just bested Ra Ah Ghul and the league.....Writing and thinking about this just irritates me. I'll still watch it as I'm a DC fan and any animated movie is a pleasure to watch but I can see this isn't one of Dc's better movies.

Edited by Omnicrono

I am probably one of the biggest Batman fans you will meet, but I'm sorry... this movie was ho-hum.

It felt mostly like DC and Warner were just trying to bang out another film for some quick profit. With Justice League War, and now this film, I am concerned that the guys and gals over at DC Animated are becoming complacent.

Posted by MuyJingo

This was much, much better than JL:War and Flashpoint, but nowhere near the level of Under the Red Hood or Crisis on two Earths.

I didn't mind that it was a separate story nor that Deathstroke was downgraded. Annoying, yes, but it didn't take away from the movie for me. He could easily have been downgraded in this universe.

I hadn't even realized the actor who played Gus on Breaking Bad voiced Ra's...very cool.

Posted by MrMazz

Man this is a story that had the chance to actually explore an idea of Batman that we haven't really seen outside of the comics, Batman as Father. Son of Batman falls into the pit of most middling DC Animated Features where it relies upon extra textual symbolisim as means of signifying character than actually developing the characters.

The action is nicely rendered and choreographed but I rather better character than more meaningless hollow action. Not the worst but at least with what is deemed truly bad you can look at and have an interesting disscussion. The middling it's just yea the normal stuff that isn't very good is just that. Though you could take a wider view to explore the root of these "failings" hurm that dosen't sound to bad.

Posted by asjmooney

I liked this. Definitely didn't love it.

I agree that they made Deathstroke far too easy to beat (both Batman and him are a favourite of mine). His and Batman's fight in the underwater complex was disappointing to say the least.

I thought Damien was fantastic from start to finish and agree that his scenes with Alfred were hilarious.

I'm now watching Under the Red Hood to see how they compare as I haven't seen it in a while.

Posted by dcguy

I really enjoyed in this movie , it's way more better than JL:War garbage. Yes, it's not as good as some of the previus movies but at least they tried making original plot (I really hate direct comic adaptions , if I read them why should I watch ? ).

For Deathstroke , they made him really weak and uninteresting bland villian. But to be fair novadays he is to much overrated .

Posted by superman_road

I kinda enjoyed the movie though i was expecting better. It 's a 3 star from me.

Posted by The V0id

I've never read any comics with Damian Wayne in it, but if he's as much of a bad-ass in the comics as he was in this movie then I would definitely be interested in reading some Damian Wayne/Robin comics. Cool movie. 5 stars.

Posted by Redskull490
Posted by RulerOfThisUniverse

@redskull490: This is a comic book site, not a manga site. There's plenty of those.

Posted by Redskull490
Edited by RulerOfThisUniverse

@redskull490: If you're talking about the wiki, there's lots of crap in there. Seriously, there's South Park characters and Disney characters--but that doesn't mean we're not a comic site. Saying "I give it 1 star because I hate comics" and making comic book character hate threads where you're only reasoning is that a manga character is better makes me wonder if you bothered to read the site's name.

Posted by Redskull490

@rulerofthisuniverse: I do lots of work on this site. I contributed. You will never change my mind. I can do what I want.

Posted by ravisher

slade the jobber

Posted by SavageDragon

3.5

Posted by PapiNacho

6.5

Posted by ScottyHawkeye

I'm considering it

I'm more interested in Batman Assault on Arkham

Posted by cobsohn

I think everyone is forgetting that Slade does have weaknesses, and children are at the top of that list.

Posted by The_Calm

I'm sure even a kid trained by a League of Assassins isn't able to pimp slap another guy trained by the League of Assassins, both several hundred pounds heavier than him and with years more of field experience.

Batman handled Deathstroke absent-mindedly, as if thinking about the football match back home whilst in combat. Eventually I'm sitting there waiting for Bats to whip out his cellphone and start chatting with Alfred or someshit whilst deflecting a roundhouse kick.

Damn.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@cobsohn said:

I think everyone is forgetting that Slade does have weaknesses, and children are at the top of that list.

And Slade's excuse against Batman? ;)

Staff Online
Edited by Avilon

It was an all right movie, not one of their best but it was not bad either.

Posted by cobsohn

@k4tzm4n: You don't need an excuse for the law of Batman.

Posted by Wilbertus

I definitely had some gripes with this movie, but I actually enjoyed watching it overall. It was a shame that they left out some of the best bits from Morrison's story like the Damian vs. Tim fight, but I enjoyed Nightwing's appearances. And the Damian Alfred chemistry was absolutely brilliant.

Posted by DarthAznable

Movie was disappointing.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@cobsohn said:

@k4tzm4n: You don't need an excuse for the law of Batman.

...touche.

Staff Online