I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a review on a movie-but I just finished watching an advance preview (THANKIE!) of Warner Brothers latest DC Extended Animated Universe (or whatever its called) film, BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD.
I’m going to spoil my review for you right now: GO BUY THIS MOVIE ON JULY 27TH ON BLU RAY OR DVD OR BETAMAX OR WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT TO BUY IT ON! GO PRE-ORDER IT FROM AMAZON.COM. DO IT! DO IT NOW!!!
I know this is saying alot, but I honestly feel that “Under The Red Hood” may be the single greatest Batman film of all time. THat is some STIFF competition, considering you have The Dark Knight (2008) and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993-Animated) to contend with, plus the perrenial Batman (1989) as well. This is a for sure BUY. DVD, Blu Ray, Digital Download-it doesn’t matter. I know some of the DC Animated Movies have been hit (Superman Doomsday, Superman / Batman: Public Enemies, Batman: Gotham Knight) and miss (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight)-but this is a definite HIT.
Continue reading the entire review, with the trailer and screen shots – AFTER THE BREAK!
[Official Trailer for BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD (2010)]
Batman: Under The Red Hood is the second DC Universe Animated film of 2010, following up March’s Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths release. The film is dark, gritty, dirty-and bloody. The art style is VERY reminiscint of Batman: The Animated Series, with just a more stylized and modern look. The voice acting is more or less spot on-even on a few personal levels-but I’ll get into that later.
Bruce Greenwood as Bruce Wayne / Batman Jensen Ackles as Red Hood John DiMaggio as The Joker Neil Patrick Harris as Dick Grayson / Nightwing Jason Isaacs as Ra’s al Ghul Wade Williams as Roman Sionis / Black Mask
STORY & CAST:
“Under The Red Hood” is written by Judd Winnick, the original writer of the classic Batman storyline, “Under The Hood”. Its interesting seeing the original author adapt his or her work into a new medium. Judging by this, it’s something that needs to be done more often (like Neil Gaiman adapting American Gods so it doesn’t suck). The story picks up with “A Death in the Family”, which opens up to the BRUTALLITY of The Joker beating the ever loving PISS out of Robin II (Jason Todd), and eventually killing him. We fast forward to present time, and a mysterious figure calling himself The Red Hood has begun taking over Gotham City’s underground. We’re treated to a rather funny quip between a thug, and Red Hood during his introduction as well:
[Red Hood has just laid waste to a table with an assault rifle]
Thug: What? You got a death wish? There’s easier ways to kill yourself you know!
Red Hood: Yeah, like yelling at the guy with the AK-47.
The story follows rather linerally. It’s not a Christopher Nolan mindfuck-as its pretty straight forward. It does all the exposistion for you, so new fans who are unfamilar with Winnicks “Under The Hood” storyline will be able to go into this relativelyunscathed. We also get the animated debut of NIGHTWING (mark out moment)-played by Neil Patrick Harris (its the music meiistteeerrr!!!), who plays the role very well. Nightwing is a chatty character, he’s kinda like Spider-man, who will make jokes while breaking your face. I think Neil Patrick Harris fits that role perfectly.
As far as the other voice actors go, let’s start with Jensen Ackles as the Red Hood. I thought he was AWESOME. He had that somber tone in his voice-that made you actually believe what he was saying. His speech during the finale was amazing, and really brought up an interesting question (which i’ll get to later.). I didn’t like Mr. DiMaggio’s Joker at first. In the opening scenes-it felt like he was trying to be the bastard love child of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. I don’t like that. Now, if he tried to be the bastard love child of say, Heath Ledger and Mark Hamil-than we’d have a winner! The voice did grow on me, but as far as Joker in animation-I’m EXTRMELY picky. Mark Hamil is the Joker, and will always be the Joker. Warner Brothers, learn this-because I know I’m not the only one who believes this.
That also brings me to Bruce Greenwood, who played Batman / Bruce Wayne. Now, much like my feelings on Mark Hamil as the Joker, they’re the same for Batman. All due respect to Adam West, Micheal Keaton or Christian Bale-but Kevin Conroy is Batman. Done, deal, win. I did feel that Bruce Greenwood was doing his best Conroy impression, and he would be a close runner up for animated Bat-voice. Certainly not the worst choice (Jeremy Sisto in Justice League: New Frontier anyone?)-but could be Conroy.
The entire story revolves around Batman finally finding out who this mysterious Red Hood is (SPOILER: It’s Jason Todd), and how this came to be (since he yknow, got beat up and then blow’d up earlier in the story.) After a suprisingly well booked swerve involving everybody’s favorite not-voiced-by-the-actor-from-TAS-or-Liam-Neeson-but-still-good-job-eco-terrorist Ras Al Ghul and a Lazarus Pit (DC’s answer to EVERYTHING. Including Dick Grayson’s stupid ass judgement of “LETS THROW THE BAT-CORPSE IN A LAZARUS PIT!! YEAH!111ooneoneone! WITHOUT EVEN SCANNING THE CORPSE TO MAKE SURE ITS REALLY BRUCE WAYNES CORPSE AND NOT A FAKE PLANTED BY DARKSEID TO TURN INTO AN EVIL ZOMBIE OF DOOM!!!!! TEH AWESOME IDEA!!..moron)
Anywho, the film comes to a head after alot of action, and i mean ALOT of action. It’s like nonstop action, totally! (see what I did there wrestling fans?) Red Hood delivers a heart felt speech about why he’s cleaning up Gotham-Punisher style, and why the Joker is his prime target. This brings us to the ETERNAL QUESTION.
For all the thousands of lives the Joker has ended prematurarly. For the hundreds of people he’s left hurt or paralyzed or scarred for life. WHY DOESNT BATMAN JUST KILL HIM ALREADY. Bats gives a good response of how he thinks about it every day, but if he started with the Joker, he wouldn’t stop. I almost want to chalk that up to “It’s a movie for kids” answer-because common sense suggests that if Batman was to end ONE LIFE (Joker’s), it would of retro-actively saved HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of lives. SERIOUSLY!!
In the end, “Under The Red Hood” is dark, gritty, and all around AWESOME. Everything about this film is a true work of art, and it’s up there with the best of the best of the best in terms of Batman movies. It really delves into Batman’s mind and philosophies, and makes you see how the Dark Knight ticks.
8 out of 10 (loses two points for lack of Conroy / Hamil)
While my advance screening only included the film itself-and no extras. I’m told the next DCU Film will again involve two heros with “Man” in their name, as Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is slated to come out later this year. The film will feature the “Supergirl” storyline from the comic, and feature the voice talents of Tim Daly (Superman) and Kevin Conroy (Batman). THANK YOU GOD! There is nothing more awesome than seeing Conroy and Daly as the Worlds Finest.