Son of Batman

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the headquarters of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul grooms Damian Wayne (son of his daughter, Talia, and Batman) to succeed him as head of the league. The league is attacked by a group of assassins led by Slade Wilson, Ra’s al Ghul’s initial choice for successor before Ra’s met Batman. Feeling betrayed, Slade decided to seize power. During the battle Ra’s is fatally wounded, dying before he reaches the Lazarus Pit. Although Damian stabs Slade in the eye, Slade escapes. Talia takes Damian to Gotham City to protect him.

In Gotham City, Batman confronts Killer Croc, whom Talia subdues. She tells Batman about her father’s death and leaves their son in his care. Although Damian wants to avenge Ra’s al Ghul by killing Slade, Batman objects. Slade, now calling himself Deathstroke, captures Dr. Kirk Langstrom and his family to force him to recreate the Man-Bat formula. Batman follows a lead about the formula’s mutagen to Langstrom’s apartment, where he finds evidence of Deathstroke’s involvement. Talia is captured by Deathstroke when she attacks him.

Against Batman’s orders, Damian leaves the Batcave and defeats one of Deathstroke’s men. Before Damian kills him, Nightwing arrives, mistakes him for a criminal and subdues him before bringing him back to the Batcave. Batman berates Damian for his recklessness, willingness to kill and exposure of their operation, and makes him Robin to teach him discipline. Commissioner Gordon warns them about an abandoned stadium believed to house Deathstroke’s men.

At the stadium, Batman and Damian question Langstrom but are attacked when Damian becomes violent. In the cave, Langstrom reveals Deathstroke’s plan to create superhuman, flight-capable assassins. While Nightwing works with Langstrom on an antidote, Batman and Damian rescue his family. Batman guesses that Talia has been abducted when he finds evidence of torture in an empty cell, but is unaware that Deathstroke challenged Damian to a duel in exchange for Talia’s life.

Nightwing learns that Deathstroke is operating in an oil rig off the United Kingdom coast, and when Batman is distracted Damian goes to the rig. He finds Deathstroke and Talia in an underwater base with a swarm of Man-Bats and another Lazarus Pit, whose fluid Deathstroke intends to sell. Damian pulls a gun on Deathstroke, who holds one against Talia’s head. Damian drops his gun; Deathstroke fires at him, but Talia jumps out and takes the shot. As Deathstroke corners Damian, Batman appears and the Man-Bats attack. Batman wards them off with sonar-emitting devices, and Deathstroke flees.

Batman takes Talia into the Lazarus Pit, while Nightwing and Langstrom reach the oil rig and cure the Man-Bats. Damian defeats Deathstroke, refusing to kill him because he is his father’s son. The elevator from the rig to the underwater base is destroyed, flooding the base. Batman, Talia and Damian escape, but Deathstroke is left behind. Batman and Talia argue over Damian. She decides to let him care for their son, and leaves with the League of Assassins

REVIEW:

Anybody that knows anything about Batman knows of his sidekick, Robin (at least one version of him), but what about his son, Damian? Didn’t know Batman had a son, did you? Well, don’t feel bad because Damian is a more recent addition. Son of Batman, the next cog in the DC Animated Universe introduces us to the lad, but how is the film?

What is this about?

Hidden atop a secret mountain lies the League of Shadows and its fearless leader, Ra’s al Ghul. Together with his daughter Talia, he oversees a trained army of assassins bent on global domination. But an uprising from within threatens to shift the balance of power and sends Talia and her young son, Damian, fleeing to Gotham City. Talia seeks the protection of Batman, who, unbeknownst to him, is the boy’s father. With his son in tow, Batman wages war against the villain Deathstroke and the League of Shadows.

What did I like?

Talia. Chances are if you’re reading this, then you are quite away of Batman’s rogues gallery, or you may recognize the name from The Dark Knight Rises where she was played by Marion Cotiliard. Talia has been a favorite character of mine, following 40s era Catwoman (where she wore the purple dress with a slit down both sides) and tied with a lesser known character, Nocturna. Now that we are getting more and more of Talia is a good thing, especially when she is portrayed as a badass assassin. Last night, I watched the premier of Agent Carter and one of my friends, who is a feminist, made a big deal about female representation. To that, I say whatever! A badass character is a badass character, no matter the sex.

Father/son. Way back when Bruce Wayne took Dick Grayson as his ward, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect, but over time, as well know, that relationship changed. Since then, there have been at least 2 other Robins, maybe 4, I’m not 100% sure, all of which have gone through a similar tumultuous relationship with the Batman. Now, enter the “blood heir” and you can just imagine how Bruce reacts. The reaction shows is exactly what you would expect from Batman, stoic and calculating. It is the relationship and interactions that take place from that point on that make this such an interesting part of the film. While there are no Ward Cleaver father-type moments, Bruce does show his parenting skills by putting his foot down. Hey, this isn’t the guy’s first rodeo. He has raised a few wards, remember?

Not for kids. If you are thinking this is a kid-friendly animated feature similar to the animated series we all bow down to, then you are sadly mistaken. The opening scene, which is full of blood splatters, violent deaths, a decapitation, and a vicious eye poke, as well as the burning death of Ra’s al Ghul, tells you that this is for a more mature audience. Hey, I’m all for a lighter Batman. Batman: The Brave and the Bold was my favorite animated series since the 90s cartoon, but every now and then, I like a darker, more mature animated film, and that is what we get with this film.

What didn’t I like?

Hint at a rivalry. As I alluded to earlier, Damian is the “blood heir” to Bruce Wayne, as he makes sure to let Dick Grayson know. Here’s the thing, Dick has long been a kindred spirit for Batman, as they both lost their parents, but now Damian shows up and is an actual blood relative. I don’t need to tell you that the rivalry between the two of them is fierce. Well, it should be, but the film teases us with it…twice! First is when Nightwing stops Damian from killing someone. They apparently fight, and by the looks of it after the cutaway, it was a slobber knocker. The second is in the Batcave when Damian tells Dick he’s Bruce’s heir and wants to be Robin. For time purposes, I understand that this couldn’t have been fleshed out some more, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing it had. These two just need to fight to the death and get it over with, hopefully with Dick winning.

Damian. Kids today are just brats. Ungrateful, disrespectful, brats. Damian is no different, except you throw in that he was raised in affluence and then dropped off with his rich and powerful father, and that is sure to not change his outlook on things. Did I mention the kid is named Damian? Do I really need to bring up a certain movie child with the name Damian and what he did?!?

The voice. Kevin Conroy seriously needs to come back and voice Batman again. Hey, Peter Cullen is still doing Optimus Prime and Frank Welker is Megatron everywhere except the movies, so why can’t Conroy be Bats? If not him, then give us Bruce Greenwood, who voiced him in the unceremoniously cancelled (because of too many female fans, I kid you not!) Young Justice, because Jason O’Mara is just there. O’Mara is ok with his reading, but he sounds like he is trying to find a balance between Conroy and what Christian Bale brought to the character, which may be his downfall. When/if he ever finds his own voice for Batman, then I think I can get behind him, but until then, I want Conroy, Greenwood, or someone else to be given a chance.

I haven’t read the graphic novel that this film comes from, but I do know that some things were changed and some characters omitted, such as the current Robin, Tim Drake, but I won’t get into that. Son of Batman showed great promise. The action is tight, Talia is definite animated eye candy (why else would they have her jumpsuit zipped down so low?), and we get a good Batman story. On the flipside, though, this isn’t one of the best we’ve seen from DC. The animation continues to have that wannabe anime feel that doesn’t gel with me for whatever reason. Also, Batman doesn’t make jokes!!!! All this aside, though, I think this is a solid enough film that would be worth your time, so give it a shot, sometime.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Son of Batman”

  1. […] up. It has been a minute since I last saw a DC Animated film, I think the last one I saw was Son of Batman, but I have noticed that each one has gotten progressively more and more adult, either with the […]

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