Archive for Nightwing

Batman vs. Robin

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When Batman finds himself under attack by his own son, Damian (Robin), he at first suspects the hand of Ra’s Al Ghul behind the treachery, but then comes to see that the boy may be controlled by a mysterious and murderous society known as the Court of Owls.

What people are saying:

“More a mash-up of two of the most highly regarded Batman stories in the last 20 years than its title implies it stands alongside the best efforts of Warner Bros. Animated.” 4 1/2 stars

“This could of been the next red hood movie, if they would of stuck to just one story, but instead they shove all these storys all together instead of focusing on batman and the owls. Court of owls /night of the owls was a great stoty and would of been fine on its own, but they just shoved all these other plots in and it just didn’t work. They even took some of the best scenes from the book and cheapened them, like making that intense amazing maze part of the story and turning into a quick drugged dream thing.” 1 star

“The story itself was good, not the best but not the worst I’ve seen. The kid was just annoying at first, but it got better as the story progressed. I do think it could have been a lot better, the storyline they used had more potential but it wasn’t bad. As far as content. Definitely not for kids, I wouldn’t even say 13 and up, i’d say older. Lots of blood, violence, even a straight up massacre. Some of the language and the sexual content was unnecessary so be aware of that if you are looking at this for children. ” 3 stars

“The anticipation of the eventual fight between Batman and Robin is palpable. With all the talented voice actors bringing in realism of the character’s conflicts, it’s hard not to enjoy.” 4 stars

“Not good, this is actually a terrible adaptation of the court of owls comic storyline. The way they reworked it with Damian Wayne was just terrible, and the story line goes out of its way to make batman seem incompetent. It would have been better if they had just straight up done a court of owls animated movie and skipped out the son of batman stuff for two reasons. The first being the aforementioned batman incompetence like batman sending a ten year old boy into the wilderness on his own, stupid, or robin solving the doll maker crime before batman, lame. Then of course the second being that Damien is the most annoyingly pig headed, and truly unsavory robins ever created, plainly put he’s just unlikable and really petulant through the whole film. Spent the hour and twenty minutes on count down waiting for the torture to end.” 1 star

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Son of Batman

Posted in Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by Mystery Man

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

Batman: Under the Red Hood

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The terrorist Ra’s al Ghul hires the Joker to help him with his latest globocidal scheme, but soon regrets it when the Clown Prince of Crime kidnaps Jason Todd, the second Robin. In a warehouse located within the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia, the Joker is seen beating Jason with a crowbar. The Joker leaves the warehouse and a half-dead Jason on the floor. Jason tries to get out, but the Joker put a lock on the door. He then sees a bomb ticking in the warehouse. Batman arrives too late, and Jason is killed in the explosion.

Five years later, in Gotham City, the vigilante/crime lord Red Hood has assembled a meeting with the city’s top-earning thugs and dealers. The Red Hood announces his takeover of the drug trade and tells them to give him 40 percent of their earnings in return for protection from Batman and Black Mask. As a warning, he tosses them a bag containing the severed heads of all their lieutenants.

Batman chases some thugs in a moving truck and crashes it into a wall. He tries to interrogate them until the box that was in the truck opens and reveals Amazo, a powerful android with the ability to copy the abilities of every metahuman it encounters. Nightwing, who was once the first Robin, arrives on the scene to help him. The robot is defeated and Batman interrogates the three thugs at the location and finds out they are working for the Red Hood. The Red Hood then kills the thugs via sniper rifle. Batman chases the Red Hood, who leads him to the Ace Chemical Plant — where Batman had his first encounter with the Joker, who had then called himself the Red Hood. The current Red Hood rigs an explosion in the plant and escapes.

Later in the Batcave, Nightwing appears, having returned after he learned of the Red Hood. Batman tells Nightwing that since the Red Hood began his reign of terror, drug trafficking has gone up, but crime has gone down. Batman and Nightwing proceed to Arkham Asylum to interrogate the Joker about the Red Hood. The Joker denies any involvement with his successor, then taunts Batman by reminding him of Jason’s death, tempting Batman to kill him.

At his headquarters, Black Mask is angry because his “Amazo” was destroyed. Black Mask promptly puts a hit out on the Red Hood. A lackey starts to talk about the next incoming shipment; however, both Batman and the Red Hood have bugged the place, listening in on the conversation. The Red Hood shows up and hijacks a helicopter, but is stopped by Batman and Nightwing. The Red Hood runs and Batman chases him. Nightwing later joins up with Batman and the chase leads to a blimp and rooftops. Nightwing takes notice that the Red Hood is able to evade Batman at every turn, including cutting a Bat-lasso before it went taut on his leg. The chase leads to a train station above ground, and an explosion occurs facilitating the Red Hood’s escape and leaving Batman and Nightwing temporarily shaken.

Batman and Nightwing regroup in the Batcave with Batman’s family manservant Alfred bandaging Nightwing’s right leg and taking him home. Batman and Nightwing agree that the Red Hood’s skills, methods, and arsenal are comparable to their own, except that the Red Hood is willing to kill to get what he wants. However, there’s something else that troubles Batman, and he stays on his computer monitor to watch the video footage of the chase from the cowl’s camcorder, trying to figure out what the Red Hood said at the train station. To his surprise, Batman hears the Red Hood make a reference to his real identity of Bruce Wayne. In a flashback during their heyday, Batman and Jason Todd as Robin are shown battling the Riddler and some his gang of thugs. During the battle, Jason performs a maneuver Batman recalls during his encounter with the Red Hood: Cutting a lasso on his leg before it went taut. In addition, the flashback reveals that as he got older, Jason grew more violent, even shattering a drug dealer’s collarbone during one of their patrols.

At one of the Red Hood’s protected areas, a shootout by Black Mask’s henchmen occurs with an intrigued Red Hood watching from afar. At another location, one out of eight of the crime bosses following the Red Hood is being beaten and about to be burned when the Red Hood intervenes. However, it is actually a trap, and a group called “The Fearsome Hand of Four” attacks the Red Hood. The Red Hood is beaten, but he admits his intervention was merely a stall tactic. Batman appears and the former crimefighting partners take on the group. When one of the four gains the upper hand on the Red Hood, the Red Hood kills him. They have an argument, leading Batman to ask what has happened to him, hinting that he knows his opponent’s true identity. However, the Red Hood replies that it is too late for Batman to help and leaves. Batman manages to obtain a blood sample from the Red Hood at the scene of the battle, and the analysis is a match to Jason Todd.

Back at the Black Mask’s headquarters, Black Mask is given the news that his shipment has been confiscated by the Red Hood. He goes into a rage when a small red dot is seen on his neck and then his forehead. From afar, the Red Hood waves and shoots a rocket into Black Mask’s room. Black Mask survives and is forced to call on the Joker, setting him free and is giving him the task of killing the Red Hood.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce digs up Jason’s grave site and finds a fake body made of latex. Enraged, he goes to Ra’s al Ghul’s mansion and questions him about Jason. Ra’s reveals that he switched Jason’s body and revived him in his Lazarus Pit after feeling remorse for what happened to him, as Ra’s was the one who hired the Joker as a distraction for the Dynamic Duo in Bosnia while he tried to cripple the world’s economy by destroying financial districts in Europe. Following his resurrection, Jason escaped. Ra’s had been trying to find Jason for years, until he heard the news from Gotham of him becoming the Red Hood.

On his way back to Gotham, Batman finds that the Joker has abducted all eight of the Red Hood’s crime bosses, including Black Mask and his assistant on the bridge. The Joker starts to pour gasoline on the hostages in a large truck container, and as he is trying to light it, the Red Hood appears and reveals that the Joker is his real target; all of the attacks he made on Black Mask were to get him desperate enough that he would seek aid from the Joker and arrange his escape from Arkham. The Joker finally starts his lighter and sets the hostages on fire. From out of nowhere, Batman swoops in and splashes fire fighting foam to stop the fire and tries to take the Joker out with him. The Red Hood grabs onto the Joker and cuts the wire holding them, sending the Joker into the river.

Red Hood tells Batman to come to Crime Alley if he wants the Joker back. Showing up at an abandoned apartment, the Red Hood tosses the Joker on the ground and starts to beat him with a crowbar. By the time Batman arrives, the Red Hood is finished and waiting for Batman to arrive. Red Hood and Batman fight it out and end up on a rooftop of a church. The Red Hood takes off his helmet and reveals he truly is Jason Todd. After another short fight, Jason jumps through a window and back in the room where the Joker is being held. Jason confronts Batman, saying that he had forgiven him for not saving him, but is furious that he still allows the Joker to live. Batman confesses that he always wanted to kill the Joker, but will not allow himself the pleasure because there would be no going back. Jason then tosses Batman a gun and tells him he must shoot the Joker or him. Batman refuses and turns his back. Enraged, Jason then shoots at Batman; he misses, however, and Batman throws a small batarang into the barrel of the gun. The gun explodes, thus incapacitating Jason. Jason then sets off a bomb he had previously planted in the room. The Joker maniacally attempts to stop Batman from defusing it so he can finally “be the only one who gets what he wants” that night, but Batman ultimately subdues him. The bomb goes off, and this time Batman succeeds in saving Jason’s life from the explosion; nevertheless, Jason is nowhere to be found.

The Joker is returned to Arkham Asylum and Black Mask is set free on a million dollar bail. With Jason revealed to be alive, Alfred asks Batman if he should remove the memorial display case containing Jason’s Robin uniform. Batman replies that nothing has changed between Jason and him and departs in the Batmobile. A quick flashback is shown of Jason Todd’s first day and time in his Robin costume, happily jumping onto the Batmobile and declaring that it is the best day of his life.

REVIEW:

The films in the DC Universe have been a tad bit dark lately. Just look at Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, for instance. On the flipside, films such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern: First Flight show how fun the DC Universe can be and that not everything has to be dark and depressing, even if it does involve Batman.

When I first saw what the subject material was for this flick, I immediately assumed this was going to be as dark and depressing as Batman: Gotham Knight. I mean, think about it, this is about the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and how he comes back from the dead to become a vigilante crime boss known as the Red Hood. If that doesn’t scream dark subject material, I don’t know what does.

However, this film is made in a manner similar to the 90s Batman cartoon. Actually, it might be a bit more of a hybrid of that and the series from the early 2000s.

The story is amazing. The action is fast paced and there is no lag in the film to establish some random drama. all these get major plusses from me, but the voice casting didn’t quite sit right with me.

I don’t care what you say, Kevin Conroy will always be Batman. Bruce Greenwood does an ok job, but he just doesn’t stack up.

Neil Patrick Harris seems a bit out of sorts as Nightwing. What I mean by that is that it was sort of like he was just waiting to bust out into song, a la Music Meister, or do something more in-line with his personality. Aside from that, the only problem I had with Nightwing was that he disappeared almost as soon as he showed up. I would have liked to have seen a showdown between the first and second Robins.

John DiMaggio had to be the worst Joker I’ve ever seen/heard. Look, the guy is a great voice actor, as he proves every week as Bender on Futurama, but as the Joker his voice doesn’t fit. Now, it may have been the voice he chose for the Clown Prince, but something wasn’t right, and it ruined the character for me, nearly making this thing unwatchable.

Jason Isaacs is perfectly cast as Ra’s al Ghul. His voice has the quiet temperament and timber one would expect from Ra’s.

Jensen Ackles does a really good job of being the Red Hood/Robin/Jason Todd. He comes off as cocky, arrogant, and confident, just like Jason should.

I really loved this film. I have to say it is one of the best animated superhero films I’ve seen in a while. Once again, I have to say that Marvel needs to step it up, because DC is just manhandling them when it comes to films like this. The fact that this film covers some rather serous subject matter without getting too serious is what really impressed me, along with the fact that it moves along at a very fast pace. By the film’s end, I was wishing for more. That, my friends, is a sign of a really good film. I highly recommend this to everyone!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars