I had no idea this year was Batman’s 75th anniversary. I found that out only a month ago; this now explains why this year in the DC Animated Movie universe is Batman heavy with the last two flicks.
The first one out of the gate is Son Of Batman, based on the graphic novel, Batman & Son. Here Ra’s Al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito) plans to bio-engineer manbat/ninja assassins with the help of Dr. Kirk Langstrom (Xander Berkeley) the original Man-Bat, but Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson) has other plans. He assassinates Ghul and attempts to assassinate Ghul’s daughter, Talia (Morena Baccarin) and her son, Damien (Stuart Allan), but Damien, having been trained since birth to be a killer, ends up being more of a challenge than Deathstroke thought and in the process he loses an eye.
Talia and Damien escape and Deathstroke wants revenge.
Talie feels Damien might be safer in the protection of his biological father so she takes him to Gotham City and gives him to Batman. Many years ago Talia drugged Batman and used him as a sperm donor. This comes as a “mild” shock to Wayne who takes Damien in nevertheless.
We soon learn Damien wants revenge too for the killing of his grandfather and while he goes about disobeying orders and setting this plan into action Batman is off tracking leads and finding out Killer Croc (Fred Tatasciore) is acting as bagman for Langstrom, stealing steroids and drugs for his experiments. Croc has been indulging in these drugs too, getting bigger, meaner and a new weapon—a tail!
Nightwing (Sean Maher) makes a cameo and has a major fight with Damien, which isn’t revealed until the end credits when freeze frame shots of it are interspersed through out. In the movie we see the set up and the end result, Damien tied up and Nightwing sporting a bloody nose and numerous samurai sword cuts all over his body as he places a call to Batman asking, “Did you lose something? I got a kid here saying he’s your son.”
I have yet to see any one of these new Batman animated flicks eclipse the brilliance of Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010), which in my book ranks number one among these Batman tales. Number two is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2013) and until I see Batman: Assault On Arkham I’d place Son Of Batman in third place.
It’s got a really good final battle between Damien and Deathstroke where we learn some of what Batman has been teaching him as rubbed off thus leading to his role as the new Robin.
As always the animation (character and action) is stellar and as with all Batman movies now, starting with Red Hood, the violence is in the bloody department. I always wonder how they get away with some of this stuff for it clearly falls into the R-rated category but they always manage to squeak by with a PG-13.
Not that I’m complaining, it does give much needed gravitas to some of these tales.
On May 6th Warner Brothers releases the movie in separate DVD and DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy versions with a 2-Disc Special Edition DVD version set for release on June 17th.
This review covers the blu-ray included with the combo.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 anamorphic high definition—English 5.1 Dolby Digital/French 5.1 Dolby Digital/Spanish DD/German DD/Portuguese DD—English/French/Spanish/German/Portuguese subtitles.
Extra features exclusive to the blu-ray are as follows:
Strange Blood Ties: Damien Wayne (15:12): Dissects Wayne’s character and his trials and tribulations from his comic book adventures and that includes his eventual death.
Designing The Characters With Phil Bourassa (9:37): Phil does commentary as slides of the characters are shown, telling how he translated the comic versions into celluloid and his reasoning for why he did certain things.
The featurette’s found on both the blu-ray and the DVD are as follows:
The Fang And The Demon Head: The League Of Assassins (10:10): A character dissection of the Ghul family, their history, motivations and exploits in the DC world.
Sneak Peek At Batman: Assault On Arkham (7:29): A quick look at the next DC animated movie. Something I didn’t know until watching this featurette Batman’s participation in this movie has become the B-plot while the A-plot is about the Suicide Squad and their mission to bust into Arkham Asylum.
Rounding out this combo is the requisite From The DC Comic Vault (4 Cartoons), which includes:
Batman Beyond—“Out Of The Past”
Batman: The Brave And The Bold—“The Knights Of Tomorrow!”
Batman: The Brave And The Bold—“Sidekicks Assemble”
Batman: The Animated Series—“Showdown”
And finally you get trailers for Justice League: War, Beware The Batman, Teen Titans Go!, Scooby-Do! Frankencreepy and DC Collectibles.
Like 99.9% of DC’s animated movies this
is another keeper for the collection!