Friday, May 9, 2014
Review - Son of Batman
Son of Batman is the latest movie from DC Animation, very loosely based on the 'Batman and Son' story arc from Grant Morrison's run on the Batman and Robin comic. It centers around Damian Wayne's arrival in Gotham, his origin, his introduction to his father, and his struggle to overcome his training as a killer and his desire for revenge. The movie is 84 minutes long and is third DC animated movie (the first two being Flashpoint: Paradox and Justice League: War) set in the New 52 DC continuity (Flashpoint being the event that kicked off the New 52).
The movie starts off at the base of the League of Assassins where Damian, his mother Talia al Ghul, and longtime Batman adversary Ra's al Ghul are attacked by Slade Wilson (aka Deathstroke) and his minions. In this story Slade was once the right hand of Ra's but was cast out of the League due to his actions, and is none too happy over it. He takes out several League warriors, and fatally wounds Ra's before being run off by Damian, Talia, and the surviving League members. Talia decides that with things shaking out the way they are it would be a good time for Damian to meet and reside with his father......who just happens to be Batman.
The action moves to Gotham, where Batman struggles to keep his son in line. Educated beyond his years, Damian manages to sneak into Wayne Enterprises and download vital information. At night he takes to the street to hunt down the thugs he thinks can lead him to Deathstroke. Along the way he runs into Nightwing, who doesn't exactly hit it off with him. Bruce tries to lecture him on his code of not killing, then decides the best thing to do is bring him along with him at night. Damian dons the Robin costume but doesn't take to the Dark Knight's code very well. While he struggles to adjust and Batman struggles to keep him in line, his mother moves on Deathstroke and get captured.
While all this is going on, Deathstroke is using a kidnapped Kirk Langstrom (the Dr. behind the Man-Bat serum) to create an army of Man-Bat soldiers for his own version of the League of Assassins. The big climax involves Damian venturing off alone to Deathstroke's base of operations, while Batman and Nightwing try to figure out where he's going so they can help him find his mother and stop him from killing Deathstroke (or getting killed himself). We get a big showdown between the Dark Knight and Deathstroke, then between Deathstroke and Damian to close things out in exciting fashion.
So how was it? In my book, excellent. Damian Wayne is one of the best new characters introduced towards the end of the pre-New 52 continuity, and that carries over here. We got a glimpse of the condescending snark he constantly threw towards Alfred and the other members of the Bat family, and it was as fun as it was in print. The fight scenes were plentiful and very well done, as well as anything you might see in a live action film. They were violent, but in a way that makes sense given the nature of the confrontations that were taking place. There was no gratuitous profanity like in Justice League: War. I found that totally unnecessary and not helpful to the story in any way. I'm glad they didn't go back to that well here in an effort to be more mature and edgy.
The story flowed well and was very clear and coherent from start to finish, and it ended in such a way that left the door open to further adventures from the caped crusader and his son, and the extended Bat family. There were no glaring issues like I found with Avengers: Confidential. Every important character gets enough screen time and dialogue to establish their presence in the story and contribute to it in a meaningful way. There is no wasted time on throwaway scenes or lines. The running time is short for a full length movie but I think this actually helps since there's no filler.
All in all, another excellent piece of work by DC animation. I highly recommend this one.