REVIEW: Batman: Under The Red Hood

Holy damn, that was awesome!

When I first heard that Judd Winick’s Red Hood arc would be the next DC animated movie I dreaded it as I wasn’t a huge fan of the arc when it happened, especially just how they had explained Jason’s return. I had instant horror shoot through me as I anticipated Superboy Prime making a random cameo to punch reality, and I felt myself die inside.

And then I saw the movie. And my first thought coming out of it? Can this be Jason’s new canon? Seriously, everything makes sense and it translates perfectly over the actual books. They don’t even change that much! They just add to what Ra’s already did, and bam, we have Jason Todd. The story was so many times better than the original if not just for the ability to bring back Jason from the dead without needing to leave the Bat universe to do so.

So the movie is very much the story of Jason Todd, and it even opens up with the infamous crowbar scene. I loved John DiMaggio’s take on Joker, though he did look a little too old for my tastes and it seemed weird that Joker looked to be a good ten years older than Batman was. Jason had his best moment shown, and it was very well handled, I’ve never really been a fan of the character but the movie may have actually pushed me in the right direction. A definite display of ability on the part of the writers, who worked wonders with the characters in this.

The flick is effectively violent, and the Red Hood is not tuned down in the least bit. Yes, this means that he does have his minigun, and yes, he does snipe people. He’s kinda badass, not going to lie, and they really did make the character feel like a Batman without the no killing rule. Sure, he was taking cuts off the top, but he was also cleaning up the streets. I’m not saying I support anything he does, but he does raise a point that comes across as much more valid in this than it did in the books, and I have no idea why. Something about the medium and presentation makes Jason much more sympathetic as a character.

Neil Patrick Harris had the opportunity to lend his voice to Nightwing, which was awesome for me on quite a few levels as I’m a huge fan of both NPH and Dick Grayson. Unfortunately, this also led to great disappointment when the character is in and out of the movie relatively quickly. He does look awesome, and I’d love to see NPH come back and voice more characters in the future. Great casting choice, great inclusion, maybe they can do some sort of Batman movie based on Batman and Robin and have him voice Dick there?

Gary Cole, better known to fans as Bill Lumbergh (Office Space), Andrew Klein (Entourage), Harvey Birdman (Attorney at Law), and to fans of the DC animated movies as Jim “The Spectre” Corrigan in the Spectre animated short film on the JLA: Crisis on Two Earths DVD, is also in the movie. He voices a few characters, including Commissioner Gordon, but unfortunately only got about one, maybe two sentences of dialog. That, my friends, is a waste of a talented individual, I mean, less than five seconds of screen time. Mega harsh.

The other complaint I’d have to make is that it’s just too short, but I’ve grown accustomed to having that issue with the DC animated movies, as they’re quite content with the 75 minute run times that they’ve handed out almost across the board. I’m used to it, but come on! Ten more minutes! Twenty more minutes! These things are awesome and over too soon!

In the end though, this one is worth seeing. Hell, it’s worth buying. It’s a good Batman story, and it’s one you can pick up and get into with a wealth of continuity knowledge, or even with none. There’s something for everyone in it, but especially good story telling. This is easily one of the best efforts that they’ve put out yet, and I can’t wait for the next one.



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