UNDER THE RED HOOD
Batman Under the Red Hood is a new DC Universe animated film based on a few different Batman comics that started with “A death In the Family”. The story as I am sure you know by now centers around the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. I will point out from the beginning this is no “Mask of the Phantasm” but is by no means a horrible film either. For those of us who read the comics already know basically what the deal is but it was still interesting in seeing how they would fit all that they wanted into an average length film. Did they accomplish what they needed to make this a classic, no, but it is not the worst the company has put out either.
We start off with the Joker and Robin [Jason Todd] spending a wonderful night together all cozy with a crowbar. Well it is actually Joker who is cozy as he is beating young Todd to death and having a great time doing it. Batman is on his way but he does not make it in time as the Joker is gone and Robin is killed by a bomb. Fast forward and time has gone by as Bruce Wayne is still trying to cope with what happened. But it seems he is no longer the big fish in town and neither is Black Mask who’s empire is falling to a new crime lord, the Red Hood. The Red Hood has been used by many people including most famously by the Joker, but who is this new guy who can out run and play Batman.
So the race is one as Batman not only has to deal with Black Mask and this new guy named the Red Hood but it seems that the Joker is some how involved. Add in his former partner Night Wing is trying to help out where he can, by the way he was the first Robin but our boy wonder grew up. Now throw in a few more guys and events and you have one rushed and convoluted film, but it is still fun. But to be honest with all that is going on this film seems like it could have been a great miniseries for the DC Universe. But alas it was not meant to be as they crammed as much as they could into this film.
That is over all the main problem with this film, to much in such a short time. Everything else seems fine from the animation to the voice acting. Speaking of voice acting John DiMaggio did an excellent job as the Joker in this film. Everyone else here does a good job as well and all the performances are top notch. Written by Judd Winick and directed by Brandon Vietti this film while heavily mixed with different stories does miss out on a lot that the books had. I could go into all that it missed but that is covered in other reviews but I do recommend reading all the comics.
Also there is an excellent short animated film on Jonah Hex that I highly recommend, I really enjoyed it. It is about a lady, a working lady if you know what I mean, who lures drunk men upstairs only for them never to be seen again. It is just like I said a short film but it is very very good. Also we have a lot of in depth looks at other DC Universe films and two episodes from the excellent Batman animated series from the 90’s, 2 about Robin and his origin. As well as an in depth look a Robin in a documentary called “Robin: The Story of Dick Grayson”.
This two disc set is very much worth the price and I do think you should get it when you have the chance. Sure this is far from a classic, well maybe not far because it had potential to be the best. But it fell a little short but remains a very entertaining film and 2-disc set, the special features alone are great. So if you are a fan of DC, Batman, The Joker, or just comics in general I say buy it.
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