On The Couch #43: Batman: Under The Red Hood

Despite Netflix offering Batman: Under The Red Hood through instant streaming, I opted to rent the Blu-Ray from them instead. My reason for doing this was that with every previous DC direct-to-video release, I enjoyed the special features much more than the movie. Thankfully, that didn’t end up being the case with Batman: Under The Hood.

Out of all of the DC direct-to-video animated movies, Batman: Under the Red Hood is the best. The story is very faithful to its source material, probably because original writer Judd Winnick is the screenwriter here. And the source material is good. Batman: Under The Red Hood revolves around the resurrection of the second Robin, Jason Todd, who wants to get back at his killer, The Joker, and his former mentor who allowed his killer to live, Batman.

Neil Patrick Harris voices NIghtwing, the original Robin all grown up.

I still remember vividly when DC Comics killed Jason Todd. It made national news. Not only did DC kill Batman’s partner, but the fans were responsible for it. DC set up a 900 number and let the fans vote if Robin would survive the story A Death in the Family. It was 50 cents to call, which prevented 11-year-old me from getting my parents permission to call in and vote. To this day, I’m not sure how I would have voted if I was given permission. Like many Batman readers at the time, I wasn’t a big fan of Jason Todd as Robin. I thought it was cool that he was discovered by Batman while stealing the wheels off the Batmobile, but he became annoying very quickly with his whininess and temper tantrums. Still, I don’t know if I would have voted for him to die. At the same time, I don’t know if I would have voted for him to live. Maybe it’s a good thing that my parents withheld taking my $0.50 make that call. No 11-year-old needs that kind of responsibility hanging over his head.

“You can prevent it with a telephone call.” …or not.

The one-two punch of A Death in the Family and the Tim Burton Batman movie turned me into a huge Batman fan. I think I had a different Batman t-shirt for every day of the week back then, my favorite being one of The Joker, surrounded by laughter, holding up a gun and a joker card. I was obsessed. I still have a giant Batman movie poster from the NYC subway hanging up in my old room at my parents’ house.

While I didn’t like him as Robin, I really like Jason Todd as The Red Hood, I especially liked when he confronted Batman and asked him what seems like the most obvious question in the world, how can Batman let The Joker live? The Joker has murdered thousands and despite Batman’s best efforts, he continually breaks out of Arkham to murder more. To Judd Winnick’s credit as a writer, he pens the perfect answer to come out of Batman’s mouth for that question.

The special features on the Blu-Ray did not disappoint. There’s a cool Jonah Hex short, with Thomas Jayne voicing Jonah Hex. And there are two documentary featurettes on the first two Robins, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd.

If you’re a fan of Batman, you should definitely check out Batman: Under The Red Hood.