Son of Batman – Review


When it was announced that James Tucker was going to succeed Bruce Timm as the head of DC’s animated film line, I think people thought Tucker would succeed, but did they think he would succeed this well? Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new king in town. It started with Justice League: War, which quickly rivaled Under the Hood as my favorite DC animated movie. Son of Batman is even better. James Tucker is now responsible for two of the three best DC animated movies, or the two best, depending on which day of the week you ask me the question (Justice League: War and Under the Red Hood are so close! Might as well give them the tie for the #2 spot).

Ethan Spaulding directs Son of Batman. Judging by the quality of the movie, you would not think that this is directorial debut, but I believe it is. The first five minutes of the movie are immediately exciting. Far from Gotham City, R’as Al Ghul’s League of Assassins is under attack in their impenetrable mountain stronghold that turns out to be not that impenetrable. This fight scene is awesome! The first five minutes of the movie are worth the price of the DVD alone.

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Tim Drake is nowhere to be found in Son of Batman. His parts from the comic have been transferred to Dick Grayson, aka Robin I aka Nightwing.

But if I have any quibble with Son of Batman, it’s in this scene. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s so ridiculous it kind of makes my head hurt: the League of Assassins’ Gatling gun full of arrows. I don’t remember if the arrow Gatling gun was in the original comic book story. It’s something that I can see Grant Morrison writing; it’s that crazy, or it could be solely from the mind of the screenwriter. In this movie, the League are pretty much all ninjas. The invaders have guns, but the assassins in the League wield no guns, just swords, bows and arrows. You’d think a group called the League of Assassins would be up on the latest in assassination technology, they seemed to have stopped looking for new equipment somewhere around Feudal Japan. Except for the arrow Gatling gun. At some point, R’as must have been mighty impressed with the might of the Gatling gun and commissioned his own, but his was to fire only arrows. This special gun must have cost the League a lot of money; it’s no small task to say, “No, I don’t want this gun to fire bullets. I want it to fire arrows.” And R’as got his way. Arrows it did fire. Enough to knock helicopters out of the sky. I guess if you’re an immortal with wealth going back centuries, you’re allowed a certain amount of levity with how you choose to spend your money. I probably would have gone with grenade launcher that shot Fribbles, but that’s just me.

But I digress…

In case you’re not familiar with the premise of the movie, Batman has a son. Okay, I guess that’s there in the title. This isn’t some future story line; it takes place in the present. Years ago, R’as Al Ghul’s daughter Talia drugged Batman, had her way with him and secretly had his baby, whose existence she kept hidden for years. The fallout of the first five minutes of the movie lead to Batman’s now teenage son being dropped at the foot of the Batcave.

One of the coolest villains in the DC Universe, Deathstroke, is the main villain in Son of Batman. Deathstroke is an assassin who is blind in one eye. The DC Animated Universe gets its version of how Deathstroke was blinded in that eye in this movie…and…It. Is. Awesome.

Seriously, I want to gush about this movie more, but I don’t want to ruin it. Go rent or buy Son of Batman. It rocks.

Make sure to watch the movie all the way through the credits. There’s not a special end credit scene, but there is something very cool. Nightwing and Damian’s fight on the streets of Gotham is told in stills as the credits roll. In the movie, we see them encounter each other, and we see how it ends, so it’s cool to see the (very awesome) middle part here. If only they put that scene in the movie!

The bonus features have some Robin-centered Batman cartoons. I watched all of them and enjoyed all of them, especially the seeing the original Teen Titans on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Son of Batman is a very strong follow-up to Justice League: War, and really has me excited for the future of DC animated movies under James Tucker.

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