Synopsis – While Damian Wayne struggles to cope with Batman’s no-killing rule, he soon starts to believe that his destiny lies within a secret society known as, The Court of Owls.
My Take – Like I had mentioned in my earlier reviews, while Marvel has taken a huge leap in the live action center, DC continues to spread its wings on Television & Animated originals. In this follow up to the Ethan Spaulding directed Son of Batman (2014), son is pitted against father in Jay Oliva’s Batman vs. Robin. Drawing elements from one of my favorite story lines of the New 52 – Batman “Court of Owls”, the film opens with Robin (Stuart Allan) tracking down The Dollmaker to his lair. After Batman (Jason O’Mara) radios Robin warning him not to proceed without backup, Robin ignores his father, and begins to look around. He finds children caged up like animals, and then comes under attack from an army of killer children controlled by The Dollmaker. Robin eventually defeats the brainwashed killers, then as he threatens to kill the defeated and cowering Dollmaker, however, Batman steps in and disarms the situation. Robin feels like Batman is overbearing, but fearing for his son’s safety, Batman tries preventing Robin from going out at night to patrol Gotham.
Being young and rebellious, Robin is easily misled by Talon (Jeremy Sisto), The Court of Owls’ assassin. And now batman and Robin are at odds with one another, thanks to the interference of Talon. It’s now up to Batman to prove to his son that Talon & the secret society known as The Court of Owls is only using him. As the society has no rules that prevent them killing criminals, Robin thinks he’s better off with them. There is a line that Batman/Bruce will not cross, but Damien as the new Robin is struggling to fight the choice between Justice and Vengeance.Frankly, I wasn’t a big fan of last year’s Son of Batman, which according to me was one of the weakest DC Animated originals. But luckily Jay Olivia is a man we can trust! The animation is rendered with the same care and attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from WB/DC, and the voice acting was well directed. The story was strong in the first and final thirds, but it felt a little slow during the middle act, although, that small matter is my only issue, with an otherwise perfect animated feature. The film has one of the best fight animated choreographs that I have seen in a long time. Hard-hitting action that doesn’t shy away from the blood and gives you an impression that each punch actually hurts instead of just shrugging it off is a feel the real pain. Every fight sequence is interesting to watch in different ways. There’s also a proper balance along with the drama so there isn’t too much action to make the film devoid of plot, but also not so little so as to make us wish the superhero genre wasn’t just a melodrama.You can get a deep feel in the combat and the impact each blow lands, plus the anguish and intensity from both combatants.
The voice acting of Jason O’ Mara as Bruce/Batman definitely honors the great Kevin Conroy who this time takes the role of his father Thomas Wayne. David McCallum is as good of an Alfred as you can get and I would love to hear him return in future adaptations. While I prefer Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, Sean Maher is no slouch, either.The art visuals are very well done and I love the mixture of the gloom showing off Gotham at its darkest. I had to take a step back and go into the comics for a bit because something was throwing me off For one Talon turns good, but the ending left you at why? I wish I could say what exactly happened, but pretty much how they did it will never make Talon a good guy in the animated world. On the whole, ‘Batman Vs Robin’ has entered as one of my favorites in DC animated movie franchise. If you’re a Batman fan, you would definitely be fond of this and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to you, particularly if you happen to be interested in more than just the mainstream live action movies. While fans of the comics may nitpick that this takes liberties with Scott Snyder’s storyline and tweaks aspects of the Court of Owls, well they wont be wrong to do that. Nevertheless, this animated film is very enjoyable and a great thing to pop on when you’re in the mood for some superhero action or just watch it because it has Batman!
Director – Jay Oliva
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 82 minutes