Out tomorrow, May 6th, is the latest DC Animated Film, Son of Batman. The film stars Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Vegas) and Stuart Allan (Grey’s Anatomy), as the voices of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Damian, respectively. They are joined by several television greats in this star studded cast, Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) as Deathstroke, Morena Baccarin (Homeland) as Talia, Xander Berkeley (Nikita) as Langstrom, David McCallum (NCIS) as Alfred, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Revolution) as Ra’s Al Ghul, Sean Maher (Firefly) as Nightwing/Dick Grayson, and Bruce Thomas (Kyle XY) as Gordon.
This all-new, PG-13-rated film had its world premiere at WonderCon, making it the sixth DC Universe Animated Movie to premiere there. Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment have premiered Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), Wonder Woman (2009), Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011), Superman vs. The Elite (2012), and Superman Unbound (2013) exclusively at WonderCon over the past 6 years.
The story centers around Deathstroke’s assassination of Ra’s Al Ghul, during this initial battle Ra’s grandson Damian almost bests Deathstroke, taking his eye and beginning a vendetta that lasts throughout the movie. Damian is portrayed as brash and confident, a young man that has been taught his entire life that he and his family are the upper echelon of society. With her son now in Deathstroke’s crosshairs Talia Al Ghul must take him to Gotham and place him under the protection of his unknowing father.
We very quickly find out that Damian is the offspring of Talia and Bruce, though Bruce has little recollection of the trist as its described as an almost date rape type scenario. This scene details my main issues with the story, I understand that Talia is a sexual character, but as an assassin she should also be practical. From her very first on screen moments she is not only drawn with tight clothing, but clothing with a plunging neckline that would make it impossible to keep her breasts from falling out. I’m not a prude, but she was draw so ridiculously that the audience was laughing at the absurdity of it much of the time. It would have been impossible for her to have remained clothed walking down the street let alone in throws of an all out martial arts battle. At one point she is mortally wounded and must be submerged into the Lazarus Pit, the last body part to go under the water are her enormous breasts, at this point the audience roared with laughter. The story itself was fine, nothing very original, but action was well paced and moved along at a breakneck speed throughout the film.
At times the interactions between Damian, and the heroes of Gotham are very humorous. There are some excellent one liners scattered throughout the feature. Other times I felt like I was being beaten over the head when it came to Damian, you are reminded time and time again that he’s a fighter with almost unmatched skill and focus. He exudes discipline when it comes to his training, and skill set. But this is immediately thrown out the window when it doesn’t serve as a proper plot device. Damian goes from disciplined to, reckless, and careless in the blink of an eye. Even Batman seems out of character at times, at one point Batman stays behind to care for Talia, while Damian chases after Deathstroke. My issue with this, is that once Talia no longer needs his care Batman still stays behind with her. Neither of them finding the urgency to hurry after their son and assist him with an extremely deadly opponent. There are a few other instances throughout the movie like this but I don’t want to seem like I am griping or down on the movie.
Overall Son of Batman is another solid animated film for DC. I liked it very much, but these were points in the movie that stuck in my mind that were left in place out of laziness rather than necessity. Despite its short failings listed above, it was at it’s core a loyal adaptation of Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s 2006 Batman and Son storyline.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, Son of Batman is directed by Ethan Spaulding from a screenplay by Joe R. Lansdale, and based on a story by James Robinson. James Tucker is producer. Phil Bourassa is character designer. Sam Register (Young Justice, Teen Titans), Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight Rises) and Benjamin Melniker (The Dark Knight Rises) are executive producers. The film arrives May 6, 2014 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.
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Interviews: Steve Sievers