HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
OnTV -- DVD Today's Date:

Son of Batman

Like it or not, we are in a new era for the DC Universe Animated films. Twice a year, we will get "chapters" in a continuity that riffs a bit off of the New 52 where possible, one being a Justice League project, and one focusing specifically on Batman. Why? Because that's what sells beyond those of us hardcore fans who would love to seen an Inferior Five project.

And so after Justice League: War, James Tucker gifts us with Son of Batman, and there is no ironic disrespect in calling it a gift. It boldly introduces one of the best DC characters of the 21st century to a whole new audience, and like Under the Red Hood,streamlines and fixes the continuity to something pretty tight and impressive in under 75 minutes.

In fact, I'll put this one up in one of the top five of these projects. Freed from Grant Morrison's intent to pack sixty or so years of continuity onto the shoulders of the Bat (which I loved in comics but would never play in a movie), director Ethan Spaulding and writers James Robinson and Joe R. Lansdale pull no punches, and rarely trip up.

Essentially beginning with Damien (Stuart Allen) at his grandfather's compound, we see a loving and obedient grandson. Of course, Grandpa is R'as al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito), and the League of Shadows is under attack from the man who thinks he should be its heir, Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson).

With R'as felled, his daughter Talia (Morena Baccarin) takes her son to meet his biological father, a man who has no idea Damien exists. And, of course, that man is Batman (Jason O'Mara).

Pursued by Deathstroke, crossing paths with Killer Croc (Fred Tatasciore), and ultimately clashing with his "older brother" Nightwing (Sean Maher), Damien has a lot to process as he learns who his father is. Both Bruce Wayne and Alfred (David McCallum) have their hands full with Damien as well, with the movie deftly balancing character development with action.

For the most part, Spaulding actually uses the action as character development, a neat trick that fits for Damien. (The best battle, however, is not actually explained until the end credits.) Allen's eerie confidence never tips into over-confidence, either, making it obvious why Damien became such a hit with comics fans.

Yes, the Man-Bats are there, too, though in a more straightforward subplot, making Damien's choice a bit less difficult than in the comics.

Starting this new era of Batman strongly, O'Mara has a better command of his voice than in War, where occasionally his Irish lilt came through and he sounded a bit like Liam Neeson. Here it's just Batman, and though comparison to Kevin Conroy is inevitable, O'Mara is well on his way to being just as memorable.

That's assuming that the mantle of the Bat stays on his shoulders, and it should. The next film, Batman: Assault on Arkham is based on the video game and will be separate from this continuity, so Conroy is back for one last hurrah. But then it's all O'Mara's role.

Overall, the film makes a strong case for connecting films. If anything, since it's already different from the comics, we could see some great new stories with Damien, and fans really are hungry for that. If he drifts over to the Justice League franchise, it might be interesting to see how Damien and the new version of Billy Batson interact. (My guess is not well, but at least entertainingly.)

One warning: This is not for kids. The action is quite graphic, and at times does explore what is easier to overlook in the better Damien comics stories -- that he was raised to essentially be a psychopath, and part of his struggle is to develop empathy and his father's sense of justice. So there is blood, and an explanation for Deathstroke's lost eye.

So keep it high on the shelf. But it will be a worthwhile addition there.

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites