Review: Son of Batman (Spoilers)

By: Dave

I've been a big fan of the DCAU (DC Animated Universe) since day one. The Batman: Animated Series was the best after school cartoon I can remember (Aside from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-Men: The Animated Series). DC jumped into another stratosphere when they started making their direct-to-video/DVD animated films. My favorite of the films is probably Batman: Under the Red Hood, but its really tough to choose as almost all of them have been so great. Their latest release, Son of Batman, is an adaptation of Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's 2006 Batman and Son storyline. A loose adaptation at that, the film veers a bit from the source material.


Son of Batman sees Jason O'Mara return as Batman/Bruce Wayne. We last heard his voice in Justice League: War and this film is said to be in the same universe as the New 52 adaptation. Firefly star, Morena Baccarin lends her voice as Talia al Ghul and Breaking Bad's very own Giancarlo Esposito voices Ra's al Ghul. Another Firefly alum, Sean Maher, joins the cast as Dick Grayson/Nightwing. The voice acting was exceptional and while missing Kevin Conroy's voice as the Bat, O'Mara does a fantastic job as both Batman and Bruce Wayne.


As far as the plot goes, the story is easy to follow as Deathstroke/Slade Wilson is seeking to control the League of Assassins as he was supposed to be Ra's rightful heir until he met Batman. In a previous encounter, Talia had seduced and drugged the Dark Knight into a night of passion, the results were a son he would never be told about, Damian Wayne. Damian was raised by his mother and grandfather and trained to be the heir of the League of Assassins. Now I remember being quite annoyed by Damian in all of the books, but I actually liked him in this film and wanted to see more of him as Robin.


Upon Ra's apparent death at the hands of Deathstroke, Talia takes Damian to Gotham City as she knows Wilson will be hunting both herself and her son. She leaves Damian in the care of his father. Damian is headstrong and quite arrogant but he is extremely skilled in martial arts and sword fighting. In his pursuit of Slade Wilson he attacks one of Wilson's henchmen and bests him. Before he can give the killing blow, Nightwing stops him and an unseen battle ensues that leaves Nightwing cut up quite a bit, but he wins the fight setting up the "playful" relationship between Damian and Dick we saw in the comics.


Eventually Batman would allow Damian to take the mantle of Robin and fight alongside him as they hunt down Deathstroke. After realizing Wilson has taken his mother hostage, Damian leaves Batman on his own to fight him and rescue his mother. Batman, with the help of Nightwing discovers that Damian has left and rushes to an oil rig owned by Ra's al Ghul for the final fight. Talia is mortally wounded in the attack and has to be revived by the Lazarus Pit buried beneath the oil rig while Damian fights Slade Wilson, getting the best of him but choosing not to kill as he's "his father's son."


While this was a very brief synopsis of the plot, there's a lot more to the story. Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat and his family are held hostage by Slade Wilson. Langstrom is forced to create more Man-Bats from Slade's army of assassins. Killer Croc also makes a cameo in the beginning as well.


The animation was great, I love this style of animation much more than the style we saw in Flashpoint: Paradox where the characters have too much muscle and almost no sign of a neck. The music was moving and well placed, though the story was a bit slow at some points. I enjoyed the film, one of their shorter films, coming in at just over an hour (01:15) it's very much worth the watch.


If you've seen it, what did you think? Were you upset at the liberties taken from the source material and all the changes that were made? Were would you rank this film among all of the DC Animated Original Movies?

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