Sunday, October 30, 2011

Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD

The other day my sister mentioned to me that she had picked up the Captain America DVD. Seeing as that the Cap movie was one of the FEW movies I was actually interested in watching, I was pretty excited. She told me that as soon as she watched it she'd lend it to me to watch. She also told me that she picked up the Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD, which was another movie I'd been dying to watch seeing as that the comic book story is one of my all-time favorites. Since she wanted to watch Cap first, I asked for the Red Hood DVD, and here we are. Before I popped the DVD into my Playstation, I figured I might as well review the DVD just for the hell of it. This movie is the FIRST non-comic book/trade that I've ever reviewed here on the blog(or anywhere else for that matter). I'm going to use the basic format I use when I review a comic book, and we'll see how this turns out. Okay, with that all taken care of, on with the show!

Batman: Under The Red Hood(2010):

What Happened: 5 years ago the Joker manages to blow Robin(Jason Todd) up, killing him, thanks in part to Ra's Al Ghul, who had set Joker against Batman and Robin to distract the Dynamic Duo while he attempted one of his schemes. Guilty over his part in Jason's death, Ra's steals the body and drops it in one of his Lazarus Pits, returning Jason to life but also rendering him temporarily insane. Crazy Jason escapes Ra's headquarters and time moves on. In the present, the Red Hood is beginning to stick his nose into the dealings of Gotham's crime lord, Black Mask. Besides that, Red Hood, after a run-in with Batman, reveals that he knew that the man under the cowl was Bruce Wayne... Black Mask gets more and more pissed as Red Hood costs him more money and guns, and sends assassins after Red Hood, who is assisted by Batman. The two fight side-by-side, and manage to defeat the assassins, with Bats getting a sword with some of Red Hood's blood on it. Bats takes the sword back to the Batcave and yes, it is a perfect match for the blood Bats had on file for Jason. Now desperate to rid himself of the Red Hood, Black Mask engineers Joker's escape from Arkham Asylum and tells Joker to kill Red Hood. Instead, Joker captures a mess of Red Hood's gang members, as well as Black Mask and his assistant and threatens to kill them all. Red Hood arrives on the scene and tells Joker to go and kill them all, since this was always about manipulating Mask into freeing Joker from Arkham since Mask was one of the few people with the power and resources to do so. Red Hood manages to capture Joker, and demands a meeting with Bats. The two meet at the spot Bats first found Jason as a child and they battle, with Bats managing to get the upper-hand... At least until Jason reveals that he had captured Joker. Jason bemoans the fact that Bats never killed Joker after Jason's death, and that if their roles had been reversed, he would have done everything in his power to make sure Joker never killed again. Jason tosses Bats a gun while putting a gun to Joker's head and tells Bats that he was going to shoot Joker in the head, and that the only way Bats could stop Jason was to shoot him in the face. Bats feigns walking away but throws a batarang into Jason's gun, causing it to explode. In return, Jason pushes a detonator and we find that he had stuffed the fireplace with explosives on a 20 second countdown. Joker tries to hold Bats away from the bombs since he liked the idea of dying with Bats, and manages to cost Bats the time he'd have needed to stop the explosives. Bats escapes from Joker's grasp and lunges for Jason just as the building blows. In the aftermath, Bats pushes some rubble off of himself and finds the Joker buried under rubble but still alive. As for Jason, he's nowhere to be seen.

The Good: Most of the voice acting was very well done. I was especially pleased with Batman and Jason's voicing. Black Mask was awesome here, in voice and actions. The final battle in Crime Alley between Bats and Jason was probably the highpoint of the movie for me. The explanation of Jason's return from the dead here was 100,000% better than in the comics, which consisted of, “Superboy Prime punched the air really, really hard...” Jason's plan to get his hands on Joker and his and manipulation of Black Mask was nicely done. Nightwing's appearances, while too short, were appreciated.

The Bad: With the exception of the laugh, I didn't like the voice acting done for Joker. The animation for the flying and driving scenes bugged me. The ending, or lack thereof, was really vexing... I guess Jason escaped thanks to Bats? Probably? For being blown up, Robin/Jason's corpse was in pretty great shape! There was never really any doubt as to the identity of the Red Hood. That's fine for somebody like me who knew this story going in, but they could have tried to hide his identity a bit better for people not as well versed in Bat-history. Jason's escape from Ra's headquarters was pretty lame. The final scene with Jason, Joker and Bats wasn't as powerful here as it was in the comic.

The Verdict: If you could combine certain aspects of this movie(Jason's return from the dead, the building exploding to end the movie) with the comic story(the Jason/Bats battle, the way Bats learned Red Hood was Jason) this would be the perfect story! As it is, I preferred the story in the comics to the story in the movie. The movie never really gave us the same emotional punch that the comic did, with the exception of Bats screaming about how he'd failed Jason every now and then. I would have liked some kind of definitive ending between Bats and Jason here, I mean I understand why that didn't happen in the comic, but there was no reason we could have some sort of closure in this movie. Once the movie ends, the story is over, and as it was, the story here was just left dangling, which always bothers me with movies... In the end, there was more good than bad here, so this was a good way to spend 75 minutes.

Score: 8 out of 10.


  1. An 8/10?! You son of a bitch! Lol, kidding, but glad you finally watched it and enjoyed it. I didn't mind Joker's voice, I mean no one will ever be Hamill but I've heard worse Joker voices, like Brave and The Bold... But yeah, everything else I enjoyed, especially Jensen Ackles voicing Jason.

  2. "An 8/10?! You son of a bitch!" HA! I was a bit afraid to put that score down fearing your wrath, JT! :P

    I think my main problem with the way Joker was voiced was exactly that, that it wasn't Hamill... After playing Arkham City for almost two weeks now, and hearing so much of Hamill doing Joker, everything else just sounds like a WAY lesser version. Who knows, if I'd have watched this back when it first came out, the Joker voice thing may not have even bugged me. But hearing Hamill voicing Mistah J earlier in the day and then watching this made me really notice that Joker's voicing wasn't up to Hamill's impossibly high standards.

  3. Oh, and agreed on the guy who voiced Jason. He had just the right amount of bad-ass and former Robin in his voice to make it work.

  4. Well you apparently didn't even notice that it wasn't Conroy voicing Bats....Lol And yeah, Jensen really brought some life to Jason, I really want him to voice him if he appears in anything else.

  5. I actually did notice that it wasn't Conroy voicing Bats, but I think it's probably easier to do Bats then it is Joker. All you have to do is talk deep and growly and boom, instant Batman! Who ever it was that did Bats here did a good enough job that it didn't bug me.

    Dude, I have to ask, what the hell was up with the end of this movie?! I mean it was better then what we got in the comic, but still, for a movie it kind of sucked.

  6. You clearly still haven't seen Dark Knight... or you'd take that comment back.

    I enjoyed it, it was ambiguous and since there was no body it opens a return for a sequel. If anything, Nightwing seemed pointless in that movie, him and Jason didn't even interact.

  7. You KNOW that I haven't seen Dark Knight yet! Come on, JT, you should be impressed enough that I actually managed to watch THIS movie! :D

    I think that's what bugged me... What if there IS no sequel? I mean it's not like DC sat down and decided, "Hey, let's make this story a trilogy of animated flicks!" or something like that. It was probably more along the lines of, "If this movie does well, maybe we'll do another..." With the comics an open-ended finish is okay, because you can always revisit it down the road, but for a movie, where there's no guarantee of a second film, I'd have liked to see something(Bats letting Jason get away, Jason digging Bats out and then leaving on his own accord, etc) to give me some closure... I'd have added another 1/2 if that had happened.

    Yeah, the thing with Nightwing WAS weird, because he was there for absolutely NO reason... Seriously, why was he there? To establish that Bats isn't a fuck-up with all of his Robins, and that some make it past 15? Couldn't they have done that through a quick flashback? I mean being a NW mark you KNOW I was happy to see him here, but you are 100% correct, there was literally no reason for him to be in this... He did NOTHING!

  8. Then don't comment on how easy a Batman voice is... haha, that movie will change your perception.

    Yeah, but I like to keep hope that they'll do another and that's why it's so open-ended, maybe even something where they have to team up the Bat Family, who knows, but it wouldn't have hurt to do either of the things you said.

  9. I like to watch the DCAU videos so after just watching Batman: Year One I can easily say that the Batman voice doesn't come off as easy (although I guess the guy who voiced Batman here is also doing it for Young Justice). The Batman here isn't bad and and the Joker isn't the worse I have heard.

    (Brent Spiner as Joker)

    As far as the DCAU movies go this is one of the best ones. I think they left the ending open because they try to keep it as close to the story they are basing it on as they can.

  10. So wait, are you saying that the guy who played Bats in Dark Knight didn't do a good job, JT? Cause that would surprise me! But honestly, I'd think doing Bats would be WAY easier to do than Joker. Granted, I doubt everybody could do Batman's voice, but I'd think more actors could convincingly pull that voice off as opposed to Joker.

    I guess I was the only one who was bothered by the way this one ended? :P I understand why they'd end the movie as they did, but I've always hated movies that don't REALLY end... I guess it could have been worse, if they really wanted to keep it close to the comics, it could have ended with Chemo falling from the sky!

  11. "So wait, are you saying that the guy who played Bats in Dark Knight didn't do a good job, JT?"

    Nope, I didn't say that. His Batman voice was growly though, and not clearly not as good as Conroy or Greenwood's in Under the Red Hood and Young Justice. And like Jermox mentioned, the guy in Batman: Year One also shows that it's not easy to do a convincing Batman voice..

    I'm not even gonna comment on the irony of you hating movies that have open endings, then giving Captain America a 9/10 when it ends with him in the middle of NYC wondering how he got there and being confused beyond all reason. Lol

  12. Let me put it a different way, JT... Do you think it's easier doing Batman or Joker? I think that's the point I was(badly!) trying to make. I feel you can find more actors who can do a good to great Batman than actors who can do a good to great Joker. Being able to act Joker-crazy is something that's GOT to be tough to do! Bats is more moody/dark, Joker is just nuts! You've got to be a superb actor to act THAT crazy!

    I can forgive it because we KNOW it's leading into the Avengers movie(it even says so after the last scene!). Yeah, it DID annoy me how this one ended(I said as much in the post), but since we know we're DEFINITELY getting a continuation of the story, I can live with it. If we knew for SURE that we were gonna get a sequel to this film, I'd definitely be more forgiving.

  13. Well in that case yeah, It's harder to voice Joker I'd assume, which is why this Joker didn't bother me after hearing way worse on Brave and the Bold and The Batman.

    I thought it was pretty obvious it would lead to another just because the entire plot took place in the past, but I guess I'll accept that answer...begrudgingly!

  14. Cool. Like I said, if I hadn't been hearing Hamill voicing Joker so much recently, I bet I wouldn't have minded Joker's voice in this film at all. But Hamill just OWNS Joker's voice for me.

    Ha-ha!! And I'll accept that as a victory! Check and mate my good friend! :P

  15. If it makes a difference, I remember in a interview Hamill stating that doing the Joker voice is exhausting. And, after having found a video of him doing the Joker voice, it looked exhausting. I figure the Joker voice is harder, it just annoys me how many people can screw up the Batman voice.

    I pretty much figured this movie would be open ended like this. They have been doing adaptation of arcs as movies for awhile so I half expected that this movie would end without Jason Tood being redeemed or captured.

  16. I recall hearing(from JT I believe) that Hamill said he wasn't going to do Joker anymore after Arkham City, so I can imagine that it must be a tough one to pull off, Jermox. I mean just the laughter alone must be a bitch to pull off, let alone the voice itself.

    Yeah, I didn't realize going in it was going to be such a direct adaption of the comic story... It's like I said, I'm fine with a comic story ending in an open fashion, because you know it can easily be revisited down the road. But I like my movies to either have a guaranteed sequel(like Cap) or a definitive ending. They changed the beginning for the better, I just wished they'd have changed up the ending as well...

  17. Yeah, although Mark Hamill recently said he'd still voice Joker for the Arkham games if they wanted him, as well as if they ever do a Killing Joke animated film.

    Speaking of Arkham City, Nightwing is sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet, I just got a 112 hit combo with him...

  18. Awesome on both fronts, JT! So there's still the possibility of more Joker goodness come the next Batman video game.

    Goddamn! 112?! I was impressed with myself when I got a 53 hitter with Bats! I dled NW but didn't get around to playing as him yet. I didn't see him in the PSN until like 8:30, and by that time I was working on the computer and didn't feel like playing. I am a bit annoyed that supposedly NW doesn't talk at all... If that's true that's kind of lame... Like Spidey, one of NW's most powerful weapons is his one-liners!

  19. Yeah, so that made my day when I found out.

    Yep, I'm awesome. And Nightwing is so much faster than Bats it's ridiculous, he may even be faster than Selina. And yeah, that's the one thing that bothers me, I wanted him to talk and crack jokes, but whatever. I'll make my own jokes. :P

  20. "I'll make my own jokes" HA!!! And I can easily see you doing that too! :D