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.