BEDA 2015: 06 – Review of Batman Vs Robin

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Today I watched this. It’s the sequel to last year’s Son of Batman. I did a review of it for last year’s BEDA where I gave it a favourable review but over time my stance changed from seeing it as “a great film” to just being ok, especially after seeing so many more films that year more deserving of being called great. The problem is when I look back at the film it wasn’t that notable compared to DC’s past animated films. I did feel they were loosing their touch, this year’s disappointing Justice League: Throne of Atlantis didn’t help change that opinion.

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With all that said this film was a bit of a return to form. Not being familiar with the comics this was based on allowed for an interesting mystery concerning the Court of Owls. And while there is a fight between them I was glad the “vs” the title is about was more about conflicting views, one of my worries about the upcoming Batman Vs Superman film is that they might spend too much time on the fight between the two and not enough on their personal conflict.

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Despite my enjoyment of the film it isn’t without its faults. One issue I had was that the Bat Family felt a little small. There’s even a point where Dick Grayson suggests Damian isn’t worthy of being Robin by saying “based on what I’m seeing I was the only Robin” which implies Tim Drake, Jason Todd and Stephanie Brown were never Robin in this universe (that or Dick was being… a dick). Another issue is the character of Talon is shrouded in mystery but later when we see him unmasked I still had no idea who he was. We’d never seen him unmasked in the film before, nor do we learn his name. Overall the Court of Owls mystery had an underwhelming conclusion. These things didn’t ruin the film as the real core was Batman and Robin but they are what stop it from being a great film.

One of the best moments of the film for me was a big flashback to young Bruce trying to prove that the Court of Owls were behind the murder of his parents leading to a sweet scene where Alfred comforts him about the realization that their death really was random. Also as a Teen Titans fan I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed the girlfriend Nightwing was on the phone to at one point in the film was Starfire.

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The film has a great cast. Jason O’Mara and Stuart Allan return as the title characters along with David McCallum and Sean Maher as Alfred and Nightwing. Despite what I said about the underwhelming nature of Talon’s identity I really liked Jeremy Sisto’s voice for the character, it was a great mix of intimidating and understanding. Special mention also has to be made for Kevin Conroy as Thomas Wayne and “Weird Al” Yankovic and the Dollmaker.

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Overall I liked the film. It’s not up there with DC’s best animated films but hopefully it’s a sign that we can still expect some great animated DC films in the future. I have a feeling this won’t be the last Damian Wayne film, considering Nightwing’s constant presence in them perhaps they’ll do a Death of Batman story and have Dick Grayson become Batman.

And with that I’ve now seen a grand total of two films from 2015… Yeah I need to see more films soon. I know Age of Ultron is coming soon but we’re about a third of the way through the year and the only films I’ve seen (not counting films from previous years of course) are two films, both of which are from DC.

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