Review: Batman vs. Robin

Okay, I admit it.  I am a sucker for these DC direct to digital and disc releases of their comics universe.  Even the bad ones, I like to watch, if for anything, just for the sheer enjoyment of the medium. I have felt that the animation is always good regardless of plot. In that way, if I have a story that is way subpar, at least I have something pretty to look at. When the opportunity to check out a new Batman, you just know that I am all over it.  But this isn’t your everyday average Batman fare.  This is a continuation of sorts from the previous year and the Son of Batman release that focused on Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul’s child Damian.  Now we move forward and find a young Damian wearing the mantel of Robin and working with Batman in tackling crime in Gotham City.

But there is a problem however. Damian and Bruce/Batman are at odds on what to do when taking out baddies as Damian is not too keen on Bruce’s philosophy of not killing. Damian does not seem to have the temperament or the patience to fight crime in such a way and he seems to be searching for something more meaningful to his way of thinking.

Batman vs Robin box artEnter the Court of Owls, Gotham’s ancient society of power brokers who have dictated the comings and goings for a long time.  In Damian, they see an opportunity and an opening to crack their bat problem and perhaps but an end to it once and for all. Through the assassin Talon, a sort of surrogate father comes to Damian luring him to the ways of the Court and betrayal to the values of Bruce.

From there, action ensues and we get a fatherly mental tug of war that concludes with an all-out smash mouth battle royale, even bringing in Alfred to the scrap.  It is pretty intense and quite fun to watch.  Especially since the last DC offering of the Justice League and even the preceding Son of Batman release left much to be desired. No, in Batman vs Robin I got mostly what I like…A decent plot with impressive animation. And I found this to be a pretty solid release worthy of a view.

Based on a hybrid of stories provided by Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder, Batman vs Robin touches on many of those areas that are appreciated in any Batman title.  Responsible use of power even when the adversary does not adhere to the same philosophy.  Also at play is a father/son relationship that is made complicated due to the parentage involved and those two very distinctly different philosophies of “to kill or not to kill”.

Screenwriter J.M. DeMatteis does a good job in mixing in Morrison and Snyder’s inspiration in molding a pretty entertaining watch.  It was well paced, didn’t feel clunky or smothered in crummy dialogue, and played in a believable way, minus the fact that there is no way that Damian Wayne is ten years old (nah man, no way).  But hey, the story is good enough that I can let that go.

Regarding direction, Jay Olivia does fine and blends in this beautiful and dark animation quite nicely thank you very much.  I have very little bad to say here and think maybe this is a good sign for some improved releases in the coming months.

But something that has been getting on my nerves with all the DC releases lately have been the voices.  I don’t really know why, but I just do not like Jason O’Mara’s voice as Batman which he has been doing quite a bit lately.  There is something off about it that doesn’t necessarily ruin the experience for me, but doesn’t really inspire me either.  Other voices here are more ok, but not spectacular either with Jeremy Sisto playing a good role in Talon that acts well off of Stewart Allan’s cocky punk kid voice. It works ok, but feels lost a little bit in O’ Mara’s monotone.  Maybe I am spoiled a little.  I don’t know, but I just don’t dig on O’Mara’s take on of the Dark Knight.

All in all though Batman vs. Robin which isn’t the best title around, does meet a good bit of my entertainment requirements and it is worth checking out for sure.  In spite of the voice issues, I found this title to be strong and well done with spectacular animation action worthy of the mantel of the Bat.

Score: 3/5

Batman vs. Robin Director: Jay Olivia Writer: J.M. DeMatteis (based off the writings of Grant Morrison and Scott Snyder) Distributor:  Warner Home Video Rating: PG13 (for violence and action throughout) Release Date: 4/14/15 Format: DVD/Blu Ray/Digital

Like podcasts? Check out this one all about Batman vs. Robin!