However which way you look at it, the most popular comic book character,
and perhaps most iconic, is Batman. It is therefore no great wonder that DC purposefully utilizes the Dark Knight to a much larger extent than their other prime-time players in the JLA. Batman is in at least five comics, and in this year was utilized by the great Grant Morrison in what I believe is one hell of an amazing mini-series, The Return of Bruce Wayne. Batman will stay busy as people are eagerly anticipating breaking news on Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Yessiree, It is a great time to be a Batman fan.
I was looking so forward to watching Batman: Under the Red Hood for such a long time. Since moving in September, I have not had the time to do so, but finally things fell into place, and I was able to hook up my PS3. Since I have owned this Blu-Ray since October, I figured I would watch and see this on the one and only night that I have available this week. It is sad to say that I am languishing with a heavy heart as I am writing this--Sadly, I have to say it: DC shattered Batman with this movie.
During Batman: Under the Red Hood, it suddenly dawned on me that it was an amazingly bad rendition of the great Death in the Family story. And so you don't think I am being a jerk, I need you to understand that I have that book, and cherish it. This was, after all, the tale that DC let us finish. The idea, back in 1988, was to let the fans decide the fate of the second Robin, the troubled Jason Todd. Now, don't get me wrong--I understand that in comic books people come back to life all the time, and Jason is fits in this here category. But Ras Al Ghul does not need to be part of this story; he isn't even in Death in the Family, although both he and Talia do play a role in the second Robin's resurrection. Especially Talia; all of this can be explained in Red Hood: The Lost Days, a six part series that DC released from about August to January of the past year. But I digress, and will say that in my opinion, DC half-assed the Death in the Family bit. Hell, we never got to see JT's conniving mother.
As for the actors, Greenwood was a good Batman, but Kevin Conroy is the TRUE voice of the Caped Crusader. Ditto Mark Hamill as Joker. Don't get me wrong, John Dimaggio was admirable, but when up against a legend, it does not stack up. Jensen Ackles did the best job as Jason Todd, and Wade Williams as Black Mask made me smirk a few times. I like the fact that Jason Isaacs was Ras Al Ghul, but it seems like they had to give the character a larger role in order to justify the check Isaacs received.
Visually, I've seen better. This wasn't innovative stuff. I will say that the animation was a step up from GL: First Flight, but I that's not saying much. Sometimes I think these studios feel that if they just fill the screen with all of these explosions, then we the audience will not see it for what it is: clutter.
Let's face it, Mask of the Phantasm is the creme de la creme of Batman animation. Nothing will beat its story, filled with new, raw emotion. This is manufactured, blatantly taking a famous story and and cherry-picking the parts that DC liked for their little film. In short, Batman: Under the Hood should have stayed under wraps.
This review is dedicated to George Plimpton.