Let me start this review by saying I haven't ever been one to take part in the Batman comic scene. In fact, the last time I picked up and read an actual comic, not a graphic novel, was... so long ago I can't even remember the date. I haven't ever had anything against comics; I just haven't ever had the time, money, or means to get them. But I have always been a Batman fan. Hell, I'll be the first to say I'll probably always be a Batman fan. Ever since "Batman: The Animated Series" way back in 1992, all the way to Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises", Batman, and most, if not all, of his Rogue's Gallery, will have a special place in my heart. Especially Joker.
Batman: Under the Red Hood, based on the storylines "A Death in the Family" and "Under the Hood", brings us back into Gotham City once more and shows us Bruce Wayne/Batman's ultimate challenge to date. The Red Hood, one part vigilante another criminal kingpin, takes Gotham by firestorm, cleaning the city's streets with all the efficiency of the caped crusader, but without his moral code. Killing is optional. But when The Joker falls between the two, old wounds and hard truths may be the least of Batman's worries.
As I said above, I've never been one for Batman comics but I have always found the universe enthralling. Especially the villains. If I had to choose a top five, it would probably go something like... The Joker, Bane, Ra's al Ghul, Black Mask, and yes you guessed it Red Hood. But not necessarily in that particular order. And that list may be subject to change. Maybe not. However I feel like I have to say I'm fond of very particular versions of said villains: Joker, Bane, and Ra's? I love their interpretations by Christopher Nolan. I always will. Heath Ledger's Joker is all but a part of my brain. Black Mask and Red Hood are skewed more towards the comic book aspect, but only because that is the only medium they are most prevalent in. And because I did a lot of reading for the both of them on their respective Wikipedia pages.
So while I was doing some looking about the likelihood of Deathstroke (completely unrelated, I know) being in the new CW Series "Arrow", I got to thinking about other comic book villains. First I clicked my way to Deadshot, then onto Black Mask, where I did a good amount of reading-up, and finally came to Red Hood. After another short series of clicks, I came across "Batman: Under the Red Hood", which has some amazing cover art, let me say. Now, I don't know about you, but I have always loved Futurama, Gears of War, and Supernatural. Why do I bring those names into a Batman review you ask? Easy! Because John DiMaggio and Jensen Ackles play The Joker and Red Hood in this movie, respectively.
After reading the cast list, I was practically dying to hear and see their characters in action. It didn't hurt my excitement level that Bruce Greenwood and Jason Isaacs were also involved. Greenwood voicing the Dark Knight himself and Isaacs playing the part of Ra's al Ghul.
I can easily and happily say that each of those men does a wonderful job with their particular character. Greenwood brings all the gruff and brooding emotion that we've come to know and love about Bruce Wayne and his alter ego and Isaacs, while brief, was enjoyable as the immortal Ra's al Ghul. Let me go on record saying that every time DiMaggio gave his version of the Joker's laugh, I was cackling right alongside him. It's like I said earlier, *knocks side of head*, The Joker's right up there laughing and carving smiley faces into my brain tissue.
Oh, and how could I forget Mr. Jensen Ackles as Red Hood? From the moment the character shot his way on-screen, with the exceptionally enjoyable line of, "Yeah, like yelling at the guy who's holding the AK-47" and "Those are the heads of all your lieutenants. That took me two hours. You wanna see what I can get done in a whole evening?" I knew he would be very, very entertaining. Oh boy was he. Whenever Red Hood was on-screen, my eyes were locked. The one thing I will complain about is what happens to the character at the end of the movie? Did Batman let him go? Was he taken to Arkham? Or did something else happen? We don't know. Nothing is said about it. But that is a very minor complaint. I mean, this is Batman, anything's possible.
Going into something like this, an animated comic book basically, I wasn't very sure of what to expect. Other than Batman beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, with the odd gadget or two tossed in. But before the ten-minute mark had even come close, I knew this wasn't the typical children's cartoon.
There are definitely some dark elements to "Batman: Under the Red Hood". And the occasional curse word thrown in for sp*ce. Another one of the many things I enjoyed, and kept my eyes fixated on my Macbook's screen, was the animation style of this movie. Following in the vein of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, the distinct animation helped keep the gritty feel of what was happening. Whenever there were profuse amounts of animated blood, I winced. Okay only a little.
You remember earlier when I said I had only one complaint about this movie? Yeah, I lied. My other complaint is that this wasn't released fully-fledged in theaters. If "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" could do it, why not Under the Red Hood? Sure it's an animated movie, but c'mon it's Batman. Although... I could potentially see some issue with the hard-core comic book fans. They're almost never happy with what happens.
So if you're looking for a fun way to cap off your night, or start out your day, go right ahead and pop "Batman: Under the Red Hood" into your DVD players, sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy.
This was a review by tMG. Thank you very much for reading.
And before you say anything, why not have popcorn for breakfast?