Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD  (2010). Director: Brandon Vietti.

Years ago, after the original Robin, Dick Grayson, became an adult and changed his name to Nightwing, DC Comics decided to give Batman/Bruce Wayne a new boy partner in the person of one Jason Todd, who became the new Robin. Only a year or two after introducing the character, the powers-that-be at DC completely changed his origin, in effect creating an entirely different character who never caught on with fans. These same fans also preferred the darker version of Batman, who worked best alone, so Jason Todd was killed off in an effective story arc called "A Death in the Family." Decades later Batman discovered that Jason was alive, but he had become a grim crusader -- Red Hood -- who had no problem murdering his opponents, and even tried to kill Batman. The whole story is told in this entertaining animated feature which features excellent voice performances from Bruce Greenwood as Batman and John Di Maggio as the Joker. Neil Patrick Harris, Jensen Ackles, and Jason Isaacs are also swell as, respectively, Nightwing, Jason Todd, and Bat-opponent Ra's Al Ghul. With fluid animation and a surprisingly moving wind-up, this is actually better than the live-action Batman movies, including Tim Burton's Batman and The Dark Night.

Verdict: One of the most interesting Batman stories ever. ***1/2.

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