Batman Vs. Robin Review
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Written by: J.M Dematteis, Bob Kane, Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder
Starring: Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Jeremy Sisto,
Released: 14th April 2015
Director Jay Oliva is known for some of the best DC comics animated movies of late, The first movie I took note of his work was the two-part Frank Miller adaptation “The Dark Knight Returns”. That book could never be made better in any format, but everything about that movie is a loving tribute to one of the best graphic novels of all time. After that he Directed “Flashpoint Paradox” another fantastic adaptation. So hearing Jay Oliva was going to direct the loose adaptation of Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls I was excited to say the least. Batman Vs Robin comes nowhere close to the heights of Warner Bros. Animation greats like Batman: Under the Red Hood or Flashpoint. But it certainly has its enjoyable moments throughout this family squabble.
Taking place after Batman and Son a previous movie, which introduced Damien Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s angry little child. Batman Vs. Robin does what a lot of the newer DC comic animated flicks do. It pulls from a few different sources and try’s to make them fit together while also inventing a few new pots along the way. Which at the conceptual stage is fine, I’m all for changes to be made in service of the format. The only problem is that Batman Vs Robin is a bit muddled and disjointed when it comes to living up to the Court of Owls Classic.
Trying to build a cohesive world for these animated characters to live in, a lot of the same voice acting is back from previous movies. Jason O’Mara Voicing Batman for the fourth time, and Stuart Allan reprising his role as Robin. It’s tough to differentiate yourself when voicing Batman, most of the time you just come off as someone with a severe cough. Jason O’Mara has tough shoes to fill after following the likes of Peter Weller and Kevin Conroy from years ago. He does a fine job, I won’t say his voice is distinctive, but that’s how a lot of these new animated movies feel. Not very distinctive. Stuart Allan does a pretty great job though; Damien is a beloved character, and it would be easy just to voice him as an angry little brat. And while sometimes he comes off that way, you truly feel for the kid by the end of the movie.
The highlight of the film are the fight scenes, the animation style defiantly has a twinge of Japanese anime underlying the whole thing but these scenes come off crisp and clean with quick movements and some brutal hits. Never have I seen a cartoon batman been stabbed more, that’s all I’ll say. Without spoiling anything the titular fight Isn’t all that much better than the rest of them but they are for sure the best parts of the movie. As for the story itself its a bit of a mixed bag, Damien is still struggling to fit in, and Bruce is struggling with the fact that he needs to raise a child and also fight crime. In no way are those major parts of the story its just an underline throughout the whole thing.
If you are going into this movie expecting a great adaptation of Scott Snyder’s work you will be a bit disappointed. Some of the major holdovers are still there like Talon, the Court itself, and young Bruce hunting them down. But straight adaptation it is not. There are also some small hints of a Batman, And Robin run about Robin killing criminals and being pushed to the dark side as it were. So if it’s not holding the source material close its then trying to build off of it. And this is where the plot becomes a bit boring and disjointed. But there are positives to all this hemming and hawing, the opening scene is incredible, it does an excellent job of setting the tone and it’s also incredibly unsettling. There are certain set pieces that stand out, like the museum and the fight in Wayne Manor.
The moral of this review is if you want to adapt a great comic you’re better off going all the way off on your own or keeping close to the book, and this movie does neither really. Its a good movie but it could have been great, along with the fantastic fighting and set pieces comes the forgettable made for movie villain that you can see coming a mile away and the fragments of better books. Some final tidbits are the Court of Owls motto makes it into the movie, and it’s read by a particular voice cameo so keep an ear out for that. Very few of the Warner Bros. Animated movies bad, in fact, I can’t even think of one. I’m sure someone could but it goes to show the amount of care they put into these. While it’s not the best, it’s certainly worth the watch especially for any fan of Batman and his son.
Batman Vs. Robin
- Fight Scenes
- Batman and Robin relationship
- Boring Villain
- Court of Owls under used
- Book adaptations feel half baked