These straight to video comic book movies are really a crapshoot. The first one I saw was The Ultimate Avengers, which was the first one Marvel produced. It was pretty decent, and was similar to the actual storyline of The Ultimates comic book series. The other films that I’ve seen have only loosely, if at all, followed any specific storyline. I had heard reviews of this one being exceptionally better than most other straight to video movies, whether it be Marvel or DC. It took me a while to get around to watching it, mostly because Rampaige kind of hates cartoons that aren’t family friendly, and she also hates Batman. This was a double whammy, because, ya know, Batman is in it and it’s PG-13. That was exactly what got me excited about it, when I finally found the courage to stay up past her bedtime.
Batman with the Red Hood. I can’t remember which one is which though.
The movie starts by recreating a scene from the storyline of the classic Batman tale A Death in the Family, which can be summarized by saying the Joker is beating the living SHIT out of Robin. To be fair, this is the second Robin, who is Jason Todd, and the Joker is using a crowbar. Between the savage crowbar beating and explosion, Jason Todd dies. Five years later, Batman is fighting crime, as usual. A bad guy arrives on the scene known as the “Red Hood”, and the interesting thing about that is that drug trafficking is going up, yet crime is going down. Apparently Red Hood is climbing the ranks of bad guy activities, and Batman wants to get to the bottom of it. Despite being attacked by Batman, with help from Nightwing, Red Hood still manages to get away. Ra’s Al Ghul, who is a bad guy, contacts Batman and let’s him know that he has information about Red Hood. Since Ra’s felt bad about being partly responsible for Jason Todd’s death, he used a Lazarus pit to resurrect Jason, only for Jason to go kind of insane and missing. Well, guess what? Yup! Red Hood is Jason Todd who has been resurrected to fight crime in his way, which involves a lot more violence than Batman can handle. There’s a showdown involving Red Hood, Batman, and the Joker, that results in an explosion, as well as the Joker being returned to Arkham Asylum along with Jason Todd. Poor thing! Maybe next time, Bruce!
Poor, poor Jason Todd. That’s what you get for having your last name be a first name.
I remember a few weeks ago a frequent commenter who goes by the name “JD” telling me he openly wept in the beginning of this movie, and I now realize it’s because he had to see a character with his name getting beat up. I guess I don’t really blame him, because the beat down was pretty brutal, especially considering it was a cartoon. It was pretty cool to see that part of A Death in the Family on-screen, even though it was only a small tidbit. The twists and turns in the story kept you engaged in what was happening, but there wasn’t really anything that was “silly”, so this movie isn’t at all geared towards kids. Considering this wasn’t based on one specific story, both readers of Batman and non-readers can enjoy this. There were things like the Black Mask, Ra’s Al Ghul, and Jason Todd that could appease the Batman fans, but they explained these characters well enough that even had you not known who they were beforehand. If this kind of quality keeps up, hopefully the quality of theatrically released films will go up as well.
Wolfman Moon Scale