Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010, animated)
Plot: A new crime lord known as the Red Hood (Jensen Ackles) emerges in Gotham City with a possible connection to one of Batman’s (Bruce Greenwood) darkest days, a night that also involved the Joker (John DiMaggio).
This may be the best animated Batman movie. It starts off with a literal ‘bang.’ The first scene in which the Joker beats the second Robin (Jason Todd) with a crow bar is pretty intense as we see blood splatter everywhere. The animation looks real nice, and the voice acting all around is stellar. This is the first non Kevin Conroy Batman voice I really liked. Bruce Greenwood does a great job. There’s also no Mark Hamill this time around, but John DiMaggio handles the Joker just fine. In fact, what I love most about this movie is the clear Heath Ledger influence on the character. This is really apparent in the final scene. I wasn’t a fan of Black Mask though. He just kind of seems like a joke in the middle of all these other complicated storylines. The Joker bags him so easily. We also get Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing. NPH was key casting, because a lot of other voice actors would have made this character excruciatingly annoying, but NPH makes all his jokey lines work. The first appearance of Red Hood was bad ass, and he’s just filled with awesome moments, especially when he cuts Batman’s grapple hook like it’s nothing. The story overall is what really shines in this film though. The Jason Todd flashbacks are emotionally effective, and you really feel for Batman in this more than in most other Batman movies. The last flashback and line of the entire film also hits you really hard. There’s also a great moment where Red Hood brings Batman back to the chemical plant, reminding him of the night the Joker was born. That was a pretty cool moment. The music is also real solid. There’s very little wrong with this film. It’s a fantastic Batman story.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: John DiMaggio as the Joker
-Not only do I love the voice, but I love the way the character is drawn here. But DiMaggio really took a lot from the Heath Ledger Joker, and that’s always a good thing.
Worst Performance: Wade Williams as Black Mask
-I just didn’t care for this character. His scenes just consisted of a lot of yelling.
Best Line: “You really think I would stir up so much trouble and not make sure you knew it was me? Hahahahaha!” –Joker
-Great Joker line.
Worst Line: “No. God Almighty, No.” –Batman
-Just hearing Batman say ‘God Almighty’ was a little awkward.
-Batman against Red Hood at the end was a perfect lead in to the climax. At one point they go into this dingy bathroom, and the fight is pretty brutal, especially with the sound effects as they smash each other against the wall. I also love how Jason Todd still wears the Robin mask underneath the Red Hood mask. That’s a brilliant touch.
-At one point Batman and Red Hood fight this gang where they literally use lightsabers. The sound effects are exactly the same…lame.
-The final scene in which Batman, Jason Todd, and the Joker are all together is absolutely outstanding. It’s just great dialogue galore here, and a perfect climax to this story. The Joker is truly on his A-game in terms of characterization. I also love Joker’s laugh when he realizes Jason Todd is the Red Hood.
-I had to really dig deep here. I’m kind of annoyed when Gordon shows up, only because he’s in one scene and has only one line of dialogue.
-Batman gives this emotional speech about why he’ll never kill the Joker, and then the Joker simply says, ‘Ahhhhhhhhhh…so you do think about me.’
Bad Ass Moment:
-Batman gets a car thrown at him, but he jumps through the front car window and out the driver side window, and then immediately bags the guy who threw the car at him…awesome!