Sunday, July 25, 2010

Batman: Under The Red Hood

Review by James Robert Kuczun Jr.

Batman: Under The Red Hood
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Written by Judd Winick
Starring Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, John Di Maggio, & Neil Patrick Harris


That is not a word used often in super hero references. Most of your favorite super heroes don't fail. Or at least you would like to think so. Batman: Under The Red Hood portrays a different scenario.

Batman fails.

Batman is a human being. He can't fly like Superman. He can't run at super-human speed like the Flash. He doesn't posses super-human strength like many of his compatriots in the Justice League. He is only human. And humans can only do so much. And sometimes "so much" just isn't enough.

Truly this is a film about the dark side of the Dark Knight. Each failure of the Batman would later come to haunt him. How each mistake Bruce Wayne would make would take a toll on the future to come. First, how he could not stop the original Red Hood from falling into a vat of chemicals, transforming him into the criminally insane Joker. How he could not stop the Joker from beating and ultimately blowing up Jason Todd, the second Robin. And ultimately, how could he let a mad man like the Joker continue to live.
Directed by Brandon Vietti and written by Judd Winick, Batman: Under The Red Hood, the eighth in the DC Universe animated collection, is a great addition to any comic lovers DVD collection. Action is abound in this film, and only the type of action that an animated film could capture. Reminiscent of the Batman animated series, there is fighting, swinging, falling, catching, and so much more, but to a higher degree. And the writing is superb. Winick creates an uneasiness in the Batman persona: the always good versus evil. How far does one go to stop the bad guys? Who do you trust? And ultimately, how far does one go to do what needs to be done. But not only does Winick hit the Batman dead on, but he also coins the looseness and catchy one-liners of the once Bat-ward, Dick Grayson, Nightwing (as portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris) but also the subtle and not so subtle insanities of the Joker (portrayed by John DiMaggio), as well as also making a references to another of Batman's failures, the paralysis of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl.

So how does this stand up to the comic? I really couldn't tell you, since I haven't read the original comic series. But what I do know is this: I want to. And not only do I want to read this story line, but I want to go back and read everything about Batman. I want to know everything. And I think that anyone that watches this will want to do the same. Whether an avid follower of Batman, that wants to go back and review old history, or the new generation of comic book fans, who just wants to see more of their favorite hero, they will want to research what the Dark Knight has done in his past.

This film is a great companion to any of the Batman films, whether live action or animated. It depicts a truly unique quality: we are only human. We can't always do what we want. We can't always get what we want. All that we can do is do the best with what we are given, and try to pass that on to everyone we come in contact with.

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