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Son of Batman

Son of BatmanA review by Ross Joseph
  •  blu-ray release
  •  Director: Ethan Spaulding
  • Written by: James Robinson (story), Joe R. Lansdale (screenwriter)
  • Starring: Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allen, Morena Baccarin and Thomas Gibson

Plot: After Deathstroke attacks and defeats Ra’s al Ghul, Talia takes her son to safety delivering him to the one man she can trust apart from her father; Batman. Talia introduces her son as, Damien Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and leaves Damien in his care. During this time, Batman takes Damien under his wing as the new Robin against the master assassin, Deathstroke.

Review: It seems that every six months a new DC Universe Animated Original Movie (DCUAOM) is released and, like always (90% of the time), it stars Batman. As has been the recent trend, these movies cover more recent comic book story lines and fine tune them for the modern movie goer.

With these DCUAOM’s we usually get the very best. Whether it be story line, animation, music or voice work, we are never left wanting for much. Except in this case, I was left wanting a lot more. At a very trim 74 minutes, Son of Batman moves along at a fairly quick pace. Even though this is an animated movie, the script is taken with the utmost respect to characters and DC universe. No one is out of place in attitude and everyone on screen, who aren’t main players, are given just the right amount play time to lend weight.

Kevin Conroy will always be Batman for me but in the last few years I’ve come to except that others may one day take his crown. Jason O’Mara, is not that man. He has an excellent gravelly voice but it seems better suited to someone other than Batman. Stuart Allen voices Damien Wayne and, finally, a voice actor of appropriate age has been cast. Stuart sounds like a snotty little child. Stuck up and arrogant, which is exactly the character, solid match. Thomas Gibson as Deathstroke, yeah I’m still shocked. Doesn’t sound anything like him and was pleasantly surprised with his work here.

The musical score on offer is a mixed bag. At times it’s dark, played softly under the scene with you barely even knowing its there. Parts remind me of Hans Zimmer at his best, and then other times I kept getting the hint of American Beauty. That very playful guitar bouncing sound. I can’t explain it but American Beauty soundtrack by Thomas Newman comes to mind.

When it comes to animation, I was sadly let down. Yes, what’s on offer is very crisp with sharp lines on all characters. They never look muddy and fight scenes are easy to follow and well choreographed, however characters themselves are all very tall and angular. Something always felt off whenever they were out of costume. My other complaint is that it always looks too clear. Doesn’t at all look gothic like the Gotham we’ve come to know from previous incarnations. I guess I shouldn’t compare but when we’re expected to know the basic backstory of characters going in, well, I’ve always considered Gotham a character in of itself.

Son of Batman didn’t capture my imagination or excitement. Everything felt ‘otherworldly’ and not as grounded as many of the other DCUAOM Batman films have been. The musical score and animation were a mixed bag and although fight scenes were top notch, they couldn’t save it.

Be warned, this isn’t for kids. It carries an M rating and I highly suggest you stick by it. The violence is high for a DCUAOM with lots of blood and limb dismemberments. You will even find some fairly mature things on offer.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Batman is better than this.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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