Son of Batman simplifies the graphic novel written by Grant Morrison into a typical fight movie.
We start with Ra’s al Ghul and Talia’s compound being invaded by ninjas on behalf of Deathstroke. That means the movie opens with seven minutes of fighting between groups I don’t care about. The main plot begins when Talia dumps her kid, Damian, on the Dark Knight. The boy is eager to fight and resentful of most else. He’s been raised by the League of Assassins and self-important about his skills.
I was unclear on why his mother would hand him off after ten or so years, but that’s revealed much later on in the film. Everything I was hoping for, mostly material around the character’s relationships and history, was washed away in favor of big images and battle scenes with Man-Bats and Killer Croc.
The voices also disappointed me. After recently hearing Diedrich Bader, this Batman (voiced by Jason O’Mara, who played the same role in Justice League: War) sounds flat and grumpy. I also didn’t care for Deathstroke’s voice (Thomas Gibson), which sounded too cultured. My favorite cast member was Morena Baccarin, playing Talia with a feral elegance. Stuart Allan was Damian; Giancarlo Esposito was Ra’s al Ghul; and David McCallum played Alfred.
I wish we’d seen a lot more of Nightwing (Sean Maher). His interactions with Damian were my favorite part.
The extras are typical of these types of releases. There’s a ten-minute featurette on “The Fang and the Demon Head: The League of Assassins” that includes Grant Morrison and Mike Carlin. Contrary to the title, it’s mostly about Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter Talia.
“Strange Blood Ties: Damian Wayne” is 15 minutes with many of the same commenters as the previous. It reviews Damian’s major comic appearances. The 9 1/2-minute “Designing the Characters with Phil Bourassa” features a monologue by the lead character designer discussing his choices accompanied by preparation art.
There’s also a 7 1/2-minute sneak peek at the next movie, Batman: Assault on Arkham. Plus, the four bonus cartoon episodes are Batman Beyond, “Out of the Past”; Batman: The Brave and the Bold, “The Knights of Tomorrow!”; Batman: The Animated Series, “Showdown”; and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, “Sidekicks Assemble!” (The studio provided a review copy.)
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