written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
DC Has been pretty on point with their animated adaptations as of late, even with the recent Justice League: WAR the WB animation studio has kept the proverbial ball rolling with these animated adaptions, though if you have read my review on Justice League: WAR (read it here) you’d know that while I wasn’t disappointed by it, I equally wasn’t satisfied. The changes they made (though small) greatly affected my enjoyment of it.
Enter the next DC Animated release, based on Grant Morrison’s Batman and Son comic arc. Damian grew up amongst the most elite assassin’s in the DC Universe, the son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce “Batman” Wayne. When a raid on their home by former League of Assassin’s member Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson leaves the organization crippled and their leader Ra’s al Ghul dead, Talia decides to take Damian to meet the father he never knew. Though Damian lacks any semblance of surprise when meeting his father, Batman makes up for that seeming that he never knew that he fathered a child with Talia.
Thus begins several conflicts interwoven throughout the story, Batman was investigating a lead involving Killer Croc while Damian hunts down Deathstroke in the hopes of killing him to avenge his grandfather. The roads converge as a plot involving Deathstroke making use of Kirk Langstrom’s Man-Bat formula becomes the connecting factor between Killer Croc raiding Langstroms lab and Deathstroke's assault on the League. Batman is faced with the daunting task to trying to be an example to the son he never knew he had, but can he truly overcome 10 years of training that taught Damian to be a killer?
If you’ve ever read Batman and Son, from the short plot synopsis you’d have already realized that this is NOT Grant Morrison’s work. Morrison’s contribution to this adaptation stops and ends at “Batman has a child with Talia al Ghu and somehow Kirk Langstrom is involvedl.” As a comic book purist I found this to be very disappointing, Deathstroke is nowhere in the original story and certain elements such as Damian’s fight with Tim “the current Robin” Drake and Talia being the true antagonist are never explored. I’m sure you are expecting me to hate this, but to be honest I found it to be very entertaining. I feel that they should not have advertised this being an adaptation of Morrison’s original work, but the movie was still entertaining. Pacing was good despite the brevity of these direct to video releases, and the action sequences were beautifully animated. The plot was a bit predictable but the way the writers wrote interactions between Batman and Damian felt genuine.
The cast is full of talent as well, Jason O’Mara reprises the role of Batman from Justice League: WAR with newcomer Stuart Allen voicing the prodigal and petulant son. Rounding out the cast is David McCallum as Aflred Pennyworth, Thomas Gibson as Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson, and Firefly alums Morena Baccarin and Sean Maher as Talia al Ghul and Dick “Nightwing” Grayson respectively. McCallum clearly steals the show, portraying a dry and sarcastic Alfred Pennyworth and Sean Maher portrayed Nightwing so perfectly I wish he was featured more prominently in the narrative. The weakest link in the cast sadly was Morena Baccarin’s portrayal of Talia, her delivery fell so flat far too often the fact she was barely in the movie was, in my opinion, the saving grace for her performance.
Overall, I enjoyed it and felt like it was worth the watch. Though word of warning, if you have read the Batman and Son comic, please be open minded to the content of the movie, I know it isn’t Morrison’s work but the movie was entertaining and definitely worth checking out. Available now digitally, on DVD and Blu-Ray May 6th.