With the hype and the record setting numbers of the new “Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice” at the theaters, interest in more Batman is expected. To full fill your Batman void, whether you found the new film worth the hype or found it utterly disappointing, Netflix currently has several DC animated films now available to view. One of them, the 2014 ‘Son of Batman’ tells a new and unusual story of the brooding vigilante adapted from the Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s 2006 Batman and Son storyline in DC comics.
In ‘Son of Batman’, the infamous Slade Wilson, known for his alias as Deathstroke, attacks the covert League of Shadows in an attempt to take over. Fearing for her son’s life, Talia al Ghul escapes with her son Damian and takes him to Gotham City. There she hopes he will be protected by the father Damian never knew, Bruce Wayne, the Batman. Batman takes in his misbegotten son and immediately their views on killing ring differently. While Damian wants to take revenge on Deathstroke and kill all those responsible, Batman views him as reckless, stubborn, and morally corrupt. Dealing with what appears to be a separate case and a son who doesn’t view revenge the same way may cause Batman to loose the very son he just met.
With superb animation and horrific violence the screenwriter of ‘Son of Batman’, Joe R. Lansdale and director Ethan Spaulding have aimed for a much more mature and older audience. There are plenty of deaths, blood splatter, and even adult humor. Nightwing makes an appearance and upon learning that Damian is Bruce’s father makes a comment about Batman always warning him about wearing protection. The animated fight sequences are enjoyable and well drawn out, but it is a hard pill to swallow watching Damian hold his own against trained killers, especially the dangerous Deathstroke. It becomes almost a joke that these dangerous villains have a hard time against not only someone so young, but someone so small.
The voice acting is well enough but not perfect. As fans of the past Batman films and animated creations, Jason O’Mara has a pleasant enough voice but it just doesn’t seem as menacing or fearful as past Batman voices. Perhaps we have been spoiled and/or brainwashed by the gruff performances by Christian Bale and the new Ben Affleck’s voice. Morena Baccarin, known for “Serenity” and the more recent box office blockbuster “Deadpool” voices Talia and proves more than efficent. Baccarin creates a tough and dangerous female, when not a protective caring mother. Thomas Gibson, known for his work on “Criminal Minds” and “Dharma and Greg” is surprisingly menacing as Deathstroke, giving the villain a threatening voice that matches his dangerous motives.
There are a lot of good things in ‘Son of Batman’. The action and story are well written. The origin of Deathstroke his reasons for his actions make him a notorious villain. The morality of killing vs not killing your enemy is entertaining and thought provoking, much like the recent Daredevil vs Punisher conversation in the new series of “Daredevil” on Netflix. Unfortunitly there numerous bothersome items in this animated film as well. Once it is revealed to Batman that Damian is his son, he questions it for only the briefest of moments, and then just goes along with it. It’s hard to believe that Batman would just take in his son, knowing his own lifestyle. There also seems to be an awful lot of story missing from this film, that obviously could not fit into the one hour and fourteen mintutes. Viewers will feel they miss out on a lot more drama between Batman being a father to his long lost son, and the drama of Damian stepping in as the new Robin much to the protest of Nightwing.
‘Son of Batman’ is another average animated film delivered from the DC comics universe. While Entertaining, it just doesn’t fit into the great category. The story entertains and the animation is both pleasing and adult themed, the film just seems to be missing too much story while focusing on the action. Fans of Batman and the DC animated films should check the film out, free from expectations. You’ll be entertained for the duration, but it won’t be a film that you’ll find yourself wanting to view more than once.