Genre: Action, suspense, superhero, animation
Director/s: Brandon Vietti
Running Time: 75 mins
Released: 27 July 2010 (USA)
Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. Killing is an option. And when the Joker falls in the balance between the two, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened – imdb
Batman: Under the Red Hood is the eighth installment in the ‘DC Universe Animated Original Movies’ franchise and it’s refreshing to see that DC and Warner Bros have taken a mature stance with Batman’s latest outing (being animated and all) as Under the Red Hood is composed of dark themes and hard moral choices. I think that after the success of The Dark Knight, DC’s decision to move one of their flagship characters into a more realistic and brutal world has been for the best as this film was brilliant.
The opening scene in this film is testament to the mature direction that the creators have decided to employ – The Joker beats the young Robin to a bloody pulp with a crowbar and then finally as an added bonus, everyone’s favourite psychopath blows up Robin with high explosives.
The first thing that I noticed about this film is the music, seemingly influenced by The Dark Night, Batman: Under the Red Hood has a beautifully orchestrated and haunting (at times) score, which compliments the film brilliantly. I also noticed that fan favourite Mark Hamill did not lend his voice to the Joker (a bit disappointing) and in fact none of the familiar voices from past Batman animated films/series are present in this installment, though this is probably due to the fact that Under the Red Hood isn’t part of the classic ‘Batman Animated Series’ franchise which Batman fans are undoubtedly familiar with. In fact, the animation in this film is quite brilliant and by far exceeds previous entries (with the exception of Batman: Gotham Knight).
…Under the Red Hood is composed of dark themes and hard moral choices…
Based upon the 2005 story arc in the main Batman title – Under the Hood (issues #635 – 641), I have no idea how faithful this adaptation was as I have yet to read the Under the Hood arc, however if the film is anything to go by then the source material, written by Judd Winick, must really be something special.
The storyline manages to keep things fresh (though the ‘plot twist’ was predictable) by delving further into the psyche of the Batman as he deals with the guilt of not being able to save his partner as well as upholding his moral code when a new vigilante/crime boss – The Red Hood, reckons that he is cleaning the streets of Gotham City up of crime better than the Dark Knight ever could as he isn’t held in place by an ethical code that bars the Batman from killing his foes. Needless to say there is also tonnes of action scenes that will keep bat fans happy.
In conclusion, Batman: Under the Red Hood is an awesome addition to DC’s growing library of animated films and a must-see for all Batman fans. Highly recommended.