Batman: Under the Red Hood

I just watched Batman: Under the Red Hood on Netflix tonight. I’d been debating that or Ip Man, but in the end, I decided to go with an animated feature. I really enjoyed the film: it started out right in the middle of the “A Death in the Family” storyline where Joker is beating the crap out of Robin and then cuts to present day. The animation throughout was thoroughly impressive, like a more detailed version of the original animated series. However, during flashbacks, the lines seemed to get smoother (especially on boy Robin) making it look more like later iterations of the series.

Speaking of the original series, Under the Red Hood has much of the same world: GCPD has airships floating around, the Batmobiles look similar, etc. However, the voices were all different, which was a little jarring. Mark Hamill is still the best Joker voice, although perhaps he would have been a bit cartoony for this. I loved all the scenes that featured the Joker, especially towards the climax of the film. This might be sacrilege, but I enjoyed this even more than the Darwin Cooke New Frontier film.

The movie is interesting in that it starts out with one of the most famous examples of “stuff happens” in the Batman mythos: the death of Jason Todd. They did a good job of showing how Batman has been changed by that experience and how he became even more of a loner, not even wanting help from Original Robin Dick Grayson (voiced by NPH, which while cool, was a little distracting… I kept expecting him to say “Legendary”). And yet, near the end of this film, instead of something else happening permanently, things go back to the status quo. “This changes nothing,” Batman says.

I haven’t been an avid Batman reader for a while, but I do keep up on the storylines from time to time, especially when things go wonky like in R.I.P., the return of Bruce Wayne and now the current Batman, Inc. And yet, in my mind, I don’t think these current events will get caught up in the canon of Batman the way the death of Jason Todd has. They’re just too complicated to follow.

When I was a teen, I didn’t bother collecting all the Batman single issues that were out around the time of the Knightfall story arc. Instead, I picked up the novelization. It was actually pretty comprehensive: it went through the Bane stuff, Bane breaking Batman, Archangel coming in, not wanting to give up the cape, Tim Drake getting pissed, and then Bruce regaining his skills and taking things back. I have a feeling that’s what’ll happen to this Batman, Inc. thing. Because in the end… “this changes nothing.”

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