Following in continuity with DC's most recent animated film, Justice League: War, this is the next in line to building a cohesive universe between the comic book characters after Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox kicked things off. Son of Batman is an adaptation of the Batman and Son storyline from 2006, wherein Bruce Wayne learns that he is a father. His son, Damian Wayne, is the offspring of his former love affair with Talia al Ghul, the daughter of one of his greatest enemies, Ra's al Ghul of the League of Assassins. Fans that are not interested in the comic books should still recognize those names from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, despite how Damian was never a part of that series.
It may seem gimmicky at first, but the concept of Damian Wayne has always been something that I really liked, so when this animated feature was announced, I was excited to check it out. Would it be able to carry the weight of the plot, or would it fall short and not be able to express the gravity of the situation, making it feel like a cheap thrill ride?
It's time for another REVIEWPOINT as we break down the film's hits and misses.
As always, let's start with the bad news first.
There are far too many important emotions that have to be rushed and, in turn, are sacrificed when you cram everything into such a short time frame. Damian doesn't really develop much of a reason to turn into a more heroic version of himself—he just sort of does because that's the ultimate end goal. At most, you can say that he was convinced to turn over a new leaf because of one line of dialogue in one scene, where Batman expresses that there is a difference between having trainers and having friends. That's not good enough.
Unfortunately, this is a BIG miss, as it basically encompasses the entire plot and spans between each scene. The plot itself is more than fine, but the execution of it doesn't do it justice.
2. ANIMATION / VOICE SYNCING
More than a few times in the film, the characters' mouths don't move when they are talking. This comes off kind of ridiculous.
While I'm not someone who thinks violence in and of itself is a "hit," nor am I someone who constantly argues that things have to be rated R in order to be good, there are benefits at times. Whenever something is toned down too much, it runs the risk of being silly. In a story that literally revolves around death and blood oaths and swords, showing blood is pretty unavoidable. Thankfully, this both avoids being over the top as well as nullified. When someone gets stabbed, there is blood, but you're not watching gore porn.
2. ALFRED'S SARCASM
One of the best traits for the Alfred Pennyworth character is his sarcasm. Showcasing this and making it a point of tension to illustrate just how annoying Damian is at the beginning of the story was fun to watch.
3. "AND YOU CAN GO FU-"
Similar to Alfred's dialogue being a highlight, Nightwing's line, albeit nothing that directly influenced the story, was something that I enjoyed quite a bit.
4. CHARACTER PHYSIQUES
Something that always seems to be hit or miss with DC's animation is the art style that the characters are drawn in. Frequently, humans can be too muscular and have extremely puffed out lips with beady eyes or disproportionate body parts where it would be impossible for them not to be too top-heavy to walk, let alone be as agile as we are supposed to accept them to be. When they do it right, however, as in this film, each character has the appropriate musculature.
Not necessarily. It's too simple and it doesn't hold up to the standards of a non-animated film. As a fan of the source material, it was an interesting way to spend an hour plus, but I'll never watch it again because it didn't convince me that it deserved another viewing. There's nothing special about it and if you aren't a comic book fan, you wouldn't even enjoy seeing Damian in animated film mode. This is for the truest of Batman fans and for people that want something to watch just for something to do—not for the viewer that can pick it apart. It's serviceable fun and not much more.