9 January 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Batman, Robin and the Court of Owls
Love animation and have really enjoyed to loved many superhero films, animated and live-action. Of the DC animated films, there are some good ones out there as well as some disappointments and ones that fall in between.
'Batman vs. Robin' is neither among the best or worst of the DC animated films. To me it's somewhere around high middle. Despite the somewhat misleading misnomer that is the film's title, the versus being more of the conflict between father and son over what Robin's path should be rather than some kind of action showdown, 'Batman vs. Robin' is vastly improved over 'Son of Batman' (good idea, weakly executed).
It is not perfect by all means. It has the same faults that quite a number of the DC animated films have, that it needed to be about 10 minutes longer in order for the many characters and the many things going on in the story to be effective. What 'Batman vs. Robin' has over a lot of them is that the story is always compelling and surprisingly dark, darker than usual, and the characters aren't one dimensional, with for example a far more conflicted Damian than portrayed in the other films he's featured in. Talon and the Dollmaker are two of the series' better villains for instance.
Sure, 'Batman vs. Robin' is a little rushed in places, complicated occasionally and Talon's real motivation is anti-climactically handled. On the other hand, the father and son relationship is handled much better here. It's not neglected, while not taking over too much of the story that it neglects the conflict, and has the heart, emotion and tension that 'Son of Batman' did not have so it was easier to invest in it. Batman is more interesting here while Damian is nowhere near as annoying and is more a realistic depiction of a conflicted teenager.
The animation is very good, often great. There are some very nice detailed backgrounds, the characters are designed well and the colours are dynamic and atmospheric. The music is both haunting and rousing, a good fit for the film's mood.
Writing is far from simplistic or childish, quite the opposite, while the story has a few issues but is compelling with some exciting and thrilling action. Saying that the villains are among the best of the DC animated superhero films is saying a good deal, DC have had a very hit and miss track record with their villains (an example of a hit being Joker in 'Assault on Arkham' and a miss being Deathstroke in 'Son of Batman'). The Court of Owls provides very believable, sometimes creepy conflict.
Voice acting is very well done. Not just Jason O'Mara, Stuart Allan and Sean Maher but particularly Weird Al Yankovic and Jeremy Sisto.
In conclusion, doesn't blow the mind but not bad at all. 7/10 Bethany Cox