I had barely heard of this film before I saw it. It was right around the time that I heard about the final iteration of the Arkham franchise. A direct-to-DVD film that tells the story of Damian Wayne, the son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce Wayne. A great deal more violent of a movie than what one is used to with a Batman film, it was both very good and very ordinary at the same time. I would say that it is worth your time, but may not be for multiple viewings.
The plot of the film goes that Ra’z al Ghul, Talia and her son Damian are watching the League of Shadows train. There is an attack on the facility by one of their protegees, Slade Wilson. Things go to shit really fast, and Talia takes Damian to Gotham, to be looked after by his father, Bruce Wayne. However, as is to be expected, Damian doesn’t take to the idea of doing nothing and goes out to hunt for the man who attacked his family. Batman and the kid don’t see eye-to-eye. Very quickly it all goes to shit.
So, let’s start with the technicals. The animation in this film is gorgeous! It looks to be done in the same style as Avatar: The Last Airbender. The character designs are fun and the fight scenes are liquid-smooth. For real, the best part about this film is the fight sequences. Damian takes on the role of Robin, and the updates to that costume are SO cool. The final battle between him and the main villain is one of the most epic fights I’ve seen in a long time. The fights are also very visceral. There is a lot of blood in this movie and it actually is used well. While the fight sequences could occasionally be over-the-top, they were still awesome.
Then there is the voice-acting. While not a lot of well-known voice-actors, it was still so much fun. The back-and-forth between characters was a lot of fun and it was well-written. You couldn’t help but like Damian, even if he was a smarmy little shit. The guy who did the voice-work of Batman was a lot of fun to listen to. He sounded kind of young to have an old-enough Nightwing and be the father of a 12-year-old kid, but he was still well-acted. The villain of the film was also a lot of fun, in that cheesy sort of way. It was hammy, but allowed to be. Made it more fun to listen to.
However, for all the good things in the film, there are some problems. The first problem is that the film is short. Very short. Not even an hour-and-a-half, it is a very limited Batman film. This leads into the second problem – it’s rushed. While the banter between Bruce and Damian is fun to listen to, you never get time to feel their relationship grow. It would have been nice if this film could have taken some time and actually let us get to know these two characters and see their chemistry grow. To make a comparison, in Under the Red Hood, you believed the bond between Batman and who he finds out the Red Hood is. You believe their dynamic and that they have a strong connection. The last flaw in this movie – the ending, does NOT have this connection. So, and I won’t spoil it for you, the last flaw in this movie is the ending. It is corny-as-fuck, forced and just doesn’t jive, because we don’t believe the relationships in the film.
I don’t have much more to talk about, because there isn’t a whole lot in the film. It is a good movie, but there isn’t a huge amount of substance. It’s like really good angel food cake without whipped cream or strawberries. It’s good angel food cake, but you wished that it had some toppings. Worth your time, but I don’t know if you would be into repeat viewings. Take it for what you will.
6 out of 10