(Scored out of ten; below 5 = not worth seeing, 6 = ok, 7 = good, 8 = great, 9 = fantastic, 10 = next to perfect)
Son of Batman, the second official installment of the ongoing DC Animated Universe, is an entertaining Batman adventure but suffers from quality drops now and again that detract from the overall experience. Some good action and a decent storyline keep this animated outing afloat.
Raised by Ra’s Al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows, to be a killer Damian and the league are attacked by the nefarious Deathstroke. A former league member spurned by Ra’s when choosing his heir. Damian and his mother Talia escape the attack and flee to Gotham in order to find Batman, the unknowing father (the guy is always prepared but he failed to pack a rubber). This is where Talia leaves Damian in Batman’s care and she seeks vengeance for her father against Deathstroke. From there we get to see the relationship between the fool hardy Damian and his newfound dad evolve in to something somewhat respectable.
Batman’s initial reaction to finding out he has a son is a typical dark knight move; he acts like it doesn’t faze him. I would have liked to see him at least a little surprised to find out he was drugged and conceived a child with the daughter of one of his mortal enemies. Aside from that small tidbit, and the fact that he willingly takes a young boy, let alone his son, out crusading the mean streets of Gotham at criminal peak hours. Having come off of Justice League: War Jason O’Mara has settled into the role of the bat. He comes off as intimidating while still letting a little personality shine through at certain times.
Damian, played by the young Stuart Allan, was interesting yet a tad annoying at times. His constant need to run off and prove himself got on my nerves and his bravado seemed unjustified. Sure, the League of Assassins raised him but he is still a kid, and didn’t Ra’s teach him to respect your elders! That being said his back and forth with Alfred (voiced by David McCallum) provided some hilarious moments and the fights he got into, when the animation was on point, were spectacular. His mother, Talia, was definitely the weakest point of the film. Acting as nothing more than a damsel in distress and a clear riff on the popularity surge Black Widow is getting from the Avengers. At least she was voiced by Firefly alum Morena Baccarin.
Thomas Gibson voices Deathstroke brilliantly. He came off as powerful, arrogant and a little sympathetic (aside from attempting to murder a child). His storyline was one of the better aspects of the film and his final fight with Damian was both brutal and fast paced. This movie does not shy away from the gore, some of the things Deathstroke does to Damian are just insane, and they completely show it all! These fights aren’t for the squeamish but if you’re a fan of intensity and bone crunching action you won’t be disappointed.
If only the quality of the final fight made its way into the rest of the film. Son of Batman suffers from quality drops, both in terms of art and animation, quite frequently. Some characters will be incredibly detailed while others are completely blank. It really takes the fun out of an action sequence when it goes from smooth and crisp to slow and choppy. Had they put as much effort into the entire film as they did with the Damian/Deathstroke finale this would have been a must have DC animated film.
With all said and done Son of Batman offers a nice take on the critically praised comic event and is a welcome addition to the ongoing DC animated universe. Had there been a little more care put into the quality this would have great.
Overall I give this film a 6.5/10
ps: Guest starring Killer Croc and Nightwing!