Having not kept up with many original comic book created animated films, I am quite disappointed in myself that I let this one fall under my radar. Especially since I consider Batman to be my most favorite superhero amongst so many other characters with all kinds of phenomenal powers and origins. I came across Under the Red Hood many times while skimming my Netflix cue but never stopped and pushed the play button. Thanks to my brother for putting me onto this truly well developed comic gem.
We pick up sometime well into Bruce Wayne’s (Bruce Greenwood) career as the famed Dark Knight and find Robin (Vincent Martella), with Jason Todd now being the second boy wonder to don the sidekick costume, at the mercy of the Joker (John DiMaggio) and a crowbar. After beating the teen within inches of his life, the maniacal villain leaves Robin locked in a warehouse which has been rigged to explode. A speeding bat-cycle ridden by Batman doesn’t get him there in time to his save his young protégé. Robin’s lifeless body which is found by the Caped Crusader among the rubble provides proof for this death in the Bat-family.
Fast forwarding five years, we find Gotham’s savior still hard at work trying to regulate the on-going crime within his city. With the major crime factions being run by the disfigured villain Black Mask (Wade Williams), a new disguised figure suddenly emerges and instantly tries to strong arm all of Gotham’s crime syndicates. After only his first encounter with several major crime bosses, going by the alias The Red Hood, it is understood that this newcomer has absolutely no problem doing whatever it takes to achieve his goal. This includes the execution of a number of criminals. It isn’t long before his exploits are noticed by Batman and the real plot begins within this latest entry to the Batman saga.
Excellent animation, an engaging story line and top notch action provide audiences with an upstanding DC comic’s animated movie. Crisp color & design give way to wonderful character development and voice talent as the mystery of just who this new probable villain is unfolds. Batman: Under the Red Hood continues the legacy of Batman in perfect effect. It remains consistent with the dark and very dangerous world of crime fighting and the effects that it can take; even on a super hero crime fighter.
I loved the inclusion of a number of favorite Batman super villains instead of simply just one. The Joker seemed even darker than usual by not constantly giving way to his sometimes annoying laughter as utilized in other animated versions of Batman. Black Mask was no basic Joe schmo either. His constant anger and habit of losing his temper which lead him to severely punch out his assistants and henchman had my brother and I in knots. The main villain, The Red Hood, was as ruthless and anti-Batman as could be; it was great to see two almost identically skilled masked warriors with two completely different code of ethics combat one another.
The fight scenes were brilliant and perfectly executed. Although some scenes would yield its content to not be for all ages, the crisp movement of every punch and kick thrown erases any reason to care. The audience can feel the deadly bumps and lethal hits taken by every character. This is one animated film that should be definitely viewed in surround sound as not only the vivid sound effects leave their mark but as well as the musical score.
This movie truly has it all contributing to the hype within the impatient wait that we are all enduring while Chris Nolan’s next live action chapter in the Batman franchise is created. It will surely leave you wanting to watch it again. I give Batman: Under the Red Hood “4.5 thrilling peeks under the hood out of 5”.
“Now, that was rude. The first boy blunder had some manners. I suppose I'm going to have to teach you a lesson so you can better follow in his footsteps. No, I'm just gonna keep beating you with this crowbar.”