Kelly Hu leads an all star cast in what is, simply put, the best animated feature from the Batman saga ever released. It is dark, violent, and doesn’t drag for one second. The story has to do with the Batman’s greatest failure, the sadistic, violent death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, at the hands of the Joker. The animation is dark, moody, and with the right kinetic feel to make it seem like a comic book come to life. Despite a relativity short running time, this release remains a solid bit of entertainment that will please the average Batman fan for sure.
Bruce Greenwood and John DiMaggio turn in terrific jobs as the Batman and the Joker, respectively, but I really wish they would have gotten Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to play the parts. However, this script deftly and effectively provides all necessary backstory and context so seamlessly and effortlessly that I have to wonder why the big studios never tell the story and make the movies the way it is done here. The only real hole in the plot which lets all the air out of the balloon, is that the first moment you see The Red Hood, you’ll know exactly who he is. It’s not a huge mystery, especially since this is based on adapted work. This is overall forgiven since every line and scene moves the story along.
Hollywood’s live-action superhero movie producers and writers can learn a lesson here about how to write a screenplay properly when creating comics-based movies. Considering the number of flashbacks, it’s rather impressive that the film is as sleek and straightforward as it is. A minor annoyance was the use of explosives and firearms in the film. Out of all the gunshots fired, none of them connect and all Batman has to do is hide behind his cape to shield himself from point blank explosions. It is often comical at times and really sucked me out of the action. Aside from that, director Brandon Vietti knows exactly what to do with the material here.
Batman: Under the Red Hood is the best DC Animated feature to date and should be in any proud comic book fan’s collection of movies. The bar has been raised for direct to home animated films, and I loved this film so much, I featured this on the site even though there really isn’t any Asian influences in the film aside from the voice actors. All in all, Marvel animated producers and creators are put to shame again. I have to classify this movie as a minor masterpiece and urge everyone out there who is reading this to watch this film immediately. Highly recommended.