This is one of the very best Batman films ever made!
This animated film from the beginning starts with the Joker hitting Jason Todd, the second iteration of Robin with a crowbar. Robin is beat senseless before he is blown up by a bomb killing him just as Batman approaches the scene. The start of this film alone is the darkest opening of an animated film I’ve ever seen. Five years pass and Batman is still haunted by the memory of the event. Batman is more withheld and unwilling to take on help from Nightwing because of the loss of Robin against his new foes the Red Hood and Black Mask. The Red Hood is another mysterious figure that brings to light some twists in the Batman mythology, one that will shock you if you go into this film blind.
You will not forget this film because of the twists and turns, but you will also be surprised by the amazing performances in it too. John DiMaggio does an impressive take on the Joker that I’m surprised isn’t brought up when people are ranking the different iterations of the Joker character. I mean this Joker is intimidating in size and looks. With as much drama there is in this film, it’s surprising how dramatic it is throughout the entire runtime. It seems like they really perfected the form of these animated features with this film, and every film after should aim for this quality. The Red Hood is a key figure and watching this film as a companion to the video game Batman: Arkham Knight would be a real treat.
Without spoiling any more on an animated feature with a runtime of 75 minutes. Batman: Under the Red Hood is a fantastic Batman one shot and the best DC animated film I’ve seen to date. You MUST check this one out!
There are so many of these DC Animated films that I’m expecting to come across a bad one, and yet here is another one better than the last.
Batman: Year One is a unique retelling of the Batman story parallel to Commissioner Gordon. This story shows Batman as he transitions from Bruce Wayne into Batman, and as Lieutenant Gordan becomes Commissioner Gordon. Throughout the feature, we glimpse the two evolving over a year starting from January all the way to December. However unrealistic that may seem, it probably does all those with OCD a favor in not going from say September to August. Still, it’s authentic enough. While the film is titled Batman: Year One, to me it’s Gordon’s film. We finally get to see why Gordon was made commissioner in the first place, and it’s a thrilling ride. At this point, Gordon is stirring up Gotham almost as much as Batman by sticking to his morals and not becoming a crooked police officer. From Batman’s side, we get to see how much of an amateur he was going headfirst into this solo crime-fighting venture. The two stories merry up and give us insight into why Gordon and Batman have a great relationship built on respect and understanding.
This is a must-watch for anyone that loves Batman. Hell, I thought it was just a great film and even persuaded my girlfriend to watch it. She loved it. Bryan Cranston voices Commissioner Gordon and I honestly think it’s one of my favorite roles from him and he has done so many great things. There is a great perspective of Gotham we aren’t normally privy to that lets us see what exactly the problem is with Gotham. If like me you always question why this city along with every other city never gets better with all the crime-fighting well this one helps uncover that question.
If you have the Blu-Ray you are also treated to a 15minute short centered around Catwoman as she takes on a criminal circuit. Catwoman was in the movie and she was really cool so it was great that they included it. Batman: Year One is only sixty-four minutes long, so I think the Catwoman short was to make up for the shorter time of the feature. Alongside the short there is a documentary on the original graphic novel Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. It reveals what a turning point The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One had on the comic book industry as the baby boomers came back with these gritty and mature stories.