Sunday, October 9, 2016

Superhero Media: Batman Vs Robin

The sequel to Son of Batman and an adaptation of the "Court of Owls" story line, Batman Vs Robin would have been pretty damn entertaining if not for a few grating flaws. Now, I haven't read the comics, so I'm making assumptions to some degree, but if the film is unable to stand on its own, the quality of the original comics is irrelevant anyway. The most noticeable of these flaws is Jason O'Mara in the role of Batman, he never quite comes across as being at home in the role, as if he's filling in for someone who'll be back in a minute, someone like Kevin Conroy, perhaps? Highlighting this by having Conroy play Thomas Wayne just seems like a perfect storm of bad casting. I'm guessing that it was an attempt at homage, like having Adam West play the Grey Ghost in BTAS. Actually, the whole of the voice work in Batman Vs Robin is ever so slightly off, Damian sounds a little too young, Dick a little too old and Alfred comes across as constantly browbeaten. 

The plot also leaves something to be desired, the Court of Owls feel underused and the zombie ninjas come across as an excuse to have an enemy that Batman can kill. The Dollmaker and his cyborg orphans in the opening are way darker and more interesting than anything else in the film, setting up a false tone that's not delivered upon. Also, if the Court has been around for so long, how come we haven't seen them before? If they had only just come to Gotham, that would be one thing, but it's clearly implied that the Court killed Thomas and Martha Wayne and their secret base is huge and very high-tech, clearly not something they threw up overnight. I don't know, it just seems that with an asylum-full of iconic villains, alien dictators and international environmentalist ninja assassins in his rogue's gallery, Batman doesn't need a mashup of the Illuminati and the Eyes Wide Shut orgy-goers to fight. 

I will admit that the fights in Batman Vs Robin are pretty nice, they'd make good scenarios for Batman miniatures game or SS4, especially when Batman, Nightwing and Alfred are defending Wayne manor from an assault by ninja zombies. Naturally, I want to do something like this now, but I can't justify building an entire Batcave... yet. If, like me, you can stream this or find it on Netflix, it's worth a watch; better than Son of Batman, but not as good as Under the Red Hood. Better game fodder than narrative. 

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