Son of Batman

Son of Batman (2014, 74 minutes)

Plot: When Ra’s al Ghul is killed by Deathstroke, his daughter Talia and grandson Damian seek the aid of Damian’s father Batman in getting revenge.

Source Material: This is theoretically based on Grant Morrison’s Batman and Son but aside from the basic premise of Batman learning he has a son by Talia, none of that survives. Honestly, that’s fine. Morrison wrote a convoluted mess of a story that included countless doublecrosses and plots that I just didn’t care about. This is simple and to the point.

Animation: Mark this as closer to the positive than the negative end. It’s nothing all that startling or unique looking but the action is solid and characters look good. The big issue is the thing is so very dark. I know this is Batman but it’s unwatchable in a few scenes. It needed a lot more light. Still, pretty good.

Script: Joe R. Lansdale wrote this. Seriously. Admittedly this was just a work for hire job and not his first DC animation job–He cowrote a Batman ep with STEVE GERBER which I must see–so it’s not that special. Still, that’s an awesome credit on the work and truthfully Lansdale, working from a story by the gifted James Robinson, really kills it here. This is up there with McDuffie’s Justice League: Doom in terms of a solidly satisfying story. It’s a step denser than the usual film and stronger structurally than the norm. It might not be over the top amazing but as a good strong Batman story, it delivers.

Voice Acting: Because I’m not quite watching these in order, I’ve already praised Stuart Allan as Damian. He’s awesome here too. Jason O’Mara is initially a bit offputting as an ultra aggressive Batman but he worked for me ultimately. Sean Maher is very welcome as a Nightwing who conveys a clear bond with Batman. On the other hand his Firefly costar Morena Baccarin feels a shade wasted as Talia and Thomas Gibson is annoying as Deathstroke, especially next to Manu Bennett’s fine take on Arrow. The good outweighs the bad here.

Final verdict: This one really feels just at the edge of being something more. The script is strong and the animation is almost there. It’s not quite on par with the others to get the rating but I’m giving this a 4 ultimately because it did the trick a bit better than the norm and it felt more like a real movie than I’ve gotten of late. It’s on Netflix and it’s well worth the brief time.

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