Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Batman vs Robin

What's it about?

Fresh off Son of Batman, Damian Wayne is still getting used to being the new Robin and being accepted by his father.  In this film, he's a bit more matured, showing that he's taking quite a few of Batman's lessons to heart, however the rift between them is still very clear and comes to a head as a group called the Court of Owls decides to come back to Gotham and pick up where it once left off, molding the city to it's ideal.  They give Damian a choice: to listen to his father, or cross the line he will not cross.


I'm going to start this off by saying that last week, before we watched this movie, we watched Batman v Superman.  I won't spend too much time on it, but I will say that if you're in the mood for a versus comic story that is well done with character arcs that actually care about the characters and writers who actually took the time to make a coherent script, skip that movie and watch this one.  Batman vs Robin has everything I wanted Batman v Superman to be and didn't get. 

Damian Wayne is, by far, my favorite Robin.  I'm not afraid to call him a little shit, because that is the best way to describe his attitude toward the world and his newly discovered father.  What makes him so interesting is the growth he so obviously shows between these movies.  He wants to prove himself to his father, he wants Batman to trust him, but he honestly doesn't understand why he can't kill people even when they've done absolutely horrible things.

This movie is also a perfect example of how to use the overplayed flashback of Bruce Wayne's parents dying in just the right way so that it builds the plot.  In Batman v Superman the flashback felt shoehorned in, just because Hollywood was sure that they needed it there to prove it was a Batman movie.  Here the flashback is relevant to the story and is actually expanded upon, to build Bruce's character.  We don't just see his parents die, we see little Bruce coming to grips with it, trying to understand who was behind it and why.  And in that we understand a little better how Damian is feeling about everything, even though their childhoods are so different.

There's also the animation in this movie, specifically in the final fight scene.  Ask me any time for examples of amazing animation (because I watch far too much anime to count) and this is still a stellar example of what the medium can do.  Fight scenes are hard to animate and don't always look right, even with the most skilled of companies.  The one that Warner Brother's Animated used for this movie carries out the fight scene as if it were nothing.  I said it above, but I mean it. This movie is what I wanted from Batman v Superman and the fight is no exception.  You felt the punches here, and the cuts and bruises were painful.  It was a master piece of showing that you can keep a fight confined to a minimal area and still communicate how earth shattering it would be if they lost.  I was invested in this fight and I got what I wanted in this climax. 

Final thoughts?

In the end this movie is one of my favorites, right up there with Under the Red Hood.  And once again I'll dream of the day when we get live action DC movies from the same writing team as these.  Because by and far, there are more good animated movies then there are bad.  Yes, some stumble horribly - looking at you, Killing Joke - but the majority are really good and worth recommending to friends and family.  And I'm still going to keep buying them blind when they come out.  I can't wait to watch more.

Where'd I get it?

Best Buy Black Friday sale with many other DC movies we were missing.

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