At WonderCon 2014, fans crammed into the Arena to watch the world premiere of DC Universe’s latest animated feature, Son of Batman, and with good reason. The film, which is set to release on DVD and Blu-ray on May 6, delivers fun and adventure with a fresh plot based Grant Morrison’s 2006 DC storyline.
Bruce Wayne (Jason O’Mara) receives an unwelcome visit from his former lover and foe, Talia al Gul (Morena Baccarin), who’s brought with her a son Batman never knew he had. Damien (Stuart Allen) is exactly the type of kid you’d expect to come from these two: smart, strong, ruthless, and bloodthirsty. Bats, with some patience and an assist from Nightwing (Sean Maher), is able to get through to his long-lost son, and it’s not long before the arrogant kid is donning his own version of the Robin costume. He soars off alongside his father to take down criminal mastermind, Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson).
In keeping with its later animated features, DC does not hold back on the blood and gore of the battles. Damien, who is supposed about 10, takes quite a beating and there’s an especially cringe worthy part involving daggers. Still the action is very welcome and keeps the plot speeding ahead. One of my favorite sequences involved the new dynamic duo fighting off ninja man-bats, engineered by a kidnapped Dr. Langstrom (Xander Berkeley).
O’Mara is stellar as The Dark Knight, his rich voice perfect in depth and command. I hope DC will keep him bringing him back. I’m less sure of Allan as Damien. He simply sounds too childish to be issuing death threats and bragging about hacking the Batcomputer. This is not the actor’s fault necessarily; Allan does everything asked of him and he does it well. That the end product seems incongruous at times is the fault, in my opinion, of a production team who seemingly forgot how old (both in age and experience) their character is when casting his voice.
My other complaint is the under use of Nightwing. With a pro like Maher voicing Batman’s former protégé, I expected to see much more of the grown up Dick Grayson. Sadly, he only had a few scenes to shine, a waste of Maher’s talent and Nightwing’s prowess as a superhero.
Those two points aside, Son of Batman is an excellent addition to DC’s animated universe. It is comfortingly familiar with its Paul Dini style but pleasantly surprising with its humor and extended action sequences. Check it out on DVD and Blu-ray on May 6.