Thursday, September 18, 2014

They Came Together

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Ha...the title says "came."




They Came Together – 5 out of 5

For a long time, I feared that the art of the parody film was dead and buried.  Thanks to the endlessly unfunny disasters unleashed on the world in the form of tiresome fart gags and dated pop culture references instead of actual send-ups of the genres they are parodying from the dynamic duo of truly awful filmmaking; Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, and the numerous Scary Movie films that basically started to settle for doing the same joke over and over again (and it always involved scenes ending with someone falling or suddenly just being fired out of shot like a goddamn rocket), it seemed that parody was going to only be reserved to some articles on the internet and absolutely choice songs from a Mr. Yankovic.  However, when all seemed lost, Michael Showalter and David Wain kicked the door in and presented They Came Together and proved that it is still possible to have a parody film that actually knows what it is doing and capable of being “Oops, I think I just pissed myself” funny.

"Allow me to show you the wonder of Pawnee."

 

I have no caption for this picture...so, just enjoy looking at
Hader and Kemper.
Over dinner with some friends (played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper), Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) enlighten them about the ups and downs of their relationship and how it resembles a generic romantic comedy.  What follows is a film that is exactly that:  A romcom...but with a twist.  Joel can’t get over his ex Tiffany (Cobie Smulders) and Molly is about to have her world thrown into a loop as her quaint little candy shop is threatened with being muscled out by a huge candy corporation…that Joel just so happens to work for.  Can these two hit it off?  Will love break through their troubles and initial animosity?  It will…and it will do it in a way that simply levels all the tropes and clichés of a romcom.
 
What shenanigans must occur for these two to fall in love with each other?
 

I won’t knock romantic comedies because if there are people out there enjoying them and being entertained while watching them, more power to those people.  I, personally, am not a fan of the particular genre. Maybe it’s because I’m a cynic or maybe it’s because my drug of choice is superhero comic book adaptations, I dunno but the romcom genre never spoke to me.  However, like all things in life, there are always exceptions. 
 
The proper way to thank a bookstore employee when they show you where the Sci-Fi
section is.
 

I can't afford to eat at places that have "mood lighting."
Since I’m all about movies and since starting this blog has opened me up to watching a lot more movies that, only about ten years ago I would have passed by and never given a second thought to, I have seen my fair share of romcoms and, like pretty much all genres in existence, have learned all the common threads that make up their sweater of existence.  Stella and The State alumni Michael Showalter and David Wain take those threads and weave them with humorous cotton (I’m not letting go of this sweater analogy).  They take all the things we know and either love or hate about romantic comedies and make fun of them in a lighthearted and loving way.
 
Ha ha...just like in all romantic comedies.
 



The problem with many parodies now (and mostly due to Friedberg and Seltzer) is the parody film has become mean spirited and the final product is more concerned with insulting people (both the subject matter of the joke and the people watching the film) than it is with crafting gags that both honor and lampoon the genre it is making light of.  To properly jest on a subject, you have to have some kind of reverence for it or at least a begrudging respect and understanding of it. Maybe Showalter and Wain hate romcoms but never does their film end up looking like a metaphoric 12 year old calling the genre “totes gay” like Friedberg and Seltzer did when they decided to make fun of 300.  They Came Together, instead, is a film that is capable of breaking down the romcom genre and analyzing it with a fine toothed comb—a fine toothed comb made up of a great cast (many of which are returning from Showalter and Wain's other satirical romp; Wet Hot American Summer) and humor that is capable of being smart, witty, sometimes silly, and sprinkled with just enough vulgarity to keep it fresh but never insulting.
 
No, that waiter doesn't have a tail.  It's a pole...and it totally makes sense when you
watch the movie.
 

Yes, the film has a montage of their "happy times" and, yes,
it has a clothes-trying-on parody.
Showalter and Wain wrote a film that isn’t just funny, it was “Seriously, I can’t breathe and I think I’m going to die from laughter” funny.  It only helped that the two filled the film with friends and fellow hilarity-makers that are talented enough to bring the script’s humor from the page to the screen and do it with justice.  Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play so amazingly well off each other and are capable of making their story feel absolutely ridiculous and stupidly familiar at the same time.  It really is a testament to their comedic talent that they are capable of making the relationship between them both look like it belongs in a generic romcom and belongs in this film.  Additionally, Paul Rudd continues to prove why he is, arguably, one of the most likable people in all of Hollywood.
 
Look at him being all likable.  I would hate him for how likable he is if it wasn't
for how likable he was.
 

Ken Marino, sir...you are a gift to comedy.
Yes, Poehler and Rudd rock in their roles but even the supporting cast is capable of bringing gut-busting hilarity to the film’s running time.  Whether it be the few scenes Christopher Meloni is in or the reactions of Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper as the story is told to them or the friendship/work relationship between Paul Rudd’s character and a character played by Jason Mantzoukas or even the short (but hilarious) scenes with Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer and Ken Marino, this film is loaded to the brim with choice (I've labeled things "choice" a lot in this review), top notch, excellent talent that delivers—shit, there is even two fantastic cameos at the end with two guys who aren’t really known for humor (unless you count an infamous Funny or Die video that involved reading a particular scathing email in an overtly dramatic way) that come in and just punch your funny organ in its face.
 
Comedy, drama...is there nothing you can't do, Meloni?
 

I did the same happy dance after watching the movie.
At no point did this film hit a low moment and at no point did the humor stop being insanely hysterical for me.  It’s actually the most I’ve laughed in a film that doesn’t include the RiffTrax guys in some time.  The comedy never gets repetitive and it is fresh and lively the entire ride.  Showalter and Wain crafted a perfect work of satire and literally everyone in They Came Together delivered to their expectations and beyond.   To put it in the most simplest of terms:  This movie is fucking hilarious!

 

Thank you, Mr. Wain.  Thank you to you and Mr. Showalter for creating an excellent
and totally hilarious film!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Sherman's Dad is both a dog and Phil Dunphy!  Color me jealous!






Mr. Peabody & Sherman – 3 out of 5


Growing up, I used to watch reruns of The Bullwinkle Show and particularly enjoyed the segments titled “Peabody’s Improbable History.”  The snarky little dog with his adopted pet human named Sherman were quite amusing to my little boy brain.  However, as time passed by and I grew up, I ultimately forgot about the time travelling duo…until their cartoon was adapted for a feature length film.

"Punch it, Mr. Peabody...make sure to not hit any wayward phone booths with
two smart-ass teenagers in them."
 

Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a genius but, like most geniuses, he feels alone and he ultimately adopts a young boy named Sherman (Max Charles).  In an effort to educate Sherman on history, Mr. Peabody invented the time machine called the TARDIS WABAC (“way back,” get it?  Good...maybe you can explain it to me...I don't get it.).  Unfortunately, it’s not easy being a human with a dog for a daddy and Sherman starts to get harassed by fellow classmate Penny (Ariel Winter).  Her bullying leads to Sherman biting her and this brings about the attention of child services.  In an effort to prove he’s a good father, Mr. Peabody decides to smooth over the ordeal himself but Sherman ends up causing even more trouble when he shows Penny the WABAC.  Now, time is screwed up and Mr. Peabody must fix it…and stop child services from taking away his son.

He may be smart but he's still naïve enough to believe there is aerobic
benefits to yoga.
 

Watching the trailer—this trailer…




I was reminded about the days of coming home from school and prolonging any homework long enough to watch a rerun of The Bullwinkle Show and laughing at the emotional abuse that Sherman was clearly going through but I was powerless to stop due to the chuckles.  I was sold on seeing the film and sold on seeing it in the theaters…well, the budget theater, anyway.  While the movie received a lot of positive reviews, I walked out with a sorta “meh” feeling and saw the movie as nothing more than an average adventure for me.  The movie was entertaining, had a few funny moments, and never really gets bad at any time but it just wasn’t spectacular enough to be anything more than a middle-of-the-road thing for me.

The sheen on that floor, on the other hand...that's a 5 out of 5 shine!
 

First off, while the movie has some humorous moments, the film never really had me in laughing fits.  I wasn’t honestly expecting a laugh riot because, even though I would laugh at the original cartoon, I never found the source material to be gut-busting.  However, the film did have its moments that kept the film flowing and stopped it from being completely boring.  Additionally, the film has some tremendous voice actors doing their thing and really helped the movie stand out.

The WABAC looks like one of those uncomfortable "egg" chairs from
the 70s.  Which, somehow, makes me want one even more.
 

You look at this character's design and it just screams,
"Have Patrick Warburton voice me."
I’m a big fan of the character Phil Dunphy and, in turn, am a big fan of Ty Burrell and, without a doubt, having him as Mr. Peabody was my favorite aspect about the film.  Sure, his voice isn’t as iconic in the role as Bill Scott was in the original cartoon but Burrell wasn’t a slouch and he really brought the character to life and made him a sympathetic.  He is mirrored by a great performance from Max Charles as Sherman and his Modern Family co-star Ariel Winter as Penny.  In all honesty, the voice acting might have been the best part about this film because, aside from Burrell, Charles and Winter, the film also has such talents as Dennis Haysbert (making me feel like I need Allstate), Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Patrick Warburton, Mel Brooks, Jess Harnell and Stanley Tucci.  This film did not flop at all with its cast.

Geez, his arm is about to detach itself and fly into orbit...
 

"Why does my dad always scoot his ass across the
carpet?"
Another thing I really enjoyed about Mr. Peabody & Sherman was the adjustments made to the relationship between son and dog.  In the original cartoon, Peabody treated Sherman like a pet rather than a child he wants to raise and love (Hell, in the first cartoon, Peabody is looking to adopt and checking out children the way a family checks out pets—there’s even a boy in a window with his tongue hanging out like a dog).  I’m not saying this dynamic was a bad thing because it worked on the grounds for comedy with the whole “flip the script” thing and having their roles reversed (although, having a dog adopt a boy instead of the opposite sounds like something someone comes up with when they’re high) but having Peabody look to have a child and see him come into his own with fatherhood was a nice change.  Sure, it changed the slightly antagonistic relationship the two had in the source material but it made for a more touching, family-oriented story.

Their running through the sewers would have moved faster if Peabody
didn't have to stop and roll in everything.
 

The one thing that kept me from enjoying this movie as much as I was hoping I would was the way the film couldn’t balance the two points of conflict in the story.  So, the story has the threat of Peabody having Sherman taken away from him but it also has the consequences of saving Penny and Sherman from the destruction they’ve caused to the timeline.  While it is a requirement to have time travel in the story (that was the whole point of the cartoon, after all) and the additional point was made to have the relationship be a little more affectionate in the film, the two elements just end up not merging well.  The threat of losing Sherman is thrown in right away and is the main focus for the begin quarter of the film but once the romp through time is inserted, this element is regulated to only a few casual mentions right next to talks about how hard it is to raise children.  The threat doesn’t feel like it is still there until it is suddenly once again released on the plot like a rabid monkey at a buffet table.  Suddenly the threat is there again but it is quickly pushed away for the consequences of messing with time.  Then, at the end, the threat of losing Sherman is just tossed aside and resolved in a manner that is more convenient than lesson-learning.

"Hello, I'm here to threaten you with taking your human child away but will quickly
disappear from the story only to return and have my threat resolved in a way
that actually causes more problems that are never addressed and simply
swept under the rug after they take place...anyway, how are you?"
 

The marriage of these two conflicts could have worked if the right balance was secured but, as it is, it didn’t feel locked down to me.  While messy, the film is still watchable but it just didn’t feel as feathered out as it needed to be. 

Yeah...that could be a problem.
 

Mr. Peabody & Sherman isn’t a terrible animated film, it just wasn’t the strongest one for me.  As a family film, the movie might bore some younger viewers as the film drags in parts and the whole CPS aspect might fly over their heads but the film has a great voice acting cast, some decent humor, Peabody and Sherman’s relationship and the evolution it takes is tender and sweet, and all this equaled out to be just entertaining enough to be a one-shot viewing for me...although it was weird that a segment of the film is dedicated to the inaccuracies that are taught in history class and the film proceeds to have some major discrepancies in their own representation of the past.  This would be a great time for Mr. Peabody to suddenly show up and say, “Quiet you!”

RoboCop (2014)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Strangely enough, those irritated about remaking RoboCop were not upset about the porn parody RoboCock.






RoboCop (2014) – 3 out of 5

"Ew, gross!  A remake?  I hate those things…unless, I didn’t know it was a remake and I also am totally okay with bands covering songs and even my own butchering of classics at the lowest of the low form of time-wasting; Karaoke.  It’s just reimagining of films that spike my ire and have me talk about how there’s no originality left anymore."  That was my impression of the knee-jerk reactions to remakes.  I used to be like that too until I realized how trivial it is to get upset because a movie was being remade.  I realized that even though a film is remade, that doesn’t mean the original is wiped from all of reality and conscious thought and that I can easily, you know, NOT see the film.  However, I’m always open-minded about watching new films (or re-imaginings of old films)—this blog and my sheer love of movies in general helped make me a little more open to all films, remake or not—not to mention that, when I saw the trailer, I was actually kinda interested to see what they did with RoboCop.




Although...an ED-209 prequel origin film might have been more interesting...
 
 
 

In 2028, a corporation named Omnicorp is trying to have all the nation’s law enforcement replaced with robotic drones so that human lives will no longer have to be lost and to possibly greatly reduce the amount of unarmed black teens being shot by out-of-shape racist white cops who possess military grade hardware because we are completely fucked as a nation.  The only problem is that the government has banned the use of these robots but that won’t stop Omnicorp CEO Raymond Sellers (Michael Keaton).  He plans to play to the sympathies of the typical American but, rather than just say something about how if we don’t use robot cops it will make the terrorists win before having fireworks launch behind him and get Toby Keith to rock one of his incredibly shitty songs about loving America, he decides to put a man inside the robots (which can have a different meaning depending on what type of Google searches you do).  After fate smiled on them in its unique twisted way, Omnicorp gets their hands on Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) after he is left for dead from an attempt on his life.  Murphy is upgraded into some sort of robot cop—a RoboCop, if you will—and is set out to be the best law enforcer and PR machine that money can buy.  The only problem is that Omnicorp’s top scientists, like Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), can’t eliminate the human element from the robot and can’t stop a man dedicated to justice…even if it means bringing justice to the men who made him.


You know that iconic visor that RoboCop has? Enjoy one of the few times
you get to see it.


I know, I know…we hate remakes.  Hell, aside from vaguely racist comments about Obama, porn, the illegal downloading of movies, Redditors talking about how they're a community but do nothing but hail insults and hate each other, songs going viral and being the next big think until two weeks later when no one cares about them anymore, cats, and Twitter campaigns, talking about how remaking old movies are somehow violating and “raping” beloved childhood memories is the biggest thing on the internet (there’s also idiots thinking people want to know their thoughts on movies—I thought I would add that before some commenter does).  I won’t blow smoke and say that, often, remakes are unnecessary and I would like to see a lot of older films re-mastered and re-released into theaters but revisiting old properties is the way of the world with our entertainment bits (shit, even a lot of books are just stolen ideas redone) and, rather than complain about them, I just give them a shot.  Fuck, sometimes they are really fucking good, too!

Oh no, Cylons!
 

I don’t really need to say it but Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop is fucking glorious.  It’s a classic in every sense of the word—even though when someone first declared that certain movies would be eternally loved by audiences, I’m not sure they thought one day that a film about a robot cop who shot a dude in the dick in one scene would be labeled as a “classic.”  The film is a loving work of commentary about an era where Reaganomics became a word, cocaine seemed to flow like wine, we never heard a bad thing about Michael Jackson, Mel Gibson wasn’t the man with the hard-on for hating Jews that he is now, and where teens nowadays think that being born in 1989 means you are a child and product of the 80s.  There’s tons of scenes that remain with you, tons of quotable dialogue, and did I mention that RoboCop literally shoots a dude in the dick?  The film was a representation of the 80s and we loved it so much that we would spend more than a dollar on it…like several dollars. 

Boy, RoboCop's design looks cheap...
 

Fun Note:  They are watching the remake of
A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I had no illusions that this reboot was going to be better than the original but I did think it might have some decent action and, I won’t lie, might have some new commentary to make on today’s society.  Like how the original was a big talking point on how excessive the 80s were, this film did manage to thrown in some bullet points about post-9/11 society.  This dynamic was one of my favorite things about the film and something I wish the film focused more on.  When the movie opens, we see a world going to unmanned police forces and drones (sound familiar?) and the film ends up having a debate on the price of human life.  I liked that but the movie very quickly changes its focal point and turns towards about what constitutes free will and how indomitable the human spirit is.  While that’s okay, too, (in fact, the original brings this up as well), the presentation of this theme was too dominating and it made the film extremely slow and very boring in parts.

"Don't worry, Alex.  I'll get around to finishing you after I've cleaned out
my garage..."
 

However, when the boring parts about how Alex Murphy is a human with machine parts and not a machine with human parts starts to get to be too much, the action begins.  While the action isn’t very memorable (read that as no dick shots) and is pretty bland with some straight forward “shoot this guy, shoot that guy” stuff, it’s enough to satisfy if you are fixing for some action.  Although, it’s kinda weird to see RoboCop running and jumping but that’s because, in our modern society, we don’t see robots as slow-moving, heavy devices that lumber around like we thought they did when the first was made.

Sure there is less dick-shots but there's more Keaton in this one.
 

"Let's talk about a time before my shitty Playboy
interview..."
One thing I will say that this film did better than the original is the fact the cast is absolutely freakin’ fantastic!  You have proven great actors like Gary Oldman (his asshole-tendencies aside, he’s still talented), Michael Keaton (who, did you know, adding him to a film’s roster makes it cooler by at least 45%?), Jackie Earle Haley (who seems incapable of being bad, even in another remake as an iconic horror character), Jay Baruchel (who seemed like he wouldn’t fit in this film but did), and the baddest mother fucker to exist, Samuel L. Jackson.  The film is just overflowing with talent and they are all doing a fantastic job.  Keaton is addicting to watch as the slimy, yet charismatic, Omnicorp CEO.  Oldman is engaging as a scientist who wants to do good in the world but is stuck answering to a pushy boss.  Haley is stone cold and entertaining in his antagonistic ways towards Murphy as he plays a military technician for Omnicorp and Jackson is all kinds of fun as the Fox News-esque talk show host who tries to spin Omnicorp as the heroes of the world and how they are basically doing “God’s work.”  Every actor in this film really delivers and is capable of making this remake look ambitious.

Some times, he even surprises himself.
 

Every actor except one…

Take one wild guess on who that actor is...
 

Peter Weller is, and will always be, RoboCop.  Shit, when I see his name credited as the director of some of my favorite shows I find myself saying, “Hey, RoboCop directed this.”  His shoes were probably too big to fill and anyone who took the role would never have come close but the production failed mightily with bringing in Joel Kinnaman (who?) to play Alex Murphy and the man we all squeal over when he says, “Dead or alive you’re coming with me.”  Kinnaman is completely lifeless in his portrayal of the robot cop.  While this lack of emotion and vanilla delivery makes sense in some scenes where his personality is robbed from him by Omnicorp, it doesn’t explain when in other areas of the film, like before the accident and after he defeats his programming, he is only giving about 10% more emotion than he did in the other scenes.  I wasn’t too thrilled with his crazy eyes either…

"Allow me to stare at you, my wife, like I am a fucking lunatic."

Seriously, put the visor down.  Your eyes are creeping me out.
 


"Okay...and with that, you've lost the ability to play
the piano."
Kinnaman, without a doubt, is the weakest part of the film and that hurts because he is playing the main freaking character.  I can overlook the generic color scheme of the iconic character and how he looks more like he’s wearing a discarded Batman suit from The Dark Knight.  I can even overlook how the production hates having the visor over their actor’s eyes (have you learned nothing from Dredd?).  However, I can’t overlook that Kinnaman is presenting the character as something that isn’t worthy of paying attention to.  Kinnaman never once commands attention and seems unable to master the ability to come off as both robotic and emotional—something Weller made look freakishly easy.

Shown, Kinnaman's version of overflowing with emotion and talent...
 



Now, you’re probably thinking that since I couldn’t get behind the lead actor how the hell was I able to give this film my average score of 3 out of 5.  Yes, I thought Kinnaman was incredibly weak as RoboCop and thought the themes weren’t what I thought they were going to be, and that the action was pretty “by the numbers” but the rest of the cast is easily picking up the rest of the slack that falls in other categories.  Hell, even certain elements of the story—like Keaton’s character trying to sway public opinion of robot cops or Jackson’s character and his show—made the film entertaining and watchable.  Shit, I even liked the new design of ED-209 and felt the film really succeeded with its special effects (except jumping RoboCop…fuck that just looked weird).
Was there a demand for a leaping RoboCop on the 'net that I was
unaware of?
 



There was clearly some ambition to this remake and, at least to me, didn’t look like some quick attempt at getting some Box Office returns by half-assing a remake of a beloved film.  Even with its convoluted themes, the movie was clearly trying to comment on society and bring some philosophical questions about what it means to live when technology is concerned to the table.  Sure, the main guy was absolutely forgettable in his performance and made for some really awkward moments and the overall look of RoboCop is quite generic but the rest of the cast is so good that it made up for all shortcomings and I started to see RoboCop as a side character (which, truthfully, is kinda a crime all by itself).  The movie has a buttload of problems but, in the end, I didn’t feel like my time was wasted or that the remake somehow destroyed the integrity of the original.  There were elements that worked and a lot of elements that didn’t but it felt like director José Padiha was trying to make something that was relevant to these times but was also forging new territory as it honored the original.  While I didn’t think he succeeded in making a remake that is extremely watchable, he did make a film that didn’t feel like a waste of time for me and had enough working for it to make it one for my average, one-time viewing scores.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Son of Batman

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Should have used a Bat-condom...wow, that gag was lame.




Son of Batman – 3 out of 5

Despite a theory that Batman is gay (tell that one to a fanboy and watch the freak out), there was a storyline in the comics in 2006 that involved Bats and Talia al Ghul having a little Robin. Son of Batman is the very loose adaptation of that story arc and, as painful as it is for me to admit that something Batman did wasn’t absolutely astounding, the film might be one of the worst animated films from DC—and, not to mention, that it is painful to say this too because they are the best when it comes to animated features.


At what point do you just give up and sell the damn arrow-
shooting gatling gun for one that shoots bullets?
Among the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul is betrayed by his original choice for successor; Slade Wilson (voiced by Thomas Gibson) and left for dead before he can make it to the Lazarus Pits. In order to protect her son Damian (Stuart Allan), Talia al Ghul (Morena Baccarin) takes him to be with his father; Batman (Jason O’Mara). While the Dark Knight is left to take care of his brash, bratty and annoying son, he stumbles upon a plot involving Slade—now called Deathstroke—and an army of unbeatable assassins. Now Batman must team with his son to stop the threat and groom the child to be the new Robin.

Suddenly Carrie Kelley isn't such a shitty Robin anymore.



The violence is hardcore in this one but, with as unlikeable as
Damian is, I still can't bring myself to cheer too loudly when
this happened.
I say it in every DC film I review but the animation studio really knows how to adapt the best storylines from the comic company. They really know how to capture the characters and the action and they do it with style, flair and some amazing animation.  Another thing is the films are always filled with superior and very exciting action.  This one is no different and it even goes a step further by not watering down the action and refraining from including blood and nasty violence. While Son of Batman looks good and is acted by a great cast of actors (and is violent...don't forget the violence), I just couldn’t get into the film because of an unappealing story.

"My plan is simple..."

"Mmmf fffrrrmple mmmffthhhh."



Batman won't kill his enemies but he will, for the future,
question his stance on the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate.
The heart of the problems comes in the fact that Damian is a little turd of a human being. Despite being trained to be a lethal killer, he comes off as a spoiled brat. Naturally, this is expected in a story such as this (if Batman and his estranged son hit it off instantaneously and gelled the moment they started to work together, there wouldn’t have been much of a story, would there have been?) but the film never gets that moment right where the two connect and Damian learns to not be a little unlikeable shit. Sure, Damian is able to get his revenge for the death of his Grandpa but never does Batman’s way of crime-fighting rub off.

"Talia...are you sure he's mine?  This kid's a psycho...and that is coming from
a guy who fights crime dressed as a bat."


Is being a little less focused on something like killing the dude who killed your grandparent make you suddenly get along better with your dad? Because that’s what happened in the film and it felt like a cop-out that completely took for granted the limitless potential of Batman coming to terms with being a dad and setting his son on the straight and narrow path of justice and not vengeance. Instead, the film ends with Damian getting his revenge and all tension between the two is worked out. It felt really sloppy and not Batman-worthy.

Hanging out with his real son and Nightwing makes Batman wonder if there is
a returns policy for children.



Plus, the sexual tension between Killer Croc and Batman
was hard to deal with...
The film also suffers from some very piss-poor dialogue that, sadly, matches the bad conflict resolution. For example, when Talia first arrives in Gotham, Batman is fighting Killer Croc (who is jacked on an experimental drug) and Croc comments to Batman that steroids give him the munchies and then proceeds to try and eat his face. Now, that alone is pretty bad but it gets worse as Talia subdues Croc and then informs Batman that only she is allowed to bite him. I get it, movie. Talia and Batman banged nasties to get Damian but you couldn’t have come up with a better sexy innuendo?

"Cod piece don't fail me now..."


While the film continues to keep the streak alive of having great voice acting and the action is very exciting, the film suffers from just an all-around weak story and dialogue that would make even the worst comic books shutter and cringe. Yes, the animation in Son of Batman is fantastic but the overall product was painfully average.


Good ninja costume, Talia...I'm sure your son feels completely comfortable around
you when you wear it.