If you’re like me, DC has been consistently disappointing you with their live-action films. That hasn’t been quite as true with their animated releases, however. Some of those have actually been downright impressive, with Under the Red Hood and Justice League: Doomed being the big standouts.
Batman vs Robin is the follow up to Son of Batman, which, if I’m being honest, was a huge let-down. Batman vs Robin does a bit better. It starts strong, and it uses some of the more iconic images from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Court of the Owls story arc.
The move loses steam well before the end however, as the larger plot is sloppily revealed and pushed along with little to get it to make sense. I think the biggest crimes of the movie are two-fold. First, Batman is too easily duped by Damian. This is a mark of poor writing. They want to make Damian look formidable, so they try to achieve it by making another character comparatively foolish. Secondarily, and this may be the bigger one, the film needed to be far more careful in depicting the fight scenes with Dollmaker’s minions, then with Damian. Essentially, we see Batman fight children, and that is almost as unnerving as the fact that he very nearly loses. We understand Robin is no ordinary kid, but he is a kid, and no amount of intellect or acrobatic prowess can compensate for seeing Batman dropping an elbow on a 10-year-old’s spine.
If you’ve enjoyed some of DC’s more recent animated works, you’ll probably want to give this a look. Don’t come expecting to get an adaptation of Court of Owls, or Morrison’s Batman Inc. work, because while there are some borrowed elements, this is very different. My best advice is rent it, don’t buy it.