STARRING: Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Isaacs, Wade Williams and John DiMaggio
EARNED (Worldwide): N/A
There’s a mystery afoot in Gotham City, and Batman must go toe-to-toe with a mysterious vigilante, who goes by the name of Red Hood. Subsequently, old wounds reopen and old, once buried memories come into the light.
This animated film begins with Batman on the chase to locate and save Jason Todd aka Robin from the clutches of The Joker before it’s too late. The Joker beats him within an inch of his life and leaves him in a warehouse, which is wired with explosives and as Batman reaches the warehouse it explodes, killing Jason Todd. Fives years later, Gotham has a new vigilante/crime lord known as the Red Hood, cleaning up Gotham almost the same way as Batman would…except for this one, killing is an option.
Okay, so Batman: Under the Red Hood was a straight to video/DVD film and for some that would mean it wouldn’t count but considering it’s my list I’ve decided to cheat a little here and be prepared because this is the first and definitely not the last DC animated film that will appear on the list. The film brings to the forefront of challenging one of Batman’s most moral codes in fighting crime in Gotham: the ‘No Kill’ rule, as well as highlighting the failures over the course of the film, from the accident that would help create The Joker, to Jason Todd’s death. The material also deals with the fact that for all Batman’s code and methods of cleaning Gotham, it could prove to be obsolete as Red Hood arrives on the scene, cleaning up the mob yet not eliminating them, controlling them and bringing crime down, willing to kill if any of them step out of line. The death of Jason Todd and The Joker linger over the course of the film, with a story that is well known if you’re a fan of the source material/Batman universe, so the identity of the Red Hood isn’t that surprising and the director doesn’t make it surprising as it happens so quickly but it’s a 75min feature film so it shouldn’t be that surprising. The voice acting is fine from Bruce Greenwood as Bruce Wayne/Batman, pitching somewhere between Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale and John DiMaggio as The Joker in a more gangster mould than what some would traditionally know. The real star is of course Jensen Ackles (of Supernatural fame) in his first voice acting role and really makes you feel for the Red Hood character and his journey.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The final act between Batman, Red Hood and The Joker.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘You did it! You found a way to win and everyone still loses’ – The Joker
DID YOU KNOW?: The Joker was originally voiced by another actor until the filmmakers decided to replace them with John DiMaggio.