movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Batman fails to murder murderers, resulting in murder.

PEOPLE: Directed by Brandon Vietti, who did the excellent Superman/Doomsday movie, and who helped save the Batman:Brave And The Bold cartoon by creating better episodes in Season 2 than ever existed in Season 1. He also directed half of The Batman episodes, and even worked on the old Roughnecks Starship Troopers Chronicles series a bit.

Batman voiced by Bruce Greenwood (Commander Pike from the Star Trek reboot movie, the President in National Treasure 2, I,Robot, Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere). The Red Hood voiced by Jensen Ackles (Jason Teague from 22 eps of Smallville, Alec from Dark Angel, Dawson’s Creek, Supernatural). Joker is played by John DiMaggio — i.e. Bender from Futurama, Finn from Adventure Time With Finn & Jake, Aqua Man from Batman:The Brave And The Bold, Spectacular Spider-Man, etc. Nightwing/original Robin is played by Neil Patrick Harris! Commissioner is played by Gary Cole. Black Mask’s assistant by Kelly Hu. Hell, even Fred Tatasciore, the live-action Incredible Hulk from the 70’s show, is in this, as well as Kevin Michael Richardson, and Phil LaMarr.

Bender’s voice as The Joker was quite an interesting choice after being sooo used to it being Mark Hamill. These Bruce Timm-produced Batman movies have started to break their previous trends of always having Kevin Conroy as Batman, always having Mark Hamill as The Joker. It makes it different. This Joker is a scarier, more realistic, more violent joker, like something out of The Dark Night. He’s not nearly as comedic of a Joker as Mark Hamill and some of the other Jokers we’ve seen in the older Batman movies and series. The comparison has been made by people on the IMDB forum: Hamill is an animated Jack Nicholson, while DiMaggio is an animated Heath Ledger. Take your pick. Though some people say both sound the same, citing that Mark Hamill’s depiction of the Joker in recent movies has been increasingly dark/Legerish and decreasingly cartoon-crazy/Nicholson-ish. Anyway, here’s how he sounds, assuming this video remains on YouTube:

QUIRKS: Pretty damn violent!! Some intense fighting scenes! Major character deaths, and other deaths. And yet, they still held back a bit, compared to the murderfest most live action movies are. This earned a PG-13 rating for violence and drug references, like most of the DC Universe Animated Original movies since 2007 [they’ve been making about 3 a year]. But there still should have been more blood. Not more violence, but more blood for the existing amount of violence. That aspect made it feel a bit kid-ified.

Definitely some twists that we didn’t see coming.

Maybe this scene (major spoilers) from the comic should have been left in?

VISUALS: Animation style is remarkably like the 1990s Batman cartoons. But still different, improved, and obviously higher-budget.

Carolyn said Batman‘s boots were like real boots, unlike how they are normally more like “stocking boots”.

MORALS: Revenge versus justice, a standard Batman theme.

GOOD STUFF: This is the Batman the 1990’s series could have been, were it not for the limits of broadcast television imposed by censoring parents.

BAD STUFF: First off, it should have been much longer than 1h15min. Second off: Using Black Mask–he’s kind of corny to me. Thirdly, the ending bugged me a little bit, I felt it was too ambiguous. They tried something artsy and instead of being straightforward, it just made it lacking on closure (spoilers).

CONCLUSION: One of the best animated Batman movies ever, if not the best.

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10. (a low 9)
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.9/10, Netflix: 4.2/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.8/5 stars–Netflix knows we love Batman cartoons!).

RECOMMENDATION: Animated superhero lovers MUST check this out! Esp. if you liked the old Batman 1990s series!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Any of the DC Universe Animated Original movies since 2007–they’ve been making about 3 a year. Particularly Batman & Superman:Public Enemies, for having both Batman and for being surprisingly violent.

MOVIE QUOTE: Red Hood: Those are the heads of all of your lieutenants. That took me two hours. You wanna see what I get done in a whole evening?

Mood: not hung over
Music: Atari Teenage RiotRevolution Action (live)