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REVIEW — “Batman vs Robin”

In a follow-up to its highly successful Batman & Son animated feature, WB Animation and DC Entertainment have released their adaptation of Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls saga. In an obvious attempt to make the film more marketable, they opted for the name of Batman VS Robin (Although it is odd that they would go with a ‘VS’ title when the highly anticipated live-action Batman V Superman is less than a year away). And while there were a few weaknesses in the film, it is without doubt another great addition to the DC Animated Universe.

BvR - Robin leaps at Batman

It also should be noted that these animated features–especially the Batman-centric stories–are getting darker and more violent with each iteration. There are some VERY disturbing scenes that put into question its PG-13 rating. It probably should be rated R because of the amount of blood and gruesome murders shown albeit in animated form.

Strengths

The animation was beautiful, as always. The animators/studio seem to have found an animation style that they like; they have used the same animation style in pretty much every movie since Flashpoint. Before that they chose a different animation style with each movie. There isn’t much to complain about however, because the style suits the storytelling and is vastly preferable to some of the other style choices they’ve made in the past (Superman Unbound, for example).

BvR-Robin-Talon

In translating the comic arc to animated film, some pretty big changes were made. Most of these changes were for the better, as it allowed them to tell a more concise, heartfelt story. And make no mistake, this movie has some very effective storytelling.

BvR-owl crashing through case

Weird Al Yankovic gives an entirely unrecognizable performance as the Dollmaker. This and his appearance on “Galavant” give great hope to him appearing in more things in the future.

Weaknesses

The film’s biggest weakness is its voice acting. Jason O’Mara is probably the weakest Batman that they have employed in any DC Animated Feature, yet they keep using him. And to make matters worse, it felt like the audience was being taunted by having Kevin Conroy (the greatest Batman voice ever) play Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father. Outside of Weird Al, the other voices were pretty mediocre. Damian Wayne’s portrayal wasn’t as effective as it could have been.

BvR-Batman and Nightwing

Conclusion

Batman VS Robin’s excellent storytelling beautiful animation make it a worthwhile addition to your collection if you should choose to buy it. It’s currently available on VOD platforms like Vudu, Google Play, or iTunes and will be released on DVD/Blu-ray on April 14th.

4 out of 5 Stars

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