Son of Batman (2014)
Directed by Ethan Spaulding
I don’t know too much about Talia al Ghul except what I’ve read in the Batman and Son comic by Grant Morrison (and other stuff from Morrison’s run). She was also in a Catwoman volume I read a while ago… Unless it was a little spot in Gotham City Sirens…? *waves hand dismissively* The one where Harley and Ivy are trying to get Batman’s identity out of Selina and we learn Talia’s taught Selina how to withstand torture and drugs to protect Bruce. Regardless, I’ve been intrigued by Talia but haven’t consumed much content dealing with her. Son of Batman gave me a bit more to munch on. In the opening scene, we’re treated to just how much of a
badass skilled assassin Talia is. She practically fights off an assault on the League compound by herself (because it doesn’t look like the other assassin’s do much to help). And oh gosh does she look hot fighting (or just any time, really). But I do wish she’d zip up that cat suit a bit higher because it can’t be practical to have your boobs threatening to fall out of your shirt during combat. Oh well…
A lot of people dislike Damian Wayne but I can understand where he’s coming from, even if I don’t agree with his perspective. Raised in the League of Assassins, training constantly with high expectations and no healthy social life, it’s no surprise Damian is so serious. I’m not a fan of kids, but Damian feels adult enough not to annoy me, and that comes from being surrounded by adults his entire life. He’s been forced to grow up fast. Yes, he’s rash, angry, and arrogant, but he also recognizes when someone knows better than him and submits to that person’s wisdom. For a kid raised the way he was (to believe he’s the best and destined for greatness), that’s pretty darn good. I was actually surprised with how easily he took to Batman’s mentoring.
Both mother and son were voice acted well enough. Nothing major stood out to me as something to really pick on. It’s Batman’s voice and behaviour I have a problem with. I know he’s supposed to be stoic and controlled, but that’s different from awkward and stiff, which is what he came off feeling. What Batman says and does can seem at odds, especially when he’s interacting with Talia. His acting is monotone, and the timbre and texture sound more like a Jonathan Kent than a Batman. Seriously. He doesn’t sound like either a billionaire bachelor from the city or a dark knight. He sounds like an older man raised in the country who’s emotional range is that of a rock. I might sounds like I’m being too harsh, but when it comes to animation and games, quality voice acting is essential because that’s what viewers/players depend on for emotional investment. Unfortunately, Jason O’Mara doesn’t cut it. The rest of the Batman stuff is fine, though.
Other than Batman’s acting being the worst part of a Batman film, this animated feature is actually quite good. There aren’t any noticeably dull moments, the combat looks great, and the art is well done. The story is interesting, with generally good characterization. I like it quite a bit. But maybe I’m biased because I have a weakness for women who can fight… Nah, I’m not that bad! (Hopefully…) Damian’s a little cutie-pie too! Erm, a very serious cutie-pie.