Batman: Under the Red Hood is mainly a story which questions Batman’s morality and his rules about killing as when a new costumed vigilante arrives in Gotham, who not only kills the bad guys, he also takes the profits from those left alive, Batman is forced to question whether his “no killing” rule actually works, especially when faced with someone who is pure evil, like The Joker.
The Joker’s evil is stated in the beginning of the film where he is seen brutally beating the second Robin, Jason Todd, who then dies from an explosion set by The Joker, seconds before Batman can save him. Obviously Bruce blames himself for the whole situation and is gravely devastated, but continues fighting crime, because, you know, he’s Batman.
The animation here is very similar to Justice League: The New Frontier, which is to be expected as it is from the same studio and the films are only separated by a few years. I like this animation style, the more I see it, the more I grow accustomed to it. However, as I have mentioned in previous reviews, there are definitely better animation styles out there.
The voice work here is majorly improved over Justice League: The New Frontier, which is good because in Justice League, the voice for Batman was terrible and completely wrong. Here, however, Batman is voiced by Bruce Greenwood who does a stellar job, in fact he has now become my second favourite voice for Batman, behind Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in the animated series from the 90’s and in both the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City video games. The rest of the cast do a great job, my only, small nit-pick is that, although John DiMaggio is good as The Joker, I still associate Mark Hamill as the ultimate voice of The Joker so I would have loved to have had him back, but as I said, DiMaggio did a fine job.
The pacing of the film is fantastic, there is not a dull moment, every minute of the film had me glued to my screen, because there was some air of mystery around parts of the film and that’s what a Batman film should have, mystery, because after all, Batman is the world’s greatest detective and I feel that is lost in a lot of incarnations of Batman.
The action is suitably violent without being over the top, the story is fascinating and definitely deserved to be told. However, the big reveal isn’t so much of a list minute, final reveal, the big mystery is pretty much solved just over half way in, where the identity of the Red Hood is revealed, which is one of the biggest problems I had with the film.
That being said, this was a very good Batman story and fans of his should definitely check it out, you will not be disappointed.