Friday, May 9, 2014

I saw the new Boy Wonder...

Based on Grant Morrison's DC story line, the recently released, animated feature, "Son of Batman" is a sleek, hard-hitting romp, detailing the rise of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's offspring, Damian: fated to become the next Robin.

After Wayne is introduced to his son, he nobly accepts the incredibly skilled lad into his clandestine affairs, just as he had with Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Timothy Drake, but the youth's impulsive nature--and his insatiable need to avenge the death of his grandfather, the infamous Ra's al Ghul (who in this instance, is too far gone for resurrection via the Lazarus Pit)--leads to inevitable dissent at stately Wayne Manor.

As should come as no surprise, the League of Shadows/Assassins is, therefore, amply represented in this offering, its conflicting sides influencing events with their strange, ironic duality: a form of evil to thwart evil. The League's creed also parallels young Wayne's dilemma: should he act as ruthlessly as his enemy to attain justice?

The main antagonist is Batman's modern, masked rival, Slade Wilson, ersatz Deathstroke, and keeping true to his deceitful, terminating form, proves most heartless in his pursuits. He even kidnaps Talia (after she fails to slay him), happily threatening to kill her when young Wayne, in full Robin gear, swings into vengeful action.

"Son" is often violently grim: in this regard, a worthy companion piece to "Under the Red Hood", though in the end, not as disturbing or weirdly bittersweet as the latter animated adaptation. Still, "Son" offers a fulfilling journey, sprinkled by moments of dry levity (particularly between the Neo-Boy Wonder and Alfred Pennyworth) and above all, eye-catching animation: Talia being especially well rendered. The film also features Dick Grayson as Night Wing, Commissioner Jim Gordon, Killer Croc, "Kirk" Langstrom and his manic Man-Bat colony, just to hit the right spots in the hearts of Cape Crusader fans.

For Batman/Robin devotees, this is definitely worth obtaining and should sustain one's interest on repeated viewings, of which there are destined to be many.

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