04 November 2010

Evolution of the Batman (and Robin) - Batman: Under the Red Hood

In July of 2010, Batman: Under the Red Hood drew from not one but two classic Batman arcs and delivered one of, if not THE greatest animated Batman film to date.

The movie's brief pre-credits opening summarized the 1980's Death in the Family storyline in which the second Robin, Jason Todd, was brutally murdered by the Joker (as a result of a phone-in campaign in which fans opted for the bratty side-kick to die). Unfortunately, the inclusion of this sequence, though vital to the story, kinda spoils some of the movie's mystery.

Soon enough the masked Red Hood is introduced. This anti-hero's identity is not immediately revealed, but I will just say its the same guy it was in the more recent Under the Hood comic book arc.

Fortunately, the movie gave Red Hood a much improved origin than the comic, opting to include Lazarus pit loving Ra's Al Ghul rather than continuity punching Superboy-Prime (don't ask).

Much of the story focused on Red Hoods quest to take control of crime in Gotham from the gangster Black Mask, an underused and lesser known on screen Bat villain.

Of course, no classic Batman movie would be complete without the Joker, this time played as a real creepy and lethal psycho who gets some comeuppance.

Dick Grayson also appeared in the Nightwing persona.

Throughout the story there were lots of dark moments, making the lighthearted flashbacks featuring a young enthusiastic Jason Todd as Robin (as well as a campy Riddler) all the more tragically heart wrenching.

Up Next: Superman Batman: Apocalypse

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