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With: (voices) Jason O'Mara, Stuart Allan, Morena Baccarin, Giancarlo Esposito, Xander Berkeley, Thomas Gibson, David McCallum, Dee Bradley Baker, Sean Maher, Diane Michelle, Andrea Romano, Fred Tatasciore, Bruce Thomas, Kari Wahlgren
Written by: Joe R. Lansdale, from a story by James Robinson, based on a comic by Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert
Directed by: Ethan Spaulding
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for stylized violence including bloody images, and some suggestive material
Running Time: 74
Date: 05/06/2014

Son of Batman (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Damian's Dad

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's 2006 Batman storyline, the direct-to-video animated feature Son of Batman tells the story of Damian Wayne (voiced by Stuart Allan), the child of Bruce Wayne (voiced by Jason O'Mara) and Talia al Ghul (voiced by Morena Baccarin), who has been raised in secret and trained by Ra's al Ghul (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito) and the League of Assassins. When Ra's al Ghul is mysteriously killed by Deathstroke (voiced by Thomas Gibson), Talia brings Damian to Batman's doorstep.

I think I would have liked something more emotional, like Batman dealing with the shock of suddenly meeting his son, but instead we get a story of revenge. Damian wishes to use his training to avenge his father, but Batman wants to train him in the ways of justice. Their interactions are clipped and terse, neither one willing to grapple with the underlying heartstrings. It's not long before Damian dons the Robin costume, and the original Robin, currently Nightwing (voiced by Sean Maher), shows up.

The movie's animation is quite strong, focusing on movement, darkness and violence, and the pace is tight, allowing moments for terse character interactions between battles. (Alfred the butler is especially acerbic in this movie.) A second bad guy, Killer Croc (voiced by Fred Tatasciore), makes a small but crucial appearance.

The great Joe R. Lansdale, of Bubba Ho-Tep fame, who also worked on a few episodes of "Batmn: The Animated Series," wrote the screenplay. Warner Home Video has released a dual-disc DVD and Blu-ray edition, which also includes a digital download. There are a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as four bonus Batman cartoons.

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