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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD


STATS:
2010
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Written by Judd Winick
Starring Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, and Neil Patrick Harris (!)

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Based on one of the most well-received Batman comics story arcs in a long time, this direct-to-DVD movie reunites Batman with his former (supposedly dead) Robin, who is now a morally ambiguous hero/villain named the Red Hood. Classic Batman baddies the Joker and Ra’s al Ghul are in it too, but this really is the Red Hood’s story. Batman has to grapple with moral dilemmas. He also fights robot ninja assassins. So, you know, it’s not too high-brow.

"Now, that was rude. The first boy blunder had some manners. I suppose I'm going to have to teach you a lesson so you can better follow in his footsteps. Nah, I'm just gonna keep beating you with this crowbar."

That Joker is a scene-stealer. Not gonna lie.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
After witnessing the awesomeness of DC heroes Jonah Hex and The Spectre, I couldn’t get enough morally ambiguous antiheroes (and animated beefcake), so I busted out some good old Batman.

I said GOOD old Batman.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
People watch Superman to ogle the muscles. People watch Batman to enter a dark and twisted world. The pecs and abs are just cherries on top.

Actually, I meant nipples. Nipples on top.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
This movie starts off with a painfully long scene of the Joker beating Robin with a crowbar. That pretty much sets the tone of the rest of the movie. There aren’t any POW and BAM fight scene sound effects in this movie. Instead, there is a real sense of danger. Also, people die.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
The presence of hottie Jensen Ackles and real-life superhero Neil Patrick Harris is enough to draw in the gay crowds, but the real lure of this film is the wicked cool reimagining of the Batman/Robin dynamic. For years, their relationship has inspired a million offensive gay jokes, but this movie takes their father-son bond in a really interesting direction. Sure, this movie has a lot of action, but it’s also really thought-provoking. By the end, when we see one final flashback of our Robin in a simpler, happier time, I suddenly realized how emotionally invested I was in this film.

Yup. It went there.

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