Guest Review: Batman vs. Robin

Batman vs. Robin: DC Comics – A follow-up to the recent Son of Batman direct to video movie, which I liked enough to take a chance on this one.  And this was…okay.  It had some pacing and storytelling problems, but since I never read the comics it’s adapting, I can’t say if the structural flaws were in the original or a result of the adaptation process.  The main antagonists, the Council of Owls, never really struck me as a good idea.  They felt like someone trying to hard to explain Owlman’s identity as something more than “picked a different nocturnal hunter,” and even implying that they might have been behind the death of Bruce’s parents feels too much like a writer trying to claim they’re better than all Batman writers before them.  But, given that this movie isn’t to blame for the story it’s adapting, it’s a decent way to spend an hour and a half.


Mildly recommended.  Price varies by store and format.  Batman statue included with the high-end bundle  didn’t look remotely worth the extra $15+.


  1. Priest Priest says:

    I asked Dave to post this: I’m not a cartoon guy. I don’t know if it’s weird that I enjoy (or at least used to enjoy) reading comics, but just can’t wrap my brain around an animated adventure because they always look so juvenile. The trailer for this one, BvR, had Robin being voiced by so pre-adolescent a voice that I just couldn’t buy it. Robin has always sounded like Burt Ward to me (ironically, approaching senior citizen age, Ward still sounds exactly the same).

    Maybe I’d get into the animated stuff if it were drawn as well and as realistically as the print counterparts. Or, maybe I’m missing something? I just can’t get past the simplistic, goofy drawing and the juvenile voicings.

    I mean, ideally, shouldn’t these things be as “adult” as Manga? Anybody want to try and educate me?

    • Dave Van Domelen says:

      Robin is voiced to sound pre-adolescent because he IS pre-adolescent. This is Damien Wayne, son of Bruce and Talia al-Ghul, raised until very recently by the League of Assassins. So he’s already quite combat-capable, just a bit short in the whole ethics department. He was Robin in the comics for most of the past decade, although I vaguely recall he got killed or something…nu52 doesn’t hold my interest.

      Most of the DC direct to video stuff is skewed older and grittier, with a fair amount of blood and disturbing situations (like, say, Bruce not knowing he had a kid until recently). That said, the Batman Unlimited DVD that came out today is aggressively a toy ad.

      • Priest Priest says:

        Waitwaitwaitwaitwait. This kid–Bruce/Tali love child– is *canon*?! DC really has lost all interest in appealing to parents, haven’t they. I’ve always thought the relevant/gritty older stuff was Marvel’s forte. DC should do what DC (used to) excel(s) at: family-friendly entertainment. Dick Grayson is Robin and he never graduates high school. DC abandoned its core constituency decades ago in a wrongheaded competition w/Marvel. Swanderson Superman, O’Neil/Adams Batman, Nick Cardy Flash– DC owned that lane and used to be universally trusted by parents in ways Marvel, with its more violent imagery, never really was.

        • Dave Van Domelen says:

          Canonized almost a decade ago.

          Nolan’s Batman was a hit, so DC decided everything needed to be dark dark dark grim dark. Which didn’t fit so well with Man of Steel.

          • Priest Priest says:

            Not sure if that adds or subtracts anticipation for Batman vs. Superman…

            From the wiki link:

            “Having grown up in a laboratory…”


            “…Batman is able to resurrect Damian Wayne with a Chaos Shard.”

            Double Stop.

            Glad I don’t read comics. This is stoopit.

          • Dave Van Domelen says:

            For what it’s worth, the cartoon sticks to the original story, without the later retcons and resurrections. Damian was raised in a perfectly normal League of Assassins hidden temple, and has not died in either of the DTV cartoons. They’re not great works, but they’re decent.

          • Priest Priest says:

            Is The ‘resurrected” Robin still running around the DCU? You see, resurrections violate the Bat universe. Denny would never have allowed this; we don;t do resurrections in Batman. Batman is grounded in reality, with an absolute minimum of interference from the rest of the DCU, much of which (not speaking for Denny) Denny (my impression/words) thought was stoopit. Bringing dead characters back to life is a cop out. It’s worse than marrying off Jeannie (I Dream of Jeannie), or, for that matter, Spider-Man (no offense, Stan: I was adamantly against it and told Shooter Pete and MJ would get married, and I quote, “Over my dead body.” A month later, I was gone.

            These ‘ideas” are not ideas at all. ideas bring life to these legends and extend/renew their freshness. Chopping of Aquaman’s hand did nothing for Aquaman, marrying off Clark Kent did nothing for Superman. They sold some comic books, but these are dead ideas in that they lead to dead ends. Marvel *completely* misinterpreted and distorted Spider-Man vs. Wolverine to use it as justification to marry Pete and MJ, when the point of that story was the *exact* opposite: why theirs would be a dysfunctional and unsustainable relationship. Years later, Marvel did it again, completely missing the entire point of my BP/Storm flirtation–the unconsummated love since childhood–and married them off. No offense to the writer, but it was a dead idea in that all it did was build a dead end to T’Challa’s future and make him less interesting.

            Having Batman run around with an un-dead 10-year old violates everything Batman is about.

          • Dave Van Domelen says:

            Dunno. As admitted earlier, I really haven’t been following nuDC (let’s not even get into Convergence/Divergence, which raises the stakes in the No Idea challenge).

            nuDC is also where writers decided to make Superman and Wonder Woman a couple, of course.

          • Priest Priest says:

            Stop It! Just STOP!!

            As I’ve long maintained, the big problem in comics (and other occupations: bosses who stay past their expiration dates. Trust me, you only get so many good ideas in your brain, after which it’s good to move on before your product output goes stale and you’re ultimately asked to go. But, rather than move on, these guys cling to their desks and violate the character premise. Hooking up Supes and WW is a fanboy wet dream, which, I presume, is hwy they did it because the fanboys are running the shop now. Professionals would protect these terrific characters and focus, instead, on grooming reader turnover. A mature approach to publishing understand audience-building rather than pander to the same five guys. The problem isn’t even that these folks don’t understand or fully appreciate character, its that they don’t seem to understand publishing and seem to demonstrate precious little understanding of marketing and sales. What they do know is Hulk can bench press more than the Thing–the fanboy stuff they’ve got down cold. But the investment seems to be in masturbating the fanboys rather than creating new fans.

          • Dave Van Domelen says:

            (The only reason I know what little I do about nuDC is that Hosun wants someone to complain to about it. 😉 )

          • Priest Priest says:

            I really miss him. Not enough to actually call, but I really do miss him.

        • Ralf Haring says:

          Marvel is the company that feels comfortable enough to let its characters be silly without feeling threatened. DC is the adolescent to whom that is anathema. The movies are a reflection of that, too.

  2. Trev Trev says:

    I prefer to read back issues of comics from the 80s, a time where I think Marvel was at its best. I was a kid back then and I remember being gripped by the covers as I anticipated what was going to happen inside the book. Unlike now, the covers are just pin-ups and a chance for the artist to show off.

    Inside the book there was clear panels which enabled me to follow the story fluently without having to go back and catch what happened. I’m sorry, Priest but the guy who penciled your Deadpool series didn’t really help you and I hope you don’t mind me mentioning it (I still managed to enjoy your work, though).

    The books were grounded in reality — if you can call anything to do with super-heroes real — and they were sometimes dark and grim but not to the extent that it became depressing to read.
    It was a great time to be a comic book fan or a casual reader.

    In the 90s I decided I wanted to get back into reading comic books properly but then ‘The Clone Saga’ and ‘Maximum Carnage’ happened and that was that for me. I realised ‘professionals’ didn’t want to tell solid stories anymore they just want to write whatever they thought was ‘kewl’.

  3. Okay, watched the Batman Unlimited DVD. Good LORD it is bad. Zero ****s were given, it’s unapologetically a toy ad. Idiot plots, bad dialogue…decent animation, but that’s about it. There’s three Batman costumes in the toy line, so Batman wears three outfits. There’s animal robots, so this is set in The Future. No explanations, no particular worries about making sense, etc.

    • Priest Priest says:

      See… that tends to me my assumption about all animated titles. BTW: is there any reason the animated versions can’t look more like the comic books? They all look so… juvenile.

      • A lot of it is style. The styles that are popular in animation and in static art tend to differ.

        But keep in mind, even with modern technology, overly-detailed art is insanely expensive to animate. Especially if you don’t want it to look like a computer game cutscene, but instead look at least sort of like comics art.

        • Priest Priest says:

          Two words for you: Space Ghost. Simplified, but looked more like comics than the exaggerated and juvenile-looking superhero animation, all of which seems to be of-a-piece, sort of Paul Dini-esque. Come to think of it, wasn’t the original Super Friends drawn more or less realistically? Wasn’t Scooby-Doo? I’ll take Scooby-Doo. Something a little closer to reality.

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