08 August 2010

Review: Batman Under the Red Hood

Batman: Under the Red Hood is not to be watched on Sunday morning with your kids. It's a dark drama with blood, violence, it has plenty of pain and angst. I don't normally watch animation unless I am captivated by the story or if it's super cute. And to be honest, I watch Red Hood because of Jensen Ackles, who voiced Jason Todd/ Red Hood. He did a great job. Anyone who needs an actor to play a character to channel angst and pain, Jensen Ackles is your man! I think this would have been a perfect big screen role for Jensen Ackles, obviously someone older would require to play Bruce Wayne/ Batman.

I don't know who did the Jason Todd drawing, but whoever you are, you are awesome!

Batman: Under the Red Hood
is so much darker than I expected. The intensity was there from the start of the movie. When I first heard about Red Hood I had not idea who he was, except I've been told Jason Todd was the 2nd Robin and Jensen was the voice talent for this character. But after I watched it for the first time, I felt that homework was required in order to respect the character and story more.

I don't understand comic book continuity, each character seems to have so many different versions and stories, not to mention about the crossovers. Here is Jason Todd in a nut shell. After Dick Grayson aka the 1st Robin became Nightwing, Jason Todd was introduced as the new Robin.
Batman was a lot mature and older when Jason Todd was introduced. Jason Todd was athletic and resembled Batman in many ways, except Jason was willing to use lethal force and weapons.

The initial concept of Jason Todd was similar to Dick Grayson. Jason was the son of circus acrobats, Joseph and Trina Todd, killed by Killer Croc. Jason was later adopted by Bruce Wayne. Jason Todd was later rewritten as a young street orphan who first encountered Batman while attempting to steal the tires off the Batmobile. This was seen in the flashbacks of Batman: Under the Red Hood. Jason was beaten to death by the Joker with a crowbar. Jason was then resurrected from the Lazarus Pit by Ra's al Ghul's daughter Talia. But in the animated film, Jason was resurrected from the Lazarus Pit by Ra's al Ghul himself. The Lazarus Pit caused a negative impact on Jason's mental instability.

Jason Todd had a number of adventures in the comic book version. He later became a murderous version of Nightwing. Jason also appeared in a number of Green Arrow's comic series as the Red Hood. Jason was seen as the Red Robin with a new suit
. Jason then appeared in Battle for the Cowl, where he wore an alternate version of the Batsuit and revealed he had always wanted to replace Batman. And there was a Red Hood and Scarlett after the events in Battle for the Cowl. I think Jason Todd pretty much went cuckoo in most versions of his story.

So with all the above background information on Jason Todd, my second viewing of Batman: Under the Red Hood was more enjoyable and here is why. My knowledge of all things Batman comes from the movies. I've watched all the
Batman movies in our generation, i.e those directed by Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan. I have seen them all at least 3 times or more, even the bad ones! We have seen many iconic DC characters on the big screen with Batman, we have seen the Joker and Two-Face twice, we are familiar with the Penguin, Mr Freeze, The Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Robin. To me, it was refreshing to see a new character I know so little about, I didn't even know Jason Todd existed until now! The back story was little overwhelming at first, because I wasn't aware of the relationship between Bruce Wayne/ Batman and Jason Todd/ Red Hood.

I thought the action and the fight scenes in Batman: Under the Red Hood were awesome. My favorite action scenes were the rooftop chase scene and the Red Hood versus the Jedi scene (I mean The Fearsome Hand of Four). The end scene with Red Hood held the Joker hostage, demanding Batman to choose between him and the Joker was pretty intense. Jensen Ackles was so awesome, I almost feel that he was too good with his voice, he brought so much intensity to the scene, the animation visual couldn't level with his voice. It felt like I want to see the face of the actor, I want to see his expression. Because that scene was so good and intense, it would have been perfect if we could see the actors performance in a live action setting.

I have mentioned it on a number of occasions that I would LOVE to see Jason Todd/ Red Hood on the big screen. But it won't happen any time soon, not until the Christian Bale version of Batman has grown older (Bale is still portraying a younger version of Bruce Wayne/ Batman). We won't see Jason Todd before Dick Grayson, who is the first Robin. Jason Todd/ Red Hood appeared in a very later stage of the Batman timeline. (That makes Batman so old!) I think Jason Todd/ Red Hood is as dark as Bruce Wayne/ Batman, this character has huge potential. Jason Todd fits into the whole really dark theme of Batman very well.
Again, I can see Jensen Ackles on the big screen as Red Hood.

On the DC calender, Jason Todd will star in Red Hood: The Lost Days written by Judd Winick, a six issue miniseries to coincide with the release of the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood. The story will concentrate on Jason's Todd's lost years of globe-trotting and training after his death and resurrection before his return to Gotham. Look out for it!

On something completely random, just before I started composing for this blog post I read an
article on 'concepts, not big-name actors, now real stars of films'. Thank you!! Finally someone gets it! That's what movies should be about. Fans are smarter these days, and we are critical and hard to please. Take Inception for example. Yes we have Leonard DiCaprio starring in the movie, but the concept of the film was so brilliant and engaging, I was watching a movie, not a celebrity and I have so much respect for Christopher Nolan as a director. He doesn't treat his audience like idiots, he is not some studio puppets who would grab any scripts and cast big names to star in the movie, thinking audience would watch anything with big name celebrities. I pay to watch a movie for good content, originality and creativity. I respect someone who can act, does his/ her homework, does justice to the character, I don't care if you are big name celebrities, previous award winners or no name talents.

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