Earlier this week, I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest animated movie in the Batman franchise. And all I can say is, "Whoa."
The story opens with the tragic death of Jason Todd (the second Robin) at the hands of the Joker, a traumatic event for Batman. Fast forward to modern times, where a new criminal calling himself the Red Hood is making a name for himself by stealing territory from the Black Mask, an underworld kingpin. Naturally, the Black Mask isn't happy with this. And neither is Batman. But as Batman starts to investigate the identity of the Red Hood, it threatens to dredge up some painful memories.
This movie surprised me. It's a lot more adult than I expected, darker and grittier than I expected. The opening ten minutes told me that much. And you have to know a little bit about the Batman universe, like the history of the Red Hood, Jason Todd, and R'as al Ghul or the story might be a little hard to follow. At the same time, having that knowledge made the plot a little predictable. Just a little. Just saying.
The vocal talent was outstanding. I was a little skeptical that John DiMaggio could replace Mark Hamill as the Joker, but he did an excellent job. And then there's Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing. What surprised me most, though, was that I didn't miss Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman.
So this one is definitely a must-see for Batman fans and even some non-fans as well.