Review: Batman vs. Robin


Batman is undoubtedly one of the greatest heroes of all time. But his track record as a dad? Not so great. Let’s be real here, Dick Grayson often wants nothing to do with him, Jason Todd, well.. died. He came back but wasn’t too thrilled. Tim Drake he seems to have done ok with, but that’s one out of 3. So what happens when he has an actual biological child he has to take care of who has been trained to be a lethal assassin at the hands of Ra’S Al Ghul? Let’s just say he has some issues.

And that’s basically the premise of Batman vs. Robin. A follow up to Son of Batman, In Batman vs. Robin, Damian Wayne is the newest Robin, as Batman tries to drive home the values of justice over vengenace (basically “don’t kill people”), but he is still set in his training as an assassin and feels like his own father doesn’t really trust him (which to be fair, he doesn’t), so they constantly butt heads. Adding to this issue is a mysterious group called The Court of Owls which is trying to recruit Damian to their quest for a better Gotham by burning the city down and rebuilding if necessary. But do all these disparate elements combine in Batman vs. Robin to make a good movie?

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Arguably the biggest problem right off the bat with Batman vs. Robin is it’s attempt to gel two storylines that could’ve easily separately been two great movies and it’s handled very poorly. Batman trying to raise Damian and teach him the right way to be a hero sounds like a great storyline, but nothing on that end is earned, it just simply happens. Also, the movie suffers from a major lack of Tim Drake. The dynamic between Tim & Damian is a major plotline of Batman in general the last few years in the comics, and Tim Drake doesn’t even exist in this movie universe. Nightwing is there, but he’s already grown and doesn’t feel any jealousy towards Damian.

Combining this story with The Court of Owls storyline just seems like both stories are missing some key elements. And Court of Owls is regarded as one of the best Batman story lines in years. But here, it’s just got a lot of elements that were invented and don’t gel well. They attempt to have Talon bond with Damian (and feel for him, because since they were both trained as young assassins, they’re totally the same! Except totally not as the Court of Owls make Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia seem like parents of the year), but it just makes no real sense. Him being completely manipulative and just trying to kill Damian when he ultimately rejects the Court of Owls would make a lot more sense. Characters also change motivations on a dime with little rhyme or reason in general throughout the film.

Also, is anybody really all that excited to see Batman fight Robin? Much like the upcoming Batman v Superman, the title seems out of place as it’s one scene in the film, and not an extremely compelling one at that. Of course its not some knock-down brutal brawl. Damian is 10 and nowhere near Batman’s level, so Batman holds back, and there’s no drama. I honestly think this is one of DC’s poorest efforts to date. Batman vs. Robin not a terrible film, but a fairly mediocre one, and given the usual high pedigree of DC animated films that’s a disappointment. Let’s hope this is just a fluke and not the beginning of a downward trend.

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