Director: Jay Oliva
Cast: Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Jeremy Sisto (VOICES)
Release Date: Own it today on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
While Damian Wayne struggles to cope with Batman’s no-killing rule, he soon starts to believe that his destiny lies within a secret society known as, The Court of Owls.
Serving in many ways as a direct sequel to ‘Son of Batman’ (which you can read my review of here) ‘Batman vs. Robin’ picks up with Robin repeatedly acting against Batman’s orders or wishes and after a continuing clash of opinions, the father and son start to drift apart. Before long, Robin (or Damien) finds himself being followed and contacted by a mysterious figure named ‘Talon’ who seems to be attempting to recruit him to his cause, while meanwhile Batman (Bruce) becomes intrigued by the mythic ‘Court of Owls’, a secret society composed of Gotham’s most wealthy and important citizens; something he previously thought to be nothing more than a mere rumor since hearing tales of them as a child.
Regular DC Animated Film Director (and a lot more in the DC Universe) Jay Oliva takes the helm once again for ‘Batman vs. Robin’ and does a spectacular job guiding this action packed and emotional ride. The voice cast includes returning talent such as Jason O’Mara reprising the role of Batman, Stuart Allan returning as Robin aka Damian, along with many other familiar faces (or voices I suppose) including Jeremy Sisto, Al Yankovic (yes, Weird Al), a cameo by Kevin Conroy and many more, all of whom deliver quite competent voice work for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Batman vs. Robin’ is easily the best entry in the DC Animated Universe so far this year and right up there with, if not even a bit superior to its predecessor ‘Son of Batman’ from last year which I was personally a huge fan of. It serves as an exceptional sequel and delivers fantastic and hard hitting action-packed fun from start to end. While many of the entries can be a bit hit or miss on the combination of voice work, story and everything else, ‘Batman vs. Robin’ holds up in nearly every regard and while I know some fans of the comic arc(s) may be a bit disappointed due to the inability to cram all of the story into a mere 80 minutes, but the rest of the fans and some that are a touch less picky will surely have a great time with ‘Batman Vs. Robin’. I highly recommend it to all of the DC fans out there, especially those of the previous animated films.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Batman vs. Robin’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great for the most part, delivering rich and bright colors and nicely detailed and polished edges on everything present onscreen, holding up nicely even during the numerous darker or more frenetic moments and never causing the activity occurring to become indiscernible and at any point. It does of course suffer from a few faults, mainly that of some noticeable banding throughout, although this is nothing new for these animated releases and if you’ve been pleased for the most part with the previous DC Animated Blu-Ray releases as I have, this one will certainly not disappoint either.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and is once again one of the most impressive aspects of the release. Just as with the previous DC Animated Movie entries, it delivers an extremely active, sharp and discrete soundtrack. It frequently utilizes all five available channels to their fullest with the ever-frequent action and anything else that can be properly thrown into the mix, while never causing any dialogue occurring simultaneously to become distorted or negatively affected in any way. This is a top notch 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that also adds a great deal of fun to the overall experience of the movie.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Batman vs. Robin’ includes a number of nice bonus goodies. Included on the Blu-Ray release is an Audio Commentary with Director Jay Oliva and other members of the DC creative team; along with a Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie ‘Justice League: Gods & Monsters’ which runs just over 10 minutes in length and includes footage from the film along with comments on it from members of the creative team behind it. Also included are a couple of Featurette’s: ‘Gotham City’s Secret: The Mythic Court of Owls’ (approximately 30 minutes) and ‘The Talons of the Owls’ (app. 14 minutes) which take an in depth look at the characters recently introduced in the comics that appear in the film. Lastly we are treated to a Merry Melodies short titled ‘Super-Rabbit’ and the usual additional 4 cartoons from the DC Comics Vault, this time including episodes from ‘Batman: The Brave & The Bold’ ‘Batman The Animated Series’ ‘Superman The Animated Series’ and ‘Young Justice’.