The latest DC Animated movie introduces Batman to his son Damian as it adapts the story Batman and Son by Grant Morrison.
Talia Al Ghul has been raising her son Damian in secret with her father, R’as Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, training Damian to be a relentless killer. A former protege, Slade Wilson, attacks the League’s mountain base and kills a number of members, including R’as, who is beyond treatment by his infamous Lazerus Pit. Trying to keep Damian safe, Talia introduces him to his father and heads off to find and kill Slade, while Damian uses his father’s resources to do the same. It feels like there might not have been enough story in the original comic as this movie adds in a subplot where Ra’s and Slade both want control of the Man Bat serum that has been fine tuned by Dr. Kirk Langstrom.
The standout, voice wise, of Son of Batman is Thomas Gibson aka Greg from Dharma and Greg, as Slade Wilson. Although not nearly as quietly unhinged and menacing as Manu Bennett on Arrow, Gibson is still able to give Slade a threatening and intimidating persona and he’s a fantastic villain throughout, although it’s definitely arguable if he could actually take out R’as Al Ghul. Stuart Allen, who plays Damian, calls to mind Michael from Over the Top in the worst ways possible. He’s such a whiny, arrogant brat that you want Batman to just beat him mercilessly. He also thinks he’s a lot better than he thinks he is at fighting, which leads to a humbling encounter with Nightwing later on. Jason O’Mara continues to voice Batman but I don’t understand this weird trend that DC has been doing, going back to Peter Weller in The Dark Knight Returns, of equating Batman to “emotionless”. They may be trying to distance themselves from the whole, Christian Bale voice, thing but Batman is not Robocop, he can have other voice inflections besides grim monotone. At least we can look forward to Kevin Conroy being back for Assault on Arkham
Action wise, the movie is jam packed, kicking off with a massive ninja battle between Deathstroke and Ra’s Al Ghul’s forces that seems like it may be more at home in GI Joe (or specifically the excellent GI Joe: Resolute). There’s also a great intro fight between Batman and Killer Croc, who is working for Slade in exchange for mutagens. The final battle is excellent as well, featuring the entire family coming together to fight Slade at a secret Lazarus Pit.
Overall, Son of Batman is firmly in the middle ground of DC Animated movies. It’s not the worst but the voice acting and story don’t push into the upper echelons.