The DC animated universe, leagues apart from its extended universe (DCEU) counterpart, has managed to release an extensive line of excellent movies and TV shows, ranging from the cultural icons most of us grew up with like the Teen Titans ( I refuse to Cartoon Network decided to replace that masterpiece with an abomination like Teen Titans GO), Justice League, and Young Justice (who's return I've been anticipating for SO long now) TV shows to the range of Batman and Justice League movies that are being released to this day. And while I enjoy watching pretty much everything that the DC animated universe has to offer, today I'd like to shine some light on the underrated masterpiece that is Batman: Under the Red Hood and why its not only one of the best movies produced by DC but also one of the best movies in general.
But before we get into the movie and why it's the greatest thing on this planet, a little background for all the readers who actually have lives and don't spend every ounce of their free time obsessing over fictional characters and universes: Batman does NOT work alone. In fact, he was quite an impressive team, consisting of potential vigilantes he took under his wing. These include three of his adoptive sons, Richard or Dick Grayson (alias: Nightwing), Jason Todd (alias: Red Hood) and Tim Drake (alias: Red Robin), adopted daughter, Cassandra Cain (alias: Orphan), biological son, Damian Wayne (alias: Robin) and other vigilantes under his training including the Batgirls, Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Brown (current alias: Spoiler) and Duke Thomas, also known as the signal.
But this blogpost is on Batman: Under the Red Hood, a movie about Batman's former second boy-wonder, Jason Todd, who after voting carried out amongst fans was voted out and was hence killed off. His murder was carried out by an abduction organized by the Joker, who used his long-lost mother to lure him out and then beat him to death with a crowbar and blew him up. Ra'as Al Ghul, head of the demon, the immortal leader of the League of Assasins had apparently hired the Joker to kidnap Jason as a distraction but was appalled by the boy's murder and hence used the Lazarus pit, the source of his immortality to bring Jason back to life. When resurrected, Jason wasn't quite the same and eventually adopted one of Joker's old alias' to seek revenge for his murder. And if that rollercoaster of a plot wasn't enough to reel people in, here are two major reasons to watch and appreciate the movie.
1. The Plot Execution
Basing a movie off a comic book or the comic book canon universe can be fairly tough. Especially if it's an origin story since those get revamped with every new canon contingency. Yet, Batman: Under the Red Hood managed to pull off one of the most revamped and popular origin stories, A Death in the Family, beautifully. The plotline is not only well planned and well-executed, but it also encompasses the essence of the origin of the Red Hood and the origin of Jason as the Red Hood.
Sure, there are a few minor inconsistencies from the books, including the major exclusion of the new Robin, Tim Drake, and how he got caught in the crosshairs of Jason's revenge plan, the removal of the fact that Jason's mother was used as a ploy by Joker to lure him in and then torture him to death, a factor that could have added to the tragedy of the origin story and the committing of Jason's phase of insanity after his dip in the Lazarus pit. Despite these inconsistencies, the movie covers the major turn of events of Jason as Robin, his murder, resurrection, and return as the crimelord Red Hood, in a way that isn't as violent as the comics, making it more user appropriate.
The movie is one of the very few movies, the animated universe included, that features proper characterization. The Red Hood (brilliantly cast as Jenson Ackles), is set in his original position as an anti-hero crimelord, who chooses to control crime through his own means rather than try and eradicate it completely. Unlike most of his depictions, the movie doesn't show him as excessively violent or bloodthirsty but rather presents him as a contrasting force to Batman.
The movie also manages to capture Batman's character. For once, his role as the playboy billionaire by day and broody superhero by night isn't the only aspect of his character. Rather he is shown in his role as the mentor to Robin, as the father figure to Robin, and most importantly, in the light of impeccable moral compass (where he refuses to kill anyone, no matter how bad) setting him in direct contrast with the anti-hero, Red Hood.