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Slow to the line, but strong to the finish…

Another big con means another big DC Animated movie is about to come to video. Son of Batman is the animated universe’s version of Damian Wayne. A character created by the enigmatic purveyor of  Batman words, Grant Morrison. While this animated movie isn’t a true adaptation of Morrison’s story, it does however adapt his essence of the character and the finished product is a movie with a run time of a little over an hour that’s slow to the gate but is ultimately one of DC’s strongest works.

The story boils down to a war between the League of Assassins and Deathstroke that puts Damian Wayne in the middle when he gives one of DC’s most infamous characters his most distinct feature. Unlike the Morrison story, Damian is at the forefront of this narrative. We’re clearly following Damian as he goes from childish murderer to a Robin that understands his partner’s mission. Batman almost feels like a background character. In any other circumstance that might be a bad thing, but here it helps to strengthen his son’s place as the stand out character.

Son of Batman marks Ethan Spaulding’s DC Animated directorial debut, but he has been a storyboard artist on a few of their projects. For a first time out, he nails the performance and visual aspect of storytelling here. The film has tons of gorgeous animated sequences which haven’t utilized action this great since Under the Red Hood. Damian’s tale isn’t without it’s flaws; the first fifteen minutes of the movie do the job of setting everything up but they feel too slow when compared to the rest of the fights in the film. The only big problem with the movie is a fan boy nitpick that seems like it was cut out for cost or the wrong decision not to include it was made (because running time is not a factor at a little over an hour); I’m talking about what could have been an adrenaline fueled first encounter sequence between Damian and a the most famous former Robin.

Overall the flaws don’t win out over the enjoyment. Son of Batman is the first post Timm era animated movie that I’ve enjoyed. This is also one of the few Batman tales that doesn’t feel like it truly comes from the comics universe we knew or the New52 we now know. While it isn’t new territory for a DC Animated film (Gotham Knight), it is the first time such a story has actually worked for them. To borrow the rating scale from my college Kevin Johnson…

{OWN IT/REDBOX IT/WAIT FOR CABLE/SKIP IT}

The DVD is loaded with a ton of extras but I’ve only been able to watch the feature, but based on that alone I strongly recommend this one.