Last Saturday, I had the joy of attending WonderCon 2014 down the street from my house at the Anaheim Convention Center. I can honestly say that waiting in line for badges from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and then waiting another hour to get into the actual convention was well worth it after watching the world premiere of Son of Batman.
Runtime: 74 minutes
Rating: PG – 13
Hidden atop a secret mountain stronghold lies the League of Shadows and its fearless leader, Ra’s al Ghul (Esposito). Together with his equally dangerous daughter Talia (Baccarin), he oversees a trained army of assassins with plans for global domination. But an uprising from within the league now threatens to shift the balance of power and sends Talia and her young son, Damian (Allan), fleeing to Gotham City.
With assassins on their trail, Talia seeks the protection of Batman (O’Mara), who, unbeknownst to him, is the boy’s father. With his son in tow, Batman wages war against the villain Deathstroke (Gibson) and the League of Shadows, all while teaching his headstrong boy that one can’t fight crime by becoming a criminal. With help from Gotham’s finest, including Commissioner Gordon and Nightwing, Batman will soon discover that his son and most trusted ally are one and the same!
Before watching the film, I read the source in the comics, Grant Morrison’s arc titled “Batman and Son,” early on in my comic fandom about six years ago and I was excited to see the animated adaptation.
Talia’s characterization definitely deviated from the comics to where she was reduced to somewhat of a damsel in distress albeit a badass one. But still not badass enough for me to see the mother of Robin as a future foe, and if she were to be the big baddie in a later sequel it would take a lot of plot-twists (and probably plot-holes) to have me accepting her as the villain.
Speaking of villains, Deathstroke as the main antagonist was an interesting choice. He is described as one of heirs Ra’s al Ghul was hopeful about before he met the Dark Knight, so the jealousy-takeover angle isn’t too far-fetched. When I first saw the trailer however, I was a little thrown off because there’s not much history in the comics between Slade Wilson and Damian until Dick Grayson has taken on the mantle of Batman.
Another issue I had with the film was the omission of Tim Drake, who was the current Robin at the time Damian met his father in the comics. Son of Batman also has me questioning if Jason Todd exists in this canon. The Robin suit kept in the Batcave during the film is Dick’s, but if any other Robin’s also shared the costume, Nightwing failed to tell us so.
Son of Batman ends on a more heart-touching sentiment compared to the comics, but I feel that they looked past Batman and Son and drew from some of what transpired during Damian’s time as Dick Grayson’s Robin into developing the Boy Wonder’s character growth, since he’s developed a lot a more in this one film than he did in the original storyline.
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