Movies / Animé and Toons

Son of Batman


By Hervé St-Louis
June 8, 2014 - 15:53

Deathstroke wants to take over the League of Assassins. He attacks Ra's Al Ghul and kills him. Talia, Ra's Al Ghul’s daughter escapes with her son Damian to Gotham where she dumps him with his father Batman. Batman didn’t know that he had a son. The League of Assassins has trained Damian to be the ultimate Killer. Deathstroke wants to kill the remaining members of Ra's Al Ghul’s League of Assassins and captures Talia. It’s up to Batman and his son Damian to rescue Talia. But will Damian give in to his murdering tendencies and kill Deathstroke?

A major complaint about this adaptation of the James Robinson story is that it changed things without any benefits. Adaptations with changes can enhance an animated film if they improve on the original story. The biggest change was the main villain. In the original comic book, Talia was the villain. She was trying to take over her father’s empire. Deathstroke has become popular with DC Comics but he has never a member of the League of Assassins. The Deathstroke we see in Son of Batman is not the tactical genius that once defeated the Teen Titans and the Justice League. In Son of Batman, he is a disgruntled second in command. Damian is the one who stabs his right eye. This is not Deathstroke. Warner Animation should have picked another main villain or stick with Talia. Using Talia would have added to the drama.

Batman in this film was a secondary character. Damian is of course the main protagonist. I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation of his murder later. He is annoying and unlikable. Damian has always been unlikable, even in comics. But here, I kept wishing he would just get killed. I was rooting for Deathstroke to get rid of that pest. The disruption that Damian brings to Batman’s world is fantastic when writers explore it. But I still dislike the character. The writers did play on the brat aspect of Damian. They made him too competent as a  fighter.

Animators drew him too short. He looked like a six-year-old, not a ten year-old. I never understand cartoonists draw kids so short. In the world I’m from, ten-year-old kids are much taller. By the time they are 14, many have reached adult proportions already. Don’t animators have kids or live around children? Phil Bourassa continues to draw the model sheets for many of the current DC Comics animated adaptations.  I have grown to enjoy Bourassa’s work. It’s dynamic enough for action-based animations. Some critics say it looks like animé, I disagree. Bourassa’s work is not animé at all. It comes from a long tradition of animation designs. Character designers optimize angular and simple lines for action. Animé has more stylishness and often more camp. Bourassa’s work is not a realistic as older North American action-based cartoons. It doesn’t reproduce the hyper realism of some of the animé fans compare it too. Bourassa’s designs work well for super hero animation. It offers a lot of range to animators. Characters can have grotesque or cartoony features or be more realistic. His designs mix well with any kind of backgrounds and environments. I like the designs even if Damian was too short!

This film lacked heart. I wish we would have seen more about how Batman felt about finally having a biological son. Perhaps Warner will explore this when they finally kill off Damian in a sequel!

Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06

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