DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 22): Batman vs. Robin

Hello, my friends.  Welcome back to another entry in the series that brings each of these films out of the shadows via my opinions.  The wonderful string of reviews known as…

DC Universe A.O.M.

The Dynamic Duo has some growing pains and a certain organization is looking to take advantage by tearing them apart.  This time around, we venture towards the film known as…

Our Title Card!

Originally released on April 3, 2015 at WonderCon and April 14 on DVD & Blu-Ray, this film serves as a loose adaptation of the 2011-2012 story arc called “The Court of Owls”, written by Scott Snyder.  Not only that, but this also serves as the sequel to “Son Of Batman”.  Let’s stay united as one and check it out.

Batmobile-It's Not Who You Think Is Inside It! Robin-First On The Scene!

We open with the Batmobile roaring towards the abandoned town of Ichabod.  However, it turns out that it was driven by Damian Wayne a.k.a. Robin (voiced by Stuart Allan).  It turns out that some of Gotham City’s children have gone missing and that all of them had toys made from the abandoned toy factory called Schott’s Toys.  Against the wishes of his “dad” (who’s on his way to join him), Robin heads inside to investigate.

Dollmaker-You Won't Take Away My Play-Things! Robin-Nowhere To Run!

While he’s snooping around, Damian tells “dad” that the building was originally owned by a psychopathic killer named Winslow Schott.  Father dearest says that he was placed in jail 12 years prior due to the testimony of his son and victim named Anton and inherited the factory where he worked until a flood made the town unlivable.  Just as Robin discovers cages full of innocent children, he’s confronted by Anton Schott himself.  Only now, he’s become Dollmaker (voiced by “Weird Al” Yankovic).  He then proceeds to unleash the group of kids that have been bent to his will and have become little killers themselves as they attack Damian.

Batman-Knows How To Make An Entrance! Batman & Robin-Together Against Toys!

Robin manages to fight off the bloodthirsty terror tots before a hole blows open in the roof, allowing for the arrival of his father Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by Jason O’Mara).  During the ongoing scuffle, Dollmaker manages to slip away and escape.  Robin notices and begins his pursuit, leaving the Caped Crusader behind to take care of vicious miscreants.  Batman ends their rampage by using a pellet that disperses knockout gas as every single member of Anton’s army collapses.  From there, the Dark Knight releases the imprisoned kids from their cells.

Robin-Gotcha, Dollmaker! Robin-Restrain The Bloodlust!

Meanwhile, Robin catches up to Dollmaker and manages to subdue him.  With Anton at his mercy, Damian holds his batarang out to Anton’s neck in position for the killing strike.  However, he manages to hold back and lets his foe live.

Just as Robin looks away, he hears a scream.  Upon turning around, he sees the Dollmaker having his heart literally ripped out by a cloaked assassin.  Shortly after the murderous figure slips back into the shadows, Batman catches up and mistakenly thinks that Robin was the one who killed Anton.  Damian says that he wanted to mutilate their foe, but didn’t.  With the state troopers bearing down, Robin takes his leave while Batman discovers a feather underneath the newly-deceased Dollmaker.

Bruce Wayne-Date Night At Home! Samantha Vanaver-Dinner Date At Wayne Manor!

Following the title card, we cut to Wayne Manor where Bruce is having a dinner date with a woman named Samantha Vanaver (voiced by Grey Griffin).  During their conversation, it turns out that they’ve been dating for the past three months.  Upon the conclusion of their supper, Bruce decides to show her something that he’s working on.

Bruce Wayne-My Most Ambiguous Project! Bruce Wayne-Towards A Better Gotham!

Upon entering the family library, he shows Samantha his most ambiguous project yet.  Combining a model of Gotham with some holographic lights, Bruce plans on using his fortune to help the city become a better place for all.  This impresses Samantha, especially since both of their families have spent generation upon generation within the confines of the city limits and have each looked towards a brighter Gotham.

Bruce Wayne-My Date's Been Crashed! Samantha Vanaver-The Lone Meet With The Heir!

Just as they’re about to embrace, they discover Damian waking up from a nap.  Bruce introduces her to his “ward” and states that eventually, he’ll let the media know about his son.  Just then, Samantha gets a text message.  Upon learning that an emergency board meeting had been called, she ends her date with Bruce and takes off.

Bruce Wayne-Time For Father-Son Movie Night With Dickens!

After Damian admits that he partially overheard their recent conversation and mainly approves of his father’s date, Bruce notices that his son is reading the Charles Dickens book “Oliver Twist” and decides to have a movie night with him as they prep to see the 1948 David Lean version in order to do some family bonding.

Later that night, Damian has geared up as Robin and tries to escape the compound in order to go on a solo patrol.  He manages to get by various forms of the house’s security system before the stone wall’s built-in defenses ultimately trumps him.  Bruce arrives and is scolded by his son for making him feel somewhat like a prisoner in his own home due to a lack of trust on both sides.

Batman-I'm Off To Search On My Own! Batman-Enjoy Your 'Babysitter', Son!

One night later, Damian arrives in the Batcave and apologizes to his father (dressed at Batman) for trying to escape.  Shortly afterwards, the Caped Crusader takes his  evidence and heads out in the Batmobile to do some investigating.  Before leaving, he tells his son that he got him “a sitter”.

Robin-Nightwing's Tough Training! Nightwing-Robin v. Robin!

It turns out that Damian’s babysitter is none other than Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin #1 a.k.a. Nightwing (voiced by Sean Maher).  They proceed to do some vicious training in addition to some in-battle taunting.  The fight makes its way towards the uniform display case before Damian ultimately gets the best of Dick and knocks him down to the Bat-Computer.

Batman-Making The Connection! Batman-Making The Connection! (2)

Meanwhile, Batman arrives at the Gotham Museum of Natural History.  After making his way to the Hall of Owls, he comes across of series of display cases.  He notices that his evidence happens to be the same feather that’s missing from a stuffed owl’s wing.

Thomas Wayne-There's No Court Of Owls!

From there, we cut to a flashback were a young Bruce Wayne (voiced by Griffin Gluck) is in bed.  His father, Thomas Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy), tells his son a particular rhyme: “Beware the Court of Owls that watches all the time, gazing from the shadows behind cement and lime. They see you at the hearth.  They see you in your bed.  Take care, beware, or they will send a talon for your head.”  Despite Bruce’s nervousness, his father assures him that this secret society that can “rule the city from the shadows” doesn’t exist and that it’s “just a story”.  Thomas then tells him that he and his wife Martha will always protect him.

Bruce Wayne-The Iconic Tragedy! Court Of Owls-We're Coming For You!

One hard cut later, we arrive at the iconic origin where Bruce’s parents are murdered by Joe Chill.  The distraught youngster then looks up at the sky upon hearing a feint noise and discovers an owl flying through the rain while carrying a bat in its talons.

Bruce Wayne-An Unwanted Intruder! Bruce Wayne-Not In My Home!

As Batman continues his investigation, more flashbacks ensue as a distraught Bruce Wayne hears a noise from within his house.  Upon reaching the attic, he discovers that an owl has perched itself inside a nest.  With the dreaded rhyme buzzing in his head, he grabs a bow & arrow and successfully kills the nocturnal bird.

Feeling that the Court of Owls are real and that they were behind his parent’s murder, he investigated a high-society building called Harbor House.  After an extensive search, he was unable to find anything.  Bruce tells this to the family butler himself, Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by David McCallum) and tells him that the Court of Owls is “just a story”.

Batman-Fight At The Museum! Talons-We're Not That Easily Defeated!

Back in the present, Batman suddenly hears a noise.  At that moment, three similarly-cloaked assassins drop in and proceed to fight our Caped Crusader.  During the scuffle, the Dark Knight manages to pull the mask off of one of his attackers and appears to be a walking corpse.  Not only that, but they also easily pop their limbs back in place despite receiving decisive hits.

Batman-Tangle With The Talons! Batman-Not Going Good!

Batman manages to eliminate one of his attackers with a mini-explosive, but the two remaining assassins continue to score some decisive strikes as they continue to weaken the Dark Knight.

Batman-In The Clutches Of The Talons! Batman-Defeated And Near Death!

This forces the Caped Crusader to try and retreat through the skylight window.  Upon reaching the roof however, one of the swift slayers catches up and drops with him through another opening as they crash down onto a T-Rex skeleton.  With Batman bruised, bloodied and defeated, the two assassins prepare to finish him off.  Just then, they start retching in pain and disintegrate.

Alfred-Some Things Just Happen Out Of Random! (2)

Just as Batman activates a rescue beacon on his utility belt, the scene ends with one final flashback as Alfred tells young Bruce Wayne that sometimes there are deeper meanings behind tragedies while other times, they just happen with no rhyme or reason.

Dick Grayson-Two Troubling Moments For The Price Of One!

Back at Wayne Manor, Dick continues his babysitting duties while talking to his date on his cell phone.  To his horror, he discovers that Damian had escaped the compound.  He’s then contacted by Alfred who managed to pick up Batman’s rescue signal.

Robin-Thug Takedown Time! Robin-Thug Takedown Time! (2)

We then cut to Gotham City where an elderly couple is under attack by a pair of thugs.  Fortunately, Robin arrives and easily smacks the two goons around while the victims are able to run for it.

Robin-Justice Or Vengeance! Talon-Feed On The Bloodlust!

He then picks up a pocket knife from one of the thugs.  Just then, the same assassin from before arrives and says that he’s giving Robin the chance to kill these lowlifes once and for all.  Damian doesn’t and chases after the swift figure.  After learning that the guy’s name is Talon (voiced by Jeremy Sisto), Robin follows him as the police arrive to arrest the criminals.

Upon arriving at his secret base, Talon tells Robin that he holds great respect for Batman even though the Dark Knight refuses to kill.  Damian is offered the chance to join him and ultimately wipe out all of Gotham’s criminals.  Robin is unsure at the moment, so he’s given a contact beacon in addition to one of Talon’s sais and is told to not tell Batman about him.

Bruce Wayne-You're In Trouble, Damian! Bruce Wayne-You're In Trouble, Damian! (2)

Later, Robin tries to sneak back into his room.  However, Bruce was waiting for him while Dick was tending to his inuries.  Damian refuses to specify on where he went, yet Bruce notices and takes his son’s newly-acquired sai.  Fed up with his son’s disrespect towards him, Bruce threatens to send Damian away to a strict school in Switzerland should he act up again.

Shortly after his sai is locked up in a safe, Robin once again escapes from Wayne Manor.  It turns out that Alfred has purposely deactivated the security system in order for some form of trust to start getting formed between father and son.  Nightwing approves of Alfred’s decision and tells Bruce that it’s certain that Damian will eventually return.

Robin-Come & Get Me, Talon! Talon-Robin's Mine!

However, Robin climbs up a building and activates his contact beacon, letting Talon know that he’s become very interested in joining him.

Bruce Wayne-Late For My Date! Samantha Vanaver-A Posh Date Night!

We cut to sometime later where Bruce is out on the highway.  It turns out that he’s going to have a dinner date with Samantha and is running late.

Bruce Wayne-On The Highway To Hell! Bruce Wayne-Collision Course With The Court!

Just then, a group of cars show up to box Bruce in and suddenly start to side-swipe him.  Upon looking into one of the opposing vehicle, he sees that they’re wearing creepy masks.  He manages to nudge out of the rolling road block as a chase pursues.  He manages to get one of the pursuing cars smashed off the road before speeding off down the highway.

However, road construction has slowed traffic down to a standstill.  With no other choice, Bruce is forced to drive back towards his pursuers.  He manages to dodge the first two cars, but end up crashing into the third vehicle as he ends up smashing and rolling along the highway before coming to a complete stop.  Battered, bruised and worn out, Bruce is then pulled out of his mangled car, injected with a sedative and then gets a black bag put over his head.

Grandmaster-The One To Rule All! Bruce Wayne-Come To The Court!

Upon regaining consciousness, Bruce finds himself in the main chamber of a certain group.  As told by the Grandmaster (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes), the Court of Owls are indeed true.  In fact, they were once the most prominent and powerful of secret societies in all of Gotham City.  However, they were ultimately forced into hiding due to a sect within their own ranks.  They were able to bide their time until they were ready to ultimately take complete control over the city.  They even offer Bruce the chance to join their grand plan.

Bruce Wayne-Ulterior Motives! Bruce Wayne-I'll Be Back!

Bruce feigns some interest in joining, but places the mask back onto the pedestal with a tracking device on it.  Saying that he would like some time to think it over, the Grandmaster grants his request.  Bruce is then knocked out again and when he wakes up, he’s back at Wayne Manor within his smashed-up car.  However, he’s able to get a signal from his tiny beacon.

Later, the Grandmaster is accompanied by Talon and a few of his lieutenants.  Shortly after telling them that he’s confident that Bruce will join up, he leads them towards a laboratory chamber that holds various bodies in liquid tubes.  It turns out that these people are barely hundreds of years old and are used in their Talon Army.  However, their bodies can only last of couple of hours before disintegration starts to take over and they ultimately go back into their tubes.  The Court plans on perfecting their immortality in order to create a massive armada that will allow them to reclaim the city as their own and that Talon will ultimately undergo the process in order to be a field general and lead the massive group.

Draco-A Low-Level Crime Boss! Robin & Talon-Struggle Between Justice & Vengeance!

We then cut to a restaurant called “The Garden” where a crime boss named Draco (voiced by Peter Onorati) is telling his fellow henchmen on how he built his mafia empire before he reached 30.  Shortly afterwards, Robin and Talon get the drop on them as they easily take down the entire goon squad.  From there, our Boy Wonder starts to beat up Draco.  Talon then gives him a dagger and demands that he finish him off.  Fortunately, his father’s morality prevents Robin from delivering the killing blow and is convinced that there’s enough evidence to put the mob boss away for good.

Talon-Y U No Kill, Robin! Talon-You Continue To Disappoint Me, Robin!

Up on the rooftops, we learn that the two of them have been at this venture for the past three nights.  Talon is disappointed at Robin for not making the killing shot, especially since Draco has a series of lawyers that have helped him stay out of jail.  Figuring that Batman’s influence still has a hold on him, he tells a tale of a father figure that he once had.  During a flashback, he says that he looked up to his father.  However, he was never able to make his dad proud of him.  This is inter-cut with a burglary where his younger self and his old man manage to steal some jewlery and escape the authorities, but the Talon-to-be accidentally dropped his loot back onto the compound and was forced to retreat.  As punishment, he was beaten up by his father.  Then one night, he called the cops (from a nearby phonebooth) and had them arrive to arrest his dad.  However, the old man tries to fight back with his revolver and dies in the ensuing shootout.  Shortly afterwards, the Court of Owls recruited the young lad and molded him into an assassin over the ensuing years.

Just then, Batman arrives having followed their violent trail.  As Talon starts fleeing, the Dark Knight starts to give chase.  However, he’s stopped by Robin.  Batman tells his son that Talon is part of a larger group and is only using him towards something big.  However, Damian thinks that his dad is jealous and that Talon sees the real potential within him.  The Caped Crusader tries to follow the assassin, but Robin uses a batarang to cut Batman’s grapple line.  From there, the two of them proceed to fight each other.  Both sides manage to swap blows towards one another before they ultimately crash down into an indoor garden.

Robin manages to have Batman at his mercy and picks up a sharp piece of wooden shrapnel in order to finish his father off once and for all.  Fortunately, Damian is able to avoid giving into his bloodlust and spares Batman.  However, Robin doesn’t want to go back to Wayne Manor and instead decides to be with Talon as he takes off into the shadows.

Talon-Secrets Within The Sheets! (2) Talon-Secrets Within The Sheets!

While Damian waits back at the hideout, we cut to Talon minus his outfit in some nocturnal hanky-panky.  It turns out that he’s sharing this moment with Samantha Vanaver.  Not only that, but it’s revealed that she’s also the Court of Owls’ Grandmaster.  We also learn from her that it was her father that recruited the man who became Talon and the two of them have known each other since they were children.  Her ultimate goal is to have him forgo the “immortality process” and just rule the Court alongside her despite their original social statuses.

Batman-On The Hunt For The Court!

Later on, we find Batman trudging through the sewer system.  Going through a section that’s been out of commission since the 19th Century, the Dark Knight ultimately manages to locate where the tracking signal is coming from.  Upon discovering a loose brick, he pushes it to activate a secret door.  Once inside, his communication signal with Alfred starts breaking up.  Just as he picks up a tiny scent in the air, Batman’s signal with the Batcave is completely cut off.

At that moment, he reaches the Court of Owls’ main chamber.  Shortly afterwards, his vision starts to become distorted.  It turns out that the preceeding hallway was pumped with a psychotropic gas.  With Batman being disoriented, the floor beneath him opens up as he falls down a pit.

Batman-Owl Victim In More Ways Than One! Batman-Caught In The Court's Web!

After regaining consciousness, Batman discovers that he’s in the Court’s labyrinth.  Following a random owl attack on his left eye, the Caped Crusader tries to make his way out of the maze while the Court of Owls taunt him by reciting their poem.

Just as Batman turns a corner, he suddenly finds himself in the exact moment of his iconic tragedy.  A man in shadows comes up to the Waynes and proceeds to gun down Thomas and Martha.  However, instead of it being Joe Chill, the murderer turns out to be a grown-up Damian dressed as Batman.  As our Caped Crusader watches in terror, his younger self tells him that he has become the very same monster that he stands against.

Damian Wayne-The Once & Future Armageddon!Damian Wayne-The Once & Future Armageddon! (2)

Batman is also told that his son will ultimately wipe out all of Gotham’s forces and will unleash his true terror upon the world.  Shortly afterwards, Damian starts shooting at him.  Despite the constant gunfire, Batman manages to limp towards his son, hug him and apologizes.  At that moment, the grown-up Damian reverts back into a kid.

Bruce Wayne-Saved!

After blacking out, we cut to seven hours later where Bruce is recovering in the Batcave.  It turns out that Nightwing was the one who rescued him so that Alfred could nurse him back to health.  However, Bruce also finds himself in a straitjacket due to the residual effects of the Court’s gas.

Talon-I Present To You My Heir!Robin-Identiy Revealed!

Meanwhile, Talon presents his heir to the Court of Owls.  The Grandmaster then demands that Robin removes his mask so that he can be properly initiated.  Damian is hesitant at first, but Talon manages to encourage him.  As such, Robin takes off his mask and reveals his identity to the Court.

Robin-Trapped!Robin-In The Claws Of Talon!

The Grandmaster (as Samantha) suddenly remembers him from Wayne Manor and figures out that Bruce and Batman are one and the same.  As such, a cage rises up from the floor and imprisons Robin.  Talon is then ordered to kill his protégé.  Just as he’s prepared to deliver the fatal strike, he suddenly sees his younger self in him.

It’s at that moment that Talon decides to turn against the Court by killing several members while he hunts down the Grandmaster.  She locks herself in a room, but Talon easily smashes down the door.  He then tells Samantha that he’ll never be like her and that he’s very similar to Damian.  Shortly afterwards, he jabs his claws into the Grandmaster and kills her.

Talon-Batman Must Die!

Talon then returns to Robin and tells him that Batman must be taken care of personally.  He then grabs Damian by his arms and slams him into the bars which knocks the young lad out.  Upon regaining consciousness, Robin finds himself inside one of the tubes as the process gets underway.  Talon then awakens the Court’s own talon army as he preps himself to go after Batman.

Batman & Nightwing-Olden Days In Danger! Talons-We've Come For Your Head!

As such, the talon armada begin their attack on Wayne Manor.  While Alfred takes shelter in the Batcave and sends the mansion into lockdown mode, Batman and Nightwing head into the main study where they’re confronted by the undead assassins.

From there, the final battle begins as Batman and Nightwing do everything they can to fend off the numerous talons.  The fight makes its way into the study where the original Dynamic Duo continue to pummel their undead foes.  Suddenly, Nightwing is attacked by various grapple pins and is unable to escape due to being struck in key muscles.  Fortunately, Batman saves him thanks to a series of batarangs.

Robin-Free From The Court's Clutches!

Meanwhile, Robin tries to escape from the tube.  With water continually pouring in to ultimately kickstart its talon process, Damian manages to reach through an opening, disconnect a hose and then release the hinges.  This allows his tube to fall to the floor and shatter, freeing him from the process.  The scene ends with Robin making a key discovery.

Back at Wayne Manor, Batman and Nightwing are able to escape into the Batcave.  Suddenly, the talon army manages to break in and continue the fierce tussle.  During the entire escapade, Alfred had been powering up something important for the Dark Knight.  Suddenly, he gets a call from Robin who tells him that the talons are incapable of existing in subzero temperatures.

Batman-Off Towards One Last Chance! Talon-Batman Has A Pitiful Partner!

While Batman manages to fend off the swift undead in order to reach the particular invention, Nightwing is confronted by Talon.  Despite his best efforts, Dick gets outmatched by the fierce assassin.

Fortunately, Batman manages to get inside his safe room and actives his secret weapon: a gigantic mechanical Bat Suit.  From there, he proceeds to smack the numerous talons around.  Alfred also joins in the fray as he shoots down the numerous foes with a shotgun.

During the fracas, Alfred tells Batman that they must get to the utility core.  As such, the Dark Knight carries his faithful butler down towards the key piece of machinery.  While Batman serves as his guard, Alfred proceeds to activate the subzero temperatures.  The chilling fog is sent throughout the cave and proceeds to immobilize & defeat the talon armada.

However, Talon managed to hop into the Batmobile, drives it off a nearby platform and uses the built-in guns to fire away.  Also, the car manages to crash and flip over onto Batman, pinning his mech suit onto the ground.  Fortunately, the Caped Crusader manages to climb out of his damaged machine and preps for final combat.

With neither side wearing any masks, the two of them proceed to engage each other.  Batman manages to hold his own against the fierce assassin, but Talon manages to strike a fatal blow as he plunges a gauntlet blade right into the Dark Knight’s side.  As Batman collapses in pain, his foe prepares for the finishing strike.

Fortunately, Robin managed to get back to Wayne Manor, recover his sai from the safe, make it down to the Batcave and arrive in time to save his father.  From there, he proceeds to fight Talon.  After a fierce confrontation, Damian has the assassin at blade point.  After he tells Robin to never doubt his instincts, Talon grabs the young lad’s arm and commits suicide by shoving the sai through his neck.

Batman & Robin-Far From Being United As One! Batman & Robin-Reunited!

Despite Batman welcoming him back home, Damian doesn’t entirely accept the invite.  He says that with so many people in his life trying to tell him what to become and what to do, he’s not even sure of what his true identity is.  Bruce tells him of a Himalayan monastery that he visited a long time ago that helped him through his own troubled time.  Robin says that he’ll consider it before sharing an embrace with his father and prepares to head out.  The next day, we find out that the Gotham Police has rounded up every single piece of evidence from the Court of Owls’ base while Bruce, Dick and Alfred do some cleaning.

Robin-Off To Go Find Myself! (2) Robin-Off To Go Find Myself!

Dick and Alfred were concerned that Bruce allowed Damian to take his leave from the mansion.  However, he knows that his son will return to them and eases their doubts by saying “…you have to have a little faith”.  And so, the film ends in the Himalayas as Damian decides to take up his father’s offer and spend some time in the monastery, hoping to forge an identity for himself.

Batman-Defending The Home Turf!

As far as character analysis goes, let’s kick things off with Batman himself.  In “Son of Batman”, he managed to adjust to the fact that he was a father and mentored his son on fighting your foes without the need to slay them.  Here, he goes through the growing pains of raising Damian.  Fairly early on, he’s shown to be extreme with his parenting since his civilian guise of Bruce Wayne is a huge figure in Gotham and he’s waiting for the right moment to reveal his son.  Also, it’s part of his character development for the film where he’s struggling to be a father due to his strictness over his kin.  His over-protectiveness nearly drives his son away and he reaches his low-point of the film after he fights Damian & sees his horrific hallucination while trapped by the Court of Owls.  In the end, he helps his son out with his problem and emerges from this experience as a significantly better parent.  One thing I question is at the end, Bruce says that early on, he suspected Samantha was involved with the Court.  He only shares one scene with her physically and it was at the date that had at Wayne Manor.  She does mention that both of their families have spent several generations on improving Gotham and her text message was her to attend an “emergency board meeting”.  Other than that, the last time he talks to her is when he’s calling from his car and the Court members drive up to attack him.  I felt like there should have been more coherent evidence that showed Samantha’s connection to the Court.  Other than that, Jason O’Mara continues his fairly decent performance as the Caped Crusader.  He has enough range to make his dual identity work and does has some enjoyable moments, like a smug comment towards Talon before his final fight in the Batcave.

Nightwing-Time To Tussle With Talon!

Next in line, we have Nightwing.  Unlike the previous film where his only fight was against Damian and his only contribution in the climax was flying the Batwing, he gets slightly more things to do here.  Because he’s nowhere near as brooding as Batman, he has a more realistic idea of parenting that make him more relatable with the common man.  He knows that you need to instill some discipline into your child since you don’t want them to become very lax and become immature, but you can’t be too harsh & demanding since it drains the child emotionally and makes them think you don’t care for them at all.  In short, there must be a certain balance when it comes to being a parent.  On an interesting note, there’s a line that Talon says to him during the final brawl in the Batcave: “You would have made a good Talon”.  This is referring to the original storyline where it turns out that the Court of Owls were regularly given a group of small children by Haley’s Circus, the spectacle that Dick used to perform in alongside his parents as The Flying Graysons.  It turns out that because of mob boss Tony Zucco and his murder of Dick’s parents, Batman taking him in ultimately prevented him from the Court’s grasp.  Sean Maher turns in a good performance, especially since he now has more lines to work with.  He presents a cool personality and a nice level of concern when necessary, especially in the caring of Damian’s well-being.

Court Of Owls-How Our Immortality Works!

In terms of our antagonists, we now get to the Court of Owls.  It’s not specified on how old this ancient society of upper class evil has been around.  In the source material, Batman’s research lets him know that they’ve been watching over Gotham since colonial times.  Nightwing even states that they’re nearly 400 years old (as far back as 1665, according to Catwoman #9).  Here, the only clues we get is when the Grandmaster is trying to recruit Bruce into their group and says that they care “just as our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers cared”.  Also, when Talon is having a passionate fling with Lady Vanaver a.k.a. the Grandmaster, we find out that Samantha’s family has been running the Court for hundreds of years.  Also, the main base of operations became different in translation.  In the comics, the evil society has been building secret bases within various buildings that the Wayne family (more specifically, Bruce’s great-great grandfather Alan Wayne) has built over the years.  The main base of operations is ultimately revealed to be Harbor House (used in the film as a dead end for young Bruce’s investigation).  It’s never really revealed here where the Court of Owl’s headquarters is located, so I would have to assume that it would be the same building as the source material and that they were able to cover their tracks very thoroughly so that the youthful Bruce Wayne couldn’t find any proof of their existence.  Also, their ultimate plan is to take over Gotham City.  However, how the Court attempts to do so is also different.  The source material saw the talon army go out and attack Gotham itself while assassinating the city’s various leaders.  Not only did Batman and Robin each deal with this, but so did the various members of the Bat Family: Batwing, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood & The Outlaws (Starfire & Arsenal), Red Robin, Birds of Prey (Batgirl again, Black Canary, Katana, a new character named Starling, and the villainess Poison Ivy) and Catwoman.  Even Jonah Hex fought a talon back in his time period.  In the film, the talons invade Wayne Manor.  While that scene was in the originally storyline, it was only a part of the original story and Batman fought that group off by himself (with some help from Alfred, of course).  Because this wants to be a Batman-exclusive movie, it scales the main plan down.  A particular talon turns out to be the true mastermind behind the original story, but I’ll get into that in the next segment.  For now, let’s get into Samantha Vanaver, a character who was made up for the film.  She appears to have been greatly influenced by her family and easily believes in their sadistic cause.  Like Bruce (but for the wrong reasons), she believes in making Gotham a proud and triumphant city.  Because of her limited appearances, she seems very two-dimensional in her focused rule over the Court and ulterior motive towards having someone to rule the massive group by her side (again, I’ll get to that in the next segment).  Still, it makes sense for the plot twist, given the clues of her true identity early on, especially in her guise of the Grandmaster where she has some device in her mask disguising her voice and that she would have to have taped her breasts down underneath her clothes in order to have the appearance of a man.  I enjoyed Robin Atkin Downes as the voice of the Court’s leader.  It’s authoritative, sophisticate, and has enough of a commanding presence.  As far as Samantha’s voice, Grey Griffin seems alright.  There’s not much vocal range in her role, but what she does is adequate enough.

Talon-I Present My Protege!

Next up, we reach our true villain: Talon.  When it comes down to our endgame boss, both comic and movie have the master assassin in the part.  However, the identity differs a lot.  In the source material, that version was the civilian guise of Lincoln March who was a mayoral candidate for Gotham City.  Even though he was a member of the Court of Owls and pretended to get attacked in his second meeting with Bruce Wayne, he got his fellow representatives furious at him when he poisoned others within his group.  Before another talon came along to kill him, he used the same serum that the Court used to bring corpses back to life for their talon program.  Later on, it’s revealed that his real identity is Thomas Wayne, Jr., Bruce’s brother.  Back when Mr. and Mrs. Wayne were alive, the Court of Owls had a huge influence over the mayor’s office.  A pregnant Martha Wayne wouldn’t bend to that level of official control and a Court-led car crash caused her baby to be born prematurely.  In order to save the young babe’s life, the Wayne’s left him at the Willowwood Home for Children which was a pristine hospital funded by Thomas & Martha themselves.  Following their murder, the funds stopped coming and the place decayed into a cesspool where sickly children were abused by the disorderly staff.  After the Court of Owls found him, they trained him for years and prepared to have him get introduced to the world as Thomas Wayne, Jr.  Just before that plan could take shape, Bruce returned from his travels and received the city’s attention.  So, the court gave him the identity of Lincoln March.  Here, this Talon is an unnamed felon from the slums who was a thief at a young age before the Court recruited him and helped hone his skills.  Although the Court wanted him to go through the immortality process and become the field leader of the talon armada, Samantha had a hidden agenda and wanted him to rule the Court of Owls at her side.  Even though the two of them had known each other for a long time, Talon ultimately betrays the clan and kills Samantha due to his original social status where he feels that he’ll never belong.  This is due to the fact that he interacts and builds a partnership with the story’s main character (which we’ll get to in the next segment) and thus is able to somewhat relate to him.  It’s interesting that Jeremy Sisto is the one that’s voicing Talon.  The last time he was in this series, it was the sophomore outing “Justice League: The New Frontier”, where he voiced the Dark Knight himself.   Here, he brings a confidence that displays a swift killer.  He makes this semi-original character work within his range and is able to go from calm & collected to serious & cunning.

Robin-I Am My Father's Blood!

Finally, we have our main character of this piece: Robin.  He’s adjusting to home life, yet isn’t able to spread his wings.  Sure, he doesn’t kill bad guys since he went through that particular character arc in the previous film and this movie doesn’t want to fall into the trap of recycling the same formula again due to not having ways of progressing the character and making it look like he didn’t learn anything last time.  I glad that it’s aware of this, but maybe if he only badly injures his foes but still doesn’t kill them, then it would make Talon’s temptation more interesting.  In the source material, the original story is focused on Batman and his major contribution was that he protected a military figure named Mj. Gen. Benjamin Burrows from a talon who was originally a colonial Gothamite named Edwin Wilkins.  Once again, I dig Stuart Allan’s performance.  He brings the same confident presentation as before and feels very comfortable in the role.  His tones comes in a good range, going from serious & warrior-like to a sad & confused kid who’s doesn’t seem to have a straightforward direction in his life.

Dollmaster-Protect Your Master, Children!

On a side note, I was generally impressed with “Weird Al” Yankovic’s performance as the Dollmaker.  The delivery is his voice makes him unrecognizable unless I mentally visualize his face while he’s talking.  Even though he’s only in the opening scene, he still brought a feeling of creepiness and sadness to the part.

Batman-Fight At The Museum! (2)

The fight scenes are mainly coherent and thrilling.  Various weapons and gadgets are displayed with effective skill.  The main highlights in this vein are the throwdowns against the talons.  The one in the museum displays the threat level that the Court’s undead minions pose and that Batman must adjust accordingly in order to handle them.  By the time we get to the final assault at Wayne Manor, it becomes hectic for all the right reasons.  Batman and Nightwing fighting for their lives in their home base is thrilling.  The fights also come with fluent animation that perfectly compliments the action on display.  The animation, for the most part, flows really nicely.  There’s no major hiccups in that department that I could find.

Robin-The Temptation Begins!

Overall, this is a fairly entertaining romp.  Despite some hiccups in terms of plotting and vocals, the film feels like a decent continuation from “Son of Batman”.  The characters are enjoyable, the action is nicely done, and the Court of Owls feels like a big enough threat for Talon emerge from and claim that mantle.  It’s worth a view if only after watching the previous film, but it’s nice enough on its own.

Next Time: The Trinity is what makes up the world’s greatest super-team.  However, this is not the universe we think we know of and neither are our heroes.  When prominent scientists are getting axed off, they’re going to end up as our only hope.  Bruce Timm makes his triumphant return as the series tackles its most ambitious project yet, covering the “Chronicles” on Machinima as we prep for “Justice League: Gods & Monsters”.

Batman (created by by Bob Kane and Bill Finger) is owned by DC Comics.

2 Replies to “DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 22): Batman vs. Robin”

    1. Agreed, in the fact that the Court of Owls didn’t feel as grand in their ancient evil here as they were in the source material.

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