Friday, February 13, 2015

Sneak peak at 'Batman vs. Robin': CCC peaks under the cloak

The bonus material on the "Justice League: Throne of Atlantis" Blu-ray that got me the most geeked was the preview of the "Batman vs. Robin" animated movie, which comes out April 14.

The voice cast and creative team behind "Son of Batman" will be back.

Jason O'Mara will voice Batman/Bruce Wayne for the fourth time while Sean Maher returns to do Nightwing/Dick Grayson. Also reprising their "Son of Batman" roles are Stuart Allan as Robin/Damian Wayne and David McCallum (Dr. Donald Mallard in "NCIS") as Alfred Pennyworth.

And my fellow diehard Batman fans shouldn't worry: Kevin "The Batman Voice" Conroy is back — but as Thomas Wayne!

(While Conroy has voiced Batman more times than any of us could count, did you know this won't be the first time he's voice Bruce Wayne's father? He did it in the "Arkham Asylum" video game first!)

Robin takes on the Dick Grayson version of
the Dark Knight in Grant Morrison's original
"Batman vs. Robin" story.
Director Jay Oliva (who so far has directed all the recent, New 52-based DC Universe animated movies) is overseeing "Batman vs. Robin."

As I mentioned, the story takes place after the events of "Son of Batman," when Talia al Ghul surprised the Dark Knight with the knowledge they have a son. Batman/Wayne has to learn how to be a father and mentor to Damian, who is determined to take vengeance on the man who killed his grandfather, Ra's al Ghul.

"While Damian Wayne struggles to cope with Batman's no-killing rule, he soon starts to believe that his destiny lies within a secret society known as The Court of Owls," according to the Internet Movie Database page for "Batman vs. Robin."

I have no doubt the animated film will include material from the "Batman vs. Robin" storyline by Grant Morrison and the 11-issue New 52 "Court of Owls" story by writer Scott Snyder.

My fanboy instincts tell me this story ultimately will be a trilogy, culminating with the death of Damian. (Good riddance to the arrogant little prick, as far as I'm concerned. I've never had much use for Damian — aside from Grayson's earliest time as Batman. Let's just hope Wayne's son doesn't join the endless list of resurrected comic-book characters. …)

Andrea Romano
Now, enough of the background stuff! Let's move onto the goodies revealed in the "sneak peak" feature on the "Throne of Atlantis" Blu-ray. …

Voice director Andrea Romano has a spot-on assessment of Damian's tendencies in his relationship with Wayne/Batman.

"Batman in fact is trying to train Robin how to defend people who need defending, to help clean up Gotham, but in doing that, Robin can't help but be the kid he is — the defiant kid he is," Romano says in the preview.

Being raised by Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia, Damian pretty much did what he pleased, she says, but now living with Wayne and being the new Robin, there's "a new set of standards."

And along comes the Court of Owls.

James Tucker
"Talon is basically trying to pull Damian into the Court of Owls," Oliva says. "It has a very Stanley Kubrick feel when we get into the Court of Owls (scenes)."

James Tucker, executive producer of the DC Animated line, promises a "spectacular fight" between the Batman and Robin. Oliva says Robin has to deal with "the urges" to kill or maim, which he learned growing up as a member of the League of Assassins. The director says the choreography of the Dynamic Duo's fight is the best he's done so far.

The biggest casting surprise is "Weird Al" Yankovic as The Dollmaker.

"He came in and just tore up the scenery with it. He was just so good," Romano says. Grade: A

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