Tonight I'm going to try my hand at reviewing / watching Batman: Under the Red Hood. I've seen this one before, but haven't written about it. I'm a big fan of Batman's stories and this one fits well with the mythos. It caught my daughter Reese's and my attention because one of the voice actors is Jensen Ackles, whom we've watched for many years on Supernatural. I'd stopped watching that series past Season 5 or 6 as they'd admittedly jumped many sharks by then. But Reese has been watching it and catching up with old seasons on Netflix.
Also voice acting in Red Hood is Neil Patrick Harris (yay for Doogie Howser, M.D.) as Nightwing. As many of the Batman stories do, one of the subplots here is the dark knight's complicated relationship with Robin --or in certain derivations the many different characters who apprentice temporarily as Robin. Nightwing is a grown-up now, but he started out as the original Robin. When he moved on and became Nightwing, Batman groomed a new apprentice. And unfortunately, just as we are being introduced to that young man within the first few minutes of this movie, he ...
...He meets his tragic end. Fast forward several years and Batman is on his own working a new case in a Gotham that is relatively low on crime. There's a mob boss called the Black Mask that is amassing power and Batman is foiling him whenever possible. But now there enters a new player on the scene.
The Red Hood
Many different criminals have worn a red hood and gone by that moniker in the history of Gotham. Apparently, even the Joker once worked with that alias. But this new Red Hood is an unknown entity. He has an AK-47, a motorcycle, a matching black leather jacket. He talks threateningly, backs it up with surprising force and has some impressive gadgets. When he first goes toe-to-toe with Batman, it's clear immediately that he is also highly prepared and trained.
He escapes from our heroes and even temporarily disables Nightwing. Which is too bad because I would have enjoyed hearing more from NPH in this flick.
Through flashbacks and a good detective story, we start to learn there is much more going on with hoodie. He keeps dropping hints to bait the bat. And it's his developing arc and the reveal of his genesis that make this a deep story. There's action in abundance, good art and the voice work from all players is amazing. Besides Jensen, there's a high visibility list of other actors; Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike from Star Trek), John DiMaggio (Bender from Futurama), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter) and huge list of others you might recognize. If you like Batman, if you like dark stories, if you like these actors, ... and even if you don't, check this one out.