‘Batman: Under The Red Hood’ DVD Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 10:42 am,

redhood 550x Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD Review

DC Universe’s latest animated feature, Batman: Under the Red Hood, is an adaptation of the 2005 Batman comic book storyline “Under the Hood”, which was written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Doug Mahnke.

The “Under the Hood” storyline was slightly controversial when it was first published – but that controversy hasn’t stopped DCU from making one of their best animated features to date, one full of great voicework and some spectacular Batman-style action.

Under the Red Hood finds Batman caught up in an underworld mystery; the ruthless Black Mask has murdered his way to the top of Gotham City’s underworld and reigns as king – that is until a mysterious (and even more ruthless) vigilante called Red Hood shows up and starts taking apart Black Mask’s empire, piece by piece.

Red Hood is as smart and well-trained as Batman himself – the only difference is that Red Hood has no qualms whatsoever about killing “underworld scum.” The Red Hood mantle is something of a tradition in Gotham’s underworld, so Batman’s first guess is that this is just another crook looking to make a name for himself. However, after each subsequent encounter with Red Hood, Batman begins to suspect that the murderous vigilante may have a direct connection to a dark chapter in the Batman and Robin Legacy.

Robin Glass Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD Review

Meanwhile, Black Mask is desperate to stop his empire from falling apart and in that desperation, he turns to the one man in Gotham crazier than Red Hood: The Joker. As you would expect, chaos ensues and the mystery of who is under the red hood is finally revealed – with deep repercussions for Batman.

If you’re familiar with Judd Winick’s storyline, then you already know who is under the red hood. The movie doesn’t exactly make it hard to guess but I won’t spoil the mystery here. The comic book storyline was a slow build to the big reveal, but director Brandon Vietti – who has directed episodes of the Batman: Brave and the Bold TV series and Superman: Doomsday – does a great job of condensing the storyline into a 70-minute movie that favors action over mystery. And because this is a PG-13 animated feature, the DCU team isn’t afraid to keep things a little more adult in tone – good decision when you have villains like Black Mask, Red Hood and The Joker all in one film.  You just know some blood is going to be shed, and the filmmakers manage to get in the adult themes without the cartoon being too scary for youngsters to enjoy as well.

RH 03 Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD Review

The animation is pretty impressive: it’s a smoother and polished version of the animation style seen in Green Lantern:First Flight or Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, instead of the anime-influenced style we saw in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. I prefer traditional DCU animation style and Under the Red Hood makes it look crisp and clean; it’ll look gorgeous on Blu-ray, no doubt.

The fight scenes in Under the Red Hood are all pretty awesome. There are battles with super-androids, cybernetic assassins, gangsters and rogues like The Joker and the titular Red Hood, and what really makes these fights great is that the DCU team totally get who Batman is and what his capabilities are: he’s a highly-trained detective and a non-powered human who is still more than a match for any of the super-powered foes in the DC Universe. There are cool gadgets, cunning tactics, crazy acrobatics, awesome martial arts and grappling-gun swinging galore; this movie has all the Batman staples and makes them look damn cool.

Bat 2 Crooks Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD Review

The voice cast is also in top form. When I heard that fan-favorite Kevin Conroy wasn’t voicing Batman in this film, I was a little disappointed. However, Bruce Greenwood (Captain Pike from the Star Trek reboot) steps up and delivers a pretty excellent Batman – no need to worry about any Christian Bale “gruff voice” in this movie. Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles gets extra fanboy cred for bringing Red Hood to life and making a guy in red mask interesting; Neil Patrick Harris is charming as usual, shooting off one-liners as Nightwing, the original Robin now all grown up.

In my opinion the most impressive voicework in the film has to be John Di Maggio (Bender from Futurama) as the Joker. Di Maggio actually gives fan-favorite Mark Hamill a run for his money as THE iconic voice behind the animated version of the Clown Prince of Crime. He’s as demented and disturbing as you’d want the Joker to be in a story like this, which has many iconic Joker moments and themes.

Joker 03 Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD Review

All in all, Under the Red Hood is the best animated Batman project I’ve seen in a long time, and is probably in my top 3 favorite DCU animated features of all time. It’s simply a great Batman story with great Batman action – if you’re a fan of DCU animated features (and if you’re reading this, you probably are) you definitely need to check this one out.

Batman: Under the Red Hood arrives on DVD/Blu-ray on July 27th.

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  1. Yea he would of instead we are stuck with Evans it’s to bad..

    Tell me what you think of this Sam.

    The year is 1990 they are making a new Hulk movie and playing Bruce Banner is Scott Bakula. If only he was 20 years youger he could be hulk now lol.

  2. Scott Bakula rules. That would have been truly awesome.

    Marvel are dying a death cinema wise now, DC are primed to take over the industry now, at the moment all they have is Batman. This will be different in a few years with Green Lantern, all new Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and in a few years a new batman I’m sure.

  3. I agree Sam Marvel seems to be playing Russian Rollete and eventually they are gonna find the bullet. It won’t be pretty

  4. I think that bullet you mentioned has ‘The Avengers’ written on it. On paper its a great idea, on screen, it’s gonna be a disaster

    • How can you think it will be? Because Norton wont be in it? I doubt Norton’s absence will have little effect on the film when besides his replacemnt and Lou Ferrigo voicing the Hulk and plenty of characters are in the film. Besides we wouldnt know how much screen time Norton would have as Bruce Banner, Especially if they went with the Hulk starting off attacking the other Avengers. When Norton was casted in the reboot, people pretty much had Eric Bana outta their heads despite the 2003 film still made more money than the reboot did which till this day surprised me cause i found the reboot more enjoyable. Im speaking for myself so im just sayin i dont think theres enough to know about Avengers film to say its gonna be a disaster or not.

  5. I just think as a film, it’s going to be too cluttered, and I am not a fan of Whedon at all, and whatever story they come up with is going to be ridiculous. To include all those characters and many more if the rumours are to be believed.

    Let me say this, I’d love it to be amazing, I just don’t see it happening.

    • Well, The samething can happen with a Justice League film that people are anxious about that DC/WB is planning. Wouldn’t matter if sameone gets replaced then. The Avengers is the first team-up film to hit theaters so it cant be easy to make the right decisions. Marvel plans to make a Avengers trilogy, so im sure thats why they wanna try get just about everyone committed in those films as they can. Not to mention solo film sequels of each franchise that will follow after the film. I hate to see Norton be let go like everyone, but im not gonna let it get me down from seeing wanting to see the film or have doubts about it when i still feel i dont know enough about what the film will be like.

  6. Wally You can’t doubt it was a crapfest all you want but to me it was. As far as Nolan saying he liked (which I never heard) that’s great for him but I don’t decide to think a film is good because some one else do I like it based on merit. Keatons voice was great he’s an excellent actor and was a great Batman terrible Bruce Wayne though lol. My dislike for the film had nothing to do with the acting (though Jack was way to over the top even for the joker and prett cheesy) I hare it based on the set designs the script and the directing. It was an over produced cartoon. It looked like a cartoon or I should say every film Brton ever made. He clearly had no respect for the characters or comic books for that natter. Even said he would never read a comic as if he were above such an action. The film was very cheesy on par with the 60s batman with darker lighting. The story was poorly crafted. It was in insult to the character.

    That said when I was a kid I loved it but when I was a kid I liked Power Rangers as well. As an adult I’ve watched it with a critical eye and saw how terrible it really is. Sometimes things are much better in our memories I wish I had never watched the movie again after the age of 15 so I could still praise it and remember it roundly.

    • Daniel, you have your opinions, but in mine i thought Keaton did well as both Batman/Bruce wayne. He wasnt young Bruce Wayne of course and was more settled down. I didnt think Nicolson’s Joker was over the top, maybe had a couple of cheesy moments but wouldnt compare him to the 60′s version. It wasnt like he was wearing a nurse’s outfit as Ledger did in TDK. He was sinister in a creative way, the climax shows that when attepting to gas all of Gotham to death with a smile. Not to mention people he killed before that. I dont see how it would look like a cartoon. I thought the sets and setting of Gotham were darker than Nolan’s. When you say Burton had no respect for the characters or comics, he changed things alittle to make the film more interesting. How many comic films do you know that are actually 100% accurate? He got half of Joker’s origins right. Nolan wasn’t true to some of the chracters he used himself. I read somehwere that Batman in the film would think that every criminal he encountered was the one who gunned down his parents till he learned it was Jack Napier. I havtn seen anything of Nolan reading the Batman comics years before makin Batman Begins. Alot of directors are like that and it wouldnt matter how many comics they read, wouldnt mean a thing whether their film would be good or not. Btw, One thing i didnt like about the Nolan’s Joker was the make-up and the scarred smile. I know its Nolan’s real world Batman vision but that would stand against your beliefs of characters not being treated the way they should. Ledger’s Joker could of shown up with skin just bleached etc. Anyways thats my view on the subject.

  7. @wally

    I prefer the burton batman’s to nolans. And you are absolutely right about the animated series being influenced by burtons films, they very much were, right down to the theme tune in fact.

    • @ DrSamBeckett

      Thank you. Im glad to see someone else other than me enjoy Burton’s films as much as i do. I know more people in person who agree with me aswell than on the net who thought the same way about Burton’s films. Don’t get me wrong, i like Nolan’s films too. I own all the films on dvd, yes even Batman & Robin cause its the 4th film to the previous franchise. Speaking of the theme tune, i liked the music from Batman: TAS and i even bought the Batman (1989) music score on cd. I didn’t care for the songs by Prince in the film but loved Danny Elfman’s score for the film.

  8. I’ll give you guys that the music was excellant Elfman was genious. B:TAS theme is my ring tone well my main one followed by TNG

  9. When I talked about respect I wasn’t talking about copying the story word for word like I’ve set many times I’m all for creative liberties. I meant he took a cheesy approach as if he thought it was all one big joke and that a comic couldn’t be taken serious.

    I don’t understand how any one could like the sets they looked like a cartoon and all the characters were way over the top the ninja wannabe at the begining stands out. The trees stand out for the set you know that same cooky tree Burton uses in every film.

  10. I agree the sets got more cartoon esque in returns and forever, but the 1989 Batman is damn near perfect in my eyes.

    Ultimately, it’s pointless arguing who was best, Keaton or Bale, Nicholson or Ledger, they were such different performances. Personally I preferred Keaton’s measured intensity, you could see the rage and turmoil in his eyes. And I prefer Ledger as The Joker.

    It’s all swings and roundabouts.

  11. Wallywest
    Yeah i enjoyed batman and robin wen i was a kid too lol!!!! And i like all the batman films,but some are better than others…..

  12. To my way of thinking the Joker still hasn’t been done right in the movies. Jack Nicholson wasn’t physically right for the part. The Joker is supposed to be tall and almost anorexic looking. Also he was a little too campy.

    Heath Ledger had the tallness but still wasn’t skinny enough. Then there was the face. That didn’t work for me at all. Also no origin for the Joker. He’s just a run of the mill psycho serial killer.

  13. Wow youre very picky lol!!!!! So who do u think would work as the joker?!?

  14. Great review, Kofi – I’ll have to add this to my Netflix queue right NOW.


  15. David tennant would be a good joker. He’s tall, and thin, and can do crazy.

  16. Gotta say I just watched it and disagree with review alot. I was extremely disseminated by this. There were alot of things I was unsure about, but I still had hope for it. Sadly I was very let down. There were alot of very unnecessary changes to the story still those would of been ok if the voice acting wasn’t so off. I think Jensen did a good job with Red Hood, but I think the Joker was just awful. I don’t see how anyone could think it was a good performance. I mean Batman was very meh it was like he tried to do his best Conroy impersonation, but just couldn’t pull it off well and couldn’t have a performance of his own. I would say it was the worst Batman voice I’ve heard. Conroy is the definitive Batman, but there have been other good performances as well, but this doesn’t measure up to any of them. The Joker though is what really hurt this film it was by far the worst performance of the character I’ve seen.

    I was very bothered by this film.

  17. I have just seen the movie and the unrealistic unbloody violence just spoiled me everything. Worse of all, blood appears and disappears on Robin in the opening sequence. The floor is full of blood but the boy is perfectly clean. Even after the explosion : no one drop of blood. Ridiculous.

    So bad because the movie is really awesome.

    I’am a huge fan of Bruce Timm and its team, but this time it’s RIDICULOUS. This kind of movie need to go beyond PG-13 rating.

    And the car chase sequence is so UGLY. Please, PLEASE stop with this 3D ugly sequences.

    Enough, we want separate releases for this DCUAOM collection. PG-13 and uncut ones. An uncut version of Under the Red Hood need to be release, please.

  18. Couldn’t disagree more about the Joker voice acting. It was flat and lifeless. The laughs seemed added in after the other dialog. I loved the movie outside this and the lack of dynamics in the musical score. The times the music should have been booming, like when batman is racing to save robin in the beginning, it was quite and at ease.

  19. Great movie.. The Joker voice almost ruined it for me, but luckily it was closer to the beginning and the movie came through. It followed the book well. I must say again that joker was not the “emperor of everything”, he is not the Joker that knows he’s in a comic book. That Joker was a Sapranos extra at best. What happened after Batman Beyond? Did all DC movies forget how to cast voices. This one it’s Joker but the last few it’s been Batman himself. C’mon you did it right before get it right again. Red Hood is a good movie though. I recommend it. I would like to see the “Absolute Power” saga in Superman/Batman story. My thoughts James

  20. Wow – i gotta say you folks are wayyy too serious. I know everyone has a right to their opinion but, geez it’s just a cartoon for crying out loud. take it down a notch. as for the making of the avengers film, i’m pretty sure nolan is probably putting tremendous pressure onto himself to “make it right” for all the comic nerds. i mean seriously it shouldn’t be a big deal with the number of characters as long as the story line is decent enough. and for the justice league i honestly hope they do make it but not holding my breath. besides given how wacko baile went off on the termiator set, who the heck would wanna work with him anyway?

  21. OMG Jensen Ackles did a GREAT job voicing Jason Todd/Red Hood!!!!! Good work Jensen!

    • I agree! his voice was top notch! it was because of Jensen Ankles way of voicing Jason Todd that I watched the movie several times and let all my co-workers borrow my DVD lol

  22. BTW, what happens to Jason Todd at the end of the movie? It’s as though he just vanished, no mention of him being jailed or anything? Does anyone know?

    • I tink, Jason is somewhere out there… bla bla bla :o)
      I have just saw the movie and I really like the fighting scenes. It was amazing.

  23. To: Warner Brothers

    I expect 1 Million for the Red Hood, and 1 Million for Halo Legends.

    You have until January 25, 2011.

  24. after having watched ”all-star superman” with absolute dismay and disgust, batman: under the red hood was far much better. deeper, darker, and more intricate: batman has become the mainstay of the superhero world. and he doesn’t even have any special powers. as an avid comic book fan since the age of 5, i give this one a warm reception. the only thing that is annoying me now is the manner in which the batman-joker rivalry is being recycled. there is point when a lack of ideas taints the whole thing. there is a new, growing community of movie-goers who are not as dumb as the movie-makers think. if batman has to spend his entire life sucking up to the joker, what bloody good is he, then? no amount of dark thinking and manouvering by the producers can justify batman keeping joker alive at the expense of the tens of lives being lost whenever the laughing maniac is released from the asylum.

    i think that the final blast didn’t kill the red hood(he was trained far too well). it would make sense if he returns in the near future. he brings to the scene an entirely new dimension. how batman deals with the joker/red hood quandary hasn’t done his persona any good.

  25. Personally I would add an extra pro of the film in that it actually improves upon the original story to some degree. I mean to disrespect to Winick’s original comic story, but the method of Jason’s return was too far-fetched for my taste when Batman had dealt with Lazarus Pits before. Involving Ras al’Ghul in Jason’s fate would have made a lot more sense in comic book continuity than Superboy-Prime punching a hole in reality in my opinion. One thing the New 52 did right with Jason, at least, is that it seemingly adopted the film’s version of events.

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