‘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.

Continue to the Jonah Hex showcase and Special Features…

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  1. No Conroy as Batman

    No Hamill as The Joker

    Epic fail!

    • Hamill has said that Arkham Asylum 2 will be his last foray as the Joker, so expect that a lot from now on.

      • yep

  2. Yeah I heard that too. Shame but I can live with it. But not having Conroy as Bats is just crazy.

    • It is annoying, he really is one of the best voices for Bats, but I can handle Bruce Greenwood, he’s a decent actor.

  3. I was severely disappointed at the outcome of Jonah Hex. At least this will redeem the character.

    Greenwood and Jensen were good choices as the long time friends and full time enemies in the film. Dimaggio is an extremely talented voice actor and he did the voice very in tune with the character. Can’t wait til the DVD.

    • I was referring to the movie not the short of Jonah Hex.

  4. I heard they were doing a Year One adaptation next. Looking forward to that, hopefully Conroy will be doing voice duties again.

  5. Please.. Conroy is overdone and should retire.

    Follow Mark Hammill’s step in doing the last role as the Joker in Arkham Asylum 2.

  6. Kevin Conroy is always the best choice to voice Batman.

  7. Great review Kofi. Got this on order. Can’t wait.

  8. Kind of looking forward to it. Dissapointed that the iconic Batman and Joker won’t be in it also still bothered that from hundreds of great Batman stories they did this.

    I would love to see Knightfall, No mans land or Hush get the animated treatment.

    I’m not at all looking forward to Year One being done. I already read the comic and saw Batman Begins I’d rather skip year one and tell the stories that havnt been done on film in any form.

    • @daniel: i think the hush storyline would make a great third part to nolan’s batman universe, but keep it simpler with only hush and the riddler like nolan’s done so far with two villains per movie……… and maybe a few cameos for us also lol

  9. What is the release date on this? Did I miss it in the article?

    • Nevermind…. July 27th. I saw it as soon as The page refreshed from me posting that. I’m retarded. lol

  10. I disagree. Hush would be a great animated film but wouldn’t work for Nolans movies especially not the third one.

    1. To early in Batmans Carter for it to work right.
    2. If Thomas Elliot existed in Nolans world we would of seen him in Bruces backstory with Racheal or at least heard his name. Nolan is meticulious about details.
    3. With out Superman and the giant list of villains the story loses alot of what made it great no ivy no crock no supes no catwoman and no joker. No fun
    4. Riddler isn’t an established Villian in Nolans world he needs to of been established and have been around for along time long enough to have gotten sloppy from cancer.
    5. Gordon just barely made commish in Hush he’s retired.
    6. Harold doesn’t exist in Nolans world and if he was just randomly thrown in now it wouldn’t make sense. He played a huge role in the story for only having one page.
    7. We’d miss the Clayface Jason Todd tease because there isn’t a first robin let alone a third.
    8. No Batman catwoman romance.
    9. No huntress or oracal

    and many more things that just make that story not work. Not yet and not with Nolan. He’s shown to much backstory to just randomly start adding things.

  11. To say the Year One story has already been told on screen isn’t quite right, there are a few elements from it in Batman Begins but not that many.

    Nolan’s view of the Batman universe has ruined thr chances of so many great stories being told.

    • meh as long as you get rid of Nolan and his “My Batman”. While I enjoy the Batman movies they are not “his” (well the stories are).

      He may have created a Batman story, but he did not create Batman or the “Universe” just his view of it.

      While you cant go back you can always go forward. You have a “new” Superman coming up to include GL.

      There is nothing wrong with adding them to Batman’s Universe and open it up a little.

      It would make no sense to have 2 Batmans. So it is either the dreaded “R” word (reboot) or make Gotham instead of Metropolis the center of the DCU.

      • That’s exactly what I would like, an open DC universe, I’m not saying these characters have to constantly crossover but at least exist in the same universe.

  12. I know it wasn’t exactly like year one but it had alot of similarities. Still we all basically know the story it’s been told in many incarnations. I’d rather see a story the has only been told on paper. I don’t need to see an animated year one every time we get an animated version of these random stories it becomes less likely that stories that should be told will. Don’t get me wrong Year One is a good story but it isn’t needed as an animated film especially not before alot of other great stories just like red hood was unnecisary.

    I’ll ignore your attempt to insult Nolan and start a giant debate.

    • I’d like to see Arkham Asylum or The Killing Joke done to be honest.

  13. I look forward to seeing this dvd. Though i always prefer Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill as voices they were destined to voice, oh well. Kofi, Is there any news about Bruce Timm & Co having plans about makin dvd movies within the Timm-verse? Like Justice League Unlimited feature dvds?

    • @WallyWest

      Not sure yet – prob will hear something on the matter at comic con next week. stay tuned.

  14. Its Batman/Superman-Apocalypse next. Conroy voicing Bats, Daly voicing Supes, great story, should be a cracker.

  15. My favourite Batman films in order.

    1. Mask Of The Phantasm

    2. Batman (Burton)

    3. Batman Begins

    4. The Dark Knight

    5. Batman Forever

    • hey thats my favorite batman films :D

      • Coolio. Not sure many other people would agree though.

  16. My favorite in order:
    1.The Dark Knight
    3.Batman Begins
    4.Batman Forever
    5.Batman Returns
    6.Batman and Robin

  17. I have to be honest, my favorite Batman films are in this order.

    1. Batman-1989
    2. Batman Begins
    3. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
    4. Batman returns
    5. The Dark Knight
    6. Batman Forever
    7. Batman: Subzero
    8. Batman & Robin
    8. Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman

  18. Yeah… Let’s do this right:

    1. TDK
    2. BB
    3. Batman (’89)
    4. BR
    5. B: UTRH

    Batman forever… NO THANKS

  19. Okay, I really have to step in here, how on earth is Batman and Robin on ANYONE’S list? I know it’s “cool” to say it’s the worst film ever but… it really is one of the worst films ever, and not even in a “so bad it’s good” way. How can anyone like it?

  20. Kofi.

    No Mask of the phantasm on your list. All respect I had for you has gone.

    • @ Becket

      MOTP was my #5 – right now I’m liking UTH a little better, so MOTP goes to #6.


  21. I don’t want that marvel is already doing that and it’s starting to suck. Nolans films aren’t far the best comic films and frankly it’s because of the way he views the world

    • Daniel,

      It seems you contradict yourself in each sentence. Are you saying you dont want DC to go the route of Marvel as it is starting to suck now? And if so how do you know? Just because of who is being replaced?

      Then you appear to say Nolans films ARENT the best however I think you meant to say they are the best becasue of his view on the world…

      Again I like Nolans TWIST with the Batman mythos however I would much rather see what I see in the books. There was a nice line being drawn then Joel Schumacher and company had to mess it up.

  22. Sam my list would be

    1. TDK
    2. Batman Begins
    3. Mask of the Phantasm
    4. Batman Sub zero

    and I’ll leave 5 open for now I’m fairly certain under the red hood will be number 5 it’s nearly impossible for it to be any worse than Burton or Schumokers films. I’d litterally rather never get another batman film again than see anything like that crap fest Burton made it was an insult to the character and to peoples eyes.

    • I dont think I’ve seen Batman Sub Zero. Will look for it. Does it keep the continuity of the animated show, because the Mr Freeze episodes of that were outstanding.

  23. Well i havent seen the cartoon versions of batman,my list corresponds to the movies ive seen;)

  24. Joshi
    Batman and Robin was bad but it wasnt as bad as u say…..trust me there are worse films,atleast this movie somewhat entertaining……

    • @ Ricky18

      When i was younger, I liked Batman & Robin but not as much anymore of-course asmuch hardly anyone does. But ive seen worse comic book films than that. Worse one i remember seeing was Supergirl. Even if he agreed to be in it, i doubt Christopher Reeve could of convinced me otherwise. Helen Slater was perfect for the part and takes place in the universe, but thats it. Everything about it was lame. I couldnt finish watching Elektra. Didn’t bother watching Catwoman, mostly because Batman had nothin to do with it and the way Halle Berry looked was joke. Steel i thought was ok, Shaq was perfect for the role, but film didnt have a good enough plot to it and seemed to family friendly.

      @ Daniel f

      Burton’s Batman films a crapfest? very doubtful. Even your guy Nolan mentioned liking the film. Even though it was over 20 years ago, peopleve loved the film as much as they love TDK even with Nicolson as the Joker and Keaton as Batman whom both people were critical as first about the role but proved themselves well. I remember watching on commentary by Bruce Timm on one of my Batman: TAS dvd boxsets that his shows were partly inspired by Burton’s films and if the show wouldnt be what it was if it wasnt for Burton’s films. Not to mention that Kevin Conroy mentioned himself he based did his batman voice kinda the sameway Keaton did. I actually liked how they had Robin be older in Batman Forever then to have him be introduced as a kid. I blame WB for the previous Batman franchise downfall more than Joel Shumacher. It was WB to make the franchise family friendly, plus McDonalds being stupid enough to want to sell toys to kids when they should know the toys are based off a PG-13 rated movie etc.

  25. Yes Sam it keeps with Bruce Tims continuity. It is right up there in quality with all the other Mr Frezze episodes. Real big pay off at the end with Nora. It’s not as good as MOP but it’s still good and much better than Mystey of the Batwoman. It’s to bad the last continuity film we got was the Batwoman film it’s a sad end to the Bruce Tim batman animated series. Hell his actual finale for B:TAS was dissapointing as well not nearly as satisfying as the JLU finale. Still sad that show ended.

  26. I’ll go back and read it but if it says Nolans aren’t the best it should say are the best and it was a typo. Sorry for the mistake.

    I don’t want to see what I read. I’ve already read the comics hell I’ve nearly read every Batman comic ever written (I said NEARLY) I don’t need same old same old. I like to see some changes and fresh stories. As long as key important things stay that’s all that matters. His parents die at 8 Alfred took care of him things like that. As long as his backstory and key characteristics stay the same I won’t cry over a realistic world void of other heroes or no Robin. I’m happy to see a unique take on the character and fresh stories that while inspired by the comics are still original. I’d rather have a creative writer/director make the films rather than a really good copyer.

    Yes Marvel in my opinion is falling apart. I stated my concerns about doing this big team up universe from the start but still wished for the best. Before it all started a questioned their ability to make good casting calls as well as being able to hang on to an actor after establishing their films.

    Then Chris Evans became Captain America and I knew the film was gonna be crippled but I respect Wheadon and thought maybe he could work around it find away to make every thing around Evans so great you could ignore the terrible miscast. Of course as predicted now they lost a major player with Norton. Yea it sucks we lost the second best actor in this film but it’s worse that the continuty that was established is now destroyed. Let’s not forget they already chaned Rhodey and were being so stupid with the handeling of this project they almost lost Sam Jackson as Fury. This project has become a mess and I’m watching waiting to see what happens next. I’ve been trying to keep faith after what happened with Rhodey , almost losing Jackson and one of the worst casting decsions for a comic film yet but the Norton situation pushed me over the line. I’ve lost all faith.

    There is nothing contradicting about my post just one simple typo that if you’ve ever read anything from me about Nolans Bat films you would know was a typo.

    Back on topic. I’m gonna be viewing under the red hood as a skeptic. Not happy about the voice cast other than Ackels who I’m a fan of. Also it’s sad to see a sub par story like Red Hoodgetting a film with so many great stories being ignored as well as ignoring the great original stories that Bruce Tim is so good at making that could be related to Batman:TAS.

    I’ll go ahead and apologize for typos now it’s 4 am and I’m stilll doing work and tired.

  27. I always thought Jensen Ackles should play Robin in Batman 3

  28. I wouldn’t want a robin at all in Batman three but if it happened for the love of god do it right lol. Casting Jensen would of been the sane mistake Batman forever made casting some way to old for the part even worse since Odonnel was in his 20 while Jensen is 30 and Robim was like 10 I mean a 15 year old would be fine but not a 30 year old.

    I wanted Jensen for Captain America. He really needs to play some hero though he has the facial structure and such a commanding voice.

  29. He would have been a great captain America. Sigh.