By Will Barber – Taylor
Damian Wayne has established himself as Robin, but he continues to clash with Batman over the latter’s rule of not killing criminals. When he becomes the recruiting target of a criminal secret society called the Court of Owls, the Dynamic Duo face their greatest opposition: each other.
Following on from the previous DC Universe Animated film, Son of Batman, Batman Vs Robin shows how the conflicting personalities of Damian Wayne and his father, Bruce will work when they are confronted with working together as a team. This is the main crux of the film and if dealt with badly, then the film would collapse. However, luckily for the viewer, it isn’t. The relationship that Batman and Robin have is in some way dealt better than in Son of Batman. While in that film Damian could come across at times as being annoying, in this film his arrogance and bluster while still being annoying at times is understandable. By giving a reason why Damian is acting like he is the film makes the character seem more three dimensional. Damien is acting like this because he doesn’t know who he is; from an early age he was trained to be the world’s greatest assassin by his grandfather Ras Al Ghul. The presence of Ras and Bruce colliding in his mind means that Damien only has ideas of what other people want him to be rather than what he wants to be. This means that Damien’s inner struggle with self is much more believable and relatable because everyone knows what it feels like to feel contrasting views from family members on how they should be.
The best performance in the film is surprisingly from one of the smaller characters; Weird Al Yankovic as The Dollmaker. The Dollmaker is a recent addition to the Batman rouge gallery having only been a Batman villain since the New 52 reboot. He is a fascinating character and is very much deserving of his cartoon debut. Yankovic’s version of the character is chillingly realised. He sounds so very creepy and frightening. Yankovic makes the character very quiet and childlike which adds to the terrifying element of the character. Hopefully, Yankovic will return to play the character at some point as he truly owns the part.
The animation style is fairly good though at times, the artwork does look a bit sloppy. During the scene in which Bruce Wayne is kidnapped by The Court of Owls, the animation on Bruce’s face looks very jarring and at one point Bruce’s face seems to be falling off of his jaw. Aside from that and the odd other example it is fairly palatable.
Overall, Batman Vs Robin is an enjoyable, funny and at times brilliant addition to the DC Animated world. I would strongly recommend it if not simply for Weird Al Yankovic’s performance as The Dollmaker but also for the interesting development of Damian Wayne’s character.