Batman: Under the Red Hood is Good but Voice Acting Disappoints Michelle!

Generally, I hate it when Comic Book companies bring back dead people but I will say the way they brought back the worst Robin ever – Jason Todd was pretty decent. He’s still a whiney, arrogant brat, but at least here he has a reason to be. Warner Brother’s latest animated feature Batman: Under The Red Hood doesn’t hold a candle to their other stellar Batman films primarily because none of the Voice Acting really works for me.

Voicing Batman is perhaps one of the “easiest” voice jobs you can get. He doesn’t say much and all you have to do is talk low and deep. In that sense Bruce Greenwood’s Batman is fine, I really couldn’t tell much difference between his voice work from fan favorite Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) and explains why WB feel like they don’t need to have Kevin voice every movie.

The movie immediately felt off putting the first time you hear John Di Maggio as the Joker. It’s so off putting and miles different than the Joker we’re used to as voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (The Batman) or the great Mark Hamil’s Joker. John’s Joker is a complete joke, even as he was beating Robin to a bloody pulp with the Crowbar the menace or “crazy psycho” vibe just wasn’t there. He sounded like some cheap mob henchman.

I also had a problem with Neil Patrick Harris (Nightwing) and Jensen Ackles (Red Hood) both voices and character designs sounded and looked too similar. Director
Brandon Vietti didn’t do a decent job of making these characters unique in their presentations. Storywise and character wise, obviously there was a clear difference but look (facially) and sound it was really similar.

If you can get past the sloppy voice work and focus on Judd Winick’s excellent script there’s a lot to love here. The movie features the signature Batman animation style, mood and tone. But it’s the story that works really well here, especially the final confrontation with Joker, Red Hood and Batman in the same room. This powerful moment is slightly ruined by Di Maggio’s awful voice work.

Batman: Under The Red Hood is a fun ride with a great story but almost ruined by lazy direction and poor voice casting. I loved seeing Nightwing in Action for a change, how cool would a Nightwing centric movie be? But I don’t think this movie reaches the high bar set by past Batman Animated films.

Note – This is a review of the movie, since WB’s ridiculous deal with Netflix, I won’t be able to get you a Blu-ray review for another month and this isn’t a movie I would want to purchase.  WB let’s select members of the press watch download versions of their screeners.

Final Grade B-

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 7.27.2010