Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. Killing is an option. And when the Joker falls in the balance between the two, hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened.
movie review of Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
There are several things that need to be said right off the bat about Batman: Under the Red Hood:
- This is not a children’s cartoon. It’s extremely violent, including the beating to death of a young Jason Todd by the Joker — with a crowbar.
- It’s extremely faithful to the comic series of the same name, with some modifications — I would say improvements — to make it a self-contained story.
- It relies on the history of the Batman — for example, most comic book geeks know that the original Red Hood was the Joker’s first alias, and it was while wearing the Red Hood guise that he dived into the chemical vat that dyed his hair and skin, driving him insane, in an effort to escape from the Batman. This is covered in the story, but prior knowledge of things like this, or Ras Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits, certainly help.
Is it a good story? Absolutely. It’s gripping, action-packed, character-driven, at times heart-breaking and at other times gut-wrenching. It’s an excellent movie, one of the best animated movies made to date. But it’s not for children. Take its’ PG-13 rating seriously.
Editorial review of Batman: Under the Red Hood, courtesy of Amazon.com
The animated adventure Batman: Under the Red Hood pits the Dark Knight against a trio of his most fearsome enemies while attempting to uncover the true identity of the vigilante known as the Red Hood. Adapted by Judd Winick from his own comic book story arc, Under the Hood, as well as the late-’80s serial A Death in the Family, Under the Red Hood is a fairly dark affair, with considerable amounts of violence, not the least of which is the act that gets the story in motion–the murder of Jason Todd, better known as the second Robin, by the Joker (voiced by John DiMaggio).
The death puts Batman (Bruce Greenwood) into a guilt-ridden tailspin, but there’s little time for mourning, as the arrival of the Red Hood (Jensen Ackles of Supernatural) puts the Caped Crusader on the defensive.
Together with original Robin Dick Grayson (Neil Patrick Harris), now operating as Nightwing, his search for the Red Hood brings him in contact with the Joker–who, as DC Comics fans remember, started his criminal career as the Red Hood and is portrayed here as a violent psychopath a la Frank Miller’s depictions–as well as the immortal Ra’s al Ghul (Jason Isaacs) and Gotham’s leading underworld kingpin, the fearsome Black Mask (Wade Williams).
The confrontations between Batman and his foes are explosive but never overpower the dramatic weight of the story, which hinges on themes of regret, revenge, and redemption. Artwork is streamlined and expressive, while the scripting by Winick distills the essence of the comics into an action-packed hour. —Paul Gaita
Movie quotes from Batman: Under the Red Hood
Joker (John Di Maggio): [strikes Robin with crowbar] What hurts more? A? Or B? Forehand? Or backhand? A little louder, lamb chop. I think you may have a collapsed lung. That always impedes the oratory.
[Robin spits in his face]
Joker (John Di Maggio): Now, that was rude. The first boy blunder had some manners. I suppose I’m going to have to teach you a lesson so you can better follow in his footsteps. No, I’m just gonna keep beating you with this crowbar.
Nightwing (Neal Patrick Harris): Packs quite the punch for a toaster on steroids, huh? Need a hand?
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): No.
Nightwing (Neal Patrick Harris): Okay, well, how about I just stick around and watch?
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Hard to forget that night, huh? In a way, Batman, this was the site of your first great failure. Maybe your greatest, but certainly not your last, right? Ah, memories.
Joker (John Di Maggio): [to Nightwing] Oh, Bird Boy, you’re so much less fun now. All grown up and in your big-boy pants. Still, better off than his replacement, right? Even tougher making with the yuks when you’re worm food, huh?
Young Robin: [to Riddler] Riddle me this. What’s green and purple but covered in red and yellow? You. When I land on your sorry butt.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Just be happy I only killed one of them. They’re all assassins.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): And what are you?
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): I’m cleaning up Gotham. More than you ever did.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): You’re stealing territory from Black Mask and killing anyone who gets in your way.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Black Mask is just a part of the plan.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): Plan? You’re becoming a crime lord.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Yes. You can’t stop crime. That’s what you never understood. I’m controlling it. You wanna rule them by fear. But what do you do with the ones who aren’t afraid? I’m doing what you won’t, I’m taking them out.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): Tell me what happened to you. Let me help.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): It’s too late. You had your chance. And I’m just getting started.
Black Mask (Wade Williams): You wanna tell me why this guy ain’t dead?
Ms. Li (Kelly Hu): We’re trying. We sent the Fearsome Hand of Four.
Black Mask (Wade Williams): Four? Guess they’re gonna need a new name. Why hasn’t Batman wiped this little smear off the face of the planet?
Ms. Li (Kelly Hu): Maybe he doesn’t want to. Perhaps he’s letting your and the Red Hood war it out. He could be waiting …
Black Mask (Wade Williams): To take on the winner? What do you think this is? A tennis tournament?
Black Mask (Wade Williams): I’m being forced into negotiating with a psychotic.
Ms. Li (Kelly Hu): That doesn’t sound good.
Black Mask (Wade Williams): No. It’s going to be a nightmare.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): [strikes Joker with crowbar] Tell me, how does that feel?
Joker (John Di Maggio): You know, it only hurts when I laugh.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why? Why on God’s earth — ¦
[smashes closet door open holding Joker]
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): …is he still alive?
Joker (John Di Maggio): Gotta give the boy points. He came all the way from the dead to make this shindig happen. So who’s got a camera? Ooh! Ooh! Get one of me and the kid first. Then you and me, then the three of us. And then the one with the crowbar.
Leon: You wanna die? There’s easier ways to kill yourself.
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Yeah, like yelling at the guy who’s holding the AK-47.
Bobo: Okay, crazy man, this is all very generous. But why in the head should we listen to you?
[Red Hood drops a duffel bag of human heads]
Red Hood (Jensen Ackles): Those are the heads of all of your lieutenants. That took me two hours. You wanna see what I get done in a whole evening?
Nightwing (Neal Patrick Harris): He’s got some moves, huh? And as much I hate to belabor a point — ¦
Alfred Pennyworth: And still that is often exactly what you do.
Nightwing (Neal Patrick Harris): I’m chatty. It’s part of my charm.
Black Mask (Wade Williams): I want this man dead. When I say — dead, — I mean seriously dead. Beaten, broken. His head mounted-on-my-wall kind of dead!
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): [about Jason] Do you remember how he was was I found him?
Alfred Pennyworth: Of course, sir. Fearless, arrogant, brash and gifted.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): Yes. Different than Dick in so many ways but still full of potential and power. But I knew, even from the beginning, he was dangerous. If I hadn’t made into Robin, he would have grown to do wrong. Then I got him killed. My partner. My soldier. My fault. I own that. I’ll carry that like everything else. But now there’s this. He’s taken everything I’ve ever taught him and turned it on me. It’s a hell of a making, Alfred.
Alfred Pennyworth: Sir, this is not your doing. You loved him. He knows that. It should be enough.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): It’s not.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): [puts gun to Joker’s temple] You’ll be as quiet as possible or I’ll put one in your lap first.
Joker (John Di Maggio): Party pooper. No cake for you.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): Ignoring what he’s done in the past. Blindly, stupid, disregarding the entire graveyards he’s filled, the thousands of who have suffered, the friends he’s crippled. You know, I thought — ¦ I thought I’d be the last person you’d ever let him hurt. If it had been you that he beat to a bloody pulp, if he had taken you from this world, I would’ve done nothing but search the planet for this pathetic pile of evil death-worshiping garbage and sent him off to hell.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): You don’t understand. I don’t think you’d ever understood.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): What? What, your moral code just won’t allow for that? It’s too hard to cross that line?
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): No. God Almighty, no. It’d be too damned easy. All I’ve ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn’t go by I don’t think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he’s dealt out to others and them end him.
Joker (John Di Maggio): Aw. So you do think about me.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): But if I do that, if I allow myself to go down into that place, I’ll never come back.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): Why? I’m not talking about killing Penguin or Scarecrow or Dent. I’m talking about him. Just him. And doing it because … Because he took me away from you.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): I can’t. I’m sorry.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): Who are you working for?
Thug: Nobody! Look, we just boosted the truck, and uh — ¦
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): Lie to me again, and crashing into a wall head-on will be the least painful activity of your evening.
Joker (John Di Maggio): [to Batman] You look good. Been working out? You could probably use a little sun. Then again, who am I to talk?
[to Batman after he uses a rocket to destroy The Red Hood’s helicopter]
Nightwing (Neal Patrick Harris): You know what I miss most about running with you? The toys.
Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood): [Dick has been injured] Alfred, take him home.
Dick Grayson (Neal Patrick Harris): I can help.
Bruce Wayne (Bruce Greenwood): You already have. Thank you.
Dick Grayson (Neal Patrick Harris): Alright but you know where to find me if you need me. He did just — ¦ thank me didn’t he?
Alfred Pennyworth: Indeed he did sir.
Dick Grayson (Neal Patrick Harris): Weird.
Robin: He’s a drug dealing pimp! I didn’t think I had to prop up some pillows before I took him out!
Black Mask (Wade Williams): Oh, so we got another Batman? One who doesn’t mind the blood?
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): [Red Hood finally removes his mask, revealing his face] Jason.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): Yes.
Batman (Bruce Greenwood): I know what happened. Let me help you.
Jason Todd (Jensen Ackles): Oh, so you got to talking with Ras, huh? Is it easier for you to think that my little dip in his fountain of youth turned me rabid, or is this just the real me?
Trivia for Batman: Under the Red Hood
- This is the first time that the story of Jason Todd, the second Robin, is told in any DC animated series or feature film.
- The story is based on the 1988 Batman Comics storyline — A Death in the Family’, where readers voted via a 1-900 number to either save or kill off the second Robin, Jason Todd. Over 10,000 votes were cast and with only a 72 vote majority, the decision was made to kill him. Todd was later brought back in 2005 as part of the 2005 — Under the Hood — storyline.
- Cameo: Voice Director Andrea Romano as the voice of one of the reporters.
- Cameo: Producer Bruce W. Timm as the voice of the Riddler.
- The opening sequence in which Batman is carrying Jason’s dead body out of the rubble is taken directly from the comic book.
- This is the first time Jason Todd has appeared by name outside of the comic books. He has however been mentioned by name twice before. First in the second episode of the short-lived Birds of Prey television series, — Slick — , then again in an episode the Teen Titans animated series. Also Tim Drake from The New Batman Adventures is depicted as a hybrid of these two characters’ comic versions, with a background almost identical to the Post-Crisis Jason’s, as well as a similar fate at the hands of the Joker.
- The Joker’s prison ID number that is on his jumpsuit is 11940. The Joker first appeared in Batman #1 which was released in 1940.