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Batman Vs Robin (Blu-ray Review)

Batman-Vs-RobinThe world is turned upside down when one of the world’s greatest super heroes – Batman – finds himself under attack by his own son in the newest DC Universe Original Movie – Batman vs. Robin. Television stars Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova) and Stuart Allan (Son of Batman) reprise their roles as the voices of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Robin/Damian, respectively. Adding to the celebrity-laden voice cast is Jeremy Sisto (Law & Order) as Talon, Sean Maher (Serenity) as Nightwing, and Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) as Thomas Wayne.  This all-new original film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-Ray™ Deluxe Edition, Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. The brand-new product offering, Blu-ray™ Deluxe Edition, will include the Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, along with a Batman figurine in a gift set.

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Film 

The shadows of Gotham City are no place for a child but Damian Wayne is no ordinary child. Now bearing the mantle of Robin, he blazes a headstrong and sometimes reckless trail alongside his father, Batman. While investigating a crime scene, Robin encounters a mysterious figure, Talon, who leads him on a life-altering course through the depths of Gotham’s secret society, known as The Court of Owls. It’s a dangerous journey that will force Batman and Robin to face their most dangerous adversary, each other! Based on the #1 best-selling graphic novel, Batman: The Court of Owls, this action-packed caper is one that fans won’t want to miss!

So within a few minutes, you get an evil child kidnapper who has made monsters of kids followed by some vicious fighting and a heart ripped straight from someone’s chest.  No, these cartoons aren’t meant for the kiddos and man they really want you to know that up front.  The last Batman-centric one featured a bloody, graphic ninja battle to open things up.  Here we continue those battles, but also throw in scary monsters and heated, vulgar conversations when some relationships go sour.

I was never familiar with the Court Of Owls storyline in the comics.  My diehard Batman comic reading began in the late 1980s and ended in the around when the millennium hit.  There was a time where I tried to jump back in the mid-2000s, but it was incredibly confusing and I threw in the towel.  Through these straight to video movies, I’ve been catching up on some adaptations of storylines.  Damien Wayne has brought an interesting dynamic to the Robin characters and his interactions with other, namely Nightwing, this time around.  He’s a more well written and layered version of the Jason Todd iteration, mainly in that he’s a head-butting non-compliant Robin.  But his reasoning runs deeper and poses more dynamics with Bruce Wayne being his father.

Back to this Court of Owls thing.  Its a very secret society thing complete with their own set of soliders/warriors/assassins.  They want Bruce Wayne in their little club and their lead assassin has taken a liking to Damien Wayne.  From an appearance standpoint, they are very much like what you see in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut minus the crazy orgies.  They have a mansion, masks and represent those upper class people in power of Gotham.  With all this came a nice creepy vibe to the whole thing.  Within this story though, there are some connections (I won’t spoil) that make this feel a bit too enclosed and small world-like.

Batman Vs Robin was a pretty solid escape for 79 minutes.  There is some crazy graphic, gory violence and the film isn’t afraid to endulge itself into more creepy and disturbing subject matter.  Its not all just that though, there are some decent dramatics between a lot of different character combinations (Maybe one too many).  As solid as it was, I’m not sure there’s anything wow’ing about this.  That seems to be a thing with these DCAU movies; they’re good, but I never seem to want to reach back for them after I’ve seen them.  They come in, satisfy move, and then we both go our separate ways.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a pretty sharp image that is clear and solid.  The picture quality is smooth and crisp.  It features a more natural palette of colors that look bold on the screen.  Its as good a presentation as any other DCAU Blu-rays.

Depth:  Solid effect.  Background clarity is high and character movement is smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and used to enrich the imagery with shading and outline.

Color Reproduction: Colors are accurate and solid.  They’re not incredibly striking, but more in a natural mode.  Yellows are kind of the standout.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian & Latin) 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: This is an awesome 5.1 track that really gets in your face and brings the little animated feature to life.  It has a crisp, loose sound.  The effects are really well defined.  There was a scene where glass shattered and the shards flew around and you could almost make out each individual one sparking out.  This lossless track sounds free and focused and will command your attention with its rock-concert-like action sequences.

Low Frequency Extension:  Some good LFE action on this one.  Destruction really gets a boom here.  Early on when the Dollmaker falls in the snow, there’s a nice punch to it from the subwoofer.  The Batmobile gets some push too.  All around, a very active subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  During the Court scenes there is some conversation in the rear speakers.  There is also some nice ambiance in other moments and some action sounds.  The fronts speakers swoop back and forth with action and have some good volume placement.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp, clean and clear.

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Extras 

Batman Vs Robin comes with a DVD copy and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.  Limited edition sets include a Batman figurine.

Batman Vs Robin Commentary

Gotham City’s Secret: The Mythic Court of Owls (HD, 31:25) – A discussion with those involved in the film and comic about the origin of the comic source material and its inspirations.

The Talons of the Owls (HD, 14:03) – A separate discussion on the specifics and code of the Talon fighters.

A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Move, “JUSTICE LEAGUE: Gods & Monsters” (HD, 11:08)

From The DC Comics Vault – Batman: The Brave & The Bold: “The Color Of Revenge!”, Batman: The Animated Series: “Old Wounds”, Superman: The Animated Series: “Obsession”, Young Justice: “Auld Acquaintance”

Presenting a Merrie Melodies “Blue Ribbon” Short, “Super-Rabbit” (HD, 8:15) – A vintage Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Trailers – DCU: Son of Batman, LEGO DC: Justice League Vs Bizarro League, The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown

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Summary 

Batman Vs Robin is another decent little escape into some adult slanting comic story arc adaptations from the DC Comics animated Universe.  While I would love them to explore other heroes like they have been doing for Batman, I’m not dumb and understand that Batman sells and others are a gamble.  This set comes with some detailed featurettes specific to the story of this film as well as the usual slew of goodies from these releases.  The audio and video are top notch, giving this an awesome presentation.  If you’ve been going along with these so far, there’s no reason not to pick this one up.

Batman-Vs-Robin-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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