The film received mixed reviews from critics, but like a lot of direct-to-video animated films, it’s definitely difficult to have the facts for what the popular consensus says.
I will be honest and say that I wasn’t too excited for Son of Batman. The animation looked iffy, and I haven’t been too keen on the rest of the last two movies in the animated universe. Flashpoint Paradox had cool themes, but failed at capturing the potential of any of them, and Justice League: War failed at holding my attention. It didn’t help my enthusiasm that a much better more appealing Batman: Assault on Arkham was released soon after.
As the title suggests, the film works at introducing us to the ‘Son of Batman,” Damian Wayne, son of Talia al Ghul and Bruce Wayne. When the League of Assassins is attacked by a group led by Slade Wilson, in the battle, Ra’s is fatally wounded, dying before he has the chance to recover at the Lazarus Pit. Talia makes the decision to take Damian to Gotham City, where he meets his father. The film follows Batman trying to install some of his morals into Damian; meanwhile Death Stroke looks to wreak havoc.
With the DC Animated Universe being rebooted, I think it’s time to offer-up some criticisms about Batman’s sidekick. He’s a teenage boy that helps his heavily armored partner fighting crime, and while it’s classical for them to use the classical costume, you would think they’d make a few modifications in later installments for a darker universe. The costume from Batman & Robin wasn’t too bad, minus the nipples. Also, in the film towards the end, without giving anything away, too much is weighed on Boy Wonder. Batman seems completely content letting him fight some of the most dangerous assassins. “He’s a skilled fighter himself.”
These are merely some little pet-peeves that I have about the film.
The rest of my opinion isn't too negative, however. While I remained a mixed-bag about the animation, ... I just think it looks dull and bland, I think that it definitely proved to be more effective during the film than during the snapshots. Everything about it seems to tread ground that I don't really care about anymore. At this time, we have seen about a million-and-one different Robin characters and the only thing that is unique is that this one is Bruce Wayne's son.
We have also tread the "we don't kill" themes before with films like Batman: Under the Red-Hood". I realize that comparison is pulling at straws, but the point that I am trying to make is there isn't really anything particularly unique about this film. Everything feels built-in and remote, like its a film made by skilled people that are going through the motions.
I didn't really become invested with any of the characters. Damian feels like a lot of other Robins, Batman doesn't really offer too much personality, but he usually excels when he has a worthy antagonist to propel him. Death Stroke is a villain that I wish was better. I loved him as Slade in the Teen Titans animated-series, but everything that I have seen from him as Death Stroke (besides Batman: Arkham Origins) has disappointed me as bland and generic as well.
In conclusion, Son of Batman is a completely painless film filled with entertaining action-scenes and a passable, albeit generic plot. While it definitely isn't as interesting as something like Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox, which had a very bizarre and unique storyline, the pacing makes me believe that it's more put-together.
Thanks for reading...