Batman: Under The Red Hood - Online Review

'there's no excuse for a story that telegraphs its reveal in the opening few moments'

Batman: Under The Red Hood received a not inconsiderable amount of praise from some quarters when it appeared from Warner Bros. Animation in 2010, something which its lofty 7.8 average on IMDb attests to. I'll accept that I'm in the minority then, when I ask: 'what's all the fuss about?'

Batman: Under The Red Hood is one of the least exciting, most predictable animated films of any ilk I've seen over the last few years. I'll accept that it was made for the DVD market and therefore didn't benefit from the polishing of cinematic releases like forthcoming Pixar-effort Brave and its ilk but besides that there's no excuse for a story that telegraphs its reveal in the opening few moments, then follows a pretty stock superhero plot for seventy minutes. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

The gentle wafting of praise over Under The Red Hood is even more incomprehensible given that it first appeared just two years removed from the vastly superior Gotham Knight. That, a collection of shorts from different directors and storytellers, did something new and inventive and grown up with superhero animation. Under The Red Hood typifies everything that is wrong with superhero animation. The two just don't compete.

Aside from the aimlessly boring narrative and the advanced reveal, the specific problems with Brandon Vietti's film include a depiction of The Black Mask laughable in its inception and a battle which looks suspiciously like a lightsaber fight. When there's a lightsaber fight in your Batman film, you know you're not looking at a classic. The only thing this is Under is whelming.

Batman: Under The Red Hood was showing on Lovefilm Instant.

Look further...

'Under the Red Hood continues the dark and intense vibe of Nolan’s Bat flicks and ends up feeling almost ground breaking.' - Moviedex, 4.5/5


  1. 'what's all the fuss about?'

    I think you can say that about most of Warner Bros' animation output over the last few years.

    I've watched my share (Wonder Woman; Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern: First Flight - superior to the Ryan Reynolds version) and the biggest problem I find is that the runtime is a killer. I can't remember Under the Red Hood but an 80-85 minute runtime seems to be the batting average and there's not enough complexity to be mined from them (either thematic, narrative or character).

    I think the praise from others is down to these stories actually going for more diverse stories. Film tends to water it down for a mass audience, the animation is a bit purer and that's what I think people are reacting to.

    I thought Red Hood was decent, if only for The Joker being unashamedly foul - esp as he's voiced by Bender's voice actor :)

    1. That's a cool factoid! Bender to cameo in a future Batman!

      Think you're right on all of those counts and the reason I enjoyed Gotham Knight so much was that it tried to overcome that, to turn itself into your standard, simple and satisfying animation and to be something that explored superheroes in an original way. This just spends far too much time watching two people chase one another around a city.