Apparently, given the chance, comic book writers write screenplays just like comic books. Sitting through Under the Red Hood is not an unpleasant experience–Bruce Greenwood, voice alone, is the best Batman since Michael Keaton, animated or actual–but it’s got an atrocious plot structure.
First, the movie would be unintelligible for anyone who didn’t read Batman comics. Screenwriter Judd Winick (who also wrote some of the comics this movie’s based on) has an endless amount of costumed characters show up. It’s firmly set in the comic book world, which makes it fail as a filmic narrative.
Fail might be a little harsh. Red Hood doesn’t succeed, but it isn’t Winick’s fault. Besides Greenwood, most of the voice acting is terrible. Jensen Ackles, voicing a grownup, evil Robin, finally answers the question about Batman and Robin’s sexual relationship–I’m pretty sure Cyrano never sounded as amorous as Ackles does when talking to Greenwood’s Batman. I wonder if they recorded together.
Even worse is John Di Maggio’s Joker. The character’s written as a lunatic, but Di Maggio plays a vicious thug instead, presumably a Dark Knight influence.
Speaking of influences, there’s a nice little homage to the Adam West show and lots of the production design owes to the Tim Burton films. It’s a very good looking animated movie when the poorly illustrated characters aren’t running around.
If it had just been a bit better plotted, it would have been much better. Still, might be worth a viewing for Greenwood’s performance.