Check out our review of the latest animated feature from the DC Universe. While Damian Wayne struggles to cope with Batman's no-killing rule, he soon starts to believe that his destiny lies within a secret society known as, The Court of Owls.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 80 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Jason O’Mara, Jeremy Sisto, Stuart Allan, Grey Griffin
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Music by: Frederik Wiedman
Written by: J.M. DeMatteis
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 14, 2015
"The showdown that will define a destiny"
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 is sequel to 2014’s DC Universe animated feature “Son of Batman”. I must admit to be out of the loop when it comes to keeping up with the current Batman mythos with respect to both the animated and printed series. Be that as it may I am still a fan and will take it for what it is when I can get it. For me I had to look at this feature strictly from a singular perspective (my apologies to all of you who are in the know) viewing it as a standalone story/film experience.
In that regard I found Batman vs. Robin to be fairly engaging with a well-shaped narrative that was clearly built upon the foundational threads taken from the stories that preceded it. It’s noticeably dark in tone, as you might expect, but incorporates shifting themes of sentiment and relationship drama that diverge from its base context. I didn’t have a problem with that per se but at times found the contrast to be a little abrupt but not detrimentally so. The action/choreography is up to par and plays well toward each character’s portrayal/design.
The voiceovers by the cast are spot on and the production elements are excellent. Jason O’Mara and Stuart Allan reprise their roles as the voices of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Robin/Damian, respectively. Adding to the voice cast is Jeremy Sisto as Talon, Sean Maher as Nightwing, and Kevin Conroy as Thomas Wayne. At 80 minutes the pacing is on target and the story flows quite well. For those considering this for younger viewers the level of violence/mayhem would elevate the film above what you would expect to see on regular TV. The result is an entertaining animated film that coincides with what we have previously seen from DC Universe releases. I look forward to checking out the next installment.
This all-new original film comes to Blu-ray from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-Ray Deluxe Edition, Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. The subject of this review is the Blu-ray Deluxe Edition, which includes the Blu-Ray Combo Pack, along with a Batman figurine in a gift set.
The rating is for intense action and violence, suggestive images and thematic elements.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Batman vs. Robin comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.
Animation can sometimes be difficult to thoroughly judge when evaluating its video quality. This video presentation looks quite good and features colors that are reserved in saturation and consisted of tones that were not especially bright but mated well with source material. Resolution is very good with refining clarity as the video had tack like sharpness with crisp edges and no obvious signs of edge enhancement. Contrast is stable which provides plenty of pop to the image during scene transitions that blend light and dark onscreen elements. Blacks don’t have an infinite sense of depth but they are solid black and stand out well when onscreen with mixed content. Dark scenes have excellent contrast with discernible gradational stages and delineated color within backgrounds.
I have to admit to being surprised at just how good this lossless mix sounded. The high resolution DTS-HD MA soundtrack is well articulated with excellent headroom and crystal clear rendering across the board. The well balanced presentation features high level detail in a resplendent blend of dialogue, sound effects, bass and music. The results offer a dynamically gratifying, richly enveloping surround sound mix that delivers robust bass, and plenty of action based sounds/effects to make the experience fun. Crank it up and enjoy the ride.
- (HD)Gotham’s City Secret: The Mythic Court of Owls - The Court of Owls is the secret society that directly connects the past of Gotham to the current city. Are they silent guardians that are the noble benefactors or are they the malevolent force that manipulates a city toward their grand design? – 31 minute feature
- (HD)Talons of the Owl – If the Owls are the masterminds, their instruments of destruction are their assassins. Appropriately called The Talons, these warriors are designed to carry out the will of the Owls. – 14 minute feature
- Batman vs. Robin Audio Commentary
- (HD)A Sneak Peak at Justice League: Gods & Monsters – An advance look at the next DC Universe Original Movie with the creators and cast.
- Bonus animated features from the DC Comics Vault – 4 segments
- A Merrie Melodies “Blue Ribbon” short, “Super Rabbit” – 8 minutes
- Collectible Batman Figurine
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Having seen a number of DCU animated titles I think it is safe to say that I am now a fan of the series. Featuring a multifaceted storyline, Batman vs. Robin is fairly engaging and action packed entry that I enjoyed spending time with. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in a well-rounded package that features rewarding high definition audio/video quality and a complimentary assortment of bonus supplements. If you’re a fan Batman vs. Robin on Blu-ray is well worth checking out.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package