Justice League: War was apparently the start of a new continuity for the DC animated universe, which leads us into our next movie, Son Of Batman.
It is a follow-up to Justice League: War as part of a new continuity established with Jason O’Mara reprising his role as Batman and David McCallum and Fred Tatasciore reprising their roles as Alfred Pennyworth (from Batman: Gotham Knight) and Killer Croc (from Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes) and is based on Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s Batman & Son storyline.
Hidden atop a secret mountain stronghold lies the League of Shadows and its fearless leader, Ra’s al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito). Together with his equally dangerous daughter Talia (Morena Baccarin), he oversees a trained army of assassins with plans for global domination. But an uprising from within the league now threatens to shift the balance of power and sends Talia and her young son, Damian (Stuart Allan), fleeing to Gotham City.
With assassins on their trail, Talia seeks the protection of Batman (Jason O’Mara), who, unbeknownst to him, is the boy’s father. With his son in tow, Batman wages war against the villain Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson) and the League of Shadows, all while teaching his headstrong boy that one can’t fight crime by becoming a criminal. With help from Gotham’s finest, including Commissioner Gordon and Nightwing, Batman will soon discover that his son and most trusted ally are one and the same!
The film bears only a superficial resemblance to the Batman and Son story arc in the comics; as a result, it carries no on-screen “based on” credit as DC Animated movies usually do.
- Talia al Ghul is the primary antagonist of the story arc in the comics. It is ultimately revealed that she left Damian with Batman in order to keep the Dark Knight distracted from her plans and to cause havoc in his life, not out of concern for the boy. In the movie, Talia is instead a mere damsel in distress, while Deathstroke is presented as the antagonist and fulfills much of Talia’s original role from the comic book arc. Even more, Talia is shown to genuinely care for her son, trusting him to find his own path and still openly in love with Batman.
- Tim Drake is omitted in the film; in the comic books, he is Batman’s adoptive son and the active Robin during the events of this arc, working a significant character. In the original story arc, Damian develops an antagonism towards Tim out of jealousy, going as far as trying to kill him in order to usurp his place. Batman ultimately keeps Tim as Robin by the end of the arc, while Damian is kept by the end of the film.
- The climactic confrontation of the original story arc revolves around Batman trying to stop the final phase of Talia’s scheme to take over Gibraltar and being forced to accept Damian’s help, as Tim is severely wounded; both Talia and Damian vanish when Britain’s Royal Navy bomb the ship on which they are fighting. In a complete departure, the movie’s climax is about rescuing Talia from Deathstroke and stopping him from selling liquid from a Lazarus Pit, with only the latter vanishing when his base is flooded.
- Aside from Tim Drake, Harley Quinn, Jeremiah Arkham and Jezebel Jet are present in the original arc, but were omitted in the film.
- Deathstroke, Ra’s al Ghul, Killer Croc and Nightwing are absent from the original comic book arc, but were included in the film.
- At the beginning of the film shows Dusan al Ghul, the son of Ra’s and brother of Talia who apparently had normal relations with their relatives. Dusan al Ghul killed by Deathstroke. He wasn’t in the storyline.
Unlike Justice League: War, Son of Batman is kind of a mediocre movie mostly because the story is really weak. It’s the first time DC’s loosely adapted a story as most of the stuff in here in basically new stuff that wasn’t in the original story. And the new stuff they add is kind of bland and forgettable.
To its’ credit, both the voice cast and the animation is still really good but really, the story is what ruins the movie big time. A lot of the new elements they add are really cliché and overplayed big time to the point where nothing new or creative comes from this.
Son Of Batman could’ve been something unique or creative considering it’s a follow-up to the really good Justice League: War but really, the story and the big changes they make are really terrible choices. The voice cast and animation is still good but it’s the story and the lack of anything new or creative that makes this one of the weaker outings from DC’s animated movies.