DC Comics’ latest animated movie, Son of Batman, follows the first significant moments in Batman’s relationship with his headstrong son, Damien. Even though it’s based on the book, Batman: Batman and Son by Grant Morrison, I can count on one hand how many similarities there are between the book and the animated movie.
The movie starts with an introduction to the League of Assassins and the Al Gul family. Ra’s Al Ghul, family head and leader of the League, is attacked by his former right hand man turned mercenary, Slade Wilson (AKA Deathstroke). One thing leads to another and we find Talia in need of a safe place for her son and everybody knows that there is no safer place than with Batman.
What bothers me most about this movie isn’t that it doesn’t follow the book, but how Damien was conceived and how Batman remembers it (or lack thereof).
When Talia brings Batman aboard her vessel after saving his life against Killer Croc, she asks her beloved (as she affectionately calls him) if he would like a drink. Batman replies with a curt no, because he remembers what happened last time he accepted a drink from her, to which she replies (while hanging on him like a cheap date), “Oh yes. I slipped something into it. It wasn’t all bad though was it?”
To break this down, Talia just admitted to slipping a drug into Batman’s drink and then something physically happening between them. In other words, she raped him.
Now, rape is a touchy topic in all circles, not just comics. Usually the one getting raped though is a female character. In this case we have a male character who was sexually violated and how does he respond? “No. It wasn’t all bad.”
So, he went from being a victim of rape, to being okay with what happened because he ended up having a good time.
This isn’t the first time a male character has been raped recently in a movie/television storyline, and for whatever reason the writers chose to ignore how the character would truly feel after such an experience.
It plays out a bit differently in the book with Batman being held down by man-bat-ninja-assassins and telling Talia (rather angrily) that he remembers being “drugged senseless and refusing to co-operate in some depraved eugenics experiment.” To which Talia replies,”We chose you, the perfect man, to breed the perfect heir to the empire of Ra’s Al Ghul. And believe me, you cooperated magnificently.”
Anyone else see something wrong with this?
What was so wrong with Batman’s legitimate anger at being sexually abused that made the movie writers go, “Nah! Let’s have him enjoy it in the end.”
Once the scene is over, the movie picks up the pace and adds some humor to the mix.
Batman has a few sarcastic moments and Nightwing has a strong presence as well. Damien is the star of the show though and is a hard-headed brat with more of his mother in him than desirable. He has some of his father in him as well; it just takes certain events and some “quality” time with Batman to bring them out in him.
My favorite scene is when Nightwing calls Batman on the phone to ask if he’s “misplaced” something. Nightwing’s physical appearance and Damien’s scowl made me laugh.
Other than that one scene (and Talia’s forgetting to zip up her shirt to cover her always perky, front-and-center boobs), the movie was really good. It’s not as gruesome as Flashpoint Paradox, but it does have its moments that are not for the faint of heart. In the end, I’ve decided that his is one of those rare cases where I recommend you skip the book all together and go straight to the movie.
Son of Batman is available on Blu-ray and DVD.