For some reason, I have this need to comment on virtually every superhero cartoon or movie I watch. Actually, I could’ve sworn I wrote up (and possibly posted) reviews for Son of Batman and JLA Adventures but I can’t find any proof of that. None of these movies are fresh in my mind anymore but I’ll briefly give my thoughts on these animated Marvel & DC movies for the record books. :)
Instead of randomly releasing direct-to-video movies set in their own universes in order to adapt certain stories from the comic books, it looks like DC is finally having many of their recent animated movies set in the same ‘New 52’-inspired universe. Son of Batman shares its world with Justice League: War (which itself will have its own sequel in the form of Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis).
Son of Batman is still based on a storyline from the Batman comics called “Batman and Son”. This was during the Grant Morrison era of writing the Batman comics and I think he’s one of the worst and most overrated comic book writers of all time. That probably explains why I wasn’t that big of a fan of this movie.
Most of DC’s animated movies kinda fall within line with content that would appropriate to a PG-13 movie. JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time takes a much more simple approach in terms of story, themes and animation that would make this rated G. This basically felt like Saturday morning cartoon (which no one makes anymore) version of the Justice League. It was simplistic, yet entertaining. It almost felt like a launching pad for a new line of DC animated movies or maybe a pilot for a new animated series.
I would be quite content if there were more JLA Adventures in the works, but I’m not sure that there are. I think this was originally an exclusive release only through the Target chain of retail stores and it was given a fairly quiet release. It finally received a wider video release a few months later.
Heroes United is apparently a series of Marvel animated movies. So far, there’s only been two and they both have co-starred Iron Man. Not sure if this is basically an Iron Man team-up series or what.
While Marvel is killing it at the box office it’s no secret among comic book fans that DC Comics rules the direct to video market. Marvel has long since struggled to release anything animated to TV or video that can garner high praise. Well, that’s not true. The animated series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was well-liked by many, but it was canceled in favor of the inferior and much more juvenile Avengers Assemble.
Most Marvel animated movies are not received well. Case in point: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, a movie that has been so poorly-reviewed that I have no plans on ever watching it.
I hadn’t heard anything about Iron Man and Captain America: Heroes United. I haven’t watched too many of Marvel’s animated movies because word of mouth is usually never good and honestly they don’t look all that interesting to me but I was bored one day and the movie is only about hour long, so I gave it a shot.
Like the rest of Marvel’s animated output these days, it’s geared towards children. I kinda like the animation style though, which is called “2D wrapping”. It’s like a combination of hand-drawn animation and CGI.
It was decent for what it was and good enough that I will probably watch any future “Heroes United” movies and go back to watch Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United at some point.
Essentially, Batman is a supporting character in this movie as this is a caper with dark comedy that’s all about the Suicide Squad. That’s all well and good but this movie is meant to be part of the Batman: Arkham video game universe and it is set to take place in-between Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
That’s where I’m given pause because the look and the feel of this movie has no connection whatsoever to the Arkham series of video games. This doesn’t feel like that universe. At all. I’m very disappointed this wasn’t just a stand-alone movie and they felt like they had to tie it into the video games. Despite having a totally different atmosphere and style, I’m not even sure if the continuity matches up.
Knowing it was a part of the Arkham universe, it just didn’t work for me.