Batman: Under the Red Hood

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Dare to look beneath the hood...

Batman: Under the Red Hood is a film in the DC Universe Original Animated Movies line based on Batman. It's mainly an adaptation of elements from A Death in the Family and the more recent Under The Hood comic series, from which it derives its title. It goes for Darker and Edgier and is one of the darker and more brutally violent DC Animated films. Voice actors include Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, Jensen Ackles as the Red Hood, and John Dimaggio as the Joker.

Tropes used in Batman: Under the Red Hood include:
  • Actor Allusion: In the opening credits, Jensen Ackles' name appears next to a graveyard filled with cross-shaped tombstones, in what may be a reference to his role on Supernatural.
  • Adaptation Distillation/Pragmatic Adaptation: The works the film is based on are mostly adapted very well and quite faithfully, but the movie changes a few of the sillier or more complex aspects. From A Death in the Family, the political aspect of the Joker getting diplomatic immunity for Jason's death because he became an ambassador for the Ayatollah was understandably dropped. As was the bit about The Joker selling a nuke to Arab terrorists. And the search for Jason Todd's mother among an Israeli Mossad agent, Lady Shiva, and a back-alley abortionist working as an aid relief worker. Actually, after taking out the silly parts from A Death in the Family, basically all that was left was about 5-minutes of The Joker beating the crap out of Jason Todd with a crowbar. The major change from Under The Hood was using a completely different explanation for Jason's resurrection, instead of the whole "coming back from the dead via Superboy-Prime Punch" thing.. The Joker now has a larger role, and Black Mask's characterization has been somewhat changed.
  • Affably Evil: Ra's al Ghul.
  • Anti-Hero (Type IV or Type V): Red Hood.
  • As You Know: Used several times throughout the movie to explain who/what many lesser known characters and plot points are.
  • The Atoner: Ra's al Ghul felt remorseful for his involvement in Jason's death (since it wasn't part of his plan, and he only kills people when it serves his "greater cause"), having hired the Joker to keep Batman and Robin distracted from his activities and quickly realizing the Joker couldn't be controlled. He attempted to make up for his mistake by stealing Jason's body shortly before it was to be returned to Gotham, and resurrected him using the Lazarus Pit. Unfortunately, this means that Ra's is also responsible for all the trouble Jason causes as the Red Hood, as well.
  • Back From the Dead: Jason Todd.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Batman and Nightwing, and then later Batman and the Red Hood.
  • Bad Boss: Seriously, how is it even possible that people willingly work for Black Mask?
  • Badass Boast: Red Hood claims that he beheaded all the mob lieutenants in two hours, and can do a lot worse in a whole evening.
  • Badass Normal: Not only Batman but pretty much all the other heroes and villains who make appearances.
  • Batman Gambit: Despite this being a Batman movie, it wasn't played by Batman but by the Red Hood. Everything the Hood did in the events of the film, was to get Black Mask desperate enough to release Joker, so the Red Hood could provide Batman with his Sadistic Choice.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Done intentionally to keep the film PG-13, though it is averted in one or two instances.
  • Book Ends: The movie starts with Jason's last day as Robin and ends with his first day
  • Bottomless Magazines: How many bullets does Red Hood have?
  • Bound and Gagged: Pretty much everyone who works for Red Hood or Black Mask.
  • Butt Monkey: Nightwing:

A helicopter Nightwing and Batman just grappled starts to crash and fall to the street bellow
Nightwing: (referring to the grapple line attached to to copter) Is that gonna hold?
Batman: No. (runs off after the helicopter, grabbing the grapple gun right out of Nightwing's hands)
Nightwing: So you want me to--? Should I--? Okay... I'll just take care of this.

  • Came Back Wrong: Played with. While Ra's al Ghul believes Jason Came Back Wrong, going berserk after his dip in the Lazarus Pit, it's later suggested by Jason that it may not be that easy.

Jason Todd: Oh, you got to talking with Ra's, huh? Does it make it easier for you to think my little dip in his fountain of youth turned me rabid? Or is this just the real me?

  • The Cameo:
    • Riddler makes a nonspeaking appearance in flashback. Bruce Timm is credited as his voice actor, despite the sum total of his lines being grunts as he's being pummeled.
    • Talia Al'Ghul and Ubu.
  • Canon Foreigner: The techno ninja assassin group, the Fearsome Hand of Four. Their inclusion probably killed two birds with one stone for the creators. First, the original assassin characters from the comic were included to tie Under The Hood with the DCU continuity at the time, something that was dead weight for a stand alone film. And second, with the original characters dropped, they were free to make at least one of them a woman so they could give more balance to a very male cast.
  • Captain Obvious: Nightwing sometimes falls into this.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Done in reverse. Red Hood is shown cutting Batman's line before it goes taut. Then, in the flashback immediately following that scene, Jason Todd as Robin is shown doing a very similar move, in what is one of the more obvious clues to the Red Hood's identity.
  • Cheerful Child: Tween Jason, in the flashbacks.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Black Mask frees Joker from imprisonment so that he can kill Red Hood. Instead, Joker tries to kill him and all of his associates.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What Jason went through at the hands of Joker.
  • Conspicuous CG: Pretty much every vehicle and some of the backgrounds, although executed better than in the earlier days of DC Animated films.
  • Continuity Nod: Names such as The Penguin, Harvey Dent and the Scarecrow are bandied about by Jason, and he also references "friends [Joker] has crippled". The Joker's quip about the camera could also be a veiled reference to the events of The Killing Joke.
    • Also, when Batman has the flashback of him cornering the Red Hood, aka. the Joker before he went crazy, at the chemical plant, the Red Hood pleads that he's not a criminal and that he was forced into the job. This could indicate that Joker has the same backstory that he had in The Killing Joke.
    • The powers that Amazo uses (super strength, flight, laser eyes) were most likely absorbed from Superman
  • Cool Bike: The Batcycle at the beginning of the film, though it is a mite too slow for Batman to get there in time.
  • Cool Car: Several incarnations of the Batmobile
  • Cool Plane: The Batwing, with functions such as "Auto Deploy" that drops Batman out the bottom.
  • Crazy Prepared: It's a Batman adaptation, so this one is a given, but special mention must be made of Red Hood's helmet. It has a remote-detonated bomb in it. For all those times when he wants to remove his helmet and roll it toward his adversary.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: As soon as Batman disarms the Red Hood near the end, their fight quickly turns into this, with Batman knocking him all over the place. Even more awesome is when you realize that he could have done this at any point, but didn't because he wanted to actually save Jason from himself.
  • Cyber Cyclops: One of the ninjas Red Hood fights, complete with Eye Beam.
  • Darker and Edgier: The crew behind the film have stated that they hold the opinion this could be their darkest work yet, both compared to the DCAU and the previous films in the line. They wouldn't be too far off.
  • The Danza: Bruce Greenwood as Bruce Wayne/Batman
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Nightwing. In glorious fashion.

Nightwing: Need a hand?
Batman: No.
Nightwing: 'bout I just stick around and watch?

    • And surprisingly, the Red Hood.

Druglord: You wanna die? There are easier ways to kill yourself!
Red Hood: Yeah, like yelling at the guy who's holding the AK-47.

    • Ms. Li, with an extra emphasis on the deadpan part.
  • Determinator: Jason in the opening, to an enormous extent. After the Joker's done beating him (inflicting, or so the Joker supposes, broken ribs and a punctured lung), Jason rolls over, gets up, and walks all the way to the front door, slipping and stumbling the entire way, even mustering the energy to try to shake the door open. What really sells it are the close-ups on his bruised and broken face, free of pain or fear and with completely focused eyes. Even when he's facing the bomb ready to explode in seconds, he never loses that composure.
  • Dissimile

Black Mask: When he shows up to shut us down, have a party waiting for him. And when I say party, I actually mean a whole lot of people who are gonna kill him!
Ms. Li: I figured.

  • Dodge the Bullet:
    • The film sometimes manages the difficult feat of actually making it look convincing for someone to do this (if not plausible). The teenage Jason even comments on it.

Robin/Jason: 20 rounds a second and you were still too slow.


Nightwing: Lasers! He's got lasers!


Black Mask: You. New guy.
New Guy: Sir!
Black Mask: Don't be nervous, kid. But if you keep staring at me like that... I'm gonna cut your eyes out.

    • Also, when Jason is resurrected in the Lazarus Pit, he attacks Ra's men in an insane rage. One of whom, has the unlucky distinction of having Jason gouging his eyes, with his thumbs.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Jason in the prologue. He sees the timer, knows he can't escape, and his only reaction is a widening of the eyes, before resignation sinks in.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: All over the place, though because most of it happens just offscreen, Red Hood setting a guy on fire by shattering a lit Molotov Cocktail in the guy's hand, is unnerving. And The Joker slitting one of Black Mask's mook's throat with a broken glass
  • Fingore: A batarang jammed in the chamber causes Red Hood's gun to backfire, resulting in a bloodied hand.
  • Fix Fic: Adaptation Distillation above, but in this case (in regards to the Under The Hood parts) it's the original writer fixing his own story years after the fact.
  • Flash Back
  • Flying Brick: The Amazo robot has super-strength, flight and laser eye beams.
  • Gender Flip: In the original comic, Ms. Li is a Mr. Li. As the only female character was cut due to Adaptation Distillation, the gender change was likely to prevent the entire cast from being all-male.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Said by Ra's Al Ghul himself to describe how Jason Todd Came Back Wrong after the resurrection ceremony.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Red Hood has a (heavily modified) AK-47. Talia has a Luger. Both are "bad guy" guns.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used quite a bit, such as the camera cutting away whenever someone is shot in the head. Also used in the scene where the Red Hood tasers one of the Fearsome Hand assassins in the face causing his metallic mask to short-circuit and explode, blowing up half of his head and splattering blood on the wall. We are as well never shown the contents of Red Hood's bag of the heads of all the mob lieutenants.
  • Groin Attack: In the flashback, kid Jason kicks The Riddler in the cojones. Later, as an adult, he threatens the Joker with a gun:

Jason: You be as quiet as possible, or I'll put one in your lap first.

  • Guns Akimbo: Red Hood is very fond of this trick.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The entire theme of the film.
  • Hot Chick in a Badass Suit: Miss Li.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Non-gun example: Red Hood takes off his helmet and rolls it on the ground over to Batman. Batman glances down at it and looks up at Red Hood, who smirks, presses a button and detonates his helmet. With a remote control he kept in his pocket. That blows up his helmet. That he wears on his head.
  • Ironic Echo: At the beginning of the film when the Joker is having a one-sided discussion with Jason, he asks him if the beatings hurt. After the Joker has been captured by the Hood, he gets asked the same question. Both questions are followed by crowbar related violence.
  • Joker Immunity: Obviously, since the Joker is around. Jason's Face Heel Turn is mostly motivated by the fact that he's furious that Batman didn't avenge him by killing the Joker.

Jason: Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why? Why on God's earth is he still alive?

  • Knight Templar: Red Hood attempts to restrict the drug market by controlling it, specifically telling the dealers never to sell to kids. His methods at enforcing his will on the Gotham underworld often includes murder.
  • Large Ham: The Joker, of course, but special mention goes to Black Mask, who stands out by far as the hammiest, screamiest, most hilariously skewed character in the movie - and somehow he manages to be even hammier in the comic the movie is based off of.
  • Laser Blade: The female member of the Fearsome Hand of Four had two of these.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Red Hood. According to the movie, there had been many previous Red Hood villains, the most notable of which was the Joker before his chemical accident.
    • And of course, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd both used to be Robin.
  • Le Parkour: Batman and Nightwing's chase of the Red Hood involved a bit of this.
  • Little No: Batman has one near the beginning after the warehouse explodes.
  • Made of Explodium: The chemicals at the factory that Red Hood lures Batman to.
  • Made of Iron: The number of close explosions that Batman and others survive without any real injury is kind of ridiculous.
  • Magical Security Cam: Justified, in that we're shown Batman taking the time to turn on a camera in his cowl while he is chasing the Red Hood.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Joker's jumpsuit reads "11940" - he debuted in the comics in Batman #1 in 1940.
    • Ms. Li notes that Batman likes to keep things, a reference to the Batcave's collection of artifacts from past cases.
    • As Robin in the prologue, Jason Todd had the exact same red and black outfit Tim Drake last had as Robin in the comics.
    • The DNA sample for Jason is marked 00428, the issue of Batman where he died, and DNA sample for Red Hood is marked 00635, the issue where he returned in that identity.
    • During his early years as Robin, Jason resembles and behaves like his pre-Crisis version and like Dick Grayson; while in his teens, he acts more like his Post-Crisis version.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ra's Al Ghul does this twice in the movie and for different reasons each time.
  • My Greatest Failure: Batman believes Jason's death to be this. It still is to him by the end of the film.

Batman: This doesn't change anything. [quietly, to himself] It doesn't change anything at all.

  • Never Found the Body:
    • The news didn't say that the Red Hood was found after the end of the battle... and Batman didn't find him...
    • A more straight forward example was earlier in the film when Ra's says they never found Jason's body after he jumped out the window.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Batman is this, at least in his own eyes.
  • No Indoor Voice: Black Mask.
  • No Name Given: Ms. Li, until the end credits.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Red Hood actually wears a helmet, not a hood.
  • Not So Stoic: Ms. Li understandably drops her unnervingly-calm demeanor once she's Bound and Gagged by the Joker.
  • Offhand Backhand: Batman does this back in the good old days of themed villains.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Batman's look of shock when he processes the audio of Red Hood's taunt, and discovers that the last word was "Bruce", indicating Red Hood knows Batman's identity.
    • Black Mask saying "Oh, hell," as his reaction to seeing the Red Hood aim a rocket launcher at him.
    • We also get a nice "Oh crap"-look from the Joker after the Red Hood captures him and the Joker sees him take out a crowbar.

Joker: "So, what's the plan? Slumber Party? Charades? A little Truth or Dare? YES! I'll start with dare!"
(Red Hood pulls out a crowbar)
Joker: "Or maybe I'll just go with truth."

    • Similarly, Red Hood's "crap" in the final fight, when Batman attacks him with explosive pellets.
    • Jason Todd gives a sad example in the beginning of the film, where after he crawls to the door of the room where he is being kept only to find it locked, he turns around to see a bomb ready to explode. Jason just gives an apathetic and defeated look that just says, "This Is Gonna Suck, but I accept it."
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: Red Hood plays this trope HARD. In the beginning, he even went as far as to deliver the heads of mob leaders' highest lieutenants to said mob leaders in a duffel bag to prove a point.
  • Pensieve Flashback: A couple happen to Batman, including his first meeting with Jason Todd thanks to Jason stealing the wheels from the batmobile and later him, in the Batcave, arguing with Jason as Robin.
  • Powered Armor: The Fearsome Hand of Four.
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: Subverted. Bruce and Alfred do not dispute that Jason died during his encounter with The Joker and dig up his casket. What they discover when they do is that the "Jason" they buried is merely a dummy.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Joker, in spades. And, once again, he proves that hiring him or doing business with him in general is a very bad idea.
  • R-Rated Opening: Weird, because the film itself as a whole is rated PG-13.
  • Sadistic Choice
  • Save the Villain: Twice. First with Black Mask and the drug dealers and then with The Joker
    • Batman also intervenes in the fight between Red Hood and the Fearsome Hand of Four, but Red Hood was stalling so this would happen anyway.
  • Sexy Secretary: Ms. Li.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Nightwing is injured and taken home before Bruce discovers just what Red Hood said as the train passed.
  • Shout-Out: The Riddler is ordering around some very familiar looking droogs.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Dick changing from Robin to Nightwing. Also, one could say this for Jason too in a darker version.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Ms. Li. Her comics counterpart, Mr. Li, is killed off-panel by Red Hood
    • Also Black Mask murders pretty much all of his remaining lieutenants in an unsuccessful attempt to make a deal with the Hood in the comics.
  • Start of Darkness: For the Red Hood, it was finding out that Batman hadn't avenged his murder.
    • And the reason he didn't was because Batman is afraid that killing the Joker would become this for him.

Jason: What? Your moral code just won't allow for that? It's too hard to "cross that line"?
 Batman: No! God almighty!... No. It'd be too damned easy. All I have ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn't go by I don't think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he's dealt out to others and then... end him. [...] But if I do that, if I allow myself to go down into that place... I'll never come back.

  • Stealth Hi Bye: It wouldn't be a Batman film without it.
  • Summon Bigger Fish : Black Mask's final gambit. He is painfully aware of the fact.
  • Taking A Fourth Option: When the Red Hood confronts Batman with a Sadistic Choice between killing the Joker himself, letting Jason do it, or shooting Jason to stop him, Bruce manages to block up Jason's gun, causing it to explode in his hand. The Joker is the only one pleased by this.
  • Technicolor Ninjas: The Fearsome Hand of Four wear green powered armor. Doesn't stop them from sneaking up on Red Hood or giving him a fight for his life.
  • Tempting Fate: This hilarious exchange in the beginning:

Fleeing Thug 1: "I think I lost him, you think I lost him?"
Fleeing Thug 2: "I think you lost him... I think we're good."
Batman immediately lands on the hood of their getaway truck

  • Theme Tune Cameo: What sounds an awful lot like the distinctive drum beat of "Molossus" from The Dark Knight Saga plays during the flashback where Batman and Robin pursue the Joker in Sarajevo.
  • Those Two Guys: Black Mask and Ms. Li. Seriously, they're as different as night and day, and neither of them has a scene without the other. Also, Black Mask lampshades that they're not important to the plot so much as just caught in the crossfire.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: He's Batman. Jason's entire Batman Gambit was about forcing him into a position where he would have to kill, but giving Batman a Sadistic Choice never ends well.
  • Time Bomb: All of the bombs make the compulsory beeping sounds during countdown, allowing the heroes to notice them before they go off. Also, during the endgame when Jason is trying to blow up himself along with everyone else, there is of course, a 20-second countdown rather than an instant trigger to allow Batman to act. Because all bombs need a countdown.
    • Justified: At this point in time, Jason doesn't really want to kill Batman. Also possibly justified with the Joker (in the intro-flashback) due to the fact that he's the Joker and would want people to know that they were going to die.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Jason Todd is played by no less than 3 actors; one as a kid, one as a teen, and one as an adult. And the first one is Alex Martella, Vincent Martella's little brother, and he played Robin's teen incarnation! They got to work in the booth together!
  • Too Dumb to Live: The dealers talking trash to Red Hood when he has not only a gun pointed at them, but the high ground as well.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Black Mask and Joker are each this for Red Hood. The former of whom even lampshades this.
  • Visual Pun: When Red Hood attacks Black Mask with a rocket launcher, the explosion hits a fire escape door and it bursts into flame.
  • Vomiting Drug Dealer: One mook's reaction to a duffel bag full of severed heads.
  • Wham! Line: "You haven't lost your touch, Bruce."
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Red Hood's primary motivation for clashing with Batman. The twist is that he isn't pissed at Batman for not saving him, he's pissed at him for not killing the Joker in the wake of his murder.
    • Earlier in a flashback Batman gives one to Jason when he breaks the collarbone of a thug that he was going to interrogate. Jason doesn't apologize for it, but he does apologize for screwing up their mission.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?:

Nightwing: You know what I missed most running with you? The toys.

  • Would Hit a Girl: Red Hood, given his Anti-Hero status, doesn't recognize genders in a fight as he had no problem fighting the katana-wielding female assassin. Same goes for Batman as well.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Despite Ms. Li being all snarky at the Black Mask, he never really hits her. He goes directly for the guy beside her.
  • X Meets Y: Batman meets Magnum Force
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Red Hood does this to one of the assassins, and blood is sprayed all over the wall behind him, much to Batman's horror.
    • There's also Batman using plastique to blow Amazo's head off, but then, Amazo is a robot.
    • Then of course there's Red Hood's helmet... though it doesn't end up exploding. Not with anyone's head in it, anyway.