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Western Animation / Batman: Under the Red Hood

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"Dare to look beneath the hood..."

A film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line based on two Batman stories, A Death in the Family and the more recent Under The Hood comic series, from which it derives its title.

The main plot details Batman's investigation into a new criminal who calls himself the Red Hood, who's been murdering the drug lords of Gotham City to force their gangs to work under his rules. This would be standard protocol for a superhero, but Batman's disturbed by how Red Hood always seems one step ahead of him, which only makes it more urgent to discover who he truly is behind his mask.

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, Jensen Ackles as the Red Hood, Neil Patrick Harris as Nightwing, and John DiMaggio as The Joker.

In July 2020, it was announced that this film would be remade as DC Showcase – Batman: Death in the Family, utilizing a choose-your-own-adventure story path that can deviate from the original movie.

This film contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Every vehicle and some of the backgrounds, although executed better than in the earlier days of DC Animated films.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: It's even a plot point. The Red Hood's combat knife is sharp enough to cut through both concrete and Batman's metal rope used by his grappling hook. Which Batman notes that only a few types of knives/metals can do, meaning that whoever the Red Hood is he was especially prepared to take Batman on.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The two comic plot lines the film is based on are adapted quite faithfully, but it did simplify a lot of it.
    • Everything from A Death in the Family irrelevant to Jason Todd's death, like the Joker gaining legal immunity as an Iranian diplomat, was understandably cut out.
    • The major change from Under the Hood was using a completely different explanation for Jason's resurrection. Instead of coming back from the dead via Superboy-Prime Punch, Ra's al Ghul resurrected him with a Lazarus Pit. The Joker now has a larger role, too.note 
    • Black Mask's characterization has been somewhat changed. He's gone from a Chessmaster, He-Man Woman Hater, to a guy with a Hair-Trigger Temper constantly complaining he's Surrounded by Idiots (except for his right-hand woman, who's probably the only person who works for him he has yet to punch).
    • This is likely the reason the more familiar James Gordon is police commissioner in the movie when the Joker tried to set Black Mask and the drug dealers working with Red Hood on fire rather than Michael Akins, who was commissioner in the comics at the time.
  • Adaptation Title Change: When the "Under the Hood" arc was adapted into a movie, they added the word 'red' in the title, and thus we got Batman: Under the Red Hood.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Batman, Nightwing, Alfred, and Jason are the only members of the Bat-Family featured in the movie note . The absence of Tim Drake is the most notable since that means that this Batman never took on another sidekick after Jason's death.
    • Gotham's then-police commissioner Michael Akins is replaced with the more traditional James Gordon.
    • The removal of the ties to Infinite Crisis also meant the removal of Deathstroke, Captain Nazi, Hyena, and (technically) Superboy-Prime, as well as the destruction of Bludhaven by Chemo. Likewise, the flashback to one of Jason's early nights out as Robin swaps out Captain Boomerang for the Riddler.
  • Affably Evil: Ra's al Ghul, who states that he never resorts to violence or killing unless it's for a "greater cause" and is deeply remorseful that his hiring of the Joker was ultimately what led to Jason's murder; his attempt to fix things via Lazarus Pit resurrection is what sets off the main plot. Even when Batman broke into his lair and almost laid the smack down on him, he called his guards off saying that he will be 'entertaining a guest', and the next scene was Ra's and Batman sitting down for a drink while Ra's tells his story.
  • Anti-Villain: Red Hood is ultimately revealed as a Woobie Anti-Villain.
  • 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 indirectly causing Jason's death, via hiring the Joker to keep Batman and Robin distracted, under the delusion he could control him. 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.
  • Audible Sharpness: One of the tetrad of assassins that comes after the Red Hood has glowing blue swords—they make an obvious noise whenever a bullet is blocked or something is cut.
  • Automatic Crossbows: One of Riddler's mooks uses one.
  • Back from the Dead: Feeling remorse for his actions that ultimately cost Jason Todd's life, Ra's al Ghul arranges for the boy to be brought back to life by having his body submerged into a Lazarus Pit.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Batman and Nightwing against AMAZO, and then later Batman and the Red Hood against the Fearsome Four.
  • Bad Boss: Seriously, how is it even possible that people willingly work for Black Mask? Then again, compared to his comic-book counterpart, this Black Mask is a fantastic employer. He'll beat the crap out of someone every other meeting, sure, but at least he won't personally and horribly torture you For the Evulz or have all his lieutenants slaughtered on a whim.
  • Badass Boast: Red Hood gets one in his first scene. He stages a meeting between all of Gotham's drug lords, shows up, lays down some demands, and then throws a duffle bag onto the table.
    Red Hood: Those are the heads of all of your lieutenants. That took me two hours. Wanna see what I can get done in a whole evening? Make no mistake. I'm not asking you to kick in with me. I'm telling you.
  • Badass Biker: The Red Hood, while he doesn't use it for a fight. He has a sportsbike that comes handy when he has to make his escape from Batman. The Joker also snarks about his choice of clothing being "motorcycle fetish".
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Despite this being a Batman movie, it's the Red Hood who plays one. Everything the Hood did was to get Black Mask desperate enough to release Joker, so the Hood could provide Batman with his Sadistic Choice.
      Black Mask: You can't. Trust. ANYBODY.
    • Oddly enough, Averted later, when he failed to predict what Batman would do at the end, which hasn't changed since he first became Batman.
    • Batman turns his back on the Red Hood during their final confrontation with the specific purpose of tricking him into pointing his gun away from the Joker. This enables him to destroy the weapon with a batarang.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Deconstructed. During the climax, Bruce is given a gun and tasked with either executing the Joker himself or shooting Jason to prevent him from doing so. Batman just drops the gun in disgust, leaving a shocked Jason to turn his rage towards his former mentor instead.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Ms. Li, Black Mask's secretary, appears hyper-competent and never loses her cool, no matter how much her boss yells his head off and punches out his male subordinates. Her Undying Loyalty leads to her sharing the cargo space of a truck with her boss, Bound and Gagged while Joker pours gasoline over them.
  • Big Bad: The Joker is responsible for the gang war by killing Jason Todd, and takes advantage of it to cause more chaos.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Done intentionally to keep the film PG-13, though it's averted in quite a few instances. One example is the Joker beating Jason Todd with a crowbar for several hours, with the only damage visible being a slightly ripped mask, then being blown up by a bomb and leaving an untouched corpse, though this was more to have Batman hold Todd's body.
  • Book Ends:
    • The movie starts with Jason on his last day as Robin and ends with his first day.
    • Both the beginning and the climax (and not remotely by coincidence) involve Batman, Joker, Jason, a crowbar, and a bomb.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Bruce and the Red Hood's argument comes off as this. On the one hand, Batman points out that while he could kill Joker and is tempted — much to the clown's delight— it would be too easy. He doesn't play judge, jury and executioner but rather superpowered watchman. If he killed Joker, then he'd find reasons to rationalize killing other people until he goes too far into the abyss. Red Hood retorts, with his voice breaking, that the Joker is way beyond petty criminals or any of other's Batman's rogues, and it just has to be him because of all he did. He's a remorseless murderer that treats life as a game; at least Two-Face, Ivy and Catwoman have twisted standards. Plus, Joker is treated with a slap on the wrist on a regular basis.
  • Bottomless Magazines: How many bullets does Red Hood have?
  • Bound and Gagged: Everyone who works for Red Hood or Black Mask, including Black Mask himself, gets treated to this courtesy of Joker.
  • Brick Joke: When Bruce and Dick interrogate Joker about the new Red Hood, the clown mocks his 'successor' and how *his* Red Hood was more flashy maitre d' than motorcycle fetish. Later, during the bridge encounter and upon meeting Red Hood in the flesh, Joker again mockingly makes this comparison.
  • Bullet Time: During the fight sequences. Works pretty well.
  • Burying a Substitute: It plays with this. Jason Todd is buried after the Joker brutally kills him. However, it turns out that while the body was being prepared for burial, Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins took his body and then replaced it with a wax dummy so that they could bring Jason Back from the Dead with the Lazarus Pit.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nightwing.
    [A helicopter, which Nightwing and Batman just grappled, starts to crash and fall to the street below]
    Nightwing: [referring to the grapple line] 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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: The Red Hood/Jason Todd points out Batman isn't as effective at stopping crime as he thinks he is, and by not killing villains like the Joker he allows them to continue hurting people. Yet, it's not like Batman doesn't realize that too.
  • 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:
  • 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:
    • Black Mask feels the need to spell his orders out in simple terms after Red Hood starts dismantling his operations:
      Black Mask: Maybe my last request was too mired in subtlety. I want this man dead. When I say dead, I mean seriously dead. Beaten! Broken! His head mounted on my wall kinda dead!
      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.
  • Cheerful Child: Jason in the flashbacks is portrayed as an enthusiastic youth. This makes the circumstances of his death and resurrection even more tragic.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Done in reverse. When Batman deploys a line at Red Hood's ankle, Hood is shown cutting the line before it goes taut. Then, in a flashback immediately following that scene, Jason Todd as Robin is shown doing the same move, in what is one of the more obvious clues to the Red Hood's identity.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Black Mask frees the Joker from imprisonment so that he can kill Red Hood. Joker promptly tries to publicly burn him and all of his associates alive to attract the Hood's attention.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The movie begins with the Joker beating Jason Todd to near death with a crowbar.
  • Composite Character:
    • While he did play the role in Jason's recovery in the comics, Ra's al Ghul takes over Superboy-Prime's role as the actual person involved in Jason's resurrection.
    • The flashback to one of Jason's earlier adventures as Robin replaces Flash villain Captain Boomerang with the Riddler.
    • Jason Todd's Robin costume during the flashback of the Joker killing him looks very similar to the one Tim Drake wore shortly after Infinite Crisis.
  • 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.
    • When Batman has the flashback of him cornering the Red Hood that would become the Joker 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 this version of the Joker has the same backstory as the one from The Killing Joke.
    • The powers that Amazo uses (super strength, flight, laser eyes) were most likely absorbed from Superman.
    • Black Mask rubs his neck nervously staring at a burning piece of black wood. His face became like it is due to a black wooden mask being burned into it.
  • 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: There are two incarnations of the Batmobile. Once in the past, when Batman is hurrying to save Robin, and an upgraded version in the present day.
  • Cool Plane: The Batwing, with functions such as "Auto Deploy" that drops Batman out the bottom.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Batman and Red Hood versus The Hand of Four, a group of cyborg ninjas.
  • Crapsack World: Gotham City is the Wretched Hive it usually is, with a foul-tempered Black Mask controlling the city's crime and the Joker causing chaos. However, it's made worse than usual by the implication that Batman's crusade will never succeed and nothing will change.
  • 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. He also wears a mask under his helmet.
    • The helmet bomb is likely his own version of a Cyanide Pill rather than a weapon. Given what happened the last time he was captured.
  • Creator Cameo: Voice director Andrea Romano appears as a reporter.
  • 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 member of the Fearsome Hand of Four, wears a helmet (or his head is cybernetically augmented) with one large eye, if that wasn't enough it can also release deadly Eye Beam. Unfortunately for him, when the Red Hood shoves a tazer into that eye socket, it has some very explosive consequences.
  • Cyber Ninja: The Fearsome Hand of Four are a team of heavily teched-out ninjas, carrying some appropriatly high tech weapons.
  • 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 DC Animated Universe and the previous films in the line. They wouldn't be too far off. It wouldn't be until Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and much of the DC Animated Movie Universe that this movie would be surpassed in this department.
  • Dead-End Room: During the climax of the film, Red Hood and Batman end up in the bathroom of an abandoned apartment building. Viewers noticed that, in addition to being in remarkably good shape considering how run-down the rest of the apartment looked, the bathroom didn't have a door. Batman and Red Hood came in through a window, and Batman punched Red Hood through a wall to get into the apartment proper, but no door was visible anywhere in the bathroom.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Nightwing. In glorious fashion.
      Nightwing: Need a hand?
      Batman: No.
      Nightwing: Okay... well... how '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.
  • Decapitation Presentation: To back up his claim that he can protect the drug dealers from Black Mask and Batman, the Red Hood drops a bag in front of them containing the heads of all their lieutenants.
  • Defiant to the End: Tyler Bramford, when he’s nearly burned alive by Black Masks men, before Being saved by Red Hoods arrival.
  • 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.
  • Distant Prologue: The film opens with the Joker murdering Robin, five years before the events of the main story.
  • Divide and Conquer: When Black Mask asks why Batman isn't after the Red Hood, Ms Li thinks he's waiting to see which side will win, so he can take on the winner. However Black Mask knows that Batman doesn't work that way, and must be reluctant to take on the Red Hood for his own reasons.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Batman pulls it off at the end, somewhat unconvincingly, if dramatically.
    • 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.
  • Downer Beginning: The movie begins showing the particular incident where Joker brutally beats Jason Todd, then leaves him to die from a bomb explosion.
  • Downer Ending: Batman fails to convince Jason Todd of his good intentions, who then activates a bomb, hoping to kill himself, Batman and the Joker in a fell swoop. The result is that the Joker survives, Black Mask still controls all of Gotham's crime, Jason's fate is left unclear, and Batman ends the film still angsting over his failures with Jason.
  • The Dragon: Ms. Li to Black Mask. She doesn't do a lot onscreen, but she's apparently the one who organizes Black Mask's heists and plans out said heist's finer details.
  • Dramatic Drop:
    • Alfred, upon seeing the results of a certain DNA test.
    • Ra's, at the beginning.
    • When Batman realises from the voice analysis that the Red Hood knows his real name, he stands up in shock, knocking his chair over.
  • Dread Pirate Roberts: A number of villains have used the Red Hood alias, including the Joker before he took his more infamous name.
  • Ear Ache: Happens to AMAZO when Nightwing sticks a couple of batarangs to his ears to free himself from AMAZO's grip.
  • Enhance Button: Being the Batman and having the Batcomputer, this is somewhat justified (Batman and Nightwing automatically enhance a still image of Red Hood). Batman also has an audio enhance button, but we are shown the process of him phasing out the background noise.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When it becomes clear that the Red Hood is a resurrected Jason, Batman concludes that Jason wants revenge on Bruce for failing to save him. He's wrong. Jason forgives Bruce for not saving him - his anger stems from Batman not killing the Joker to avenge him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Ra's is greatly upset by the death of Jason, calling it both unnecessary and brutal. Batman points out he never had a problem killing before. Ra's counters by pointing out he has killed for a greater good, never for laughs as the Joker did.
    • Red Hood allows the drug trade to continue if he gets a cut of the cash and the dealers stay away from kids. While may desire revenge against the Joker, it is only because the Joker is such a horrible person, and he refuses to kill villains who are redeemable.
    • Black Mask despises the Joker, and only breaks him out of Arkham out of desperation.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The main clash in morality comes from Red Hood's belief that Batman doesn't care about him, or the long-term safety of Gotham, because Batman let the Joker live to destroy more people. Batman does care about both, he simply won't break his one rule to prove it.
  • Evil Counterpart: Red Hood is one to Nightwing. They were both Robin, but Dick works far better with Bruce than Jason did and is not nearly as brutal to criminals. Notable in that Nightwing disappears halfway through the movies, they never meet mano-a-mano. Unsurprising, since Red Hood is driven by his and Batman's past, rather than driven by Nightwing himself.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Red Hood vs Black Mask. Subverted in that none of them is the film's true Big Bad, and Red Hood in particular is just a very unstable Anti-Hero.
  • Eye Beams: Amazo uses them during their fight. Nightwing even lampshades it:
    Nightwing: Lasers! He's got lasers!
  • Eye Scream:
    • What Black Mask threatens his newest mook with whilst gawking at his unusual appearance:
      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.
    • 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 gouge 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 the throat of one of Black Mask's mooks with a broken glass.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Joker (whose comedic demeanor thinly disguises the fact that he's an utter psychopath) and Red Hood (snarky and somewhat personable, but this masks some serious issues, as well as an extremely angry, violent persona).
  • The Fettered: Batman upholds his Thou Shalt Not Kill moral code throughout the movie, even when Red Hood claims eliminating villains is more effective than throwing them behind bars. When confronted near the end to explain why, despite sparing heinous villains like the Joker, he explains that if he did kill him or anyone else, (and he admits that he really, really wants to), he goes down a path he can't return from.
  • Fingore: A batarang jammed in the chamber causes Red Hood's gun to backfire, resulting in a bloodied hand.
  • Fix Fic: Unusually, it's the original writer fixing his own story years after it was first published.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: Red Hood does this to a mobster by shooting the Molotov Cocktail (petrol bomb) he's about to throw.
  • Flashback: Batman has several, mostly to Jason's days as Robin.
  • Flying Brick: The Amazo robot has super-strength, flight and laser eye beams.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The Joker interrupting Batman's speech by saying "aw, so you do think about me!" In the Joker's typically disturbing fashion, he says this while Batman is saying that not a day goes by where he doesn't think about killing the Joker.
  • Foil: Red Hood and Nightwing. It's telling Red Hood adopted The Joker's old identity. Nightwing? Superman's.
  • Foreshadowing: In a flashback Jason breaks a thug's collarbone when he stops holding back. As the Red Hood he obviously has less compunctions. So in the final fight when Batman himself stops holding back he gives him a beating.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Red Hood unmasks himself, there's the briefest flash of Jason Todd as Robin when lightning strikes.
  • Gasp of Life: When Jason is resurrected by the Lazarus Pit he gasps loudly before standing up and pulling his bandages off.
  • 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 avoid having an all-male cast.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Part of Red Hood's plan was to push Black Mask to this point, so that he would free Joker in an attempt to stop Hood.
  • 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.
  • Good Running Evil: Red Hood sets this up (for a given definition of "good") by taking over the entire Gotham City drug racket. Partly this is to enforce some standards on the drug selling, and partly to choke out the income of the super-villains profiting by the trade (in this case Black Mask.) He explains that there will always be crime, his modus operandi is to eliminate the worst criminals and keep the others under tight control.
  • 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 also never shown the contents of Red Hood's bag of the heads of all the mob lieutenants.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Despite its PG-13 rating, the strongest expletives the film delivers are only "hell," and "damn" respectively. Any cursing stronger than the two is either cut short, or replaced with words/phrases like "garbage, filth," and "screw it/them."
  • Grenade Tag: Batman and Red Hood do a different version where they attach small thrusters to someone, sending them shooting off into the air.
  • 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.
    The Joker: (glumly) Party pooper. No cake for you.
  • Guns Akimbo: Red Hood is very fond of this trick. However it also serves as a Chekhov's Gun when he throws one of them to Batman during their final confronation.
  • Happy Flashback: The movie ends with a flashback to when a young Jason Todd first becomes Robin.
  • The Heavy: Red Hood. Joker may be, in a manner of speaking, the Big Bad of the movie, but Red Hood causes the most trouble through all of it.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The entire theme of the film. The returned Jason Todd commits heinous actions that he perceives to be for a greater good, and intends to make Batman discard his "no killing" philosophy as well.
  • Heroism Motive Speech: Batman gives one stating why he holds to his Thou Shall Not Kill principle, even when logic would dictate otherwise. He later proves this extends to upholding that principle even when the situation is at its most dire. In his own words, "Nothing's changed."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A gang member gets ready to burn a rival mobster with a Molotov cocktail when Red Hood shoots the bottle, setting fire to the first thug.
  • Honor Before Reason: Throughout the movie, Red Hood harshly drills it into Batman's head that this is Batman's most Fatal Flaw when dealing with the criminal underworld who have absolutely no redeeming qualities, Joker being on top of the list. He calls Batman out on said flaw, which caused trauma and death to a lot of innocent people by said criminals which could have been avoided. Bluntly put, Red Hood accuses Batman of valuing his own personal honor over saving the lives of innocents, that he'd rather let harm or worse come to them if it meant killing a villain.
  • I Am the Noun: A drug dealer declares, "I am the east quarter drug trade, you stupid..." before getting interrupted with a gun in the face.
  • I Shall Taunt You: When Batman and Nightwing question the Joker about the Red Hood, he makes wisecracks about Jason's death until an infuriated Batman grabs him and hurls him into the wall.
    Joker: You gonna do it this time? Or you just gonna put me in another body cast for six months?
  • It Gets Easier: The reason Batman won't break his one rule.
  • Joker Immunity:
    • 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.
    • The trope is given a serious Lampshade Hanging from Jason.
      Jason: Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why? Why on God's earth is he still alive?!
  • Killed Offscreen: The two guards that helped Black Mask get Joker out of Arkham are revealed in a quick to miss news report that they were murdered in jail while awaiting trial for their involvement.
  • Knight Templar: Red Hood attempts to restrict the drug market by controlling it, specifically telling the dealers never to sell to kids. His method of enforcing his will on the Gotham underworld often includes murder.
  • Large Ham: The Joker, but Black Mask 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 has two of these.
  • Laser Sight: Black Mask has the standard "What's that red dot on my chest... oh" moment when Red Hood attacks his base. Red Hood apparently fitted a laser sight solely in order to provide that moment, since he blatantly waits for Black Mask to notice the red dot before he fires, and the weapon the sight is attached to turns out to be a rocket launcher, which hardly requires pinpoint precision. Justified in that the Red Hood still needs Black Mask to live at that point.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Red Hood. According to the movie, there had been many previous Red Hood villains, like the Joker before his chemical accident.
    • Dick Grayson and Jason Todd both used to be Robin.
  • Le Parkour: Batman, Nightwing, and Red Hood are all extremely accomplished traceurs.
  • Lightning Reveal: When the Red Hood does a Dramatic Unmask, a flash of lighting appears to make him change from his cocky current self, to the bruised and battered Jason we saw at the start of the movie.
  • 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, to say nothing of the actual fight scenes.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful 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.
  • A Million is a Statistic: Invoked during Jason's What the Hell, Hero?. Even if Batman decided to ignore the "entire graveyards" of victims that the Joker has killed, Jason can't believe that avenging his death wouldn't be the one exception Batman would make to his no killing rule.
  • Mirror Character: Never explicitly mentioned, but this is evident between The Joker and Red Hood. Jason hates the Joker, but as an adult, he is a ruthless killer with a dark, twisted sense of humor, a fixation on Batman, and a dark reputation among Gotham's criminals. To top it all off, he's even using Joker's old nom de crime, Red Hood.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, Batman believes that killing the Joker, even after everything the latter has done, would be his, which is why he won't do it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ra's al Ghul does this twice in the movie and for different reasons each time. The first happens once he finds out the Joker has captured and is about to murder Jason Todd, while the second comes when he decides to use the Lazarus pit to bring the boy back to life, only for Jason to come back as a raging lunatic.
  • My Greatest Failure: Batman believes Jason's death to be this. This sentiment only gets amplified by the end of the film.
    Batman: This doesn't change anything. [quietly, to himself] It doesn't change anything at all.
  • 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. Which goes even further as Tim's post-Infinite Crisis costume was directly based on the costume his animated incarnation had in the "New Batman Adventures" portion of Batman: The Animated Series. However, that Tim Drake was pretty much in name only as his origin and personality was more clearly based on Jason Todd. Even going so far as to have his own version of the Death of Jason Todd in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
    • The DNA sample for Jason is marked 00428, the issue of Batman where he died, and the DNA sample for Red Hood is marked 00635, the issue where he returned in that identity.
    • While Jason Todd is very much like his post-Crisis incarnation, in his preteen years as Robin, he resembles and behaves like the pre-Crisis version and Dick Grayson Robin.note 
    • "Could you just once say 'Get in the car'?" may be a stealth joke on their "To the Batmobile!" Catchphrase from the 60's TV series. Or to "Hush", where Batman does say that & Nightwing's response is "Which one?" as a nod to large number of Batmobiles used in the comic.
    • The film's Joker is clearly modeled after Heath Ledger's take in The Dark Knight, with a burlier build, a squarer jaw, and long, messy hair. The only thing missing is a Glasgow Grin.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • The news didn't say that the Red Hood was found after the end of the battle... and Batman apparently didn't find him...
    • A more straightforward example was earlier in the film when Ra's says that they never found Jason's body after he jumped out the window.
    • Inverted with Jason Todd's body when Bruce exhumed him to be sure that he was still there, which was in the grave, but revealed to have been a fake the entire time.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Batman believes he is the one responsible for Jason's fall. Subverted by Jason, who says he forgives Bruce for not saving him. He says he chose his path.
  • Nitro Boost: We get a close up of N20 on the readout of the Batbike as Batman races to save Jason.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Ra's felt guilty that his foolish decision to work with The Joker led to Jason's death, since it was ultimately just needless violence and loss and served no greater purpose. He attempted to make up for it by secretly acquiring Jason's body and using the Lazarus Pit to resurrect him. But it ended up going horribly wrong when Jason returned to life "damaged" as Ra's described. Jason escaped and Ra's thought he died again, but instead he returned to Gotham, seeking revenge on Batman for not avenging him by killing Joker. Once Ra's finishes explaining the story to Batman, he decides to stay out of it any further, believing he has "done enough" to Batman already.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Joker delivers one to Jason in the opening. After abducting him from the bridge, Red Hood returns the favor.
  • No Indoor Voice: Normally, Black Mask is pretty composed. But when things stop going his way, he starts screaming, no matter where he's at.
  • 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 and about to be set on fire by the Joker.
    • Batman has a brief look of fury on seeing that the Joker has once again miraculously survived, right after Batman's speech on how much he'd like to see the Joker dead.
  • 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 that 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.
    • Later on in the final fight, Batman takes out a cigarette lighter and proceeds to turn it on. Jason's eyes widen just before Batman drops the cigarette lighter, setting his jacket on fire.
    • 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. 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.
  • Pet the Dog: In the middle of his climactic Motive Rant, Red Hood says he wishes Bruce didn't have an antiquated sense of morality. He doesn't blame Bruce for failing to save him.
  • Powered Armor: The Fearsome Hand of Four all have armor that enhance their combat abilities in some way.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This version does not blame Jason for his own death. Previous incarnations would say that he was too reckless and violent, when in the comics canon he was betrayed by his biological mother, who watched coolly as the Joker beat him to death. (Yeah; the Dark Age and onward was really messed up and said comic was racist to boot because Joker got diplomatic immunity from Iran after murdering Jason.) Here, Ra's Al Ghul was the one who hired Joker to distract the Dynamic Duo abroad; he explicitly says with horror that he didn't intend for the clown to murder a child and as an act of atonement, resurrects Jason. What's more, Bruce maintains that it wasn't Jason's fault that Joker got the jump on him. Jason seems to blame himself more, which is why he becomes harder on criminals despite Bruce wanting him to come home.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Taken to Bloodless Carnage levels with some thugs early in the movie. They just suddenly slumped over dead one by one for no readily-apparent-to-the-audience reason, but, luckily, Nightwing is there to quickly exposit that it was a sniper.
  • 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 high-grade latex dummy.
  • Protection Racket: Red Hood establishes himself in Gotham by forcing the major drug dealers in the city into a new business arrangement with him instead of Black Mask. He promises to protect them from Black Mask and Batman, in exchange for forty percent of their earnings and a promise to never deal to children. He's very upfront about how he's forcing them into this deal, presenting them the heads of all their lieutenants and promising to do worse if they back out.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Joker, in spades, by Ra's and later Black Mask. And, once again, he proves that hiring or doing business with him in general is a very bad idea.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Batman manages to stop the Red Hood/Jason and save the Joker's life, but as the Joker points out, though Batman managed to find a way to win, everybody still loses.
  • Quirky Mini Boss Squad: The Fearsome Hand of Four. Bruce and Red Hood manage to wipe the floor with them.
  • R-Rated Opening: Weird, because the film itself as a whole is rated PG-13.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: While the main ending is bleak, with Joker alive if in Arkham again and Jason on the run, Bruce refuses to give up on his son. He's going to keep an eye out for the Red Hood, and bring him back somehow. Meanwhile, Gotham is somewhat cleaned up, allowing Batman to take on crime with a clean slate.
  • Ret-Canon: In the New 52 continuity, Jason's revival takes cues from the film's idea of him being brought back to life with the help of a Lazarus Pit, instead of using his original Infinite Crisis revival story. Most likely stemming from how derided the original revival was achieved and how the film's version was often believed to be the more superior and logical explanation.
  • Running Gag: "More classy maitre'd than motorcycle fetish. Oh, these/you kids today."
  • Sadistic Choice: Red Hood pulls off an extremely elaborate Batman Gambit to engineer one for Batman.
  • 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, who Black Mask keeps around for some eye candy.
  • Shadow Archetype: Red Hood is like if Batman didn't have a Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, negotiated with his marks, and didn't have a "No Guns" rule. Fitting, considering he was once Robin.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Nightwing is injured and taken home before Bruce discovers just what Red Hood said as the train passed. In fact, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd never interact with each other at any moment of the movie.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Subverted when Red Hood crashes his car in the chemical plant where Joker had his accident - he sends the place up in flames, but the chemicals themselves are the fuel and he ignites it by pinging a bullet off the bumper of his crashed car. Played straight later on when Red Hood snags what appears to be an acetylene tank and and shoots it, causing a fireball and slow down the pursuing Batman and Nightwing.
  • 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 Jason underwent a dark version of this trope too.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Ra's al Ghul doesn't have a lot of screen time compared to Red Hood or Joker but he was the one who resurrected Jason Todd with the Lazarus Pit, thus leading to Jason becoming the Red Hood and kicking off the plot of the movie.
  • Something Only They Would Say: After a lengthy chase scene, Red Hood gets away from Batman and Nightwing, but not before saying "You haven't lost your touch...". Back in the Bat Lair, Bruce reviews his recording and filters out the background noise to get a clearer sound with Red Hood saying "You haven't lost your touch, Bruce!" since very few people, including sidekicks, know his identity, Bruce begins to suspect one such sidekick is the new Red Hood: the thought-to-be-dead second Robin, Jason Todd. It takes a DNA blood test after another fight and a look in Jason's grave to officially confirm this and how it happened.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Ms. Li is much more luckier than her male comics counterpart whom was killed off-panel by the Red Hood. Although she does come close to dying when Joker decides to use her, Black Mask and a few other cronies as bait for the Red Hood.
    • Also Black Mask kills all of his remaining lieutenants in an unsuccessful attempt to make a deal with the Hood in the comics.
  • Start of Darkness:
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Here Batman makes one to Ra's al Ghul after he relates how he resurrected Jason Todd using the Lazarus Pit. Although this time it's not Played for Laughs but for Drama.
  • Stealth Pun: Several villains have taken up the identity of Red Hood in the past. The one in this movie is actually the former Robin, Jason Todd. He is the Robin Hood.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Black Mask's final gambit is to pit the Joker against Red Hood. He is painfully aware of the fact.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Batman to Red Hood. Even as they fight their bloodiest duel he makes it clear he is fully intent on saving his adversary from his current predicament.
  • Take a Third 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.
    The Joker: (Laughs maniacally) I can't believe you got 'im! You expert, rootin' tootin', eagle-eyed, Goth-lovin' marksman. I love it! You managed to find a way to win. And everybody still loses!
    • Averted moments later—when the bomb is activated, he clearly picks Jason over the Joker.
  • Taking You with Me: Attempted by both the Red Hood and the Joker, in the same scene. It doesn't work.
  • 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]
  • This Is Gonna Suck: What Black Mask says when he plans to hire the Joker.
  • 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: Batman's no killing rule is in full effect here. 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 a 20-second countdown rather than an instant trigger to allow Batman to act. Because all bombs need a countdown.
  • 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. 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. Lampshaded by Red Hood himself.
    Dealer: You wanna die? There's easier ways to kill yourself!
    Red Hood: Yeah, like yelling at the guy holding the AK-47.
  • Tragic Villain: Jason Todd/Red Hood is an emotionally broken individual who suffered a cruel death at the hands of the Joker and was brought back to life through a method that took a severe toll on his sanity. His actions throughout the movie weren't conducted out of sheer malice, but because he genuinely believed they would have a positive effect in the long run, as well as to cope with his pain upon discovering that his adoptive father allowed his murderer to get away with his crime.
  • Tranquil Fury: It is very clear that Red Hood is pissed at Joker, but keeps it limited to a clear focus, a calm, cold, methodical approach, and a crowbar to the face.
  • Troubling Unchildhood Behavior: Jason breaks a thug's collarbone as a teenager, under the impression that the man deserved it.
  • Uncertain Doom: Jason's fate is unclear by the end of the film. However, the fact that his body is never seen and that the explosion didn't leave any serious injuries on Batman or the Joker hints that he may have survived and escaped the destroyed building before Batman and Joker.
  • Underestimating Badassery: As Ra's points out when describing how his decision to hire the Joker went wrong, he overestimated his subordinates' ability to keep the Joker in check and underestimated the Joker's insanity.
  • The Unfettered: The Red Hood, contrasting Batman.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Jason Todd after first rising from the Lazarus pit. Several thugs bear the brunt of his wrath.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Black Mask and Joker are each this for Red Hood. The former of whom even lampshades this.
  • Vehicle Vanish: Justified as Batman and Nightwing have to jump out of the way of a subway train, so Red Hood is gone by the time they find their bearings.
  • Versus Title: The Brazilian title replaces "Under" with a word for "Versus".
  • Visual Pun: When Red Hood attacks Black Mask with a rocket launcher, the explosion hits a fire escape door and it bursts into flame.
  • The Watson: Several, most notably one of the thugs at the beginning who asks Batman what an AMAZO is.
  • We Need a Distraction: Ra's al Ghul hired the Joker to distract the Dynamic Duo because they were getting close to uncovering his own Evil Plan. Unfortunately, he learns in hindsight that was a mistake because he failed to grasp how utterly insane Joker is.
  • Wham Line: Several throughout the film.
    • "You haven't lost your touch, Bruce!"
    • At the end, Batman confronts Red Hood, and apologizes for failing him. Red Hood then says several words that shake Bruce to his core: "Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why, why on God's earth - is he still alive?!"
  • 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. JOKER even gleefully calls Batman out on his sense of priorities. That has to tell you something.
    • Earlier in a flashback Batman gives one to Jason when he breaks the collarbone of a thug that he was going to interrogate. Jason apologizes for screwing up their mission, but not for injuring the thug.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: As Nightwing and Batman have to work together to take on Red Hood, Grayson laments what he missed when they were partners.
    Nightwing: You know what I missed most running with you? The toys.
    • For that matter, where did Red Hood get his first set of guns, his outfit and that knife? Money from the dealers' accounts for everything else, but not his starting gear.
  • Wicked Cultured: Ra's al Ghul, who called off his guards when Batman broke into his lair, and invited him for a drink while telling him his side of the story.
  • 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. Possibly because, despite how much he yells, he's fully aware that he can't operate without her.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: Red Hood calls out the Fearsome Hand of Four for using their considerable skills to make money off of killing people. They just retort that he's one to talk.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: We have a flashback to how Batman met young Jason Todd — he busts him pinching the tires off the Batmobile! Batman can only mutter, "Unreal..." (though remembering the incident he finds it Actually Pretty Funny).
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Joker was the only one who was pleased with the outcome of Batman taking a third option.
    The Joker: "I can't believe you've got him! You expert rootin' tootin' eagle-eyed goth-loving marksman! I love it! You managed to find a way to win, And everybody still loses! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Your Head A-Splode:
    • 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 there's Red Hood's helmet... though it doesn't end up exploding. Not with anyone's head in it, anyway.

"This is the best day of my life!"


Video Example(s):


I'll Never Come Back

After Jason begs for Bruce to kill the Joker for killing him, Bruce redacts by stating that if he does, he'll be going against his code of conduct as a vigilante.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFettered

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