Batman: Soul of the Dragon | Movie to keep you hooked
Batman: Soul of the Dragon is the newest DC animated movie. The animated section of the DC fandom is met by the lesser interest of mainstream audiences when compared to its live-action counterparts. But fans love DC animated movies for a variety of reasons, the main one being that they’re just too good and exactly what we’re looking for.
The DC animated movies have a few different things working for them. Some of these factors include that animation is cheaper than live-action. So the visuals are easier to work on. Or that these movies are adaptations that are consistently faithful to the source materials (the movies are too).
But not to this extent, and that becomes a different discussion altogether). What I speculate to be a major reason for animated movies to do better than live-action. One in terms of quality is that they have more characters. What I mean is that in live-action movies. There is a lot of big-name talent involved with different filming schedules and contractual obligations.
This paired with the casting drama between different versions of the same characters makes it very difficult for the DCEU to feature a character other than the titular one of their movies. These types of problems are practically non-existent in animation, remember when Superman showed up in Batman: Hush? Or when Green Lantern cameoed in Justice League Dark.
Their appearances although not majorly integral, make the movie-watching experience feel more like reading a comic, which is why fans take more fondly to them. Now let’s talk about Batman: Soul of the Dragon.
Batman: Soul of the Dragon follows Bruce Wayne/Batman, Richard Dragon, Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger, and Lady Shiva teaming up to stop the Cobra Cult who’s sinister plan ties back to all their pasts. The movie shows us Batman in the early stages of his career, a somewhat novice Batman. Alongside this, there are many flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s training that show the audience how he differs from the rest of the group and why only someone like him could become The Dark Knight.
So in other reviews, I would lay out all my thoughts as to why and how a movie is good or bad. I’d probably try to bury the lead until someone reads through most of the article before knowing what I think about the movie. Well, I don’t need to do that here. Let me just phrase it like this: The only bad thing I can say about this movie is how unappealing I thought it was going to be before I actually watched it. But now having seen it, I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re a DC fan, you need to get on this right now. The trailer does not do this movie any justice.
Now that I’ve made my statement, I’ll start by saying that this movie is just plain fun right from start to finish. The animation style is more like the Justice League Unlimited, or Batman The Animated Series, and that somehow makes the experience even better. The whole movie reminds one of what it’s like watching some really good cartoons while having breakfast on Saturday morning.
There were so many times while watching the movie. That I just smiled and chuckled at how fun and amazing the plot, characters, and visuals were. The animation style of Batman: Soul of the Dragon may seem a bit old. But the action sequences are anything but new, fresh, and exciting. Right from one or two minutes into watching, it becomes very clear that this movie is trying to pull off an animated John Wick. And it does! All the characters are given plenty to do. And even more to fight which makes for a very entertaining and enjoyable time.
This movie features Batman in quite the early stages of his career. It also shows the audience some of the training that Bruce Wayne had to endure on his quest to learn all the different forms of martial arts that he knows. But other than that, Batman is not the only good thing in this movie as one would think. Sure he’s quite important. And a major draw for larger audiences to tune in, but there’s a lot more to like here.
I suspect many will come for Batman, and quickly become equally invested in Richard, Shiva, and Ben. The movie also shows some of the other characters to have an edge over Batman when it comes to their fighting skills, but it’s done in a way that doesn’t offend Batman fans and still gives this character the respectful treatment he deserves.
If you looked at some Richard Dragon comics and thought that this character was quite lame. Or that nothing great could become of him. Then this movie would almost definitely prove you wrong. Richard Dragon is so very good in this movie that I’m sure anyone who’s seen it would also watch him in solo spin-offs. His character is full of potential. And could prove to be a great assist if he were brought into the live-action DCEU.
Lady Shiva and Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger
Everyone wants to talk about representation these days, and that’s good. Representation is really important in movies. But a lot of people also like to complain about representation, which can be unpleasant. to say the least. There won’t be any complaints here. Both Lady Shiva and Bronze Tiger are fun, interesting characters who would be sure to gather a large fan following if brought into live-action.
While both of them have had a lot of success in comic book stories, and Bronze Tiger had quite a good run on Arrow. Neither of the characters has been explored as well as they should be until now. The movie does have somewhat of a different take on Lady Shiva than the comics do. But it is still kind of accurate and so much fun that the differences become very easy to look over. Both the characters have a lot more to them than simply the groups. They represent and make for very good additions in this new “team” of sorts.
The end of the movie sets up a sequel that anyone watching it would be eagerly looking forward to. There are so many possibilities going forward, maybe even involvement from the Justice League? This ending does the balancing act of being immensely satisfying. But also leaving open enough possibilities to warrant a second installment. That will allow the fans back into this unique part of the DC multiverse.
Direction – 4.5/5
Background score – 4/5
Animation – 4.5/5
Overall – 8/10
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