|“|| Beware the Court of Owls that watches all the time. Gazing from the shadows behind cement and lime.
They see you at the heart, they see you in your bed. Beware, take care! Or they will send a Talon for your head!''
|~ A rhyme taught to young Bruce Wayne by his father|
The Court of Owls is the main antagonistic faction of the 2015 animated movie Batman vs. Robin.
The Court is a secret organization consisting of the wealthy elite of Gotham City. They plan to retake control over the city and are grooming an army of undead elite soldiers, called the Talons, in order to do so. However, one of their Talons betrays them in the end, slaughtering most of the members of the Court.
After the death of his parents, a young Bruce Wayne firmly believes that his parents were killed by the Court of Owls. As Thomas Wayne taught him a rhyme about the Court, claiming that everyone who even mentions their existence will be killed by one of their Talons, Bruce thinks that the Court wanted to kill Thomas for that exact reason. However, after some investigation, Bruce realized that what his father told him was just a story.
After one of Batman's enemies, the Dollmaker, has been killed by one of the Court's Talons, Batman realizes that there may be more to the Court than he thought. While investigating, he is attacked by three of the Court's Talons and severely wounded.
A day later, Bruce is kidnapped by members of the Court of Owls who attack him while he is sitting in his car. They cause Bruce's car to crash and drag the unconscious Bruce away. Bruce is brought to the headquarters of the Court, where he sees the entire assembled Court surrounding him. The Grand Master speaks to him, revealing that despite all the rumors, the Court of Owls very much exists and that it consists of the financial elite of Gotham. The Grand Master claims that they know much better what's best for the city than the 'rabble'. The Grand Master invites Bruce to join the Court, claiming that his vision for Gotham is what the court needs. Claiming that he needs time to think it over, he puts the mask offered to him back on the pedestal. He also plants a tracer on the mask, which is not noticed by the court. Bruce is then knocked out and returned to Wayne Manor.
The Grand Master, his Lieutenant, Talon and other members then walk through their headquarter. Although the lieutenant claims that he senses that Bruce will not become one of them, the Grand Master reassures him that despite his philanthropic behavior, deep down Wayne is one of them. They then use a secret elevator which brings them into a laboratory where more owl-masked scientists are tending to the court's talons, remaining unconscious in stasis in caskets filled with water. The Grand Master claims that he envies them their immortality. He also reveals that he plans to use them to reclaim Gotham for the Court, with Talon as their general.
By tracking the device he left in the mask, Bruce enters the Court's headquarter. There, he is expected by the Court and the Grand Master reveals that they have been expecting Batman. The Grand Master reveals that the sewers through which Batman entered the building were flooded with a hallucinogenic. Immediately, Batman succumbs to the gas and falls to the ground. Through some way, he is saved by Nightwing. While Bruce is brought back to Wayne Manor, Talon brings Robin before the court, claiming that the boy is ready to join them. The Grand Master asks for proof of his loyalty and orders Robin to remove his mask. When he recognizes Damian, he orders Talon to kill Damian as he sees this as the ultimate way to hurt Batman and Bruce. Instead, Talon slaughters the Court.
Samantha Vanaver is the daughter of one of Gotham's elite families and introduced as the girlfriend of Bruce Wayne. While at Wayne Manor, Bruce introduces her to his son Damian Wayne, claiming that he is his ward, not his son, and reveals to her a project he has in mind for the future of Gotham. However, in truth, Samantha is the Grand Master of the Court of Owls and is watching Bruce to assess whether he is worthy of joining the court. After gathering enough information, she invites Bruce to dinner but on the way, Bruce is captured by agents of the Court. As the Grand Master, Samantha offers Bruce to join the Court but he does not accept yet, claiming that he needs time.
Samantha is also the lover of Talon, and uses him to recruit Robin in order to harm Batman, who the Court sees as a vigilante that needs to be stopped. When Robin is brought before them and removes his mask, however, Samantha recognizes Damian and thus realizes that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Samantha orders Talon to kill Damian, seeing it as the ultimate way to hurt Batman, but Talon, seeing too much of himself in Robin, attacks the Court instead. Samantha attempts to escape the slaughter but Talon catches up to her. He corners her and tells her that he has never been one of them, nor ever will be. He removes Samantha's mask and kisses her, but then stabs her in the stomach and kills her.
Talon is the main enforcer of the Court of Owls. Since his youth, when he was a street kid and taken from the gutter by the Court, he has been trained by the Court and is a skilled fighter. He is voiced by Jeremy Sisto.Talon is encountered by Robin on multiple occasions. He watches Batman and Robin defeat the Dollmaker. After the Dollmaker flees into the woods and is pursued and stopped by Robin, Talon sees that Robin does not kill him, as he has been taught by Batman to pursue justice, not vengeance. Talon drops on the ground behind the Dollmaker and rips out the man's heart, killing him. He also leaves the feather of an owl in the man's mouth. To Robin, Talon says that he should listen to his instincts before jumping onto nearby trees and escaping.Talon also watches Robin when he defeats two Robbers in the streets of Gotham. Again he reveals his presence to Robin, this time telling him that people like the robbers do not deserve to live. He tells Robin that this time, Talon will not finish his work for him. Robin leaves the two alive but goes after Talon, who invites him to follow. Talon brings Robin into his home, where Robin sees multiple armors. Talon reveals that he has great respect for Batman but that opposed to him, Talon has no line he will not cross. He tells Robin that he has come to Gotham to eradicate crime altogether. He also gifts Robin with one of his daggers and reveals that he wishes for Robin to join him. He gives Robin a device and claims that Robin can contact him with it should he make his decision. Talon is indeed later contacted by Robin.
Back at the Court's main headquarter, Talon informs the Grand Master of the Court that Robin has taken the bait. He is then told by the Grand Master and the Lieutenant that they intend for Talon to lead the Talon Warriors in a war to reclaim Gotham for the Court. Talon is suspicious, claiming that the ritual will make Talon like the other warriors, an undead killing machine. The Lieutenant confirms it, but tells Talon that it is for the greater good.
The Talon, together with Robin, later takes out a group of criminals. He attempts to persuade Robin into killing their leader but once again, Robin refuses. Afterwards, on a rooftop, Talon tells Robin that he still thinks too much like Batman and that he has to choose whether to join Batman or Talon.
Talon betrays the court when he is ordered to kill Robin. After murdering all members, he returns to Robin, claiming that he just sacrificed a world for him. However, Robin has realized that Talon is insane. Talon tells Robin that Bruce Wayne is a complication and that Talon will deal with him. He puts Robin in one of the containers containing the Talon Warriors while unleashing all other Talons, planning to use them against Batman.
Eventually, he joins the fight against Batman. While confronting Batman, Talon falsely claims that Robin has betrayed him in order to catch Bruce off guard. Bruce, however, is aware that Damian was manipulated by Talon. Batman retreats to the Batcave where Alfred and Nightwing are already waiting. Inside, they are once more attacked by the Talons who blow up the ceiling. Talon engages Nightwing in a duel, beating and defeating him with ease. While Batman defeats his warriors by use of a robotic armor, Talon enters the Batmobile, drives it off the edge of the platform and runs it into Batman's armor. He then leaves the vehicle to kill Batman personally but Batman opens the hatch Talon is standing on, sending him flying. Batman then starts fighting Talon one-on-one and is able to land multiple hits. Although he is the better fighter, Talon is able to stab him into the hip with one of his claws. As Bruce falls to the ground, Talon kicks him with his spiked boots, injuring him further. Before he can kill Batman however, Damian, who freed himself, drops down and prevents him from doing so.
Although Talon again attempts to kill Batman, Damian attacks to stop him. Furious about Robin's ingratitude, Talon then attempts to kill Robin but is overpowered by Robin, who holds the dagger Talon gave him earlier to Talon's throat. Smiling, Talon once more tells him to trust his instincts and them grabs Robin's hand, yanking it forward and driving the blade into his own throat.
The Talon Warriors
The Talons are undead soldiers who served the Court for hundreds of years.
Three Talons are first encountered by Batman while he searches a museum for clues to the court. The three Talons drop from the ceiling and engage Batman, who at first seems to be able to defeat them. However, each time Batman drops one of the Talons, he immediately gets back up and seems impervious to harm or pain. The talons immediately fix dislocated shoulders and do not react at all when being hit by Batman or impaled by a Batarang. Even electric shocks cannot keep them at bay. Throughout the fight, Batman manages to remove one of the Talon's mask and realizes that the three are in fact undead. Overpowered by the combined efforts of the three, Batman attempts to escape but is tackled by one of the Talons and crashes into a dinosaur skeleton. Unable to move, Batman can only watch as the remaining two Talons (one had been blown up by Batman's explosives) advance, their swords drawn. Before they can kill Batman, however, the two suddenly start shaking and begin to melt into a dark liquid.
Indeed the Talons are revealed to be undead warriors, serving the Court for over hundreds of years. When they are not needed, they are kept in water pods inside the Court's main headquarter where they endure time. However, it is revealed that once active, they can only spend a limited time outside their pods before melting. The Grand Master also claims that the Talons who attacked Batman were able to survive outside their caskets for eight hours, opposed to the team before that lasted only three. The resurrection process is also refined by the Court's scientists, with plans to have the Talon's survive an entire day before they have to return for regeneration. The Court plans for Talon to lead the revived Talons Warriors to lead them in a war on Gotham, to reclaim the city for the court.
All Talons are eventually activated when Talon, who has betrayed and killed the Court, plans to use them against Bruce Wayne. He leads them to Wayne Manor. The Talons swarm the manor where they are awaited by Batman and Nightwing. Bruce tells Dick that while the Talons might not be alive, he witnessed that they can be destroyed. Overwhelmed by the numbers of the Talons, the two attempt to escape by locking the Talons inside the panic room but the Talons merely use their strength and immunity to pain to wrench open the steel doors. They then throw rope daggers into Nightwing, attempting to drag him away to kill him, but Batman saves him. As Nightwing is wounded, Batman locks him up in a secret room and engages the Talons and Talon alone. Together with Talon, the Talon Warriors attack Batman but are destroyed by Batman who uses various explosives to blow them up.
Batman retreats to the Batcave where he is followed by the Talons who blow up the ceiling to enter. While Nightwing and Batman fend off the Talons, Alfred is called by Damian who reveals that the Talons cannot function in sub-zero cold. Alfred later joins the fight, fending off the Talons with a shotgun. By severely dropping the temperature, Alfred is able to freeze the Talons, rendering them immobile.
Court of Owls Lieutenant
One of the members of the Court of Owls serves as a lieutenant to the Grand Master, overseeing many of the Court's operations. He is voiced by Troy Baker.
The Lieutenant is the leader of the group kidnapping Bruce Wayne for the court and is also the one to reveal to Talon that he is destined to lead the Talon Warriors in the war to come. He seems to be the only one arguing against Bruce Wayne becoming a member of the Court.
Amongst most members of the Court, the Lieutenant is killed when Talon betrays them and kills them.
- Though Samantha Vanaver was revealed to be the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls, Talon served as the main antagonist of the film because he was the one driving the plot of the story and the more direct threat to Batman and he had bigger plans than anyone else, making her the hidden secondary antagonist.
- Talon is similar to Winter Soldier from Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
- They served as The Heavy of the story and battled the heroes at the end.
- They had armies at their disposal.