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Batman has gone missing and it’s up to Nightwing and Robin to find him in Batman: Bad Blood directed by Jay Oliva and starring the voice talents of Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Morena Baccarin, Yvonne Strahovski, Sean Maher, Gaius Charles, and Ernie Hudson. Is this direct-to-home video release another fantastic movie Batman fans will love, or has the quality of Warner Home Video declined?

Review

Dick Grayson disguised as Batman must team up with Robin and Batwoman to find Bruce Wayne.

Dick Grayson disguised as Batman must team up with Robin and Batwoman to find Bruce Wayne.

If you’ve been a reader of my site for awhile, you may have noticed that I don’t just write reviews on movies that hit the big screen. Sometimes I also write my thoughts on the smaller budgeted movies that hit video on demand and direct-to-home video releases. Some of my favorites to talk about are the DC Comics animated movies mainly because I am a huge fan of superheros, Batman in particular being my favorite. The wonderful thing about Batman is that he can be as complex or simple to whatever age audience admires him. Batman can be dark and broody for some, while being fun and campy for others. LEGO Batman and Adam West’s incarnation are just as important to society and pop culture as Frank Miller’s and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knights because of what the character represents. Batman is motivation. Batman is perseverance. Batman is greatness from tragedy. Batman is justice.

In Batman: Bad Blood, family is everything.

In Batman: Bad Blood, family is everything.

In Batman: Bad Blood, Batman is Family. That’s the huge theme of the movie. As much of a loner Batman tries to be, he’s at his best when surrounded by his family. What’s important about this family is that it represents the strong bond between members whether they are biological, surrogate or adopted. Many kids who are adopted can relate to the relationship between Batman and Robin. Many adults can understand the special bond between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. In Batman: Bad Blood, family also means love and loyalty no matter race or sexual orientation, but I’ll get more into that point a little later.

Batman may not use guns, but Batwoman does.

Batman may not use guns, but Batwoman does.

The plot of the movie is pretty straight forward. Batman disappears and it’s up to Nightwing and Robin to find him. The duo gets help from a couple of new heroes who call themselves Batwoman and Batwing, but it’s not going to be easy for them as a new threat known as The Heretic has rounded up Gotham’s worse to destroy the town. It will take the entire team to learn to work together in order to solve the mystery of their leader’s disappearance.

Dick Grayson faces his biggest challenge: becoming the Batman.

Dick Grayson faces his biggest challenge: becoming the Batman.

I really liked Batman: Bad Blood. Not only is the animation as top notch as the previous DC Animated movies that have been released over the last few years, but it’s a fresh story filled with surprises that dropped my jaw as well as cool Easter eggs and fan services that made me clap. For some, many will see the movie’s influence from stories like “Battle for the Cowl,” but you don’t need to have read a single comic to follow along with straightforward story. I do however recommend watching Son of Batman and Batman vs Robin prior to watching Bad Blood. It’s not necessary, as this film does stand on its own, but you’ll better understand more of the dynamics and developments of the characters and relationships between Bruce Wayne, his son Damian, and Dick Grayson.

Katherine Kan's story is tragic and sad.

Katherine Kan’s story is tragic and sad.

The biggest aspect of Batman: Bad Blood that I applaud it for is that it did not at all shy away from such taboo subjects as homosexuality. Of course I don’t mean to say that homosexuality in itself is taboo or bad, but it is a topic rarely shown or discussed in animated superhero flicks. DC Comics debuts its first openly gay character in its modern animated universe with Katherine Kane a.k.a. Batwoman voiced by Yvonne Strahovski from NBC’s Chuck. The movie could have completely omitted the fact or smartly eluded to it, but it didn’t. The film did a great job portraying the character as strong, yet flawed, with her own sense of tragedy that makes her a perfect fit for the Bat Family. She doesn’t apologize for who she is, and quite frankly she doesn’t have to. If anything, I found her to be a great role model to the gay community as she proves that it doesn’t matter who you love, you can still fight crime. Batwoman is a character that young men and women suffering from homophobic bullying can look up to and strive to be.

The bad guys of Bad Blood are brutal and outnumber the heroes.

The bad guys of Bad Blood are brutal and outnumber the heroes.

The other new hero is Batwing voiced by Gaius Charles from Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights. Batwing in real life is Luke Fox, the son of Wayne Industries brilliant inventor Lucius Fox voiced by the 4th Ghostbuster himself, Ernie Hudson. Batwing’s origin is sort of an amalgamation of Batman and Iron Man. I’m not going to spoil anything, but something happens to Lucius that motivates Luke to using his father’s technology to help the fight. It’s a pivotal aspect to the character, because it thrusts him into the crime fighting world just like others in the Bat family. As with having a gay character, Batwing adds a bit African-American diversity to the team that’s not only welcome, but needed. The only problem I had with the character is that he seems like a throwaway character. The story was neither improved nor suffered by the character’s introduction and on some levels felt like an Iron Man ripoff. It was nice to see a new member of the Bat Family, but the hero roster did feel a bit crowded for this movie. 

Batwing has a cool aerial battle with Killer Moth and Firefly.

Batwing has a cool aerial battle with Killer Moth and Firefly.

So to go along with the story, Batman is missing and to make matters worse, filmmakers have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink of bad guys at the heroes. Some you’ll be able to recognize if you played the Arkham series of video games and some are new. Rogues Gallery members like Mad Hatter, Killer Moth, Firefly, and Black Mask create havoc for the good guys, while relatively obscure villains like Electrocutioner, Hellhound, The Calculator, Blockbuster, and Tusk add to the chaos in Gotham. If you’ve seen the movie, I’m purposely omitting a specific villain, as it adds to the mystery of not only the disappearance of Batman, but the origin to the character of The Heretic who is voiced by veteran voice actor Travis Willingham. The character reminded me of the Arkham Knight in that there is a history between him and the Dynamic Duo, but it’s a doozy of a reveal that when it’s made known who exactly he is, it left me speechless. The best thing about the villains is the epic fights they have with the heroes. From the opening sequence, to the grand finale, there is non-stop action. One part of the movie has four different fights going on at the same time as each hero is battling what felt like their doppelgangers. The fight choreography is fantastic and fast-paced. 

Meet Gotham's newest threat: The Heretic and his assistant Onyx.

Meet Gotham’s newest threat: The Heretic and his assistant Onyx.

Everything I love about the past Batman animated films is in this movie. Voice actors Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, and Sean Maher all return to reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and Nightwing. The animation is great as it feels like a mix of modern animation and Japanese anime. I love the character designs and the actors do a great job bringing their personalities to the characters. My only complaint, and it’s a bit minor, but it’s one I’ve had for awhile and that is the vehicles in the movie have a different style of CGI that doesn’t blend well with the rest of the animation. Good examples of that are the Batmobile and Batwoman’s motorcycle. It looks like you have a cartoon character on a CGI bike. It’s a bit nitpicky, but I found it slightly distracting. I’ve been a huge fan of the DC/WB animated movies for awhile. They are films made by fans for fans that cater to an adult audience that appreciates high quality entertainment. Batman: Bad Blood may not be my favorite of the DC Comics animated movies as movies like Flashpoint Paradox is such a strong story, but it’s still a solid movie that will be a great addition to anyone’s superhero home video library.

Verdict

verdict worth checking out

Batman: Bad Blood is yet another fantastic direct-to-home video release. It feels like a natural progression to the DC Animated Universe started with Son of Batman that all fans of the Dark Knight should enjoy. This is a great animated flick for adult fans as it doesn’t hold back with violence, themes, and situations. Parents should definitely watch it first to see if it’s appropriate for their kids. It definitely deserves its PG-13 rating. If you’ve enjoyed the DC movies like Son of Batman, Justice League: War, and Batman: Assault on Arkham, then Batman: Bad Blood is definitely worth checking out now on VOD or when it’s released on home video February 2nd.

 

If you like this review, please share your thoughts in the comments below! And remember to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter: @TheFatmovieguy!

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  • Juan Velez

    Will I can say Easter eggs?

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