Batman: Bad Blood
DC Animation once again proves they're on top of their animation game with the blu-ray release of Batman: Bad Blood, the next story that takes place in the new animated canon. Check out my full review to see why it's another one you need to pick up!
I know, I'm behind on my reviews, and Batman: Bad Blood hit blu-ray a couple weeks ago. I got behind when I injured my ankle, which took a couple weeks to fully recover from. Following mere DAYS after recovering from that, I suffered a severe food reaction that laid me out for a few more days. As such, ALL of my work has been flung off schedule.
Alas, I finally got the chance to sit down with Bad Blood and can bring you my thoughts on it. In short...it's another awesome outing by WB/DC Animation, though not it's best outing. Let's talk a little more about it.
Last year's Justice League: Gods and Monsters (probably my favorite animated release aside from the Dark Knight Returns adaptations) was a temporary, albeit awesome, break from the current DC animation canon. Taking place in an alternate universe, fans got a break from recent events. Bad Blood returns us to the DCAU, picking up soon after the events of Batman vs. Robin.
The premise sees the entire Bat-family come together in order to help save the original caped crusader from himself. A new villain has come to Gotham and when Batman helps Batwoman fight off some of his thugs...things go wrong. Batman is missing, presumed dead, which forces Robin to return from exile and Nightwing to take up the mantle so the city doesn't tear itself apart. All the while, the various heroes struggle to figure out what happened to Batman while keeping up the charade and trying to stop the villain, Heretic. A bunch of things are going down at the same time, as the story attempts to bring viewers up to speed on characters like Batwoman and Batwing if they haven't read the comics.
While the story itself is pretty standard, the core of the film is about family and what it means. Considering two of the heroes aren't actually related to Batman in any direct way (and oftentimes in the comics flat out don't care for him), it's an interesting concept. It was neat to see how Batwoman and Batwing were brought into this universe, but their stories felt a bit truncated. Batwoman had the biggest explanation of origins, though Batwing felt like he came out of nowhere into the story...seriously. Perhaps my biggest complaint is how he came into his suit and started helping out, as there was really no explanation for it. It just sort of happened.
Far and away, the spotlight of the movie is the character dynamic between Damien Wayne (Robin) and Dick Grayson (Nightwing). In many ways, these two are brothers but they can't seem to reconcile the fact very well. While they both have a difficult relationship with Batman/Bruce Wayne it's clear they can't escape him, nor do they really want to. It's a love/hate relationship, and it makes for some meaningful interactions between them. The story itself felt pretty basic and simple, but Bad Blood thrives on its character interactions, which I hope to see more of in the upcoming movies.
Animation and Fun
As I said, the plot is a little light, but these movies are a whole lot of fun. Bad Blood is no different in that it steps up the action and makes each battle feel important and enjoyable to watch. The choreography remains strong and many times I found myself cringing at the impact of certain moves (something normally reserved for live-action movies).
More than just the action sequences, Bad Blood manages to insert plenty of humor into the story that makes it fun, and offers up much needed levity to break up the more serious tone. On top of all that, the animation itself remains sleek and stylish. It’s eye catching and easy to watch, offering up a good mixture between the comic style realism and the traditional animated series style.
Batman: Bad Blood comes with a handful of special features for fans:
From the DC Comics Vault:
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Knights of Tomorrow
Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Criss Cross Conspiracy
Putting the Fight in Gotham
Expanding the Batman Family
A Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie: Justice League vs. Teen Titans
These are all pretty standard and typical of what we’ve been seeing in these DC animation releases. We get a couple episodes of another Batman series (an odd choice as Brave and the Bold is VERY kid designed, while Bad Blood is not), and some behind the scenes featurettes. The fight one is interesting, as it gives us a look behind how the creators and animators plan out the fight scenes in these films, while the Bat Family feature gives a little more information on Bad Blood’s new characters.
Nothing too amazing here, but definitely worth watching at least once.