ANIMATION REVIEW: Batman: Bad Blood (2016) DVD/Blu-ray Combo

91Vipo+H8aL._SL1500_WARNING! SPOILERS WITHIN!

What I like best about the Son Of Batman trilogy is that it’s not about Omega Level threats, it’s about Batman’s family and extended family and the evil forces that threaten to break it up, but with the capper to this saga, Batman: Bad Blood, the plot does veer into world domination territory, however, the subplot of family is still firmly maintained and tested like never before. If you thought it was put through the ringer with Batman Vs. Robin (2015), you are so wrong. The level of dysfunction revealed here will make that time Robin and Batman fought to death look like a Disneyland dance-off.

We all know what Bruce Wayne went though to become Batman, and we’ve seen in other movies and TV series toons what kind of person that’s turned him into, but here we really see how hard it’s made him inside. Truth be told Batman is kind of a dick, but an understandable dick. I mean, given how he was made, how could you not be a tad bit of a dick? What else you’ll learn is just how much of an evil motherfucker Talia al Ghul truly is despite how she may have come off otherwise at the end of in Son Of Batman (2014) in allowing Bruce to teach Damien what it means to be the son of Batman. It’s not something we don’t already know given who her father is, but sometimes there comes a toon, or a movie, like this one, that reminds us she is one evil motherfucker. There are two major twists in this flick, telling you Talia is the main villain is the first one, the second one I shall not reveal, because it’s one of those twists best experienced cold, and it feeds directly into what I was just saying about her evil nature.

I liked Son Of Batman, but let’s be honest it wasn’t the best Batman animated movie DC has cranked out, yet even their most mediocre animated movies (Batman or otherwise) still end up being pretty decent in the long run. Kind of like bad pizza. It still tastes good. Batman Vs. Robin was better however, and Batman: Bad Blood I have to say was the best, and in a trilogy where the first of the movies wasn’t as great, having the second and third be better ends up kind of redeeming that first not-so-great chapter. If you’re new to this trilogy, viewing them in one sitting, or over a period of nights, will make you appreciate what I’m saying.

As the movie starts off there’s a turf war going on in Gotham City between Black Mask’s gang and a new rival faction led by The Heretic. His gimmick is that his gang is made up of all super villains, and his “right hand man” is Onyx, this little, hot bald-headed chick who fights with a samurai sword. At the moment Heretic and his boys are “interrogating” Black Mask’s accountant, Chuckie Sol, down at the docks. Present and accounted for are Heretic, Onyx, Killer Moth, Firefly, Tusk, Electrocutioner, Hellhound and some villain I didn’t recognize. What we think is Batman shows up and puts the hurt on all of them, but, no, it’s not the Caped Crusader, it’s Batwoman! But Batman does eventually show up and we get a wicked display of some really great hand-to-hand combat animation. The best I’ve seen in these three movies. During this extended fight and as Batman is rescuing Batwoman Heretic nails Bats with some explosives knives and KA-BLAM! The whole place goes up making us think Batman was blown to smithereens.

justice-league-vs-teen-titans-blu-ray-cover

The Heretic and his gang.

Cut to two weeks later and even Alfred is worried. Wayne never goes this long on a mission without letting Alfred know he’s alive and kicking. Even Commissioner Gordon is getting worried. His bat signals aren’t getting answered. Something’s going to have to be done about it real soon, because once Gotham’s underbelly begins to see Batman isn’t around crime is going to soar. Nightwing reluctantly steps up and decides to don the batsuit to make everyone think he’s still around, and Damien, who’s in some remote village trying to find his prickish self, comes across news of Batman’s disappearance on the net and heads to Gotham to see what he can do.

Nightwing’s good, but he ain’t no Batman and during a confrontation with some goons at the docks it’s kind of obvious to we the viewers, not to mention Damien who crashes the party and calls out Grayson. I personally find Damien to be an annoying fuck of a character, generally, who every time I see on screen gives me the urge to want to bitchslap within an inch of his life, generally, but in Bad Blood his personality isn’t as hard to take as it was in the previous two movies.

The next new addition to the extended Bat family is Lucius Fox’s son, Luke, who eventually becomes Batwing after his father is critically stabbed by Heretic. But Bad Blood mostly focuses on Katherine Kane (aka Batwoman) and her origin story, which of the two I found the more interesting. She’s also gay, and that comes across in two scenes, one with a conversation with her father, and two in a singles bar where she’s looking to do some “connecting.” This is significant because I don’t think you could’ve had a gay comic book character in an animated movie, ten or even five years ago. Until this movie I never knew there was a Batwoman. I knew there was a Batgirl, but never a Batwoman, and she’s got a great looking costume and some serious ass kicking skills. She also uses a gun, which doesn’t set well with Batman. We learn later on that Batman has known of Batwoman’s existence for a while and was debating on either taking her in or taking her down. Grayson actually knows Katherine and quickly surmises who she really is under that black and red bat suit. He even reveals himself to her one night as they search for Batman.

Speaking of Batman, as I’ve mentioned the first twist in this movie is that Heretic isn’t really the head of this gang, it’s Talia, and she’s the one who had Batman kidnapped, as part of a world domination brainwashing plot that could set the League Of Shadows up as an untouchable force of evil.

By the time we get to the end of the movie one of the surprises is that Nightwing, Damien, Batwoman and Batwing’s rescue of Batman didn’t come quite in time, for Talia’s brainwashing, courtesy of The Mad Hatter, has taken, so when her grand plan is finally revealed at the end the Bat family has to face off with not only her and her super goons, but the brainwashed crusader. This is bad. Like real bad. Especially for Nightwing, since it’s him that ends up fighting that futile battle, and it makes sense it should be him since earlier in the movie it’s made clear getting pulled into Batman’s orbit kind of makes you doomed in a sense. We all know Nightwing’s bitterness towards the man who made him a Robin through the comics and various other toons, but it’s more on display in this movie and I think Nightwing’s facing-off with Wayne was something he probably wanted and it may have been cathartic in one respect even though Batman wipes the floor with him and breaks one of his arms.

Like the opening fight scene the ending fight scenes are pretty damn spectacular, even Alfred gets out of the batcave to take out The Mad Hatter who’s demise will remind you of a certain head explosion from Scanners (1981). Apparently it’s okay to show a decapitated corpse as long as there’s no bloody neck stump. Who knew? Other bad guys get iced too and a crucial one at the end, but rule of thumb is if you don’t see the actual corpse are they really dead?

The ending does really feel like an ending to this trilogy as Batwoman and Batwing are clearly now part of Batman’s “family,” but the final scene before the credits roll show’s Batgirl watching from an undisclosed location as they all responded to the Bat signal and then taking off after them. Does this mean we’re getting a Batgirl movie next year?

As I mentioned Black Mask is in this, but only in a cameo, and his look isn’t like it was when we last saw him in 2010’s Batman: Under The Red Hood. In that flick the “black mask” was his face, in this one it’s clearly a mask. I prefer the former. This movie also has the shortest opening credits of any of DC animated movie. You get the Warner Brother’s logo and then the title of the movie and that’s it.

Warner Brothers releases Batman: Bad Blood in three separate editions: a DVD/Blu-ray combo, a standalone DVD and limited edition DVD/Blu-ray combo with a Nightwing figure on February 2nd!


Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio/5.1 French Dolby Digital/5.1 German Dolby Digital/ 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital/5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital—English, French, Spanish, German subs only

Extras included . . .

  • 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 (26:26)
  • Expanding The Batman Family (13:46)
  • A Sneak Peek At DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie: Justice League vs. Teen Titans (11:31)

The best of the two extras about Bad Blood is the “Expanding The Batman Family” as it looks at the history of Robins Batman has had at his side as well as briefly touching on Batwoman and Batgirl.

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About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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