New Family Arrives in Batman: Bad Blood

Warner Home Video and DC continue to expand their animated universe with the pulse-pounding Batman: Bad Blood. The movie is directed by Jay Oliva and written by J.M. DeMatteis. Voice actors who lend their talents include Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan, and Morena Baccarin.

When Batman (Jason O’Mara) goes missing, it will take the entire Bat “family” - including new additions Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) and Batwing (Gaius Charles) - to keep the peace in Gotham City and unravel the mystery behind the Dark Knight’s disappearance. During their investigation into Bruce Wayne’s disappearance, even Alfred (James Garrett) goes undercover to assist, and soon they all become involved with the mysterious Batwoman, who may have been the last to see Batman alive. But as the “Bat Family” continues to track him down, they come to the inescapable conclusion that the Dark Knight has gone over to the dark side, becoming Gotham’s newest and most deadly crime boss.

Director Jay Oliva and Writer J.M. Dematteis keep the action and drama at a fever pitch in Batman: Bad Blood. There’s barely any downtime as we move from one explosive moment to the next. The story proceeds at such a high speed that repeated viewings are a necessity.

It’s an absolute pleasure to see Batwoman and Batwing introduced into the animated world of Batman. Their comic books are some of my favorites and to see them come to life onscreen is exhilarating. I look forward to seeing them develop and grow in future installments.

A couple of the characters in Batman: Bad Blood were underused and killed off a little too quickly and easily. I won’t go into detail as to who they are, but let’s just say one of them is a longstanding member of the Dark Knight’s world. The other one didn’t really get to “shine” as much they did in their comic book incarnation.

Another complaint with Batman: Bad Blood is the fact that they jumped straight to Luke Fox being Batwing. The original Batwing was a Congolese police officer named David Zavimbe. He used the armor and tech the Dark Knight gave him to battle evil in Africa as a member of Batman Incorporated. David’s backstory was so rich, compelling, and tragic that it’s a shame we don’t get to see it here. Honestly, I completely understand why Writer J.M. DeMatteis went with Luke as it would have been difficult to tie Zavimbe into a story that takes place in and around Gotham City.

Batman: Bad Blood is rated PG-13 for violence throughout and some suggestive content. I get what DC and Warner are trying to do with their adult-oriented animated films. At the same time, I think that by cutting out a few needless scenes of adult situations and profanity, older audiences would still watch and parents would be a little more open to letting their children watch these movies. This would mean a larger audience which garners more sales of the Blu-rays and DVDs.

The Blu-ray edition of Batman: Bad Blood contains some great bonus material. Two featurettes entitled “Putting the Fight in Gotham” and “Expanding the Batman Family” explore the making of the movie. Two bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault take you on more adventures with your favorite superheroes. We also get a sneak preview of DC Universe’s next animated film, Justice League vs. Teen Titans.

DC and Warner are doing an excellent job creating an animated film universe with a sense of continuity that leaves the viewer craving more. The stories being told continue to take cues from the comic books and successfully combine them together into a narrative that works within the confines of a 70 to 80 minute feature. There will be those who complain of the “corners” cut in character and plot development in order to condense everything into a tale capable of being told on screen. However, the filmmakers’ efforts and tinkering are justified by the quality of the outcome.

Batman: Bad Blood is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.