Batman: Bad Blood is the newest DC Universe Animated Movie, a direct-to-dvd (or in this case Blu Ray) that is a sequel to the 2015 release Batman vs Robin. The film is to be released on February 2nd, 2016 on both DVD and Blu Ray. Thanks to the nice folks at Warner Bros, we were able to give this Blu Ray treatment a viewing, as well as take a look at the extra content!
Batman: Bad Blood has the challenge of being a Batman film, not really featuring the caped crusader at all. The film starts off with Batwoman (voiced by Yvonna Strahovski) as she tries to stop a gang of criminals in Gotham City. She handles her own against The Electrocutioner, Blockbuster, Killer Moth and Firefly before finishing the fight alongside that of Batman (voiced by returning actor Jason Mara). The gang is led by The Heretic, a large, ruthless beast who is out to destroy Batman (for reasons unknown). Through a series of slick fight sequences, Batman is forced to save Batwoman, before coming vulnerable and blowing up in a huge warehouse explosion. Presumed dead, the Bat family set out to find the real answers to Batman’s disappearance.
At 72 minutes, Batman: Bad Blood breezes by with a solid plot that doesn’t overstay its welcome. The idea of having Bruce Wayne/Batman not be the focus point, or the main character is an interesting, daring attempt that ultimately works out. The best moments of Batman, really focus on how he is revered, rather than showed. Bad Blood nails this, with characters who battle with their emotional turmoil over Bruce Wayne/Batman. Realizing that, despite his numerous flaws, they do love and appreciate him.
While the plot was enjoyable (no spoilers will be ruined here), there was some bumps and bruises along the way. The cast here is large, and falls into the, “we need something for everybody,” section. Too many villains are at play here, with some of their motives being a bit blurred between the lines. The biggest culprit being The Heretic, the gang ‘leader’ who ultimately gets an undeveloped, sour ending that really demanded more explanation. For the moments The Heretic was in the film, he provided some of the better conflict, rushing him out so soon largely took that tension away.
Overall, the story works pretty well here. The action sequences are slick, fun to watch and always exciting. Using the plot to pin characters against each other, that would normally never fight, was nice to see.
Video presentation was pretty good here. As with any animation movie, you really want the colors, the contrast to pop out. For the most part, it works well. Some of the dialogue driven scenes, primarily the scene with Lucius Fox speaking to his son, the visual quality isn’t great. Nor is the actual animation quality. Things look a bit too choppy, and don’t work well with some of the better sequences. Overall, the 1080p video quality highlights some strong visuals, majority in action sequences, that allow for some quality spectacle.
A few times, some of the dialogue didn’t sync up, making characters flib through their lines. This only happened a few times, but was worth noting regardless. Audio quality beyond that sounded great. The cast was largely fantastic here, with a lot of noteworthy actors giving solid performances that had chemistry and timing. The stand out here is Jason Mara’s take on Batman, which is subtle, and a quality version of the caped crusader. Regardless, the voice cast in DCAU productions is rarely ever the fault, and that continues to be the case with another well casted group.
Batman: Bad Blood comes with two fantastic featurettes, one almost 25 minutes long and the other in 10 minutes long. One focuses on the evolution of Batman, emphasizing the maturity in both the writing and the character’s actions through the years. Hearing the passion that comes from minds like Jay Oliva and James Tucker made for some interesting inside scoops to both the character and the story at play here.
The other featurette, the shorter one, focused on bringing all the characters together and their history. Starting with Robin, and Batman’s connection with him through the decades of writing. The material here was nothing entirely new, but was certainly interesting watching the evolution of all the characters.
Batman: Bad Blood is a pretty good Batman animation film. I would be hard pressed to include it in the Top 5, with just too many other choices being better in both animation and story structure. Bad Blood might fit into the Top 10, after serious thought. Regardless, what you get here is another quality DC Animated Universe film that has quality production, good animation and a solid cast that makes for an entertaining feature.