Review: Batman: Bad Blood


I review the film Batman: Bad Blood, which premiered digitally yesterday and features the animated debuts of two members of the Bat-family!

The latest installment in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, Batman: Bad Blood, was released digitally yesterday.  With all the DC Week content taking center stage on The CW last night, it was a little bit overshadowed, but the movie already has a place in Batman history as being Batwing and Batwoman’s animated debuts.  The film takes place in the shared universe that began with Justice League: War, and it runs 72 minutes.  Warning: Past this point, my review will contain spoilers, so read at your own risk if you have yet to see the film.

The premise of the film is that Bruce Wayne is missing and presumed dead, and Dick Grayson takes on the mantle of Batman.  He, Robin, Batwing, and Batwoman then try to protect Gotham from a new gang of villains and solve the mystery of Bruce’s disappearance.  I am someone who adamantly opposes people other than Bruce donning the cape-and-cowl.  I have even stopped reading Batman and Detective Comics during the JimBat story arc.  In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Bruce says, “It’s not Batman that makes you worthwhile, it’s the other way around. Never tell yourself anything different.”  Bruce is the character that I love (I love Jim Gordon too of course, just not as much), so Batman doesn’t feel like Batman without him.  However, two exceptions for me are Terry McGinnis and Dick, and you better believe I loved seeing the latter as Batman in Batman: Bad Blood.  The fight between him and Bruce at the end of the film was a dream come true to watch.  I thought Bruce subdued Dick a little too easily, but seeing the teacher and student face-off was still amazing.

The writers did a great job with the origin stories of Kate Kane and Luke Fox as they brought them to animation for the first time.  It didn’t feel like either one was forced into the movie, as both were closely tied to Batman’s disappearance and the gang led by Talia al Ghul.  In addition, the story could’ve gotten clunky if both heroes were getting their starts within the timeline of the movie, so I like that Kate is already established as Batwoman when the film begins, and then we backtrack to get her origin.  Luke’s Batwing suit features such cool technology, and it was awesome to see him suit up at Wayne Enterprises for the first time.

Talia al Ghul’s entire nefarious plot is kind of flimsy.  She wants to use mind-control on different government leaders so that she can rule the world, but there’s not much of a connection between that plan and Heretic, Robin, and Bruce.  I can’t dwell on that for too long, though, because the payoff where Bruce is under her influence and is being told to shoot Dick and Damian is such a great scene.  I apologize for this being the second time I’m bringing up Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, but does anyone else see a strong parallel between this scene in Bad Blood and the scene in Return of the Joker where Tim Drake is being forced to shoot Batman?  It was a perfect Bruce and Dick moment as Dick talks Bruce out of shooting them — “You’re not just a mask.  You’re a man.  The best man I’ve ever known.”  I loved seeing Bruce struggle as he overcomes Talia’s influence.  It showcases Bruce’s unmatched mental willpower.

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There were a few other moments in this movie that gave it the extra boost it needed to make it my favorite DCUAOM film that takes place in the new shared universe.  One, we don’t get to see Alfred Pennyworth in combat very often, so to see him put the nail in the coffin as far as Talia’s government mind-control plan goes was satisfying.  Secondly, I’ve always thought that Luke dropped the ball when he chose the name Batwing.  So I appreciated Batwoman acknowledging that he stole a codename from a Bat-vehicle when she jokes about whether Batwing wants a ride in the Batwing.  And lastly, my favorite scene of the entire movie was the Barbara Gordon cameo at the very end (and in her current Babs Tarr costume, no less)!  I actually jumped out of my seat as soon as even just her boots were shown on the screen.  The fact that she hasn’t appeared in a single one of the 24 DCUAOM films to date is appalling.  As my favorite DC Comics character other than Bruce, I was admittedly kind of irritated when I learned that Batwing and Batwoman would be debuting before Batgirl.  Obviously, she will have a big role in the Batman: The Killing Joke movie, and I’m so excited for that, but this cameo has raised my eagerness to see the next Batman movie in the DCUAOM shared universe immensely as well.

Next: The First Five Minutes of Batman: Bad Blood

Overall, Batman: Bad Blood warrants five batarangs out of five.  I really only have one small complaint about it, which is that we already had two movies in a row that were very Damian-centric, so I didn’t particularly want another one.  That being said, Damian finally kind of came into his own in this one, so it may have been worth it.  Let me know in the comments what you thought of Batman: Bad Blood, and be sure to keep it locked to Caped Crusades for all your Batman news!