MOVIE REVIEW: Batman: Bad Blood

Director: Jay Oliva
Writers: J.M. DeMatteis, Grant Morrison (comic book)
Stars: Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan

The latest Batman animation comes to our screens. Batman has gone missing or worse is thought to be dead, the criminals of the seedy town of Gotham have started to get cocky and begin to undue the work that the Caped Crusader has done. It is now down to the Batman Family to come together to keep the city that Bruce Wayne loves safe from the horrid criminal underworld.

This last few Batman animated adventures have been very good, they do things that the live action movies could never do. They bring in the characters that we all love and exploit them the way that animation can only do. I doubt very much, even though we’re getting more and more bolder films in the live action series, that we’ll ever see a film with the amount of villains and heroes that Bad Blood offers. Taking Bruce/Batman out of the picture in the story is a brave move, those of us who read, and there are a few of us left, know that this happened in the comics and it was a welcome change when Nightwing/Dick Grayson donned the cape and cowl. It brought a breath of fresh air to the character of Batman, and a massive conflict for Nightwing, as he was trying to step out of The Dark Knights shadow. With Damien returning as Robin from his self induced exile and the first animated adventure of Batwing.

Batwoman is stalking the streets of Gotham, carrying her trusted hand gun, and Batman isn’t too happy about that. During a fight with a bunch of super villains Batman is feared dead and Batwoman is left emotionally stunned. When Nightwing picks up the mantle and Damien returns they all form to uncover a secret plot by an old adversary with a new most violent henchman. I think that this uncovers most of the plot of this animation.

What I loved here is that DC animation had the guts to show Batwoman as a Lesbian, I didn’t think that they would, I didn’t think they had it in them to move the character from the comics onto our screens in such a faithful way. I loved that, it’s about time we stopped changing the characters we love on a page to suit what Studio Executives think people want on the screen. When movies and animated pieces translate the characters faithfully from page to screen there is a response by the population of Fandonia with their cash. It’s how we vote there. When you screw around with the translation like they did with that abomination of a Fantastic Four movie last year we vote with as little of our cash as we did. Back to the Bat. Nightwing as Batman, Batwoman having her sexuality translated properly, Damien as Robin, and Batwing, all this goodness in nearly one hour and fifteen minutes of animation, it’s enough to make a forty year old man cry.

The characterisations are great, but, and I can’t believe that I’m saying this, there is too much action here. Batman movies and animations are about the stories, the action is there to be a playmate to a good story, here it’s overwhelming the amount of gunshots, explosions and karate kickery we have. I wanted to know more about each and every hero and villain, but I guess that even that would have been too much. This is a DVD/Blue Ray that I would buy, don’t get me wrong, but the balance just feels slightly off for me. I hope that the next adventure will help out.

The voice acting and animation techniques themselves are fantastic as always, I do miss Kevin Conroy as Batman but what are we going to do? Life moves on. As with most of the DC animated movies the sound quality is excellent, you just have to listen to it with your eyes closed, then your imagination can do the rest. Through the animation though I did pick up on a few voices and themes in the music where you can notice a similarity with the live action films that are coming up this year and beyond. There was definitely some familiar tones from the music of the Christopher Nolan movies in there, but then again why wouldn’t there be?

High adventure, a lot of action, and bringing new characters in to the fray for future adventures. I still wish that we had the classic Batman the Animated series back, but if they keep the quality of the work up like this I’ll be one happy bunny, and I do have a bunny costume!

 

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