HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Batman: Bad Blood
HTS Overall Score:79
With over 20 entries into the DC animated library, Batman makes up a very large percentage of them. Arguably the most well-known DC super hero (even above Superman), the Dark Knight has become a staple of the animated universe with DC giving him their best year after year. I used to not like the dark seriousness of the new 52 universe that these animated films model themselves after. I was much more a fan of the good old Bruce Timm days, such as “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Batman Beyond” and the like, but they are started to grow on me, and especially this iteration of Batman and Damian in their struggling father son conflict. Wrapping of the “Son of Batman” trilogy, “Batman: Bad Blood” is a fast past action movie that goes straight for the jugular with a blinding array of action scenes with an even bigger cast of heroes struggling over who is more dark and brooding. It’s fun, not the best of the trilogy, but still a solid entry into the new DC animated universe.
Batman (Jason O’Mara) is presumed dead. At the beginning of the film he helps out the mysterious Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) fend off attacks from Tusk, Firefly and a brand new force of nature known as the Heretic (Travis Willingham) only to be lost in an explosion. Now Gotham is panicking as the caped crusader hasn’t been seen in weeks. Knowing that this will bring out the bad guys like flies to rotting flesh, Nightwing (Sean Maher) takes up the mantle of Batman in order to keep the peace in Gotham. However, other forces have seen the news about Bruce Wayne/Batman falling off the face of the earth and we see a resurgence of the prodigal son. Returning home, Damian Wayne takes up his place as Robin once more and joins forces with the new “Batman” in order to track down real one.
Once the pair realize that Batwoman was the last one to see him alive, Nightwing and Damian bring her into the fold in hopes of having better odds. To make matters even MORE complicated, The Heretic breaks into Wayne enterprises and steals some of Lucius Fox’s (Ernie Hudson) private Wayne tech. stabbing Lucius and leaving him for dead, the Heretic finds out that he may have created another bat in Gotham. Luke Fox (Gaius Charles) has figured out that Wayne Enterprises and his father have a relationship with Batman and refuses to be let out of the fight. Stealing a top secret bat suit prototype, Batwing is born. With four bats searching the city it’s not long before they find Bruce. It seems that the Al Gul family is still alive and kicking, this time with Talia in charge after her father’s death. Holding Bruce for some secret reason, she is gearing up for a showdown that will pit father against daughter, mentor against trainees and brother against brother.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=64498[/img]Interestingly enough, Batman (at least the Bruce Wayne incarnation of Batman) is shown very little in “Bad Blood”. He’s presumed dead at the beginning of the film and until the halfway point we really don’t know if he’s alive or not. This has both pluses and minuses to the story, as I shall explain. The pluses are the fact that the story doesn’t spend a whole lot of time with exposition. It expects that you’ve already seen “Son of Batman” and “Batman vs. Robin” to familiarize yourself with Damian and this version of Nightwing. That allows the movie to get to the action much quicker and leaves us with more time for the chase. It also allows for the inclusion of all the “Bat” characters within a short space of time. In a matter of minutes we know who Batwoman is and what her motives are. The same can be said for Batwing. His father is put into a hospital after the Heretic steals the Wayne tech and his knowledge of Lucius’s involvement allows him to don the prototype Bat Suit in a matter of minutes.
With every set of positves, there is also a set of negatives. The lack of Batman and previous knowledge of the last two films in the saga also has us with the sensation that too many characters are being introduced too fast. Just as the “get down to it” method of leaping straight into the action is a lot of fun, it also makes it seem like the characters of Batwoman and Batwing are crammed into the story just for the sake of having more “Bat” super heroes. In fact that very well may be partially true, as “Bad Blood” is not taken from any specific comic, but was actually an original story that was to facilitate the introduction of Batwoman and Batwing to the universe (and Batgirl as well if you wait till just before the credits). It’s interesting and a lot of fun, but the action can only take you so far and there really felt like some additional story could have been added to pad the copious action scenes.
Rated PG-13 for violence throughout and some suggestive content
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=64506[/img]The DC animated films have always been nice looking pictures but usually hampered by the curse of banding, aliasing and mild halo effects. Some films show it more so than others, but this time it’s the worst it’s been for quite a few years. Gradient color banding is all throughout the film, making itself known mostly in the darker moments of the movie, but still showing up even in light scenes if you look for it (and you usually don’t have to look for it). There’s some aliasing thrown in for good measure and the halo effects are a bit of an eyesore. The colors are fantastic, and it showcases the same bright primary reds with deep shades of maroon and blue to round it out. The neon colors of Batwing’s power source shine bright as can be and the fine detail is about on par with the rest of the films. Good animation is the cornerstone of these films, and the resulting image is pretty decent, but unfortunately due to the digital artifacts that seem baked into the source animation the movie isn’t nearly as good as it could be.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=64514[/img]The audio, on the other hand, is one of the best I’ve heard from the series in a about as much time. “Bad Blood” takes no prisoners with an aggressive action oriented track that is not barren of LFE in any way shape or form. The explosions and fisticuffs rock you back in your chair with a punishing onslaught of bass that ripples throughout the track like a battering wave. Vocals are still clean and full, balanced well with the aggressive nature of the effects. Surrounds are full of activity as batarangs wine out of the air, and the batmobile turns a corner shifting from one end of the sound stage to another. The film is noisy, and full of activity, but there is still a distinct tone for each noise and a clarity that belies the made for TV/DTV source of the animated flick.
• From the DC Vault: Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Knights of Tomorrow
• From the DC Vault: Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The Criss Cross Conspiracy
• Putting the Fight in Gotham
• Expanding the Batman Family
• A Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Next Animated Movie: Justice League vs. Teen Titans
“Batman: Bad Blood” delivers the goods on the action, that’s for certain. It’s the most action packed of the trilogy and sometimes feels like it’s overflowing as the fluid animation kicks into high gear and the bat squad, as I like to call them, starts kicking League of Shadows tail. However, the animation makes the awkwardness of the narrative a bit obvious at times and leaves me feeling like it’s like “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Nolan verse. It had a great first film, a solid second film, and a third one that is not bad, just not on par with the previous efforts. Still, it’s a fun rollercoaster of action and a great setup for hopefully introducing Batgirl into the equation in the next film or so. Audio is FANTASTIC, and the video is acceptable, leaving me to recommend this one as a fun, but lesser, watch if you’ve enjoyed the previous DC animated films.
Starring: Jason O'Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan
Directed by: Jay Oliva
Written by: J.M. DeMatteis, Grant Morrison (Comic Book)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French, German, Spanish DD 5.1, Spanish DD 2.0
Runtime: 107 minutes
Own it on Blu-ray™ Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD 2/2
Recommendation: Recommended for a Watch.
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