Movie Review: Batman’s Bad Blood Is Sour
Much ado about The Dark Knight.
Maybe it’s the Nigerian in me but Batman: Bad Blood might as well be named Batman Bad Belle something.
Released on the second day of February 2016 (officially at least; I had the movie at least two weeks earlier) Bad Blood is another entry in a long line of dismissible DCU Animated Movies. Just like the lukewarm entries Son of Batman and Batman Vs Robin were, Bad Blood serves up so much potential – and then smothers it after the first five minutes.
Continuing the trend of using Batman in the title because he’s a guaranteed money-maker (Batman: Assault on Arkham, Batman/Superman: Apocalypse to name a couple), Bad Blood is a Batman story that has little to do with Batman. The Caped Crusader disappears mysteriously after a firefight in which he rescues Batwoman (Batsighs, anyone?), leaving Alfred desperate enough to call in a reluctant Nightwing to assume his mentor/guardian’s mantle. Then starts a smorgasbord of attempted delights that end up spiraling into tragedy in a hurry.
Batwoman, makes her onscreen debut here, crashing the interrogation of a criminal by other criminals, but gets her wings tangled in a hurry and has to be saved by Batman himself. She is a strong presence in the movie and DC utilizes what could only be called perfect timing to introduce; at least to the screen, a character with other sexual preferences. Very much like Huntress, she reinforces the mentality of most female characters in the Dark Knight’s life (with the exception of one; more on that later); ‘I don’t need his permission or protection, but he basically created me and he’s awesome and I so desperately want to impress him’.
She impresses me sha.
I honestly cannot figure out why Batwing (Luke Fox) is in this movie at all. Apart from a few gaping plot holes, the character is simply there for the sake of an introduction. I can forgive the Iron-Man-esque uniform donning; but I would like to ask director Jay Olivia just how he figured out where the armor was and how to use it. Maybe it comes with a user manual.
Or maybe he has brains like a bat. Duh.
Nightwing is still very much an unknown character despite being in the Batsuit more than the original owner himself; most of his back story is revealed via dialogue. It’s disheartening that such a solid character is still being relegated to the sidelines, but what else do you expect when he keeps being shown alongside the Dark Knight?
He should have his own movie by now.
But apart from that, I cannot get over how easy it is for Nightwing to remove his mask and show Batwoman who he is, thereby indirectly revealing Batman’s and Damien’s secret identities. I think he should be smacked upside the head for that one.
Damien is well, still being Damien – except somehow he has grown to love and respect his father. Somewhere in the movie, as he saves a villain he knocked off a walkway, he mumbles to himself; “Justice, not vengeance. Justice, not vengeance”; the lesson Bats tried so hard to instill in him the preceding movies.
Basically, my issue with the cartoon can be narrowed down to that – the cast. Even the bad guys suffer casualties, Talia Ghul suddenly and inexplicably hates her son and his father – and wants to control the world (I hope they do an issue in which it is explained as Ra’s messing with her mind because it totally makes no sense), The Heretic is a clone of Damien who wants Damien’s memories and doesn’t have enough time on screen for us to care about him one way or the other. It was nice seeing Killer Moth; and The Mad Hatter is a schweet villain. Unfortunately, the Hatter couldn’t keep his hat – or his head for that matter.
The fight sequences are fantastic and well-choreographed, fighting styles as individual as the costumes and the names of their wearers. The art is mediocre at best; it’s been the same illustrative style since Son of Batman and it isn’t visually appealing.
The people behind this new direction for the Batman would do well to study up on all-time Batman animation classics like The Batman Animated Adventures, The Justice League of America series and Batman: Under The Red Hood. Jason Mara isn’t a bad voice for Bats, but personally, the ONLY perfect voice for Batman will always be Kevin Conroy – the closest to him being Bruce Greenwood, the dude who voiced Bats in Young Justice. Stuart Allan continues his near-perfect run as the voice of Damien Wayne/Robin, providing the character with the perfect brashness of overeager youth.
I can pass over everyone else.
Frankly, Bad Blood is one to watch but I fear for its shelf-life. It is very colorful and glamorous; but at the end of the day, is quickly forgotten.