Following on from the events of last year’s Batman vs. Robin, Jay Oliva’s Batman: Bad Blood is the latest animated outing for the Caped Crusader and his cast of supporting characters. What’s interesting here, though, is that the Dark Knight actually plays second fiddle for the most part of the film as the early disappearance of the World’s Greatest Detective brings the Bat family together in order to protect Gotham City and to locate the presumed-dead Batman.
With Dick Grayson stepping into the mantle of the Bat and being joined by Damian Wayne’s Robin, there’s also the emergence of a new protector of Gotham: the mysterious Batwoman. As this new Batman brings this new heroine into his circle of trust, the three look to solve the puzzle behind Bruce Wayne’s whereabouts. In amongst the action, we see appearances by a myriad of familiar villains such as Mad Hatter, Blockbuster, Tusk, Firefly, Black Mask, and the ominous Heretic. Behind the shadows, though, and the brains behind recent happenings, there’s the ever-dangerous figure of Talia al Ghul. Can Gotham cope without the original Caped Crusader, and just what has really happened to Bruce Wayne?
With Bad Blood, Jay Oliva has put together a fantastic animated effort. Oliva, who also helmed the breathtaking two-part adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns and the equally-impressive Flashpoint Paradox, not to mention Justice League: War, Assault on Arkham and Batman vs. Robin, has crafted a film full of cinematic flair and brutal, snappy action, highlighted no better than during a stunning scene involving Batman and Robin attempting to thwart an attack on Wayne Enterprises by Heretic and his crew, and then there’s also a glorious flashback-cum-nightmare to that fateful night in Crime Alley.
A particular highlight here for longtime Bat fans is the dynamic between Dick and Damian, with the back-and-forths between the pair guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of those who loved this particular Batman and Robin pairing in the comic book world. But it’s not just with these two that the entertainment ends, for the film is full of great, snappy dialogue that manages to hit all the right beats.
This latest animated DC effort brings gravitas and jaw-dropping mood-setting moments to what we see play out, whether it’s encapsulating the tone that only Gotham City can emanate or showing the turmoil and troubles that Dick Grayson has had to endure over the years as he struggles with living in the shadow of the Bat. And then there’s the brilliant introduction of Batwoman, an instantly-likeable character who has her own murky backstory.
To some, the film may suffer because of a lack of the Dark Knight himself, and others may claim that the film becomes too crowded by its close (although the movie’s final shot is a great stinger), but Bad Blood manages to make you realise why you love Batman and his world so much yet without even really featuring the main course himself.
Special Features: Two featurettes / An exclusive look at Justice League vs. Teen Titans / Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Knights of Tomorrow / Batman: The Animated Series - Avatar
BATMAN: BAD BLOOD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JAY OLIVA / SCREENPLAY: J.M. DEMATTEIS / STARRING: JASON O’MARA, YVONNE STRAHOVSKI, SEAN MAHER, STUART ALLEN, MORENA BACCARIN / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 18TH