Monday, March 7, 2016

Batman: Bad Blood

Batman: Bad Blood is the third straight-to-DVD movie in the series that began with 2014's Son of Batman. Following the events of Batman vs. Robin, the third movie continues to adapt previous comic storylines (this time both Dick Grayson's temporary stint as Batman and the events of "Leviathan") while growing Batman's supporting cast. Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Bad Blood begins with Batman's (Jason O'Mara) disappearance from Gotham while saving new vigilante Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) from an attack by the League of Assassins led by the Heretic (Travis Willingham).

Realizing Gotham needs a Batman, Nighwing (Sean Maher) takes on the mantle of the Bat while working along with Batwoman and Damian (Stuart Allan) to keep Gotham safe while investigating Batman's whereabouts. Like most of Grant Morrison's later work, "Leviathan" is messy, over-complicated, and flawed. DeMatteis takes the best aspects of the story, boiling it down, and merges it with Dick and Damian's entertaining time as the Dynamic Duo.

Better than Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood not only gives us Dick in the classic Batman costume but also doesn't overplay the limitations of the Heretic, knowing when to drop the character in favor of Talia (Morena Baccarin) and the movie's various other villains. Sure, this means we get far too much of Tusk (John DiMaggio) but it also saves audiences from Morrision's original intentions for the Heretic. Strahovski is a good choice for Batwoman (who gets far more screen time than Bruce Wayne, in or out of costume, this time around).

The movie isn't without its flaws. Batwing's (Gaius Charles) subplot could easily have been saved for the next film as his hero origin feels a bit rushed here. Batman and Nightwing both recover insanely quickly from mental and physical tolls of the adventures. And, for a movie about the League of Assassins, we get far more of an odd collection of D-list super-villains working for Talia than any actual assassins (or any of the army of Man-Bats we've seen the previous films).

Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a pair of episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a sneak peek at Justice League vs. Teen Titans, and featurettes on Batman fight sequences and expanding the Bat Family to include both Batwoman and even Batgirl (in the movie's final scene).

[Warner Home Video, Blu-ray $24.98 / DVD $19.98]

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