BATMAN: BAD BLOOD Review

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Review: Batman Bad Blood
Written by: J.
M. DeMatteis
Directed by:
Jay Oliva
This is a review of the movie only.
Before we
get into the Spoilers below, let me give you a quick spoiler-free review of the
movie:
Welcome back
to the world of the DC Animated Universe, Batman:
Bad Blood
is the latest in a very well received line of direct-to-home
market releases from Warner Animated. 
This time we return to Gotham City for the latest adventures of the Dark
Knight… or do we?
The movie
was essentially a condensed and modified version of Grant Morrison’s Batman run
from RIP through the end of Batman Incorporated.  (A comic run I cannot recommend strongly
enough, call me a Morrison fanboy all you want.) They hit on the loss of Batman,
the rise of Batwoman and everyone’s favorite part of Morrison’s run; Dick and
Damian as Batman and Robin.
They also
hit on Talia as an unrepentant villain. 
Which, despite what some people might think, is how the character works
best.  When all is said and done considering
how much they cover in seventy minutes, Bad Blood is pretty satisfying.  Like most of the direct-to-home market movies
it tells a solid story on one level for the uninitiated but on another level it
hints at a lot of other interesting things for people like me that know the
story they’re telling.
The voice
work is good, O’Mara is a good Batman and Stuart Allen is still a good
Damian.  Sean Maher does most of the
heavy lifting and Yvonne Strahovski is a welcome addition to the cast.  (I’ll probably be playing through Mass Effect
2 again after this.)
The moments
of fan service like the Nolan-verse Wayne Enterprises Logo and Dick rocking the
Yellow Oval Bat-symbol were unobtrusive and the cameo at the make me smile.
This was a
good time and I recommend you pick up Bad Blood if you haven’t already.
And now the
SPOILER Recap:
For Spoiler Space, here’s a picture of Batman and Robin issue number one:
 
The movie
opens on the Gotham Skyline as a news report brings us up to speed on the
kidnapping of made man “Chuckie Sol” (I see what you did there JM
DeMatteis) and the press’ speculation that a new turf war is raging between
Black Mask and his rivals.  Recent DC
Animated history tells us this is never a good thing for Black Mask.
In a Gotham
warehouse, Sol is hung upside down from the rafters by “C-List”
villains led by Tusk, Firefly, Killer Moth and the Electrocutioner.  They’re after a weapon’s shipment but it
seems someone’s after them.  From the
shadows a figure begins taking them out but when they start firing bullets it’s
revealed that it’s Batwoman and not Batman.
However, our
title character isn’t far behind and it seems he’s as much at odds with
Batwoman as he is with the thugs.  Before
long the villains are dispatched but you can’t have a bunch of C-Listers
teaming up without a new threat emerging. 
Our new man has set the whole thing up to take out Batman it seems and
as Batwoman watches from the Gotham Bay, he blows up the warehouse with Batman
inside.
Later, we
find Damian Wayne in the Tibetan monastery he traveled to in Batman vs Robin and after a long day of
scrubbing floors (to learn humility, no doubt) he learns that Batman has gone
missing.  Damian packs up his things and
leaves for Gotham.
In
Bludhaven, Nightwing is late for a date with Starfire but he has a good reason
in the form of Blockbuster. 
Unfortunately for his love life Alfred calls him back to Gotham.  The next morning we meet Luke Fox, fresh out
of the army as he waits for his father to finish up a board meeting being led
by Bruce.  However this is subterfuge, as
Alfred is using the Batcomputer to pose as Bruce in the Batcave.
When Dick
arrives Alfred tells him that Bruce has been missing for over two weeks and
unlike other occasions where Bruce has gone missing, he’s found no way to
communicate with Alfred.  What’s worse,
Batman’s absence has been noted.  Both
Dick and Alfred know exactly what needs to be done.
That night
Kate Kane aka Batwoman meets up with her father, she’s been trying to find
Batman but she’s pretty sure he’s been killed. 
Their meeting is cut short by the Bat-signal in the night sky and
shortly thereafter the Batmobile going by.
Batman’s on
his way to break up a weapon’s shipment for Black Mask.  But remember, nothing goes well for Black
Mask in the DCAU.  Not only does Batman
show up, but Robin as well and with a well-placed sai, Black Mask’s gun blows up
in his face.  After Black Mask’s thugs
are dispatched, Damian makes it clear that Dick isn’t fooling him. 
Later on the
pair is in the Batmobile when they notice they’ve got a tail.  Batwoman has been following Dick all night to
make sure of Bruce’s death.  She tells
them what happened that night but when Dick offers to team up she balks.  Later, Alfred brings Dick and Damian up to
speed on Batwoman with Bruce’s files. 
The next
night, Batwoman meets up with her father for an intel briefing.  The man that took out Batman is called the
Heretic and he’s been gathering up a criminal army for nearly a year.
At Wayne
Tower, Luke’s meeting up with his father but before he can get his father to
admit to outfitting Batman with tech the Heretic has arrived and he’s after
Waynetech’s secret armory of Batman’s prototype tech.  Lucius is able to trigger the silent alarm to
alert Dick but when the Heretic threatens to kill Luke he surrenders the vault.
After his
men take what they’re after, Heretic stabs Lucius but before he can finish off
the men Batman and Robin arrive.  Heretic
makes quick work of Dick but when it looks like Electrocutioner is about to
kill Robin so he kills him instead then makes his escape.
We then find
Bruce in a nightmare courtesy of Jervis Tetch aka the Mad Hatter.  He’s working for the Heretic who has been working
for Talia al Ghul as she plots to conquer the world.
Luke is with
his father in the hospital when Dick arrives. 
Luke’s seen more than enough of his father’s part in Bruce Crusade to
just walk away when his father may die. 
Dick tries to talk him out of it but he’s interrupted by a call from
Alfred.
Dick meets Batwoman
on a rooftop and reveals that he knows who she is thanks to Batman.  He then reveals himself to her and invites
her along to patrol.  Kate reveals that
one night she was accosted outside a bar by four men when she was saved by Batman.  After that night she promised to never be a
victim again by fighting crime.
At the
Batcave, despite Dick and Alfred wanting him to rest Damian is about to sneak
out to find the Heretic but the Heretic finds him and kidnaps him.  Meanwhile, Luke Fox has returned to the Wayne
Tech vault and got his hands on a prototype Batsuit and Batwing is born.
Heretic has
brought Damian to a convent outside Gotham and presented him to Hatter.  The Heretic reveals he’s a clone of Damian
and that he’s been modified by Talia to be a perfect soldier.  However, the Heretic has felt something
missing and he intends to use Damian’s memories to fill the void his lack of
life experiences has left.  When Talia
arrives, she kills the Heretic and orders Hatter to wipe Damian’s mind.
Dick and
Kate storm the convent and the Sisters of Perpetual Grace reveal themselves to
be the kind of nuns that Grant Morrison would be proud of, the kind that wield
katanas and machine guns.  Or as Dick
puts it, “Nunjas.”
Firefly and
Killer Moth arrive but so does Batwing and there’s a big action piece.  Talia orders a retreat, leaving Damian and
the still unconscious Bruce behind. 
After the convent has been leveled and the bad guys beaten.  Bruce orders Dick and Damian back to the Cave
then orders them to cut Kate and Luke out of the loop.
A few days
later Bruce is preparing to keynote a technology summit with world leaders.  Also, because he’s Bruce Wayne, the facility
the summit is in takes off out of the water headed for orbit.
Meanwhile, Kate
is at home and talking to Dick on the phone when her father arrives with
groceries.  Mr. Kane’s cell phone rings
and he pulls a gun on Kate forcing her to take him down. 
At the tech
summit, Hatter along with Tusk and Calculator have arrived to put Talia’s plan
in motion.  Using the tech they stole
from the vault they begin to brainwash all the attendants of the Summit to work
for Talia.
Nightwing,
Robin, Batwoman and Batwing storm the summit and we get another big fight.  While this is happening, Alfred sets out to
find Hatter and put a stop to his brainwashing and Luke has a midair fight with
Firefly that causes problems for everyone when Firefly is pulled into a jet
intake and blows up on if the thrusters controlling the summit’s takeoff.
Damian has
drawn Tusk in the villain fight lottery, and while he’s doing pretty well when
Tusk falls over the edge of a catwalk Damian show he has been taking his
father’s teachings to heart and tries to save the metahuman.
He and Luke
then work together to stop the summit from crashing into Wayne Tower and
killing thousands of people.  As for
Kate, she and Talia have a pretty intense fight themselves but all this is the
undercard. 
The big
fight is between Bruce and Dick, thanks to Talia’s brainwashing Bruce is brutal
and efficient.  As you might expect from
a fight between a brainwashed Batman and a one-armed Nightwing, Bruce subdues
him easily.  However, when Talia orders
him to kill Dick and Damian Bruce is able to overcome the brainwashing in time
to save Dick from Talia.
Talia uses
her ultimate weapon, the “Beloved Speech,” to escape.  Still, the day is saved.
From there,
it’s time to wrap things up.  Kate has
lunch with her father and potential girlfriend, Renee Montoya.  Luke checks in on his father as Batwing.  Dick talks to Alfred and Damian and Bruce
bond over the memory of his mother.
That night
as the Bat Signal shines in the night sky, the now larger Bat-family gathers to
take down the Penguin.  However we have
one more surprise after they take off into the night.  The Batgirl of Burnside steps out of the
shadows and takes off into the night to join in on the fight.
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