Batman: Bad Blood deals with the theme of family as Batman finds himself facing a threat unlike any other.
Batman: Bad Blood was originally titled ‘Bat-Family’ and although the name has changed the crux of the story has not. This film explores the Bat-Family and introduces a few new members to it via a trial by fire. The first new family member is one that is reluctant to be affiliated with Batman, Robin and Nightwing. Batwoman, aka Katherine Kane, lost her family in an act of terrorism. Much like Bruce, she witnesses the death of her mother and twin sister as he father was only able to save her. Lost to a world of sex, drugs and late nights she had a brief encounter with the Dark Knight as he saved her life. This would lead her to suit up and putting on the cowl of the Batwoman. Her methods are not approved by Batman but she is the last person to come into contact with Batman; before his untimely death.
Claiming to be superior to Batman in every way and able to predict Bruce’s every movement and emotion, the new warrior of the League of Shadows is Heretic and, much like Batman, he is fearless in the pursuit of his goals. He explodes on the scene, pun intended, and within mere minutes of meeting the Batman. Heretic and his band of goons “take care” of the Batman; leaving Katherine to witness his death; weeks go by and Batman never shows up. Alfred alerts Batman’s sons and they return to Gotham. With one taking up the role of Batman and the other Robin. Yes, the Batman in this film is wearing a different costume for a reason. It is Nightwing who has become the hero that Gotham needs. But these are not the only new characters. We get introduced to a slightly less conventional type of Bat. In fact, he is unlike any other family member and this does not boil down to the colour of his skin.
After Lucious Fox is stabbed by Heretic, his son Luke realises that without Batman nobody is safe in Gotham. Using a prototype suit designed by Lucious, Luke becomes Batwing, a hero that is the perfect blend between talent and technology. Using advanced robotics and mechanics, Batwing is able to fly and is covered in an armoured suit. The design of this suit looks great and it really works well with this film. In fact, all of the character designs look great and their proportions remain fairly consistent throughout. Although this is not my favorite Batwing suit, it does get the job done by introducing a brand new, memorable hero to the city of Gotham. But these are not the only cameos; as we get to see lots of other Batman character both hero and villain alike.
Every family has its issues, and it is in this film that the Batman family will address the issues that they have been forced to deal with. While the story might be rather predictable to fans of the franchise, it is good to see how close the writing has kept the characters to their comic counterparts. Katherine’s sexuality is not hidden in this film. They make it well known that she is attracted to the same sex. So it is not swept under the rug. Instead, we get to see her on dates – that lead to cameos as well. Nightwing has to deal with the issues that come with the cowl. He never wanted to be Batman but he is forced to realise that there has to be a Batman and without Batman there is no law.
The sequence of events plays out quite well and the story is easy to understand, thanks to some clever storytelling being accompanied by some crisp and appealing art. The writing is great as it manages to fit in some great jokes even in the heat of battle. This is also the first time we witness the Batman telling jokes! As far as the final plot goes, that is definitely less memorable and the Leagues plans seem somewhat uncreative and predictable.
The voice acting is great. The usual suspects have returned for their respective roles and the new characters are voiced by some rather popular film and series actors such as Ernie Hudson, Gasius Charles and Yvonne Strahovski. Popular voice actor Vanessa Charles also lends her talents to this film as she plays the role of Katherine’s love interest.
Overall, the movie is a good one and is definitely among the favorites in the Batman Animated and DC animated Universes. Whilst the final evil plot seems somewhat cheesy and rushed, the events that lead up to it are memorable. This makes for some great entertainment.