Batman: Bad Blood (2016)

They say blood is thicker than water but for the Wayne’s surrogates perspective it’s called family!

Batman - Bad BloodWarner Bros. Animation in association with DC Entertainment and Warner Home Video present…

The sequel to the direct to video DC animated film “Batman vs Robin”, Bad Blood takes centre stage when a group of criminals are being confronted head on by the Batwoman voiced by Yvonne Strahovski (I, Frankenstein) she is Katherine Kane, headstrong, uses guns and has a personal void to fill when it comes to her connection with the big Bat!

The loner heroine was first introduced as Katy Kane in Detective Comics No. 233 on July 1956. She was created by Sheldon Moldoff and Edmond Hamilton. The purpose of her birth was a bit in controversy since at the time Bruce was questioned about his sexuality due to an earlier book titled “Seduction of the Innocent” on 1954, she was brought in to be his love affair of sorts. Later on, she was re-introduced as Kate Kane in 52 No. 7 on June 2006 re-introduced by co-creators Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid and Ken Lashley where she was given a more definite role as Gotham’s protector since Batman was declared missing. Also, in this version, she is now a Jewish by descent and a lesbian in order to connect better with the public’s interest most especially with the LGBT community!

Directed by Jay Oliva (Son of Batman), the film tries to tackle so many angles all at once with Batman in AWOL, with Richard Grayson also known as Nightwing portrayed by Sean Maher (Best Friends Forever) not eagerly coming back to take on the mantle until they could find out what really happened with their surrogate father! While the real son Damien Wayne the current Robin also returning from the two prequels Stuart Allan (Rise of the Guardians) leaves his isolated training in the mountains to help look for answers (and still being a moody prick).

This is where Jay holds the fort of handling another set of films that was actually based “still from the comic books, they were able to tell these stories from another perspective plus providing some of the best used art of combat and fight scenes but having these grounds of making it to the “next level” is a bit ambitious so to speak since its definitive to make the film exciting to watch but not interesting enough in terms of the plot, character development and cohesiveness of the stories involved!

Like Jason O’Mara (High Stakes) is billionaire “bucket list” Bruce Wayne, the Batman who was gone for the most part of the film and coming back having his mind shattered and controlled by the same woman who left him their child for guidance, enter Morena Baccarin (Deadpool) is Talia al Ghul who suddenly has a change of heart. You don’t even realize when was the turning point of Talia being the lead villain while mitigating her actions to her subordinates and to the man with “mommy issues” codenamed Heretic voiced by Travis Willingham (Mass Effect: Paragon Lost).

Then there was the “Spielberg Formula” wherein cases of parent to children situations were given light to explore better their relationships since they all have been yearning for something:

Moving on with trauma was her breaking point, a memory of being rescued by her dad Col. Jacob Kane voiced by Geoffey Pierson (Unhappily Ever After) from a kidnapping more so seeing her mother and sister died in the hands of terrorists, Kathy led a life of misery and one night changed her, with full resolve she picks herself up and began being a vigilante! She even has personal issues with her gender, knowing that she is a lesbian currently having a relationship with a police officer; it’s only a good thing that she has her father’s blessing!

Independence and freedom are the main concerns for Luke Fox played by Gaius Charles (Salt) a soldier facing his decisions while trying to convince his father what he is right now has served his life with good intentions while Lucius Fox played by Ernie Hudson (You’re Not You) was given the role for the Wayne Enterprises CEO and President.

Dedication and responsibility could be harsh since trying to grow up from the young upstart Robin then becoming Nightwing, being a sidekick outgrew him and let him changed his paths with Batman. But it did not stop there since he still needs to be part of a bigger clan even if he doesn’t want too anymore. This burden that Richard carries has been his pain and if Bruce could only see better what his “eldest son” has been sacrificing then it won’t hurt that much considering they are more than just partners in crime fighting!

To a further extent, their Butler may not be a superhero of sorts but Alfred Pennyworth played by James Garrett (Titanic) have seen all the boys grow up starting with Bruce and in spite of his stature, he is regarded as the backbone and glue of the family, it’s the same reason why he needs to devote his time determinedly to keep pace with their sanity especially with the latest child Damien having been included in the fold of late!

I like the way they approach the diversity of films making more original ones rather than coming from the comic books and graphic novels. But there is a huge difference in terms of quality and it would seem that these stories are less capable to persuade audiences especially the fan boys to really feel the essence of the Batman as a legend and the dark knight of Gotham City!

Another peeve comes into play where the creators do say they would want originality to be the key point of selling these animated features although it’s a standalone plot of an arc or series but on the contrary it does get plot details from storylines from the books which only shows self-defeating nuances. To add, a weak introduction from the opening credits can speak for itself, how they manage to begin the story and place this title cards give way to mediocrity at best!

On the other hand, the voice actors taken to give life to these characters are well deserved. Retaining these actors for the series arc can help generate familiarity with the Bat family, their allies and the villains which also brings us to this commendation of giving chances to lesser known criminals like Killer Moth, Calculator, Electrocutioner, Tusk, Firefly and Hellhound to have the spotlight!

Although not serving grand purpose of conquering the bat but merely as punching bags of course with a bigger, badder and wiser provocateur pulling the strings for the finale to be much more bitter sweet! Speaking of which, the whole investigating, back stories and fisticuffs have somehow ruined or hindered the world’s governments being mind controlled by the latest technology and voicing Mad Hatter’s genius is Robin Atkin Downes (Prometheus), giving it only a few minutes to show credit for!

In closing I applaud Jay and company for instilling the theme “Bad Blood” for it was everywhere!        It was good to see new characters and how they try to develop a film series involving the bat universe. Albeit modest in terms of trying something different for a change it does give promise to what can be expected in future projects from Warner Bros. and Dc Comics but I still prefer the great stories having been told by great writers and artists and just could fancy that “Hush”, “For Tomorrow”, “Rann-Thanagarr War”, “The Flash: Rebirth”, “Green Lantern: Rebirth”, “Superman: War of the Supermen”, “Last Son” and “Death of the Family” just on top of my head!

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