New To Blu: Batman - Bad Blood

bad blood
We review the Batman Vs Robin animated sequel, new to blu this week. 

bad blood
I'm doing my best
Christian Bale voice right now. 
Even though enjoyed Batman Vs Robin, the newest sequel, Bad Blood, didn't feel like a necessary progression for me. I wasn't interested, but I dove in anyway with low expectations. The opening action segments were decent, though, if that's why you watch these movies. I, on the other hand, watch them for the lore and hoping to experience exciting new plots about my favorite comic book characters. True, Bad Blood does feature a fairly unique plot, further developing the Batman and Robin story in a fresh way, but it was difficult for me, even with low expectations to get into it... at first anyway.

I'm more intrigued by the gritty character conflicts in the Batman universe, twisted villain plots, or the internal struggle of Bruce Wayne. Before Bad Blood we saw Batman go toe-to-toe with Robin with the eerie Court of Owls coming between them in Batman Vs Robin. It made for engaging drama and fight sequences that had some tension driving them. I can't say the same for Bad Blood except for a light mystery that for some might be intriguing on its own. To me, however, the core of this mystery wasn't making much of an impact on anything. Right when I was getting comfortable in my boredom, though, Bad Blood takes a turn for the better.

This is a story about those in Bruce Wayne's life and their struggles and how they've dealt with the impact that Batman has had on their lives directly or indirectly. It's when all of these character's plots start to bear fruit that Bad Blood carves its own niche in the universe, one befitting of the Batman world.  

The first act doesn't find solid footing, but the second should grip you. Hardcore Batman fans should find some fresh intrigue to hang on to, especially regarding the Wayne family. Along the way, we're treated to some good action, a kick to the pacing that almost comes too late, and continued quality voice acting, especially from Stuart Allan, the young voice actor who imbues Damian Wayne with the angsty bite that the character needs. He's been an absolute joy since he was introduced to the series and continues to deliver. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Jason O'Mara's take on Batman. He's not bad at all, but personally, I wouldn't put him up there with the best either.  Thankfully, I couldn't say any one voice stood out as bad or even out of place, which can easily happen in these productions.

bad blood
Ask me if I'm 'naturally red' again
and I'll beat your ass. 
The film ultimately was pretty solid from beginning to end. In retrospect, rewatching it, knowing how well the plot and its characters come together, one might enjoy it more a second time. One of the only elements holding this series back is I feel they aren't fully embracing their mostly adult fan base. I think the producers still play it safe for small children while trying to entertain the older audiences.  Yes, they take on somewhat darker stories, with a subdued color palette to boot, but I can't help feeling like they're pulling some punches. When you throw words like "bitch" around in your story more than once, or gay romance, it's obvious they know their audience, yet curiously play it too safe in other ways such as the mild violence or lack of subtlety in the exposition. Fortunately, the animation and action feels a bit more visceral with each iteration, but I think these producers need to take more notes from the amazing Dark Knight Returns adaptation and pull out all the stops in future installments.

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Bad Blood is a good entry in to the series and a fun extension to the Batman and Robin story they're pushing forward. It doesn't reach the potential I personally would like it to as a fan of the darker, more twisted Batman stories, but it's fun nonetheless with quality voice acting, a good character plot, and some energetic action. For the hardcore fans, I think this is a must see and it will pique your interest for the future of the series. For the casual fans and kids, it's a great rainy day movie, but forgettable in the shadow of the better Batman animated films.


- JG Barnes