Review of the Batman: Bad Blood Blu-ray animated movie featuring Nightwing and extra content within Blu-ray Review: Batman: Bad Blood

Batman: Bad Blood is the latest DC Universe Original Movie featuring characters from the world of DC Comics. Although in the animated movies’ continuity it appears to happen after the “New 52” versions of the characters came into being, the story is based on a time prior to that part of the comics publication history, at a time where Dick Grayson, the original Robin and eventual Nightwing, teamed up with Bruce Wayne’s son, Damian, as a new Batman and Robin.

batman-bad-blood-blu-rayBefore we cut into the review, here’s the press release detailing the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack which came out last week:

When Batman goes missing, it will take the entire Bat “family” – including new additions Batwoman and Batwing – to keep the peace in Gotham City and unravel the mystery behind the Dark Knight’s disappearance in Batman: Bad Blood.  Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the all-new DC Universe Original Movie will be available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on February 2, 2016 on Blu-Ray™ Deluxe Edition, Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and DVD.

Batman: Bad Blood will be available on Blu-rayTM Deluxe Edition for $29.96 SRP, Blu-rayTM Combo Pack for $24.98 SRP and on DVD for $19.98 SRP.  The Blu-rayTM Combo Pack includes a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet. The Blu-ray™ Deluxe Edition will include the Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack, along with an exclusive Nightwing figurine in a numbered limited edition gift set. Fans can also own Batman: Bad Blood in Digital HD on January 19 via purchase from digital retailers.

The mysterious disappearance of Batman, coupled with the emergence of powerful and malevolent new villains in Gotham City, force Nightwing (voice of Sean Maher) and Robin (Stuart Allan) to take crime-fighting into their own hands – while simultaneously searching for their missing leader. They’re not alone for long. New super heroes Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) and Batwing (Gaius Charles) – each armed with her/his own sensibilities, physical abilities and crime-fighting tools – arrive in Gotham to assist in the cause.  As this new “family” strives to find its own dynamic, chilling clues lead the group to suspect the Dark Knight may have gone over to the dark side. It’s up to the entire Bat team to uncover the truth before Gotham City falls prey to its greatest threat yet.

“Batman: Bad Blood is a thrill-ride that will keep every fan on the edge of their seat,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing. “Featuring an original story, a top-notch voice cast and dynamic new characters, Batman: Bad Blood is an essential addition to the DC Universe Original Movie collection.”

As the voice of Batman, Jason O’Mara (Complications, Terra Nova) leads a celebrity-laden cast that includes Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, 24, The Astronauts Wives Club) as Batwoman/Katherine Kane, Morena Baccarin (Homeland, Gotham) as Talia al Ghul, Sean Maher (Firefly, Serenity, Much Ado About Nothing) as Nightwing, Gaius Charles (Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights, Aquarius) as Batwing, Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) as Lucius Fox, and Stuart Allan (Batman vs. Robin) as Robin/Damian Wayne. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, Batman: Bad Blood is directed by Jay Oliva (Man of Steel, Batman vs. Robin) from a script by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman vs. Robin). James Tucker (Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Batman vs. Robin) is Supervising Producer. Benjamin Melniker & Michael Uslan are Executive Producers. Sam Register is Executive Producer.

So, how is it?

badbloodcharactersThe Movie: Aside from a little oddness in some of the faces, the animation style is clean and fairly realistic, and the character designs – especially very impressive looks for Nightwing and Damian – are on point. This animated feature introduces the Kate Kane Batwoman to the world, and Luke Fox aka Batwing, the star of a sadly underrated comic book series, also take flight. As a comic book enthusiast, I loved seeing these characters in a feature, and I appreciated how accessible their stories were without drastically changing what is known from the comics. I admit I did miss my personal favorite Robin, Tim Drake, but it wasn’t enough to make me hate on the film.

batmanbadbloodThe movie really belongs to the Nightwing/Dick Grayson character, and it solidifies why I think Dick is one of the best characters in the entire DC roster. Teen sidekick who in some ways becomes a better hero than his mentor? Great stuff. And while, again, Tim is my favorite Robin, I thought Damian was handled well here. The inclusion of Batwoman and Batwing, as I said, was also a plus, and I also appreciated that all aspects of Kate Kane’s personal life were not ignored.

The action – which is also covered in one of the Blu-ray exclusive features – is fantastic, as are the threats faced by our heroes. If I have any complaint – and I’ve had this with some of the other DC movies – it is the need for unnecessary bad language, surely to justify a PG-13 rating. I’m not a prude, but it just feels forced; adult for the sake of being adult. Except, I will admit, I will take salty language from Damian, where it’s funny in a Hit Girl sort of way.

A movie like this REALLY makes me wish there was an actual TV show about the Batman family. Not Gotham, but of the group of heroes that make Batman great today. Or, heck, at least a Nightwing series.

The Extras: Beyond trailers for things like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, there’s an awesome featurette looking at the next DC animated feature that includes the Teen Titans. I’m really excited for this one, as Bryan Q. Miller, a longtime favorite from Smallville and Batgirl comics, is writing it. I’ll have to check it out.

The deluxe numbered gift set for this release features an exclusive Nightwing figurine, again using the awesome design from this animated feature. Hey, DC: Nightwing looks great in blue and black. Remember this when you inevitably put Dick back in the costume.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray are two featurettes — one spotlighting the fights of the various Batman animated productions, and — more of a highlight to me — a look at the Batman extended family of characters. That latter one was more up my alley, as it looked at a lot from the comics. Additionally, the Blu-ray has two classics from the DC vault – the Batman: Brave and the Bold episode “The Knights of Tomorrow,” which is always a favorite as my good friend Jake Black co-wrote that one; and the Batman: The Animated Series “Avatar.”

Is It Worth It? I haven’t seen the entire range of DC Universe animated features, but if they are all as good as this one, I might have to go out of my way to check them out. There seems to be a lot of talent involved here, and the movie made me happy the way Young Justice used to make me happy. So, yes, this is good.

Final Thought: Why is the movie called “Bad Blood?” Darned if I know.

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Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.