Sunday, February 07, 2016

A Terrific Concept Is Wasted on 'Batman: Bad Blood'

Batman: Bad Blood is the sequel to last year’s Batman vs. Robin, and completes the trilogy that started with Son of Batman.  Here’s what it’s about in a nutshell:
  • Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman goes missing after saving Batwoman from a group of supervillains led by the enigmatic Heretic.
  • Batwoman investigates on Heretic.
  • Unsure of whether Bruce is alive or dead, Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing decides to take up the cowl of Batman to fill up the void left in Gotham by Bruce’s absence.
  • Damien Wayne a.k.a. Robin cuts his Himalayan sabbatical and returns to Gotham after learning of his father’s disappearance.
  • Talia al Ghul is plotting to take over the world which involves the use of mind control, and it’s up to the Bat family to stop her.
  • The son of Lucius Fox, Luke Fox, is drawn to the conflict and becomes Batwing.

This movie is my least favorite of the trilogy.  Come to think of it, among all Batman animated movies I’ve seen, this is what I liked least.  It does have a couple of positives, like the fight scenes and animation, and there are elements that could have been made into a better story.  But I felt it was a mess and unremarkable as a whole.

What I have to say I hated about this movie is wasting the opportunity of having a great animated movie wherein Dick Grayson is Batman and Damien Wayne as Robin – a brilliant, fresh concept conceived by Grant Morrison in Batman & Robin during the 2000’s because it changed the dynamic of the duo.  Such adaptation was probably at the top of the list of my dream DC animated movies.  But because the concept was already wasted in Bad Blood, I’m frustrated because it’s definitely not going to happen anymore.

Bad Blood would have been much, much, much better if the focus was solely on Batman (Grayson) and Robin during the entire movie.  Unfortunately, Bad Blood also wanted Batwoman, Batwing, and a ridiculous “world domination” plot by Tali al Ghul to be in the movie as well.  It would have been fine if being dense with characters and arcs had worked well for it, but it didn’t – there wasn’t enough space in the story to have thorough developments for them.  In addition, Dick was only Batman for a little while, and when Bruce returned, he reverted back to Nightwing instead of the two of them being both Batmen simultaneously and Damien remaining his Robin, as with the comics – which would have been cooler.

I also didn’t like that amidst the large cast, Bruce Wayne wasn’t given an opportunity to shine above the rest.  In fact, he was more of a plot device instead of a character in this movie.  Again, if Bad Blood was about Dick Grayson as Batman, that would be a different matter; I would have been fine with a lesser role for Bruce.  If that were the case, it would have even been okay if the movie ended with Bruce still missing and his return was reserved for the next installment.  But since the movie didn’t go that route, it definitely suffered from limiting Bruce Wayne’s role.

So, yeah, I wasn’t really impressed with Batman: Bad Blood.  Thus, I hope the next Justice League movie, wherein the team is going to clash with the Teen Titans (intriguing premise), would be great enough make up for it – considering I found the first two, War and Throne of Atlantis, lacking (I love the Elseworldy Gods and Monsters though).

Last thought: based on its last scene, if a solo Batgirl animated movie is coming up, that would be a nice consolation for wasting Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin premise on Bad Blood.

No comments: