Batman: Bad Blood (2016, 74 minutes)
Plot: When Batman goes missing, Batwoman, Nightwing, and Robin are forced to team up to try to find him. But things are nowhere near that easy.
Source Material: This is the direct sequel to Son of Batman and Batman vs Robin, making it solidly a part 3 in the series. Once more the project riffs on the comics, borrowing a bit from the late Morrison run with Dick Grayson as Batman and Talia al Ghul as a mastermind. Batwoman’s arrival is taken from the ever great 52 complete with a brief appearance from Renee Montoya. Batwing shows up from the New 52. Really this thing is wall to wall nods to the comics.
Animation: Jay Oliva is once more directing and the film follows his usual standard. This really would look fantastic on the big screen with epic fights and stunning scenery. WB has stepped up their game well. One unfortunate step though: Was it necessary to have Batwoman’s robe open during a fight at home so we could see her bra and panties? It just felt wrong.
Script: J.M. DeMatteis returns to write so we’re back in strong territory. As this is the third film, standing alone isn’t an issue as much as continuing the series and this does that very well. As with BvR, this is an unexpectedly dense film with multiple new characters getting strong introductions and a plot that twists nicely. It’s a bit messier than the normal DTV film being a Batman family film but honestly I kind of enjoyed that. Also, major points for keeping Katherine Kane’s lesbianism. There hasn’t been much representation on that front in these.
Voice Acting: We’re pretty much dealing with the usuals staying at full strength with Sean Maher’s Nightwing taking on a larger role which Maher handles great. Yvonne Strahovski does a crackling job as Batwoman, bringing genuine emotion to the role and making me feel for the character. Geoff Pierson plays her father, which was simply nice because I like Pierson and was glad to see him in a film. Same with Ernie Hudson as Lucius Fox. No weak links here.
Final verdict: It’s hard to express from the rubric but I do feel like this is a bit less cohesive than the previous film, especially as it goes on, which seems to be a problem of third parts. As I try to limit 5s for the very exceptional, I can’t quite go there on this one. However this is the absolute strongest 4 I can give. This entire trilogy would’ve made for a very satisfying afternoon at the movies.