DC Universe Animated Original Movies (Part 24): Batman: Bad Blood

Hello, my friends.  The longtime side-excursion with the tie-in comics to “Gods & Monsters” is behind us as we move forward on this familiar series.  As such, welcome to another entry in the review series known as…

DC Universe A.O.M.

For this entry, we travel back towards a city of dangerous nights where more terrors await a family of heroes.  For that, we venture into a tale called…

Our Title Card!

Originally released on January 20, 2016 for digital download and on February 2 on DVD & Blu-Ray, this film serves as the third entry to a series of films that also consists of “Son Of Batman” and “Batman vs. Robin”.  Make sure to check out those reviews if you haven’t already.  In the meantime, let’s spill some PG-13 blood.

Chuckie Sol-Poor Gangster!Rogues-Nowhere To Go, Sol!

We open in Gotham City where a newscast states that Chuckie Sol (voiced by Matthew Mercer), a man with connections to Black Mask, was kidnapped by armed assailants.  The report goes on to say that this new gang consists of past Batman foes who are in a turf war with the aforementioned gang.  That night at a dockside facility, Sol is being tortured for information about an upcoming weapons shipment.  As long as Tusk (voiced by John DiMaggio) doesn’t get the necessary details, Electrocutioner (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes) gets to continue with his “shocking” methods.

Batwoman-You Never Looked Better!Batwoman-Here's A Shock To Your System!

Just then, a Batarang flies in and releases a smokescreen.  In the confusion, a certain silhouette begins to attack the group.  However, it also fires a bullet and wounds one of the thugs.  Electrocutioner finds it odd since a certain Caped Crusader doesn’t use guns.  His thought proves to be right as it turns out to actually be Batwoman (voiced by Sarah Walker herself, Yvonne Strahovski) who manages to subdue him by tying him up with a precise bola toss before knocking him out cold.

Batwoman-Hits Towards Hellhound!Batman-Haymakers On Hellhound!

After she fends off Hellhound (also voiced by Matthew Mercer), Batwoman gets blindsided by Tusk.  Fortunately, the muscular fiend gets punched away by the arrival of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (voiced by Jason O’Mara).  From there, he proceeds to fend off the remaining rogues.

Batman-We Don't Stoop To Their Level!.jpg

After getting back onto her feet, Batwoman says that she could have handled these thugs by herself.  However, Batman tells her that just dressing up “like a bat” isn’t enough to become a hero.  Just then, Hellhound starts to come after them.  Batwoman tries to use her handgun, but Batman disrupts her aim and berates her action.  Despite telling her to leave immediately, our two heroes continue to fight against their adversaries.

Firefly-Let's Turn Up The Heat!Killer Moth-Pester Time!

Just then, more powered-up henchmen entry the fray as Firefly (voiced by Steven Blum) and Killer Moth (voiced by Jason Sipsak) attack our heroes.  During the strike, Killer Moth releases three mobile droids from his pack.  Batwoman manages to shoot down two of them before running out of bullets.  As such, the remaining droid latches on and starts flying her around the facility.  Batman proceeds to give chase while taking care of Killer Moth in the process.

Once inside of a warehouse, Batwoman reloads her handgun and shoots at the droid.  It malfunctions and lets her go onto a nearby walkway.  However, she has little time to catch her breath as Firefly arrives with some grenades.  Batman manages to save her from the blast before using some Batarangs to disable his foe’s jetpack and cause him to crash onto the walkway.  Batman proceeds to interrogate him and learns that this wasn’t a break-in and that they’re working for somebody.

Just then, their answer comes along in the form of Heretic (voiced by Travis Willingham) and his right-hand assassin named Onyx.  Batman manages to hold his own, but Batwoman is completely outmatched by the towering behemoth before she’s thrown off the side of the walkway as the Dark Knight is forced to use his grappling hook to save her.

However, this leaves him open for attack as Onyx throws some daggers into his side.  From there, Heretic activates a trigger which starts blowing up the building.

With the warehouse rapidly going up in flames and with as much strength as he can muster, Batman swings his cable and sends Batwoman out through a window as she plummets towards the water.

Batwoman-Saved By Sacrifice!

After regaining consciousness, she makes her way back to the surface and overlooks the burning facility.  With the building in a flaming wreak, she’s also unable to see what happened to Batman.

Robin-Not The Training That He Was Hoping For!Robin-Trouble Back On The Homefront!

Following the title card, we then cut to the Himalayas where Damian Wayne a.k.a. Robin (voiced by Stuart Allan) has spent some time with the Monks.  However, he’s bummed that they currently have him on cleaning duty.  Sometime later, he heads back to his sleeping quarters for some much-needed rest.  He then pulls out his digital tablet to find out how the outside world is doing.  Just then, he comes across a news file that gets his attention.

James Gordon-Nothing To Worry About!Robin-Heading Home!

This leads him to a video file where Commissioner James Gordon (voiced by Bruce Thomas) is holding a press conference.  He tells the media that the Gotham Police Department is capable of keeping the city safe despite the fact that Batman is currently missing.  With the full awareness of his father’s disappearance, Damian departs from the monastery and starts heading for home.

Nightwing-All's Well & Good In The Haven!Blockbuster-Time To Spill Some Blüd!

We then cut to the city of Blüdhaven where Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing (voiced by Sean Maher) is fighting a gigantic thug named Blockbuster (also voiced by John Dimaggio).  While fending off his adversary, Dick engages in bluetooth conversation with a certain lady.

Blockbuster-Bad Way To Bow Out!Nightwing-Next Time, Starfire!

The fight makes its way to a nearby construction site before Nightwing brings it to an end by cutting a cable.  This sends a wreaking ball down onto Blockbuster, crushing him in the process.  Just as he’s about to make his way to Kori (voiced by Kari Wahlgren), Alfred has sent out an emergency signal.  A frustrated Nightwing is forced to call off his date before he heads out towards Wayne Manor.

Bruce Wayne-Everything Is Swimmingly!Alfred-Filling In For Master Bruce!

The next day at Wayne Enterprises, a business meeting is being held.  Ms. Bannister (also voiced by Kari Wahlgren) tells “Bruce” that his rainforest trip seem ill-timed due to the impending arrival of the World Tech Summit.  However, he states that the big meeting isn’t until next week and that he’s studying some rare herbs for medical purposes, to which even Lucius Fox (voiced by Winston Zeddemore & Sgt. Albrecht himself, Ernie Hudson) approves of since it should help out financially.  What the rest of their fellow workers aren’t aware of is that Alfred Pennyworth (voiced by James Garrett) is covering his absence via special projections and a voice replicator.

Nightwing-Bruce Has Been Gone For Far Too Long!Nightwing-Can't Escape His Shadow!

After he ends transmission, Nightwing shows up.  We find out in their conversation that Batman has been missing for 15 days and that something like this has happened before, but not without Alfred being notified.  He worries that if the police have noticed about Batman’s disappearance, then the unlawful underworld would ultimately catch on.  With criminal activity on the rise, Nightwing (against his own wishes) decides to take on the mantle of the Dark Knight.

Lucius Fox-Welcome Home, Luke!.jpg

Back at Wayne Enterprises, Lucius sees his son Luke Fox (voiced by Brian “Smash” Williams & Dr. Shane Ross himself, Gaius Charles) waiting outside of the meeting room.  We learn from their conversation that Luke has a good background with math & physics and that he served in the military, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Originally meeting up to have some lunch, Lucius tells his son that he has to cancel since he’s got a lot of work to do.  He even tells his son that a job offer for this exact company is still open to him.  However, Luke declines the offer since he wanted to go his own way.

That night, we cut to a diner where Kate Kane is having dinner with her father Cl. Jacob Kane (voiced by Geoff Pierson).  She tells her father that she’s been trying to learn about her recent foe, but her research has been unsuccessful so far.  Not only that, but his fellow henchmen have vanished entirely.  She even wonders if Batman is actually dead since it seems unlikely that anyone could have survived that explosion.  She then shows her father a sketch drawing of Heretic, to which Jacob says that he’ll do everything he can to learn about him.

Batmobile-Trouble's Afoot!Kate Kane-Gotta Go, Dad!

Shortly afterwards, they spot the Batmobile zoom past them.  Stunned by the Caped Crusader’s apparent return, Kate slips away to join in on the action.

Black Mask-I'm Gonna Love This New Toy!Batman II-Gotham Isn't Defenseless!

Down at the docks, a weapons shipment has arrived for Gotham crime boss Black Mask (also voiced by Steven Blum) as he prepares to use his arsenal against Heretic in order to keep his grasp on the city’s flow of misconduct.  Just then, Dick Grayson arrives as Batman in order to break up his operation.

Batman II-Bashing The Black Mask!Batman II-News Of My Death Is False!

Black Mask and his men try firing back, but the Dark Knight picks them off one by one before easily defeating the crime boss.

Just then, more thugs show up and open fire as Batman II manages to evade their shots before going after them.  Black Mask tries to fire back with his grenade launcher, but a sai comes in and jams up the weapon.  This results in the device exploding in his face, causing his mask to permanently bond with his skin.  It turns out that Robin managed to return to Gotham as he joins in on the action.

With their operations crashing down, two remaining thugs hop into their truck and try to flee.  The goon in the rear tries using the vehicle’s gattling gun to attack Robin, but the Boy Wonder manages to dodge the constant gunfire.  Dick, stunned to see Damian back, catches up and takes care of said thug while Robin goes after the driver and manages to incapcitate him before the truck turns over onto its side and ultimately meets an explosive end.  Dick managed to escape long before that as he’s joined by Robin who instantly recognizes him.  As such, they make their escape before the cops are able to arrive on the scene.

Batwoman-In Hot Pursuit!Bat-Family-Where Could Bruce Be!

Shortly after our Dynamic Duo make their leave in the Batmobile, its sensors alerts them that they’re being followed.  With Batwoman in hot pursuit, a brief chase ensues before culminating in an alley.  When our heroes proceed to confront her, even Batwoman recognizes that it’s Nightwing in the role of Batman.  Either way, Dick wants to know why she’s been following them.  Batwoman explains that she wishes to help them out since she was present when the real Batman “died”.

Bat-Family-Investigation! (2).jpg

From there, she proceeds to show our Dynamic Duo the burnt remains of the warehouse from where she first came across Heretic.  Robin asks whom the likes of Tusk and Firefly were working for.  However, since Heretic has only first appeared, she doesn’t know the identity of their boss.  Batman II suggests that they all work together to bring him down.  However, she turns down their offer before she takes off by gliding back to Gotham via her specialized cape.

As our Dynamic Duo drive back into Gotham, Robin says that Dick may prefer Batman to stay dead so that he can take up the mantle.  Just then, Grayson brings the Batmobile to a fierce stop in order to tell Damian that he’s been trying to get out of Bruce’s shadow in order to live his life and that he’s far from interested in ever succeeding him.  Immediately afterwards, Alfred contacts our heroes and informs them that he’s found the data that contains Batwoman’s background.  In a video file, Bruce (as Batman) explains that she’s Katherine Kane, the daughter of Colonel Jacob Kane.  When she was just 12 years old, she was kidnapped alongside her sister Elizabeth and their mother Gabrielle.  Jacob would organize a rescue operation and managed to save Kate.  However, Elizabeth and Gabrielle weren’t as fortunate since they both ended up murdered.  Kate would go on to enroll in the Army, but was eventually expelled due to “something breaking inside her”.  Two year afterwards, she would take up the guise of Batwoman where her crime-fighting practices has caught Bruce’s attention.  During all of this, Dick remembers her from his past as “Katey”.

Jacob Kane-I've Got The Info You Need, Kate!Batwoman-Helpful Info From Daddy!

One day later, we cut to Robinson Park where Batwoman meets up with her father.  After some extensive research, Jacob tells his daughter about Heretic.  Alongside his right-hand assassin named Onyx, he’s spent the past 10 months building his criminal team and rivaling Black Mask for control of Gotham’s criminal empire.  He was unable to get Heretic’s true identity, but does say that he’s left a deadly wake of successful money heists and also has “a fixation with Batman”.  The scene ends with Batwoman saying she’ll figure this out before taking her leave.

Lucius Fox-Burning The Midnight Oil!Luke Fox-It's Obvious Who You Help Out, Dad!

Meanwhile at Wayne Enterprises, Luke visits his father since Lucius has been unable to attend dinner with him.  As his father turns off his holographic computer, Luke notices the contents on the screen.  He states that the late-night work hours isn’t limited to just business meetings.  Throughout his life, he’s been connecting this company with Batman and believes that Lucius gives the Dark Knight the necessary pieces of technology needed for crime-fighting.

Just then, an explosion pops up from the floor as Heretic and his fellow henchmen emerge.  Tusk then grabs Luke while Lucius actives an alarm underneath his desk.  While the Dynamic Duo receive the distress signal and speed towards the building, Heretic demands to know where Wayne Enterprises’ vault is.  When he initially doesn’t get the information, he orders Tusk to kill Lucius’ son.  Fortunately, Luke escapes his grasp and manages to fight back.  However, Heretic proves to be too much to handle in combat and ultimately takes him hostage.  With no other choice, Lucius is forced into revealing the company’s vault.

Calculator-We're Close To Our Target!Lucius Fox-Left On Death's Doorstep By Heretic!

Upon reaching the storage facility, the group’s tech expert Noah Kuttler a.k.a. Calculator (also voiced by Jason Spisak) manages to access the vault in order to acquire a specific briefcase.  Afterwards, Heretic proceeds to stab Lucius in the gut.

Batman II-Let's Dance!Robin-You're Mine!

Just then, our Dynamic Duo arrive as they use the Batmobile to pin Tusk to the wall before sending out numerous flares.  With multitudes of flashing lights pulsating around the room, Batman II and Robin proceed to fight Heretic and his cronies.

Batman II-You're Mine!Batman II-Outnumbered 2 To 1!

After a short while, the flares dissipate to reveal the room’s emergency lighting.  Batman II manages to hold his own despite fighting both Heretic and Onyx at the same time, but is ultimately taken out of the fight by (of all things) an explosive Batarang.  From there, Heretic tells his cohorts to begin their evacuation from the compound.

At that moment, Robin gets knocked to the ground by Tusk.  Seeing his opportunity, Electrocutioner proceeds to shoot lethal amounts of electricity into the Boy Wonder.  Not wanting to see Robin die, Heretic throws out his knife as Electrocutioner ends up getting stabbed in the back and is killed in the process.

Luke Fox-Dad's In Deadly Danger!Batman II-Bitter Defeat!

Afterwards, Heretic and the rest of his henchmen manage to escape.  With the bitter feeling of defeat all over our heroes, Luke carries his wounded father and yells for medical attention.

Bruce Wayne-This Doesn't Add Up!

We suddenly cut to Bruce Wayne in bed with a few women.  Just then, he notices that one of them is wearing his mother’s pearl necklace.  As soon as he demands to know how she acquired them, he’s suddenly transported to Crime Alley where his parents proceed to get gunned down by Joe Chill.  As Bruce tries to make out what exactly is going on, his parents’ murderer suddenly transforms into a colony of bats that proceed to scratch and bite him.  Just then, his parents come back to life and drag him into a puddle which suddenly becomes a large body of water.  Bruce manages to kick himself free and tries to swim towards the surface, but he suddenly finds Robin and Nightwing among a large group of bodies that drag him downwards again.

Bruce Wayne-Trapped!Mad Hatter-He's Under Our Thumb!

We then have a revelation where it turns out to have all been a dream.  Not only that, but Bruce survived the explosion.  However, he’s strapped to a machine where both his mind and dreams are being manipulated by Jervis Tetch a.k.a. Mad Hatter (also voiced by Robin Atkin Downes).

Talia-The Real Mastermind!Talia-The Only Way We'll Be Together, My Love!

However, it turns out that the actual mastermind isn’t Heretic.  Instead, it’s Talia al Ghul (voiced by Inara Serra, Dr. Leslie Thompkins and Vanessa Carlysle herself, Morena Baccarin) who ultimately plans on controlling Bruce to her every whim once Mad Hatter’s machine manages to completely overtake his mind.

Heretic-We Care For Damian!.jpg

Heretic then tells her that he and his cronies managed to acquire the detonators, despite coming across Grayson and her son Damian.  He suggests capturing her son and bringing him to their base, but Talia doesn’t want that to happen yet.

Luke Fox-I Want In!

The next day, Lucius Fox is in stable condition over at the hospital while Luke sits next to him as Dick drops by to give his sympathy.  With his father’s attacker still out there, Luke says that he wants to join their fight.  Dick tries to tell him that his best spot would be by his father’s side, but Luke doesn’t buy it since he was a solider and he saw certain tech that could help out.  However, Grayson says that this isn’t his call to make.  The scene ends when he’s called away by Alfred.

Kate Kane-Back In The Dating Circle!

That evening, Kate is out at a night club as she chats with Det. Renee Montoya (voiced by Vanessa Marshall).  The two of them engage each other in pleasant conversation before Kate gets a text telling her to meet up, noticing that it’s the current Batman.  As such, she tells Renee that she really enjoyed their time together and would like to meet up her again.

Batwoman-Let's Talk, Batman II!Dick Grayson-Sharing Secrets With An Old Friend!

A short time later, she arrives as Batwoman as Batman II proceeds to chat with her alone.  Revealing that he’s only recently discovered who she really is under her mask while the actual Dark Knight has known for much longer, Dick proceeds to reveal his identity to her.  It turns out that these two actually came across each other when they were much younger.

Alfred-Heal Well, Damian!.jpg

Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is tending to Damian’s wounds.  Under Dick’s wishes, the faithful butler must keep the Boy Wonder under close observation for at least a day.

Batwoman-Prepare For My Missing 2 Years!Batwoman-Inspirational Moment!

Meanwhile, Batman II and Batwoman have moved their conversation to the rooftops of Wayne Enterprises. Kate says that the actual Caped Crusader is a huge reason as to why she’s taken up her current persona.  In a flashback, she explains that her life following her dismissal from the Army was directionless as she wasted it away on the drunken nightlife.  One night, she was walking through an alley before getting confronted by a small gang.  They start hassling her and she initially fends them off, but they manages to throw her to the ground and restrain her in order to retaliate.  Just then, Batman arrived and proceeded to beat the thugs up.  Despite receiving a helping hand off of the ground, she dismisses it before the Dark Knight takes his leave.  As the flashback ends, Kate says it was at that moment that she vowed to train herself so that she would never need help from anyone again.  Dick understands the horrid tragedy from her past and exclaims that she doesn’t have to go through her crime-fighting ordeal by herself.

Heretic-Got Ya!Robin-The K.O. Toxin Is Too Much!

We then cut to the Batcave where Damian has suited up as Robin and prepares to head out on patrol, regardless of his injuries.  Just then, a dart flies into his neck.  It turns out that Heretic has broken in and was waiting for him.  Robin tries to fight back, but it ends up for naught as the toxin takes effect and causes him to pass out.

Luke Fox-For You, Dad!Batwing-Here I Come!

Back at Wayne Enterprises, Luke returns to the storage facility in order to access a particular piece of marvelous technology.  Not willing to sit on the sidelines while his father’s attacker continues to run around, he decides to suit up for battle.

Batman II-Trouble Is Afoot!.jpg

Back on the rooftop, Dick explains to Kate that he used to idolize Batman when he was younger but came to realize how distant and lonely Bruce actually was as he grew up.  Just then, he’s contacted by Alfred who informs him about Damian’s disappearance.

Damian-Trapped!Heretic-Behold My True Face!

Later, Damian wakes up to find himself imprisoned with sensors strapped onto his head.  Heretic then proceeds to reveal his true identity to him.  It turns out that he’s a grown-up version of Damian himself.  He explains that he was the sole survivor of an experiment spearheaded by the late Ra’s al Ghul that was intended to create “the perfect soldier”, in which Damian’s own DNA was used and put into accelerated growth.  Thanks to Mad Hatter, he was able to receive his own consciousness.  In an upcoming experiment, Heretic is going to have Damian’s memories implanted into him.

Just then, Talia bursts in and berates him for his actions.  Heretic exclaims that having Damian’s memories would let him feel her love and respect inside of him.  However, Talia proceeds to permanently put him down with a gunshot before she gives out orders to give Damian’s mind a clean slate.

Just then, Batman II and Batwoman have arrived outside of their foe’s headquarters (a cliff-side monastery) thanks to a tracking device hidden on Robin’s outfit.  However, a group of nuns called The Sisters of Perpetual Grace were ready for them and proceed to unleash a barrage of gunfire from on high.  Thankfully, the Batmobile was more than capable of resisting the bulletstorm before firing a series of small missiles that strikes both the rooftops and the front gate as they proceed to enter the compound.

Bat-Family-Let's Dance, Nuns!Killer Moth & Firefly-Ready For Round 2!

Upon arrival however, even more nuns surround them on the ground and on the roof.  As such, Batwoman manages to shoot down the gun-wielding sisters with rubber bullets from up top while Batman II mainly takes care of the ones brandishing katanas.  Afterwards, our heroes find themselves under attack by Killer Moth and Firefly.

Batwing-Debut Time!.jpg

Just then, our heroes receive some help in the form of Luke Fox.  After introducing himself as Batwing, he proceeds to join Batman II and Batwoman in taking out the rogue nuns.  Soon afterwards, Luke takes to the skies with both Killer Moth and Firefly in pursuit.

Having seen our heroes in action, Tusk heads back to his cohorts to warn them.  Talia then orders her henchmen to retreat since this compound was expendable.  As such, her men pack up their belongings and leave.  With everyone clear, Damian begins to work himself out of his straitjacket.

Batwing-Snuffing Out My Personal BOOM!.jpg

Back in the skies, Batwing manages to continually evade his pursuers.  Just then, Killer Moth sends out a pair of his droids.  Batwing manages to shoot one down, but the other one fires a series of pocket missiles.  Fortunately, Batwing counters with his series of projectiles that manage to strike down all but one missile.  Afterwards, his evasion causes the final missile to strike a cliffside support beam and causes the compound to start collapsing.

Robin-I've Got You, Dad!.jpg

After getting out of his shackles and back into his costume, Robin manages to release his father from his imprisonment.  After acquiring a USB Drive that was left behind, Damian proceeds to slap Bruce in order to help him regain his consciousness.  Thankfully, it works as Robin starts getting him out of the compound.

After taking care of Killer Moth, Firefly and the remaining nuns, Batwing uses one of his devices to shoot the door down.  While Batman II head inside to find Bruce and Damian, Batwoman is suddenly confronted by Onyx and proceeds to fight the mainly-silent assassin.  Not only that, but Killer Moth and Firefly managed to recover and force Batwing to take to the skies again.

Batman II-Hello, Hellhound!Batman II-I've Got You, Bruce!

As Dick makes his way through the crumbling compound, he’s suddenly attacked by Hellhound.  They fight for a brief moment before the fierce fighter meets his maker as a large piece of ceiling ends up crushing him.  Afterwards, he sees Robin carrying Bruce.  As such, he helps them start to make their way up the stairs.

Batwing-The Last Pursuit!.jpg

Outside, Batwing is once again pursued by Killer Moth and Firefly.  He manages to lead the two flying fiends underneath the crumbling structure.  This gets Killer Moth permenantly out of the way due to him getting crushed by a large piece of debris.  Ultimately, Firefly is forced into retreating as a hovering pod emerges with Talia and her cohorts inside.

Batwoman-So Long, Toots!Batwing-Everyone's Accounted For!

Up on the rooftop, Batwoman is nearly beaten as Onyx gets her in a chokehold.  Fortunately, the tower starts to collapse into the ocean.  This gives Batwoman the edge she needs as she slips out of Onyx’ grasp and throws her towards the side.  Despite initially grasping onto the structure, it ultimately gives way as she falls towards the abyss while Batwoman glides back towards solid ground.  Meanwhile, the building crumbles just enough for Dick, Damian and Bruce to seemingly fall towards their deaths.  Fortunately, Batwing manages to save all three of them.

Bat-Family-Successful Rescue!.jpg

Afterwards, Bruce thanks Batwing for the rescue.  However, he then tells both Luke and Kate that he, Damian and Dick can continue on with this mission by themselves.  As such, the three of them take their leave.

Bruce Wayne-My Hose, My Rules!

A week later in the Batcave, it’s a day before the World Tech Summit.  Damian is still furious at his mother for treating him and his father like “programmable machines”, to which Bruce says that he’ll resume his pursuit of Talia following his big event.  Dick wonders why they should bother waiting when they can have both Batwoman and Batwing help them out, but Bruce instantly shoots that down since he didn’t want them involved in the first place.  Alfred states that while Luke chose to join this fight, he commends Dick for making a judgment call by revealing his identity for the sake of trust.  Bruce states that he’ll allow Kate to analyze the data from the USB Drive that they’ve picked up, but that the remainder of this fight will remain exclusive to “the family”.

Dick Grayson-It's Complicated, Kate!Kate Kane-So Much For Helping You Out!

The day of the World Tech Summit arrives as Bruce Wayne makes his appearance at the big event.  While the newscasts cover the huge moment for Gotham, Dick has a phone call with Kate and proceeds to tell her the bad news: Her help is no longer needed.  As her father returns from grocery shopping, she tells Dick that she wasn’t able to find anything important on the USB Drive and handed it over to Batwing.

Shortly after finishing her phone call, her father’s cell phone starts vibrating.  This suddenly makes Jacob take out his gun and aim at it towards her daughter.  Fortunately, Kate catches the reflection from the TV in time to dodge.  Arming herself with a pan, she disarms her father before he takes out a knife.  They proceed to tussle for a short while before Kate uses her pan to knock her father into unconsciousness.

Mad Hatter-A Devious Plan Is Underway!

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing down at the World Tech Summit.  Due to the Mad Hatter already being on the inside, he takes out a security guard and uses his key card to let Calculator and Tusk in.

Bruce Wayne-The Future Is Now!Bruce Wayne-A Futuristic Building!

In the main hall, Bruce makes his big announcement.  The main piece of technology that’s already being worn by the guests is a translator earpiece.  Not only that, but Bruce announces that Wayne Tech and S.T.A.R. Laboratories have made a significant addition to the building: Propulsion rockets that allows the structure to fly.

Mad Hatter-Hat's Off To Us!Calculator-It's Go Time!

Elsewhere in the building, our three cronies make their way towards the main operations room.  Mad Hatter uses his top hat to slit the two operators throats before Calculator starts setting up their main components.  Upon completion, they launch their program.  Because all of the guests were wearing their earpieces, they’re easily placed under mind-control.

Batwing-Here's The Guest List!Nightwing-These High-End CEO's Are In Danger!

Back in Gotham City, Robin and Nightwing meet up with Batwoman as she explains her recent fight with her father.  It turns out that he was mind-controlled by Talia and her men.  It turns out that they knew that Kate had their USB Drive.  Nightwing connects that with their theft at Wayne Enterprises and realizes that they successfully used their machine to get to Bruce.  Just then, Batwing arrives and displays what he found on said hard drive.  Nightwing realizes the names of these high-end citizens of military and political status as perfect patsies for Talia’s League of Shadows to take control of.  Even worse, they’re all guests at the World Tech Summit.

Bruce Wayne-A Mind-Controlled Fury!Mad Hatter-You're All Under Talia's Thumb Now!

Back at the Summit, it turns out that Alfred is the only one who wasn’t wearing a technical earpiece.  Before he can do anything, a mind-controlled Bruce punches his faithful butler and knocks him out.  Talia then emerges out of her disguise as Mad Hatter’s mind-control device is at full power and primed for their main plan.

Bat-Family-Rescue Time!.jpg

Meanwhile, our heroes make their way towards the Summit with Batwing taking to the skies while the rest of our heroes make due in the Batplane (also known as the Bat-Wing, to which Batwoman even makes a pun about it).  Thanks to a radar jam, they manage to arrive at their destination.  Upon reaching their target, they glide down towards an open shaft and make it inside before closing it back up again.

Talia-Here They Come!Talia-Go After Your Friends!

However, Firefly managed to stealthly oversee their entrance and alerts the rest of his team.  As such, Talia has Calculator speed up their process while she and Tusk takes care of our heroes.  With Bruce still under mind-control, he proceeds to go help out thanks to them bringing his costume.

Batwing-One Last Roundup In The Sky!Talia-Batman Is MY Ally, Now!

Just then, our heroes get attacked as Firefly separates Batwing from the rest of the group.  Ultimately, they head out into the skies for one last dogfight.  Meanwhile, Talia and Tusk arrive to confront the rest of our heroes.  Not only that, but she reveals the ace up her sleeve: a mind-controlled Batman.

And so, the final battle begins as Robin duels with Tusk, Batwoman goes mano-a-mano with Talia and Nightwing is forced to fight a brainwashed Batman.

Batwing-Cool Down, Firefly!Firefly-One Last Flame!

Meanwhile, Batwing continues his air duel with Firefly.  After reaching the top of the building and constantly evading enemy fire, Luke delivers the decisive blow as he fires a Neon Batarang at Firefly’s flamethrower.  This explodes in the fiend’s face and even damages his jet pack as he proceeds to fly out of control into an engine shaft and gets killed in the ensuing explosion.  However, this starts to make the building fly out of control and head towards Gotham City.

Robin-Justice, Not Vengence!Tusk-Here I Come!

Back down below, Robin continues his fight with Tusk.  The sheer brute strength nearly overwhelms the Boy Wonder, but he manages to use his foe’s momentum against him as he falls off the walkway towards a giant, sharp fan.  Robin tries saving his adversary (thanks to him remembering his previous lesson: “Justice, Not Vengeance!”) as he manages to secure a line onto Tusk’s foot.  However, it’s too late as he pulls up his cable only to find it cut.  Just then, he gets contacted by Batwing.  With the building on a collision course with Wayne Enterprises, Luke orders Damian to transfer power from the damaged thruster towards the two remaining ones.

Batwoman-This Ends Now!.jpg

Meanwhile, Batwoman and Talia continue their melee.  Both sides manage to counter each others attacks before the building clips a skyscraper and seemingly claims Kate.  Fortunately, she managed to grab onto a steel beam that was out of Talia’s sight and ultimately get herself back inside.

Calculator-Knife+Me=DOOM!Alfred-Have At Thee!

During the final battle, Alfred managed to regain consciousness and make his way towards the main operations room armed with one of the guard’s handgun.  After demanding that their brainwashing scheme gets shut down, Calculator smacks the gun out of his hand.  While he arms himself with a knife, Alfred prepares to engage his foe with old-school fisticuffs.

From there, he manages to constantly dodge the sharp strikes and consistently punch his foe.  With one mighty uppercut, Alfred flings Calculator into the nearby machinery.  His technological wrist device strikes the console with enough force to give him a massive electric shock and kill him.  Not only that, but the massive power surge makes its way to Mad Hatter as his mind overloads with the huge wave of energy and also ends up dead.  Either way, this brings a permanent end to their mind-control scheme as the various military and political leaders are freed from their horrid grasp.  Afterwards, Robin manages to reroute power to the working thrusters while Batwing manages to combine all of his personal jet thrusters to prevent the Summit building from crashing into Wayne Enterprises.

Nightwing-Wounded & Defeated!Nightwing-At The Mercy Of His Mind-Controlled Master!

Meanwhile, the final battle continues to reach its apex.  During their brawl, the mind-controlled Batman managed to break Nightwing’s left arm.  Wounded and exhausted, Dick is unable to keep up as he ends up pinned.  Talia then shows up to hand Batman a gun and orders to kill him.

Talia-Kill My Disobidient Son!Robin-You're Better Than This, Dad!

Just then, Robin arrives and states what his mother’s master plan was all about in the end: Not Ra’s al Ghul’s vision of a “better world”, but controlling it.  As such, Talia then gives Batman the order to shoot her son.

Batman-Must Control My Mind!Batman-Fight For Control!

Nightwing tries telling Bruce to regain control of his own mind.  His words starting ringing true as Batman begins to try and reclaim control over his own brain.  After struggling to do so, he turns the gun onto himself.

Talia-ENOUGH!Batman-I'm Back!

Tired of Nightwing’s words ringing true, Talia prepares to finish him off.  Fortunately, Batman lands a crucical gunshot that knocks the sword out of her hands, signifying that he’s completely regained control over his own mind.

Just then, Batwoman and Batwing arrive to help our heroes surround Talia and bring her master plan to a permanent end.  Knowing that her motives will never bring Bruce nor Damian to her side ever again, Talia manages to evade capture by blowing up a nearby window and landing onto a flying hovercraft.

Afterwards, her escape is short-lived as Onyx managed to sneak aboard the vessel and prepares to get her murderous revenge for the death of Heretic.  Talia manages to notice her in time as they proceed to tussle.  Back at the Summit Building, our heroes can only watch from a distance as the hovering craft plummets into the water and explodes.

Renee Montoya-Hey, Kate!Jacob Kane-Come Join Us!

The next day, Jacob thanks her daughter for her part in stopping the global mind-controlling plot from happening and says that her mother and sister would be proud of her.  Just then, a visitor has dropped by.  Kate is pleased to see that it’s Renee Montoya as Jacob invites her into their home.

From there, we get a pair of quick scenes where Batwing sees his father Lucius making a full recovery in the hospital as they salute each other while Bruce and Damian continue to strengthen their family bonds over at Wayne Manor.

Bat-Family-Duty Calls!Penguin-You'll Never Get Me, Coppers!

Sometime later, the Bat-Signal lights up the skyline as a fully-healed Nightwing, Batwoman and Batwing meet up with Batman & Robin on top of the Gotham Police rooftop.  Suddenly, they hear sirens as they discover the cops chasing after Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. The Penguin.  As such, the entire Bat-Family proceed to join in on the chase and go after their nemesis.

Batgirl-Here I Come, World!Batgirl-Here I Come, World! (2)

And so, the film ends on a nearby rooftop as a familiar figure emerges from the shadows.  It turns out to be Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Batgirl who proceeds to join in on the action.

Batwoman-In Hot Pursuit! (2)

With no source material available for me to compare to (such as Batman: R.I.P. & Battle For The Cowl), I’ll jump right ahead into my character analysis.  Interestingly enough, there’s a theme throughout this film and it’s about Father Figures.  Starting off with Batwoman, I feel like a certain foundation of structure in her life was created after Jacob Kane managed to save her from oversea thugs.  After all, spending time in the U.S. Military Academy is a good reason for how she acquired the necessary skills in both hand-to-hand combat and in handling handguns.  Only after getting saved by Batman following her wandering ways of post-Army time did she get the costumed identity that she sports here.  I can only assume that some time after developing her Batwoman persona did Kate tell her dad about it.  That way, he acts in sort of a confidant role for her.  Meanwhile, her status as a lesbian is downplayed here.  However, her exchanges with Renee Montoya really felt genuine and there’s some sense to the start of their relationship.  Yvonne Strahovski really makes the most of her role here, showing the same level of confidence and swagger that made her famous on NBC’s Chuck (a show I didn’t watch, sorry).  I loved her presence, her range and the solid rapport she has with Sean Maher, since Batwoman and Nightwing have plenty of scenes together to develop their respect and friendship towards one another.

Batwing-I Have Arrived!.jpg

Next in line is are other newcomer: Batwing.  He didn’t take the opportunities presented to him by his dad Lucius and ultimately enrolled in the military.  Unlike Kate though, he actually served some tours of duty.  Outside of that, there’s not much backstory to him other than a solid education. Although, being around his father makes me assume that he’s had some hands-on experience with the company’s technology since he ultimately takes up the mantle of Batwing to stop Heretic and company following his dad’s stabbing.  In the end, both sides (in a way) get what they want.  Lucius gets to have his son be somewhat part of the company while Luke’s combat experience gets taken to another level where he becomes a superhero.  Gaius Charles does fairly well with his part.  He doesn’t have much to do early on, but he becomes more prominent once Luke joins the fight.  He’s rocksteady enough to carry his role, but he may be the weakest in terms of character development.  Still, it’s nice to watch him work his gadgets even if his fights mainly take place in the skies.

Nightwing-Take Talia Down!Batman II-Consider Your Break-In Over!

Now we get to those who have been with us for the long haul, starting off with Dick Grayson.  Nightwing’s role kept getting bigger with each passing films.  Here, he basically becomes the main character.  In terms as Father Figures, his current one is someone that he shares with Damian.  Here, circumstances have forced him to wear the mantle of the same Father Figure that he wanted to badly branch off from in order to be his own person.  He still respects Bruce for helping him during his own Robin days, but it still frustrates him when the situation ended up calling him back to his developing past.  As he, Robin and Alfred gain new allies, he reveals why he wanted to ultimately move out of Batman’s shadow in the first place: Bruce’s harsh personality (both in and out of her persona) presents itself with an empty feeling where asking for help is personally hard to come by.  Thankfully, his outgoing personality lets him reach towards helpful advantages that Bruce simply ignores.  Even when the actual Dark Knight get saved, Grayson does gets some needed time in his persona of Nightwing.  Sean Maher really takes advantage of his expanded role, letting loose his character portrayal with all of his might.  He shines in presenting various sides of Dick Grayson from upbeat, confident and jokey to serious (though not too serious), concerned and caring.  Also, as I mentioned earlier, he and Strahovski turn in several good scenes together.

Robin-I'm Healthy Enough For Patrol Duty!.jpg

Next up, we reach Robin.  His Father Figure a.k.a. his actual father has molded this character over the course of three films.  In “Son of Batman”, he was molded into a killing machine until his mother Talia made the biggest mistake that would ultimately do her in for this film: leave him in the care of Batman.  In “Batman vs. Robin”, Damian would be torn between Batman teaching him to fight for “Justice, Not Vengeance” and Talon’s influence from the Court of Owls where killing criminals puts a permanent end to their reign of terror before ultimately siding with his father.  Here, he finds out that he was one of many in a line of “perfect soldiers” created for Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins.  By connecting all three films, Talia used Bruce just to initially create Damian and thereby get this process going.  The fact that even his own mother ultimately finds him to be expendable helps us respect his own worth since we’ve been watching his growth into a confident, young fighter over the past few years.  In the end, he has even more respect for Bruce that ever before since his own father finds him worthy.  Stuart Allen is absolutely great in his performance.  He’s grown with the character, giving Damian Wayne his own distinct and unique voice.  Not much else to say about him, so let’s move on.

Batman-'That's No Way To Treat A Lady!'.jpg

At last, we’ve reached out main hero: Batman.  In terms of Father Figures, he’s the central father of the ever-growing Bat-Family.  Even through him being kidnapped and brainwashed throughout the majority of the film doesn’t give him or his voice actor much to do, this situation is what fuels our heroes’ fight.  In one way, this move works since the Dark Knight has more than plenty of other stories where he’s enough of the focus.  This is similar to another entry from this line called “Batman: Assault On Arkham” where a Batman film has someone else getting the narrative attention, in this case the Suicide Squad.  However, Batman was out patrolling the city and ultimately reclaimed the film’s focus by the end.  Here, he’s violated once again by Talia only to regain his mind by saving Nightwing from her fatal blade.  With what little he has to work with, Jason O’Mara is OK.

Heretic-Let's Dance!.png

Now, we’ve reached out villains.  First up, we have Heretic.  As we learn, he was created from Damian’s DNA but put in accelerated growth.  Even though he was always loyal to Talia and never wished to see her son get harmed, he was denied any chance of developing an identity for himself unlike Robin who managed to do so.  When he kidnaps Damian in an attempt to acquire a personality (Translation: Supplant the boy’s memories into his own brain), his “mother” punishes him with the death penalty.  Sticking with the theme of Father Figures, his character is doomed since he never had one.  If he did and possibly wasn’t given his accelerated age, then he wouldn’t have had to resort to what did him down in the end.  Even though he’s not the main villain (which I was initially bummed about), the sneak peak for this film was cleaver in covering that fact up.  With what he’s got on his plate, Travis Willingham does his job fairly well.  He mainly speaks in a low voice in order to give Heretic an intimidating factor and only raises his voice near the end of his character’s life.

Talia-You Don't Get To Go Near My Son Unless I Tell You To!.jpg

Finally, we reach our main villain of this feature: Talia.  Sticking with the film’s main theme, her’s remains as Ra’s al Ghul.  In my “Son of Batman” review, I originally stated that she wouldn’t resort to wiping out the human race in order to achieve her father’s goals.  Here, she’s only slightly below that marker.  She wants her League of Shadows to have full control over the Earth by placing the planet’s citizens under mind-control.  This was a master plan so grand for her that she spent the events of “Batman vs. Robin” gathering the necessary henchmen and building the proper pieces of technology before unleashing it onto the world.  We even get further devious behind Damian’s creation.  She only needed Batman to have sex with her in order for their son to come to be, which is where the spiked drink came into play.  Once Damian was born, she only needed his DNA in order for her process of creating the “perfect soldier” to work in the first place.  She defintely feels more like the version of Talia that I read in preparation for that past review in that she only needed Bruce and Damian to fulfill her own goals and then discards them when they no longer fit into her plans.  Unlike “Son of Batman“, Morena Baccarin has a lot more to work with this time around.  Her character doesn’t appear until about halfway through the film, but she makes Talia’s presence felt.  On a side note, it’s nice that shows like “Gotham” and films like “Deadpool” have really helped Morena Baccarin gain more promince in recent years.  That really shows when it come to her performance here.  Other than that, the various henchmen and the actors who voice them do their jobs.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Batman-Let's Tangle, Tusk!Batwoman-Gotcha, Bimbo!

The animation, once again, is mainly fluent.  There was a rare spot where it felt like the lip movement didn’t match up with the dialogue.  Other than that, it’s still top-notch.  The action scenes are fun to watch.  While the fighting is mainly good, the incorporation of gadgets in said brawls does offer some variety for those thrilling bits and both sides of good and evil get plenty of opportunities to show them off (mainly Batwing and Killer Moth).  Meanwhile, the story is engaging and full of enough surprises to satisfy.  Batman’s fellow heroes get some nice development for those who’ve been around for a while and for those who finally make their debut here.  Other than our title character, everyone has enough things to do here.

Bat-Family-United As One!.jpg

Overall, this film is really enjoyable.  The characters are fun & engaging, the pacing is rocksteady and the overlying theme really sticks throughout the plot.  This particular side of Batman’s world has been growing since 2014 and it really helped it come full circle.  Even so, there’s much more room for new adventures for the newly-formed Bat-Family.  Either way, this film is definitely worth watching whether or not you’ve seen the previous two Batman films.  Check it out and see how flexible Gotham’s protection can get.

Next Time: Ever since this “New 52 Film Universe” was formed, all of the past Justice League and Batman films have been building towards something big.  Well, you can’t get any bigger than an inter-dimensional terror.  However, the world’s greatest super-team will not be enough as the superpowered youth steps up to the challenge.  “Titans Together” will be our call to arms in our next entry: “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”.

Batman (created by by Bob Kane and Bill Finger) is owned by DC Comics.

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