From 1975 to 1978 DC Comics published a title called Batman Family which focused on the Dark Knight’s supporting characters. They were mostly Batgirl and/or Robin stories that had little or no interaction with Batman himself. This original DC Universe movie made me think of that series. While Batman Family would not be as “cool” a title as Batman: Bad Blood, it would be a lot more fitting.
After the break I’ll look at the movie in a bit more detail and try to be as spoiler free as possible.
The backbone of the movie is that Batman has gone missing and it’s up to Batman’s son and current Robin, Damian along with Nightwing, Batwoman and Batwing to find him. This marks the DCAU debut of both Batwoman and Batwing and their origins are included.
The story is billed as a “DC Universe Original”, and while it is, it still borrows heavily from the comic book source material. Picking and choosing from various storylines such as Batman:Incorporated and Battle For The Cowl and it’s aftermath throughout the Bat books. Part of that aftermath of course featured Dick Grayson stepping out from behind the role of Nightwing to take on the mantle of the Bat. Fighting crime in Gotham while also training and bonding with Damian. I’ve talked before about how I felt DC had successfully transitioned from Bruce to Dick, but I’m not surprised they brought Bruce back.
Like it’s predecessors Son Of Batman and Batman vs Robin, the film is rated PG-13. Which gives it a little more leeway than something that would probably air on Saturday mornings. (Though it still felt like it was made for TV. Numerous times it cuts to black and I waited for a commercial to start.) The rating does allow the movie to be very mature, especially in the handling of Batwoman. There are a few curse words (a female dog and one that rhymes with brassbowl) thrown around in an attempted rape scene that is key to Batwoman’s origin. That might be a little dark for kids.
I’m not overly familiar with the newest incarnation of Batwoman, but I was impressed that they didn’t shy away from what I do know of her. That she is a lesbian and has a blossoming relationship with detective Renee Montoya. It’s all handled very subtly and tastefully and treated just as another aspect of a characters life, the way it should be.
The storyline of the movie itself is not big on depth but it keeps you entertained for it’s 72 minutes. It has some twists and a few surprises that if you read the comics you will see coming a mile away. That PG-13 rating also allows the showing of a tremendous amount of Talia al Ghul cleavage. I mean, a lot. To the point of distraction.
I enjoyed it, even if Jason O’Mara is no Kevin Conroy, who will always be “my Batman”. I also liked seeing Dick Grayson get his chance to shine as the Batman, albeit all too briefly here.
Score: 8 out of 10 chances this is the best Batman movie you see this year