Review: 'Batman: Death In The Family' (2020) Dir. Brandon Vietti
A loose follow-up to the 2010 feature animation 'Batman: Under The Red Hood', this 30 minute short brings old faces back for a familiar story...
Determined to help guide young Jason Todd (Martella) in his role as Robin to his Batman, Bruce Wayne (Greenwood) fails when Jason goes after the Clown Prince of Crime, Joker (DiMaggio), alone.
Five years pass, and the emergence of Batman's new ally Nightwing (Carson) takes the Dark Knight on a new investigation into the emergence of the violent masked anti-hero Red Hood.
Bruce recalls the journey that both he and Jason have taken since the Joker's lasting impact on their lives, and the discoveries that have come with it...
While this yet again is a vibrant and slick animated effort from Warner Brothers and DC, this self-marketed "interactive" movie falls short on two critical factors.
First, this is a recycled and repackaged re-telling of the story we've seen in 'Under The Red Hood'. And with this being a 30 minute short, over half of this is simply telling a story we have already seen and know about. This has been marketed as a new film and entry into the animated DC timeline, but it should have just been an online release as it offers very little new material.
Second, on the premise of being an interactive movie, this only works for the Blu-ray purchase. Digital releases don't have this feature and simply runs as a short film. However, you can choose a couple of directions that this story takes, adding some minor novelty to the narrative and finally converging on the outcome. It's not ground-breaking and doesn't do anything to make you feel this is worth investing in.
Newcomer to the franchise Bruce Greenwood spends most of the film narrating as Bruce Wayne, with veteran stars John DiMaggio and Gary Cole lending their vocal chords to the villainous Joker and Two-Face.
The darker mature content continues the run of quality animated DC material with plenty of grizzly violence from both heroes and villains, and new voice talents bring familiar characters to life.
Don't expect all the usual roster of characters to be included if you watch the digital version. For example, Two-Face or Commissioner Gordon don't appear unless you choose a different path to the core narrative. The digital narrative is, probably, the most boring of them all but the one that doesn't veer much off the established 'Red Hood' story, so hence why this is retained.
It's a glorified recap and slight re-imagining of the classic Batman story which is a decent thing for fans to own and watch for what it is on the surface; a stylish little insignificant short.
Nice to look at, with DC leading the way in animated movies, just avoid the lure of this being interactive or meaningful, and just enjoy it for what is it.
'Batman: Death In The Family' is a Warner Bros. Animation / DC Entertainment production