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Western Animation / Batman: Bad Blood

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Batman: Bad Blood is a 2016 movie of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and part of the DC Animated Movie Universe. Though an original film, Bad Blood takes elements of Batman (Grant Morrison), specifically Batman Reborn and the events of Batman Incorporated. This film marks the first official non-cameo appearance of the Kate Kane Batwoman and Batwing in any animated production. This movie picks up 6-12 months after the events of Batman vs. Robin.

When a mysterious figure known as Heretic appears in Gotham, Batman investigates and soon disappears, the last person to see him is a mysterious new vigilante known as Batwoman. When Batman is missing for too long, Alfred fears the worst and recalls Damian and Nightwing. To fill the power vacuum, Nightwing must do the one thing he's fought for so long not to - become the Batman. Now Dick has to solve the mystery of his former mentor's disappearance, his struggles with his past and trying to keep this expanding Bat-Family together.

The voice cast reunites the main voice cast of Son of Batman and Batman Vs. Robin and includes Yvonne Strahovski as Kate Kane/Batwoman, Gaius Charles as Luke Fox/Batwing and Ernie Hudson as Lucius Fox.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the Taylor Swift song.

Here is the character sheet.

Tropes in the Film:

  • Action Girl:
    • Batwoman, of course. She uses guns, rides a Cool Bike, and dukes it out evenly with Talia al Ghul, just to name a few instances.
    • Batgirl, despite having only a few seconds of screentime, is seen swinging from the rooftops just as well as the guys.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Batwoman's backstory, which took several comic issues to tell, is presented through flashbacks and exposition that amount to a couple of minutes of screentime at most. Her reason for leaving West Point is also changed from violating Don't Ask Don't Tell to just having a breakdown, probably to avoid having to explain the longer situation from the comic.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The Heretic in the comics has a child’s face underneath his helmet, while not especially ugly, it is somewhat creepy and unsettling. In this version his face is that of an adult version of Damian.
  • Adaptational Badass: At the very least with the Mad Hatter, who goes from Alice in Wonderland motifs to pulling off Oddjob's razor hat technique. The creators even point out that, with a bunch of C-listers working together, they become an even bigger threat than before.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Onyx. While the comics version of the character has relations to the League of Assassins, she was still considered a helpful ally of The Bat-Family. Here she is portrayed as a straight-up villainess, though she does care about Heretic, even getting angry when Talia kills him, and seeks vengeance for it, killing Talia.
  • Alliterative Title: Batman: Bad Blood.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with the new Bat-family going after the Penguin. And unbeknownst to them, Barbara Gordon as Batgirl joins the chase.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Talia's to her beloved is presented in a rather subdued manner, as we would expect of her, but poignant nonetheless.
    Talia: Oh, Beloved, you have no idea. I have thought of little else for the last twelve years. But nothing—Not my passion, not the death of my father, not even our child—could bring you to my side.

    I know, now, I will never have you in this life. But perhaps, in death.
  • Attempted Rape: Kate met Batman for the first time after he saved her from this.
  • The Baby Trap: During the climatic battle, Talia lets it slip that having Damian was an effort to bring Batman over to her side.
  • Badass in Distress: Batman gets captured and spends much of the film brainwashed and under Talia's control.
  • Battle Butler: Alfred gets his chance to shine when he's the only one available to deal with the brainwashing plot, while the Bat-Family is off dealing with the heavy-hitters.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Both Batwoman and Talia take many hard blows to the face, but the worst injuries they get are a minor bloody nose and an even more minor split lip, respectively.
  • Big Bad: Talia al Ghul, who is using kidnapping and Mind Control to try to rebuild the League of Assassins.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mad Hatter's head explodes, but nary a drop of blood is seen. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say we see a lot of Pink Mist... which fails to leave a mark on either the walls or people.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Talia's plan involves using brainwashing on the world leaders to make them loyal to the League of Shadows. Along the way Bruce and Kate's father become victims.
  • C-List Fodder: All of the villains get killed off.
  • Call-Back:
    • At the end of Son of Batman, Talia says she will rebuild the decimated League of Assassins and return for Damian. Two movies later, she's back to do just that and more by way of kidnapping and mind control.
    • Damian tries to save Tusk, even saying "Justice, not vengeance", which is something Batman taught him about when he first came to live with Bruce.
  • The Cameo:
    • At the very end, the Penguin is seen running from the cops.
    • As the new Bat-family gives chase to the above criminal, a new hero arrives: Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, wearing her New52 leather-jacket-based costume.
    • Nightwing is once again seen in a flirty phone call with Starfire.
    • Blockbuster and Black Mask are seen in very brief fight scenes irrelevant to the plot.
    • Lex Luthor, Amanda Waller, Mercy, and Gordan Godfrey appear at the tech summit in that order.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In his first appearance, Nightwing is simultaneously talking to Kory on the phone and fighting Blockbuster.
  • Cloning Blues: The Heretic is an accelerated clone of Damian, and his plan is to steal Damian's memories so he will "have a soul". Talia cruelly mocks his issues and murders him.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played straight with Mad Hatter and Calculator, who are exclusively referred to by their surnames (Tetch and Kuttler, respectively).
  • Composite Character: The Batwoman here displays the use of guns, something the comic version rarely did, making her something of a fusion between her and either Jason Todd or the Helena Bertinelli Huntress.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Batwoman and Nightwing are able to wipe the floor with dozens of "nunjas" from the Sisters of Perpetual Grace. When Batwing joins the fight their job gets even easier.
  • Cool Bike: Batwoman and Nightwing both have one.
  • Cool Guns: Talia uses a Luger.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Exaggerated and double-subverted during Batwoman's first fight with the Heretic. Her opening attack lasts less than three seconds, most of which is her getting uppercutted and slammed into a railing. She gets her second wind, climbs on Heretic's back... and gets tossed into Batman, then thrown off a catwalk.
    • Batman, involved in the same battle as above, gets a much straighter version of this trope.
  • Dark Action Girl: Onyx and Talia al Ghul.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Batwoman is right up there with Nightwing, Robin, and Alfred in regard to quips.
  • Death by Adaptation: Beth Kane is implied to have really been killed in the kidnapping when Kate was a child, unlike in the comics where her death was faked by her kidnappers.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Every one of the C-list villains under Talia's command.
  • Derailing Love Interests: While she's never been "good", Talia has more Kick the Dog moments than she has ever had in other animated media.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Downplayed. Batwoman fights Onyx, dozens of "nunjas", and Talia al Ghul, but she's seen battling male villains as well.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Said when a slightly tipsy Kane says that Renee is a Fair Cop. Realising she's just outed herself, she gives the line. Fortunately Renee is not adverse.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Talia made a serious mistake in asking Bruce to kill Dick and Damian. With a gun. She claimed she erased his pain — but she was having him recreate that pain.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Heretic seems to be the main physical threat for the Bat-Family, until Talia coldly murders him.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted with Onyx, who falls off a collapsing bell tower but shows up at the end to (possibly) murder Talia.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Most of the Bat-family have moments of this, but Batwoman takes the cake as she's able to dodge bullets fired from hand-to-hand range.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Onyx shows up in the final minutes of the film and attacks Talia, implicitly murdering her, either for Talia's killing of the Heretic, Talia's leaving Onyx to die, or both.
  • Does Not Like Guns: A major problem between the Bat-family and Batwoman. They get her to switch to rubber bullets as a compromise.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Onyx just wears leggings with exposed toes.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the finale, Batman points Talia's Luger at himself to avoid the mind control triggers forcing him to shoot Dick and Damian. Nightwing barely saves him from himself.
  • Easter Egg: A report on the News 52 channel reveals that there have been strange sightings on Mars. This could be a Foreshadowing to Martian Manhunter's appearance.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Subverted with Talia. She murders the Heretic, an aged-up clone of her son Damian, for being "flawed" — he wanted to copy/transfer Damian's memories of his childhood into his own mind so he could better love Talia. She dismissively calls Damian a bastard, and at the film's finale, tells the brainwashed Batman to kill Damian, since they can "make more", with Ambiguous Syntax whether she means cloning Damian or just having new children.
    • Implied with Onyx. She seems very perturbed when Talia murders the Heretic, and it's the most likely reason why she attempts to kill Talia in the film's final minutes.
  • Expendable Clone: Talia thinks Heretic is one. Robin thinks this is evil of her.
  • Eye Scream: Calculator gets electrocuted, causing his eyepiece to explode and catch fire.
  • Fanservice:
    • Kate fights off her mind-controlled father while wearing nothing but a bathrobe and underwear.
    • Talia's uniform shows a lot of cleavage.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed. Batwoman is snarky but fairly even-tempered.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Kate uses one in her bathrobe fight.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Alfred and Calculator engage in this.
  • Gun Kata: Talia keeps ahold of her Luger during her fight with Batwoman, using it to both shoot and augment her punches.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Heretic is unceremoniously killed off about halfway through the film by the real villain, Talia al Ghul, who was pulling the strings the whole time.
  • Hypnotize the Captive: Talia finally snaps and resorts to mind control, after everything else she has tried for over a decade to win Batman's heart fails. It's just about possible to feel sad for her, for being that desperate—but also much easier to be horrified with her for doing that to someone she loves.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Robin has doubts about Batwoman:
    Robin: I don't trust her.
    Nightwing: Oh, but you did trust Talon?
    Robin: Shut up.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Nightwing has one with a brainwashed Batman despite having a gun pointed at his head.
  • I Work Alone: Batwoman initially refuses Nightwing's offer to work together for this very reason.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Batman's reason for not letting Batwoman shoot the criminals in the opening scene.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Dick mentions he had quite a crush on Kate when they were kids for which she didn't reciprocate. Both took long to get a hang on the "girl thing".
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: When Batwoman and Nightwing encounter the Sisters of Perpetual Grace:
    Batwoman: Nuns with M60s and katanas?
    Nightwing: That would make them nunjas.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Wayne Tech board member Ms. Bannister has an unpleasant personality, but she's not wrong to be critical about Bruce's apparent decision to personally lead a research expedition when someone else could do it and a big conference is coming up.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Talia murders a clone of her son in cold blood, seeing him as expendable, since more can always be made. At the end of the movie, she orders Bruce to kill their real son using the very same logic.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Several characters note that Talia's plan goes further than anything old Ra's cooked up, and Damian at the end calls Talia worse than her father. She certainly comes far closer to breaking Batman and taking over the world than her father did.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Heretic's group take a gang member named Chuckie Sol prisoner.
    • When Bruce is seen on TV arriving at the summit, the name of the television channel is News 52.
    • Batwoman's first appearance in the film is similar to her reveal in 52, where characters initially think they're dealing with Batman before realizing the truth.
    • Robin spears Black Mask's grenade launcher with a sai, causing it to blow up in his face. Black Mask is shown clutching his head and screaming as the searing-hot mask melts onto his face, similar to what happened to his comics counterpart.
    • Lucius Fox's appearance resembles Morgan Freeman, who portrayed him in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
    • Dick convinces Batwoman to use rubber bullets.
    • As with the previous films, the original costume that Dick Grayson wore as Robin appears. This time around, his original Nightwing costume is shown as well, hanging right beside his Robin one in the Bat Cave.
    • The climax happens on board the Watchtower, although this version isn't in outer space.
    • At the end of the film Nightwing mentions that he'll be heading to "the tower". What team is Nightwing typically a part of that happens to be based in a tower? The Teen Titans. Also lines up with him dating Starfire in this series of films, along with DC's next planned animated film being a Teen Titans film that takes place after this one.
    • Black Mask and Firefly (and, to a lesser extent, Electrocutioner) resemble their Batman: Arkham Origins designs.
    • The music resembles that of Batman: The Animated Series a few times.
    • The moment in the first scene when Batwoman emerges from the water after getting thrown clear of the exploding building visually resembles a scene in Batman and Robin when she gets Lazarus Pitted, especially due to the orange color scheme.
    • One of the guests at the tech summit resembles Cameron Kaiser from Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Wild". Others in attendance look to be Lex Luthor and Amanda Waller.
    • Talia takes flight in a wingless, box-shaped aircraft, and then is seemingly killed when it's blown up out at sea.
  • Never Found the Body: While escaping, Talia is attacked by Onyx, who stowed aboard her shuttle. The craft hits the water and explodes, and it's heavily implied that Talia got a katana to the face just beforehand.
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: Kate says this almost verbatim when describing the explosion Batman got caught in at the beginning.
  • Oedipus Complex: The movie is about the Bat-Family, nearly everyone of them has Daddy Issues big and small, guilt and Orphan's Ordeal.
    • Damian and Grayson, both struggle to earn the approval of their father, Bruce, with Dick lamenting that he could never really escape his shadow and Damian being at the center of an over-the-top custody battle between his supervillain mom and superhero Dad.
    • The Heretic likewise wants to usurp his father, his brother so as to earn his mother's love. His mother sees him as a clone and coldly murders him, and Talia herself is driven to restore Ra's Al Ghul's League of Assassins.
    • Kate Kane is far more settled than the rest, having a loving relationship with her father and joining the army like he did. But she also wants to carve her own identity and both father and daughter are still haunted by the trauma that happened to their mother and sister.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: How Talia escapes the Watchtower.
  • Offing the Offspring: Talia's killing of the Heretic, an aged-up clone of Damian, is regarded by the real Damian to be uncomfortably close to this. Later, Talia forces Bruce to shoot at Nightwing and Damian, her own son, no longer having any justification.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Bruce being a cold jerk after being rescued, and not acknowledging Dick as "family". It clues in Nightwing that he has been brainwashed.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • In one of her flashbacks, Kate calls a thug an asshole. It's the strongest curse in the film.
    • Kate's also responsible for the film's second-strongest curse, when she calls Talia a bitch after slugging her in the face.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Double subverted. Colonel Jacob Kane nearly says this word for words when he sees the batmobile and assumes its Batman (Bruce Wayne) who was believed to be dead. It's revealed it's actually Dick Grayson disguised as Batman. Then later in the movie, it's revealed that Bruce has been alive this whole time.
  • Resigned to the Call: Dick doesn't want to be Batman. He wants to be his own man. Too bad Bruce's disappearance tells him otherwise.
  • Running Gag: Dick and Kory are still having their dating plans interrupted by superheroing. This film even lampshades that fact.
  • Save the Villain: Damian tries to save Tusk from falling into one of the Watchtower's engines. He doesn't quite make it in time, but at least he's clearly taken his father's lesson to heart. What's odd is that Damian, of all people, is the only member of the Bat-Family to attempt it.
  • Screening the Call: Lucius does not want Luke taking up the mantle of Batwing, pointing out that despite the fact that Luke went through three tours of duty, this is Gotham, which is a whole new level of danger.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Every villain in the movie dies, but always in ways that prevent the heroes from being directly responsible.
  • Shout-Out: Batwing mechanically donning his armor resembles a certain other superhero, complete with rock guitar background music.
  • Shown Their Work: During her fight with Batwoman, Talia fires her Luger exactly nine times before reloading. A Luger holds eight rounds in its magazine, and can have an additional round chambered.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the comics, Damian was killed by the Heretic, but here Talia kills him before it can happen, indeed, Heretic goes out of his way to ensure no harm comes to Damian.
  • Spiteful Spit: After Damian's capture, he hocks a mouthful at Heretic.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kate pulls a stealth bye on her dad after the Batmobile roars past the diner they're eating at.
  • Sword and Gun: Talia starts off her fight with Batwoman armed with a Luger and a katana.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Batwoman slugs Talia and says:
    Batwoman: That's for what you did to my father, bitch.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Talia goes from a caring mother and as nice as possible on the Well-Intentioned Extremist side, to completely emotionless, considering her own children completely disposable. She kills Heretic simply because he wanted memories so he could truly love her like a son should, calls Damian a bastard to his face, and orders a brainwashed Batman to kill him because they could always have other children. She is still a well-intentioned Knight Templar fighting for a better tomorrow, but a much less sympathetic and more ruthless one.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Damian seems to have finally taken Bruce's words to heart on "Justice not Vengeance". He even tried to save a villain and often refers to Bruce/Batman as "Father".
  • Turbine Blender: Tusk falls into one of the Watchtower's engines.
  • Villain Team-Up: A number of C-list Batman villains such as Firefly, Killer Moth and the Mad Hatter are working for the mysterious Heretic.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Talia invokes this as justification to murdering the Heretic, in the eyes of Damian who is horrified by this.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Heretic doesn't hesitate to uppercut Batwoman and toss her around like a ragdoll.
    • Batwing and Nightwing, when the girls in question are machine-gun-toting, katana-wielding "nunjas".
  • Your Head Asplode: The Mad Hatter is killed when a power surge overloads a bunch of electrodes hooked to his head.
    Alfred: Bloody hell.