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Western Animation / DC Showcase – Batman: Death in the Family

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"Joker showed me the truth. Evil can't be cured, only killed."

Robin will die because the Joker wants revenge. But you can choose to save him.

DC Showcase – Batman: Death in the Family is a 2020 entry to both the DC Universe Animated Original Movies and the DC Showcase sub-series. Unlike other entries, this is an interactive movie with different paths. It is an adaptation of A Death in the Family, an expansion of Batman: Under the Red Hood and probably a few other things as well. It is also the first Batman film to be released following the DC Animated Movie Universe franchise's conclusion.

Jason Todd was Batman's second Robin. Brash and headstrong, Jason would butt heads with Batman over certain moral choices. When word got out that the Joker might have gotten a hold of nuclear weapons, the two go in search of him. Jason found the Joker, but was swiftly captured, tortured, and left to die from a bomb explosion in a warehouse by the Clown Prince of Crime. Jason would die and be resurrected as the Red Hood.

...But what if you had a hand in changing destiny?

In this movie, viewers will have a hand in forging Jason Todd's fate. Will he live or will he die? Should he live, would it be at the hands of the Caped Crusader, or will he cheat death? What will become of Jason should he survive? It's all up to you.

Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, John DiMaggio, and Gary Cole all reprise their roles from the original Under the Red Hood movie as Batman, Jason Todd, The Joker, and Commissioner Gordon, with Cole also voicing Two-Face and Zehra Fazal voicing Talia al Ghul.

While the Blu-ray version includes the fully-interactive, extended-length Batman: Death in the Family film, the Digital version features a non-interactive, pre-assembled version of the story, entitled "Under the Red Hood: Reloaded", and three other non-interactive versions of the movie's scenarios entitled "Jason Todd's Rebellion", "Robin's Revenge" and "Red Hood's Reckoning" as bonus features. However, not all possible scenes from the Blu-ray version were included in the pre-assembled versions, so the Blu-ray has about five minutes of additional content. Additionally, not all digital retailers include the bonus features, meaning the other three pre-assembled versions.note 

Four other DC Showcase shorts are bundled with it: Sgt. Rock, Death, The Phantom Stranger and Adam Strange.

The trailer can be seen here and one of the story paths can be previewed here.

Tropes Used In This Movie:

  • Actor Allusion: Zehra Fazal voices Talia al Ghul, which wouldn't be the only time she voiced the daughter of an immortal being. Just look at Cassandra Savage. In fact, doubly so, as this casting would carry back to Young Justice, seeing Fazal voice Talia in addition to Savage.
  • Adaptation Expansion: While it can be seen as a straightforward adaptation to the original Death in the Family and Under the Hood storylines, the branching narratives of Jason becoming either Hush or Red Robin help emphasize the "expansion" aspect. Furthermore, Two-Face, a villain who didn't appear in either storyline, appears in the movie's "Jason becomes Red Robin" scenario. Meanwhile, Cheetah appears in the "Jason becomes Hush" scenario, as does Barbara Gordon who was only alluded to in the original Under the Red Hood film.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: The Joker in the "Batman dies" ending. He recognizes that the Batman on the news is not the same one, and has retired from crime, painting over his clown makeup and even seeing a therapist. He only starts reverting to his older ways when he realizes that he's sitting next to Jason Todd - not that the old Boy Wonder gives him a chance to do so, stabbing him in the eye and killing him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Depending on the choices the viewer decides, some endings lead to everyone dying in gruesome ways. The highest on-screen body count might come from the path where Jason chooses to catch the Joker, which not only includes all of the random goons who died in the original film but also contains the deaths of (depending on your choices) Batmannote , Black Mask, the Joker, Batman again, Talia Al-Ghul, and Jason himself.
  • Back from the Dead: The Red Hood scenario aside, If Bruce saved Jason, Bruce is resurrected by Talia in the Lazarus pit.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The "Hush" ending has Jason say that while Talia said what she knew he needed to hear, to help him find the Joker for revenge, she had him at having him help raise Damian. Then Jason's Internal Monologue reveals that Damian's existence only furthered his disillusionment towards Batman, and that he intends to turn Damian against both Bruce and Talia and bring both the Wayne and al Ghul families down from the inside. The background music changed from hopeful to a discordant chord as he starts plotting.
  • Belated Happy Ending: Or Belated Bittersweet Ending, in this case. The original Under the Red Hood film ended with Jason's fate ambiguous and Batman lamenting his failure. The default scenario here enables us to see what happens afterwards and Bruce is now in better spirits, confident that Jason is both alive and redeemable. He's last seen having had a hopeful conversation and meal with Clark Kent, his Best Friend.
  • Best Served Cold: In the "Hush" ending, Jason plans on raising Bruce and Talia's son Damian to bring down both the Wayne and al Ghul families from the inside by turning him against both his parents. This is only revealed in his Inner Monologue as he pretends to Talia that he is interested in hunting down the Joker with the League.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Under the Red Hood ending retains the original movie's ending, but adds in extra sweetness as Clark reassures Bruce everything will be all right in the end, and specifically that the Justice League will help him look for Jason.
    • Another option in the Zur-En-Arrh ending has Jason try to save Bruce. He tasers him before activating the explosion in the helmet Talia shot on him to knock her unconscious. Bruce is alive, but still in his wretched state as the Batfamily hopes to one day fix him.
  • Book Ends:
    • In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Jason's first appearance as Robin has him hunched over a gargoyle with Batman behind him. In the Red Robin ending, a reformed Jason as Red Robin and Tim Drake as Bat-Kid are shown in the same position.
    • Jason's expression before the bomb explodes in Under the Red Hood is resignation and acceptance. He makes the same expressions just seconds before the bomb explodes if he kills the resurrected Batman.
    • The prologue shows Bruce having a flashback of his father saying that they'd probably put "Zorro in Arkham" if he existed in Gotham. One outcome of the "Catch Joker" path plays this flashback again, revealing it to be the origin of Bruce's "Zur-En-Arrh" identity.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Jason can kill Joker in the "Batman dies, go after Joker" route.
  • Broad Strokes: At one point there is a flashback which confirms that some version of the events of The Killing Joke happened in this continuity, which Under the Red Hood had alluded to. In fact since Barbara has the same character design as in the the animated adaption, it can be assumed that some version of those events happened In-Universe except that Barbara didn't become Oracle at the end and the rest of the Bat-Family were presumably involved.
  • Broken Pedestal: If Jason cheats death, he's badly injured by the bomb but survives, becomes hugely disillusioned at Batman and the Batfamily during his recuperation, runs away and starts killing the criminals of Gotham. His burned face is covered in bandages, and this plus the trenchcoat he wears makes him look like the Bat-villain Hush (though he never calls himself that).
  • Butt-Monkey: Black Mask (who's already one in the original movie) is killed by Jason in multiple ways across the various new routes, all of which are gruesome and humiliating in some way.
  • The Cameo:
    • Cheetah is sniped by Jason while she's being arrested in the Hush and Red Robin routes.
    • In the Red Robin route, a news report of Batman foiling a metahuman trafficking group with possible ties to Stagg Industries is mentioned.
    • Superman appears at the end of the revised Under the Red Hood storyline, as it's revealed that Bruce was talking to Clark the whole time.
    • Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash show up at the Batcave after Bruce's death in one timeline.
    • Dr. Harleen Quinzel shows up crying over the Joker's death in one timeline.
      • Lex Luthor is also shown in the same ending throwing away a Daily Planet article involving The Joker's death in the same timeline.
  • Came Back Wrong: Happens to Batman himself should he die. Talia revives him through the Lazarus Pit and while still as great a fighter as ever, could only say "Zur-En-Arrh" and is clearly a shell of his former self.
  • Casting Gag: Gary Cole plays former attorney Two-Face and drops the line "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury." Sound familiar?
  • Compilation Rerelease: A rare non-video game example. Despite being released and marketed as its own thing, it's still considered a short film. As compensation, the movie includes the previously released DC Showcase films from 2018-2019 featuring Sgt. Rock, Death of the Endless, The Phantom Stranger, and Adam Strange.
  • Cruel Mercy: If the Bad End in the Red Robin Scenario is chosen, Two-Face will spare Jason, giving him a "Reason You Suck" Speech that visibly hurts Jason and lets him live with the fact he fell so far. In his own words:
    Two-Face: The worst I can do is let you live with what you are, a perfect failure. Now that's a Fate Worse than Death. Live with that for the rest of your miserable life. However long that is. (chuckles viciously) See you in hell, kid.
  • Clip Show: Choosing to let Jason die only results in this, with the only new animation after the start being the end, where it's revealed Bruce is recounting the events of the original film to Clark.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike the initial Under the Red Hood movie or much of the previous DC Showcase short films, this manages to be full-on rated R.
  • Death by Adaptation: Since it's an Interactive Fiction, it's possible to choose scenarios where characters who lived in the original source die or killed earlier.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The film starts with Batman narrating over flashbacks intercut with him coming to Jason's rescue. It's possible to have Jason take over the main point of view completely, including the narration.
  • Die Laughing: If Jason becomes the Red Hood and corners the Joker, Joker is laughing uproariously at how damaged Jason is mentally. If Jason chooses to kill the Joker, he shoots him in the head as he's laughing.
  • Downer Ending: One of the endings ends with Jason, Talia and Bruce dead after Bruce activates a bomb that kills them all.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: A parental example. In the "Batman saves Robin" route, Bruce's final words to Jason are telling him he loves him while calling him "son".
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If Jason spares Two-Face, he manages to let go of his rage and reform into a hero that Bruce would be proud of, taking on Tim Drake as a protégé.
    Jason: Evil can't be cured, only killed. Whoever said that is a jackass.
  • Eye Scream: How Jason kills the Joker in the Red Robin route. With a blunt table knife.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In the ending where Jason, Talia and Bruce are blown up, Jason recognizes that Bruce had a bomb, and shuts his eyes just before the blast.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • At one point, Talia's chest and midriff are completely exposed but it's profoundly unsexy as she's a completely burned, skinless, eyeless corpse.
    • One path ends with the cremation of the Joker's naked corpse.
  • Fate Worse than Death: If Two-Face's coin comes up scarred side, Two-Face intends to kill Jason until Jason tells him to do it already. At which point, Harvey decides to let Jason live with what he's become and the guilt he has over it.
  • Flipping the Bird: Jason, either as Hush or Red Robin, pulls this off to Black Mask.
  • Gamebooks: A movie version as there are points where the viewer gets the option to choose where the story goes.
  • Get into Jail Free: One ending shows Jason willingly surrendering himself in prison and serving a life sentence. He becomes Jail Bird and serving his own brand of justice on the inside. As he narrates this, at first his eyes are closed, then they open, then he gives a Psychotic Smirk, finally after fully transforming into Jail Bird he now sports bruises, tattoos and a full blown Slasher Smile!
  • Get It Over With: Jason tells this to Two-Face if the scarred side of the coin comes up. Harvey decides against killing Jason and instead gives Jason a "Reason You Suck" Speech, concluding that letting Jason live with his failures is a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Zig-zagged. If Bruce saves Jason, he'll have a small scar on his upper left cheek. He'll retain it no matter if he becomes Red Robin, Red Hood or a convict. If Jason cheats death, he has a wicked burn scar on the left side of his face, which he keeps when he becomes "Hush".
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One way Black Mask is killed is Jason shattering the glass he is facing, causing the shards to fall and slice him in half.
  • Heroic Bystander: One ending has a boy save Jason from Two-Face (using Jason's own taser which he had dropped). Then he convinces Jason to reform his ways. He's revealed to be Tim Drake, and ultimately the Bat-family takes him in as well.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the "Batman saves Robin" path, Batman saves Jason's life by shielding him from the blast with his own body.
  • I Hate Past Me: In the Red Robin ending where he spares Two-Face and Tim gives him a Heel Realization, Jason will look back on his words about evil only needing to be killed and calls his past self a "jackass".
  • Hypocrite: During the Hush route, Jason accuses Bruce of being a madman, drafting innocent kids into his own personal crusade for vengeance. But at the end of the route when Talia approaches Jason, wanting him to become Damian's mentor, Jason only sees this as the chance to shape Damian into the perfect soldier to use in his quest of revenge against Bruce and the Al Ghuls.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • It's possible to put Jason at Two-Face's mercy, and the viewer gets to decide which way Two-Face's coin lands. Whichever the viewer picks, Two-Face will take it as the coin telling him to kill Jason, but the ultimate outcome is still different.
    • Whether Jason becomes Red Hood, Red Robin or Hush, he will kill criminals in contrast to Batman's no-kill rule and possibly his dying wish.
    • It's possible to make Jason become Red Hood and have some parts of Under the Red Hood still happen several years earlier.
    • Whether Red Hood kills the Joker or not, he will still face the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
  • Interactive Fiction: The movie places various choices at the hands of the viewers, letting them decide on how something happens. The use of this story could also double as a Mythology Gag, as the original story was infamous for the readers actually deciding Jason's fate.
  • Ironic Echo: The phrase "I'm gonna get you all fixed up" if Jason cheats death. First said by Batman as he takes in Jason to heal after he is severely injured by the blast, the line is repeated as Jason plans to use a young Damian Wayne to help get his revenge against both Bruce and the al Ghuls.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: In the path where Jason as the Red Hood confronts the Joker, choosing to spare the Joker has the Joker recite a version of "Humpty Dumpty" to mock the deterioration of Jason's sanity.
  • Joker Immunity: As one might expect from an interactive work, it's actually possible for the viewer to defy this trope by selecting two choices that have the outcome of Jason Todd killing the Joker once and for all. The first is made by choosing to disregard Batman's dying wish that Jason not kill the Joker, which leads to Jason encountering a stranger at a cafe who turns out to be the Joker in disguise and Jason stabbing the Joker in the eye after subtly revealing his identity to the Joker. The second choice is offered after the viewer chooses to respect Batman's dying wish, where Jason becomes the Red Hood and confronts the Joker to discover that he actually was killing criminals while suppressing his memories of doing so, at which point the viewer gets to decide whether Jason spares the Joker as Batman asked or goes through with ending the Joker's life.
  • Legacy Character: Jason is the second Robin and Dick Grayson/Nightwing, the first Robin, plays a supportive role. If Bruce dies from the bomb, Dick becomes Batman. It's implied the public and most villains don't catch on, except the Joker.
  • Madness Mantra: In the endings where Batman dies and Talia resurrects him with the Lazarus Pit, he keeps repeating "Zur-En-Arrh" (a distorted memory of his father's last words that if someone like Zorro actually appeared the result would be "Zorro in Arkham").
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • One ending has Tim Drake tell Red Robin that "he needs to be strong" to stop him from killing Two-Face. This reminds Jason of Bruce's dying words to him, how he told him to "use the pain to be strong", and he tosses his gun away.
    • In the Red Robin route, Jason recognizes a retired Joker in the diner, then echoes the last words Joker said to him when he had left him for dead.
      Jason: Well, next time I see him... I’ll tell the big man you said "Hello".
      [Joker’s eyes widen in recognition]
      Joker: Boy Wonder... [Slasher Smile]
  • Morton's Fork: If Bruce saves Jason, Jason can choose to respect Bruce's dying wish that he not kill criminals or disregard it. Disregarding it leads to him becoming the lethal Red Robin, while respecting Bruce's wish leads to Jason becoming the similarly lethal Red Hood, only he suppresses the memories of all the murders until Joker compliments him on them, horrifying Jason.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In a flashback, Bruce reflects on his father's last words (that a masked vigilante would be just be considered crazy by most) in light of Jason as Robin getting more violent than necessary, and he concludes that he was wrong to make Jason Robin before the boy had properly worked through his deep-seated pain (as he himself had Alfred to help with that before he became Batman).
    • If Jason lives but still becomes Red Hood, he actually makes an effort to not become a killer like in canon. When the Joker reveals he's been murdering criminals and repressing the memories, he's horrified that he unconsciously betrayed Bruce's dying wish.
    • In the Red Robin scenario, this happens in a couple of the scenarios. Two-Face gets the unblemished side, Tim Drake will talk down Jason, making him remember Bruce's last words and realize he's been wrong all along, tossing aside his gun and becoming the hero Bruce wanted him to be. If Two-Face gets the blemished side and Jason is okay with his death, Two-Face gives a "Reason You Suck" Speech to Jason as he notes he went from "flying" alongside Batman and stand for something to becoming feared by Gotham and hunted by Batman. In his words, a "perfect failure" and a Fate Worse than Death. All while Jason's expression is one of pure shame as he realizes Two-Face is completely right.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Picking the selfless choices consistently punishes Jason and everyone around him, while picking the selfish/evil ones leads to much more positive outcomes.
  • Oh, Crap!: In a diner, Jason talks to a stranger about Batman. The stranger then recounts a personal story he has about the Caped Crusader. Jason slowly realizes this is the "killing joke" the Joker once told Batman.
  • Off with His Head!: The Riddler is shown decapitated in the path where Jason Todd survives the explosion. Can also happen to Black Mask in the Red Robin scenario (and rather comically, it happens while a TV reporter's narration advises to "keep your head down").
  • Once More, with Clarity: In the route where Batman saves Robin and Robin chooses to capture Joker, Jason becomes the Red Hood and plays out his takeover of the underworld to lure the Joker out, only this time we see he doesn't kill anyone to honor Bruce's dying wish. When he finally confronts the Joker, Joker reveals to Jason he has been killing his way to the Joker, but had been repressing his memories of the killing. We see those same scenes again and the bloody results of them.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Like Under the Red Hood before it, this doesn't go into much of the original Death in the Family story, keeping only Jason's death at the Joker's hands (if the viewer so chooses).
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In the "Red Hood if Jason is saved" route, it's implied when Talia said Bruce spoke with "his body" that she took advantage of his mentally-impaired state.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The ending where Two-Face spares Red Robin has Two-Face give Red Robin one, saying that he used to be a hero and stand for something, but now he is feared by Gotham and hunted by Batman (Dick Grayson), and there would be no point in killing him since he's already dead inside, saying that letting him live as a "perfect failure" is a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Recycled Animation: Some shots of Hush and Red Robin's rampages are Stock Footage of the ones used in Under the Red Hood. As is much of the main story and the prologue involving Jason's death, being told by Bruce via flashback.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: Like Batman (Grant Morrison), this film has its own reinterpretation of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Here, his colorful garb was crafted from fragmentary recollections of Jason Todd's Robin uniform, and the Bat-Radia is just a Dead Man's Switch for a bomb he cobbled together in the event he failed to kill Jason or break free from Talia's control. However, the origin of the phrase in the movie matches the one Morrison came up with for it (a corruption of Thomas Wayne minutes before he died saying the likely result of someone like Zorro in Gotham would be "Z[o]rro [i]n Arkham").
  • Retired Monster: In one scenario, the Joker goes straight and stops doing crime after Batman's death. Hell, he even talks about how he has a journal he writes in at the insistence of his therapist.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Cheetah is traditionally Wonder Woman's Arch-Enemy, while here she is shown in some routes being arrested by Batman and Commissioner Gordon.
  • Slasher Smile: A truly disturbing one all but blooms on the retired Joker's face when he recognizes Jason at the diner during the Red Robin route.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In one route, Jason sits next to a disguised Joker in a diner, and neither fully realize it until the Joker inadvertently reveals himself by telling the "two men in an asylum" joke from The Killing Joke, which Jason recognizes from Batman's files. Jason then deliberately reveals himself by echoing Joker's last words to him earlier, saying "I'll tell the big man you said hello".
  • The Voiceless: Jason as Red Hood in the Under the Red Hood timeline doesn't speak except for the same grunts or shouts from the original film. Justified as Bruce is reminiscing the whole time and telling the story to someone else. Dick doesn't have any lines either whether in new or old scenes, and neither does Barbara despite being a brand new addition.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Jason in the "Catch Joker" path claims that he was trying to catch Joker by fighting crime non-lethally, only for Joker to reveal during their final confrontation that Jason was actually killing criminals and suppressing his memories of doing so.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: One path taken has Joker compliment Jason on how he has been killing off criminals in various ways, only for Jason to be horrified by Joker's praise, especially since he had been repressing those memories and literally didn't know he had killed anyone.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: No matter what the viewer does, Jason will end up a killer like in Under the Red Hood. In one path the Joker even suggests that deep down that's simply who he is, and given that in this path he has't suffered from the same level of injuries from the Hush path or the Lazerus pit there might be some truth to that.
  • We Can Rule Together: Talia shows up in different routes and tries to win Jason over to her side.
  • What If?: The main premise of the movie: Does Jason die, does Batman save him or does Jason somehow cheat death? Between those three, you have Jason becoming either Red Hood, Hush, or Red Robin.
    • If Jason is killed by the bomb, Under the Red Hood happens and he becomes Red Hood (obviously).
    • If Jason cheats death, he more or less becomes Hush (even though he never calls himself that, and people still refer to him as Robin).
    • If Jason is saved by Batman, Jason becomes Red Robin. It's Batman who's killed by the bomb and further choices lead to Jason becoming either Red Robin or Red Hood years earlier (as there's no Time Skip as in the Jason dies/Under The Red Hood timeline), or a convict.

Alternative Title(s): DC Showcase Batman A Death In The Family, Batman Death In The Family