Bang! 3.5 Stars

Based loosely on the iconic 1988 DC Comic Series also title A Death In the Family, Batman (Bruce Greenwood) and his second ward Jason Todd, aka Robin (Vincent Martella) follow The Joker (John DiMaggio) to Bosnia to disrupt a weapons sale. When they split up, Robin confronts the Joker alone and is killed off, with Batman unable to save him in time. There are a variety of twists and turns that bring classic characters into play, including Raz Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul, Red Hood, Two Face, Superman and more. In this release, DC implements an interesting “Choose Your Own Adventure” format that allows fans to play “What If” and determine key plot lines in wildly different directions, including whether Jason dies in the first place (Which the 1988 series determined via fan voting!).

Batman: Death in the Family (2020)
Released: 13 Oct 2020
Rated: R
Runtime: 96 min
Director: Brandon Vietti
Genre: Animation, Action
Cast: Gary Cole, Bruce Greenwood, John DiMaggio, Vincent Martella
Writer(s): Brandon Vietti
Plot: In this very first interactive animated DC movie, you get to decide the direction Jason Todd's fate.
IMDB rating: N/A
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 18-31 minutes
Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Keep Case with foil cover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 10/13/2020
MSRP: $17.99

The Production: 3/5

While I remember the plot of the 1988 series somewhat, it wasn’t quite the apex of my fandom the way the Death Of Superman and The Killing Joke were. Still, this is a classic comic that a lot of folks are quite invested in, and it provided a lot of new angles for the caped crusader and his sidekick to explore, with subterfuge and drama. The interactive mechanism with pathing Bluray capability is well done here, and more than anything reminds me of the way TellTale Games give players the way to move the story along in interesting ways, and when the end of the line is reached you can go back and see how other tracks fared as well.

Unfortunately my digital copy won’t activate yet, so I’ll have to see how and if that version fares soon!

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

Pretty standard DC comic quality. If you have seen any of their others it’s right in line. It brings the comics to life with decent detail. The one thing that bugs me is the very very bad comic shop opening. For whatever reason every DC Disk I see has that intro with gnarly panning that chops up more than Iron Chef. Once you get past that tho it looks great!

Audio: 3.5/5

Mostly front heavy DTS 5.1 HDMA with a few nice booms throughout and the music tends to drift to the rears more than the action does.

Special Features: 3/5

4 Shorts are included on the disk:
Adam Strange – TERRIBLE.
Sgt. Rock – WEIRD
The Phantom Stranger – OK, I guess.
Death – Pretty damn good.

All have director’s commentaries, which I skipped. There is also a commentary on the movie itself. Skipped that one too.

Overall: 3.5/5

Overall I’m a huge fan of “What If” type scenarios and think that DC did a pretty admirable job of the technical implementation, tho the actual story lines are a bit uneven. I went through and saw all available endings and can pick my favorites, but one thing I couldn’t remember was the canonical way the story is -supposed- to conclude. It would be helpful if there was a way to go through it without making any choices and see what the ‘real story’ is.

A big shoutout to the voice actors tho, they are terrific all around, especially Batman and Joker. DC continues to nail the Batman comic movies, if only they could do the same for Live Action.

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Published by

Sam Posten

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Jason_V

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Just watched the streaming, non interactive version last night. Somehow I missed this was five shorts and not one Batman movie. Out of the five, the only one I felt no connection to was the Phantom Stranger short: there was nothing there for me to grab onto and be interested in.

Otherwise, my favorite was Death. It is depressing and dark, but the ending redeems the entire short story. I can imagine an artist or person of any stripe having the demons talk to them and tell them they’re not good enough. I’ve been there before. And the only real way to get rid of them is to do what it is you want to do and continue to do it.

This is a good way to introduce these lesser characters to a mass audience; none can support a full movie, though. With Batman as the anchor, at least they get their moment to shine.