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Blu-ray Review – Batman: Death In The Family

A Death in Family from the late ’80s was a Batman storyline that saw Robin (the Jason Todd version) captured and killed by the Joker. What made it a little different was that the comic book readers were given a number to call in to and pick whether they wanted Jason Todd to live and die.

Well, this new Blu-ray from DC/Warner Bros takes that storyline and concept and gives us a choose your own adventure style of film. A little like the Bandersnatch movie on Netflix. In this case, the first choice gives three options – Robin Saves Himself, Robin Dies, and Batman Saves Robin – and it then moves on. The end result is seven different endings.

This new film also incorporates elements and character designs from the Batman: Under The Red Hood animated movie.

Bruce Greenwood (The Resident, Star Trek, iRobot), Vincent Martella (Phineas and Ferb) and John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time) reprise their Batman: Under The Red Hood roles of Batman, young Jason Todd and The Joker, respectively. Other featured voices are Zehra Fazal (Young Justice) as Talia al Ghul and Gary Cole (Veep) as Two-Face and James Gordon.

I love how it opens with the DC comic book heroes before the camera wanders around a comic book store until alighting on the A Death In The Family graphic novel. Good memories of wandering around comic book shops when I was younger.

With the film, we are right in on the action and the animation is nice and smooth. With a fair bit of detail that I felt had been a little lacking from some of the previous DC animated movies. There are lots of flashbacks and you don’t get much time to breathe before moving on to the next scene and then the first choice is upon us.

I do wish we could have spent a little more time on some of the storylines they touch on, but there is a lot to cover. However, it does all make sense and flows well. Although I am not sure if that is because I have read lots of the comic book stories and seen the previous films. I am sure you will still enjoy it if you have not read the comics. Watching Under The Red Hood would flesh out some of the flashback scenes depending on which path you follow.

The different storylines do play out well and it is a nice option to see what happens if various events had played out differently.

It was most enjoyable to watch but I was left wishing that each path had been longer. Depending on which way you go the storyline could be just 15 minutes or longer than 30 minutes. It’s a small criticism, but just thought you should know.

The voice acting is fantastic, but they always do a good job with the voice acting in these movies. Of course, I always wish Kevin Conroy was voicing Batman, but Bruce Greenwood is always great to listen to.

The extras on the Blu-ray are also worth a watch. We get animated shorts featuring Sergeant Rock, Adam Strange, Death, and The Phantom Stranger. The latter three have appeared on previous DC animated movie Blu-rays, but it is nice to have them all on one disc.

If you are a fan of Batman and like A Death In The Family storyline then this new Blu-ray is well worth checking out.

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