Synopsis: Central to this short film anthology release is an adaptation of “Batman: A Death in the Family.” The 1988 landmark DC comic book event is the first of five films. The others are Adam Strange, Sgt. Rock, The Phantom Stranger, and Death.
This review contains spoilers.
Review: Batman: A Death in the Family is so much more than the titular film. Don’t get me wrong. I preferred this version of Brandon Vietti’s take on the Red Hood story.
Juxtaposing Bruce’s flashback narration with the superbly animated action moved the plot along. Additionally, the revelation of Clark as Bruce’s audience adds hope to the noir universe.
Unfortunately, the DCU producers keep adapting the same storylines. They should be more focused on original or unexplored tales.
Fortunately, the producers of Batman: A Death in the Family seem to grasp this. The other entries in the anthology involve underrepresented characters.
Adam Strange is a great introduction to the character for those only familiar with Krypton. The short format allows the full impact of Adam’s arc,
I appreciate the desolation surrounding the loss of Adam’s wife. Moreover, I like how the themes of desolation and hope are intertwined in the search for his daughter.
Indeed, desolation and hope are the common themes in all the stories. Sgt. Rock is the most literal embodiment of these ideas. In fact, Sgt. Rock should be titled Sgt. Rock and the Creature Commandos.
The Creature Commandos are the ultimate desolation and the ultimate hope. I could watch them kill Nazis all day!
The Phantom Stranger presents one of DC’s biblical transplants. Accordingly, he literally preaches the themes of hope and desolation. You have to be in the mood for that. Fortunately, I was.
I also love the animation for this outing. It’s very 1960’s Scooby Doo on acid.
Last but not least, viewers end with Death. Yes, this is Neil Gaiman’s Death in all her glory. The story playing out around her is very cliché, but it’s meant to be. Death even comments in narrative.
The cast is excellent. Bruce Greenwood, Karl Urban, Peter Serafinowicz, and Jamie Chung did especially well in their respective title roles.
Batman: A Death in the Family is a refreshing entry. I’m looking forward to seeing more unexplored territory mined in future releases.
Batman: A Death in the Family is available on D.V.D., Blu-ray, and V.O.D. now.