The choice is yours as you decide the outcome of this feature.
The film takes us back to the events of Jason Todd’s death, which unfolded in the comic books during 1988. A monumental story in Batman mythos that saw the second Joker brutally murdered at the hands of the Joker as voted by the fans. Now, these tragic events are completely left in the hands of the viewer as you get to see how things could have played out with the click of a button.
One choice may end the movie abruptly while another will give you a complete recap of how things unfolded during 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood. Or you may be taken down a rabbit hole that sees how things would have been had Jason Todd survived that fateful night in Bosnia.
DC Animated decided to take a wild turn with their latest release. Batman: Death in the Family is something that has never been attempted in the comic book genre. Of course, interactive media has been making its way on the scene through Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and even a Minecraft story mode. However, this endeavour is a completely different take on the classic Elseworlds stories that have been featured in DC Comics for decades.
I am certain there were plenty of comic book fans in 1988 that were curious as to the other possible outcomes to Jason Todd’s death. Back then, a phone-in vote finalized the young Robin’s fate. But that also left the glaring question regarding things turning the other way.
Over 30 years later, we now get to explore a couple of different outcomes. Making it all that more exciting is giving fans the power to choose the path along the way.
However, some of these paths are much more exciting than others. Opting to follow the traditional sequence of events will result in a boring 25-minute recap of everything that went down in 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood.
As a warning to those looking to view this film digitally, there are no interactive options. Instead, fans will only be able to watch this retelling of Batman: Under the Red Hood, without many additional scenes. And what is added is not worth the cost. This film is only worth purchasing on Blu-Ray.
Though as a special bonus on the digital and physical copies is the inclusion of four DC Animated shorts that have been released throughout the last two years. Again though, if you have already seen these brilliant shorts, the cost is not worth a re-watch.
Purchasing the Blu-ray version of Batman: Death in the Family is the only way to experience this feature the way it is intended. And those who do will be rewarded with the flash and bangs, twists and turns, that one would come to expect from a DC Animated film. Though do not be surprised if the choice you make will abruptly end the story in unexpected ways.
One path is not enough to get your money worth out of the film though. Almost all of the paths will end the movie in under half an hour. Additionally, the amount of recycled footage from Batman: Under the Red Hood is disappointing. It is best to take your time and explore the many options and unique paths that lead to the many shock endings.
The best part about this film is the return performances of the cast. John DiMaggio makes for a Joker as formidable as any we have seen. Plus, it is funny to imagine Bender acting as the Joker. And Bruce Greenwood is solid as Batman/Bruce Wayne, especially when he needs to deliver a 20-minute monologue.
For DC’s first foray into interactive media, it is safe to call this a success. However, there are a lot of things that could be fine-tuned to make it more worth the effort and cost. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which follows the same interactive storytelling, was exciting for the multiple strange turns you could make that lead down to a similar inevitable conclusion, all of which resulted in a full-length movie.
Unfortunately, for every exciting choice in Batman: Death in the Family, there is an equally mundane and disappointing option. Sitting through 25-minutes of Bruce Wayne retell a movie we have already seen is not entertaining. If I wanted to watch Batman: Under the Red Hood, I could watch Batman: Under the Red Hood.
There simply is not enough here to justify the full cost of a Blu-ray. Especially at this point where the majority of viewers have moved to downloading new films digitally. The addition of the four animated shorts helps by offering more content. Though again, they could have added at least one new short for fans to get some original content.
Batman: Death in the Family is a lot of fun, giving you the chance to explore your way through each new path. Though it will be much more fun when it is available on a streaming platform that you already pay for. Hopefully, should DC continue with interactive media they can extend the amount of original content and deliver a full-length movie.