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Batman: Death in the Family 2020 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Brandon Vietti
Writer: Brandon Vietti
Stars: Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, Zehra Fazal
1988’s Death in the Family storyline in Batman comics let fans decide the fate of Jason Todd, who took over the mantle of Robin in 1983. Todd had become so unpopular with fans that comics editor Dennis O’Neil decided to let readers vote on the Boy Wonder’s fate by launching a 900-number to let fans decide if Todd would live or die at the hands of the Joker (for a .50 fee). Fans overwhelmingly voted to kill Todd off, resulting in one of the most shocking and influential Batman storylines of all time.
Over 30 years later, the fate of Robin is once again in the hands of the fans with the release of DC SHOWCASE – BATMAN: DEATH IN THE FAMILY, an interactive animated Batman extended-short that plays out like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. Mixing in elements from the original Death in the Family storyline with the Under the Red Hood arc, the short features the voice talents of Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Vincent Martella as young Jason Todd, and John DiMaggio as the Joker.
Viewers are given a number of prompts throughout the film that drastically change the arc of the storyline, leading to very different outcomes. The Blu-ray release makes it easy to go back to a previous prompt menu to try a different tact, which truly feels like turning back the pages of a comic book to start a new storyline.
While the interactive feature is a novel way to navigate through Jason Todd’s fairly complex history in Batman lore, the extra added shorts really make this a must-have purchase for comic fans. The release is bundled with four animated shorts, featuring Sgt. Rock, The Phantom Stranger, Adam Strange, and Neil Gaiman’s Death. Each has a unique tone and style, and they feel like unseen pilots for a potential TV show, or a special one-shot issue, to use the comic parlance. Bruce Timm, who helmed the incredible Batman: The Animated Series, serves as executive producer and director for the Sgt. Rock and The Phantom Stranger entries, and all four shorts are so well done that they could easily inspire their own animated shows (who wants to start the petition?).
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