We’ve all made selections that we’ve come to remorse. Selections that both didn’t work out the best way we’d hoped or anticipated, or that have been made in such haste that we didn’t totally perceive what was at stake. Generally the outcomes of those selections are an inconvenience, different instances they’re profound, and from time to time they could be life shattering. In all instances, nevertheless, we expect the identical factor—if I might do it once more, I’d make a distinct alternative. As they are saying, hindsight is 20/20.
However is it actually?
Batman: Death in the Family is DC’s newest animated characteristic and it boasts a novel twist. The Blu-ray launch is interactive, permitting you to determine how sure occasions are going to end up. It’s a 21st Century replace to the unique “A Death in the Family” comic storyline, through which DC followers got the selection to name two telephone numbers to find out whether or not Robin lived or died by the hands of the Joker. Infamously, they selected loss of life, forever altering the direction of Batman comics and the DC Universe and making a popular culture second that’s nonetheless mentioned and debated to at the present time.
That call, together with a number of others, is as soon as once more yours to make within the animated adaptation, supplying you with the possibility to reverse that call and let Robin survive the Joker’s assault. Doing that creates a kind of alternate continuity of what may need occurred if followers had made that alternative again in 1988.
As somebody who got here to comics after the 1980s, I’ve typically puzzled what I’d have chosen if I had voted on Jason Todd’s destiny. I in all probability would have needed him to outlive—I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of loss of life as a gimmick in comics. The truth that Jason’s demise didn’t stick and resulted in a brand new Robin who has contributed to a present overabundance of Boy Wonders suggests to me that every part would have been an entire lot cleaner if we’d simply caught with Jason within the first place.
The Dying within the Household interactive film makes a reasonably good case that you need to be cautious what you want for. Very like we’ve been advised by each time-travel film or TV present we’ve seen over the previous 35 years, you by no means know what would possibly end result from going again and altering one thing up to now, even one thing innocuous. And the loss of life of Robin undoubtedly isn’t innocuous. It had far-reaching results that prolonged past comics into different media. Batman and the Bat-Household have been by no means the identical after Jason met his finish.
But, Batman: Dying within the Household reminds us that even when Jason had survived it, the Joker’s brutal assault on him was nonetheless a surprising, traumatic occasion. It was sure to have some profound impression on Jason’s life, even when it didn’t minimize that life brief. Discovering these potential outcomes in Batman: Dying within the Household is undeniably surprising—and in addition lots of enjoyable.
One factor that’s price realizing is that whereas Batman: Dying within the Household stands alone, it’s set firmly within the continuity of the 2010 DC animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood. Should you’ve seen and loved that film, you’re in all probability going to like this one. Should you haven’t seen it, you would possibly need to test it out first. Batman: Beneath the Crimson Hood offers us our baseline—it’s what’s “supposed” to occur with Jason Todd. A part of the enjoyment of Dying within the Household is seeing how the interactivity subverts lots of these occasions, one thing that lands higher in the event you’re already conversant in them.
Batman: Dying within the Household can also be arriving at a lucky time. With the world getting into its eighth month of a worldwide pandemic, audiences are hungry for one thing recent and totally different to be entertained by at dwelling, and Dying within the Household is definitely that. When watched begin to end, the film isn’t lengthy—the lengthiest variations run about thirty minutes. Nonetheless, the purpose is to discover and make totally different selections, seeing what would possibly end result.
I can let you know that my first end result was…not good. Whereas entertaining in a sinister approach, it was so reverse of what I hoped would occur if Jason survived that in my second try, I selected to let him die simply to see some issues play out in a approach that I used to be conversant in. My third try is the place issues obtained attention-grabbing. It opened up additional selections, none of which have been simple to make, and landed me my favourite of the film’s seven totally different endings. (I’m not going to spoil it, besides to say that it performs like a Grant Morrison-inspired tackle Citizen Kane’s “rosebud.”) Credit score to author, director and producer Brandon Vietti for ensuring the endings every really feel genuine and plausible, whereas remaining dramatically totally different from one another.
Does giving audiences the power to decide on which approach the story performs out make for a greater film? It’s definitely totally different, however I’m unsure I’d say higher. There’s nonetheless loads to be stated a couple of singular story advised properly. Nonetheless, “A Dying within the Household” is the right supply materials for an interactive film like this. For all the comedian’s notoriety, the story’s probably not something particular. It’s notorious solely due to the gimmick at its middle. Batman: A Dying within the Household largely removes the story and fittingly doubles down on that gimmick, placing poor Jason’s destiny within the fingers of his followers once more…and time and again.
I’d prefer to suppose they’ll deal with him a bit higher this time. Solely, after experiencing Batman: Dying within the Household myself, I’m now not positive that treating Jason higher is healthier for Gotham and the Bat-Household as an entire. Batman: Dying within the Household reminds us that it’s not possible to foretell what would possibly occur in the event you might return and make a previous choice in another way—there’s simply no solution to foresee all of the potential outcomes. And in case your eyes are closed to one thing like that, 20/20 hindsight isn’t going to do you a lot good.
Batman: Death in the Family is now obtainable on Blu-ray and DIgital (observe that the film’s interactive expertise is just obtainable on Blu-ray).
Tim Beedle covers motion pictures, TV and comics for DCComics.com, writes our month-to-month Superman column, “Super Here For…”, and is an everyday contributor to the Sofa Membership, our weekly tv column.