Venture Bros movie Dean and Rusty

The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart Review: A Bittersweet End

The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart is a gift for long-time fans of the 20-year-old series. Dr. Venture and co. seemed to have enjoyed their last adventure when Adult Swim cancelled the show in 2020—a surprise for Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, who were part-way through writing Season 8. Lucky for us, WarnerMedia brought the series back for one last outing, this time in the form of a feature film that serves as the series’ conclusion.  It wasn’t meant to end like this, but it’s a heck of a lot better than never getting a proper ending at all.

Although this is a Venture Bros. feature film, the experience is more akin to a condensed, fast-paced season binge. Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart continues the story following the events in The Venture Bros. Season 7 finale, and the feature film makes little sense independent of the show (it’s possible to follow the plot, but familiarity with the series is essential for the events to have any weight or significance). Dean and his father Dr. Venture are working with the super-spy agency OSI to try and locate Hank, who disappeared from the hospital after waking from a coma. Meanwhile, The Monarch is grappling with the possibility that Dr. Venture—his sworn enemy—is his brother, forcing Councilwoman Dr. Mrs. The Monarch to balance her duties leading The Guild of Calamitous Intent with supporting her husband through this difficult time.

The Venture Bros. RIBOBH Is As Good As The Cartoon Series

The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart
Photos courtesy of Adult Swim

Publick and Hammer are in top form in Radiant, stuffing the plot with the deep-cut references and razor-sharp wit that The Venture Bros. is known for. The story is equal parts bombastic and silly, cynical and sincere. It’s obvious the two have a deep fondness for their created world and characters, and they treat them with loving respect—even as they put them through rigorous trials of violent humiliation. Moments like Dr. Orpheus’ full commitment to lines like, “Liar! Pants aflame!” and Dr. Venture’s repulsive attempt to flirt are hilarious because there’s no whiff of self-awareness or irony. The show first aired in 2003, yet it feels as inspired and fresh as anything else airing today.

Somehow, The Venture Bros. movie manages to fulfill the implied narrative path while also subverting expectations. Without spoiling any plot points, the feature film addresses the major questions left by the show’s previous conclusion, offering definitive answers to some of the series’ longest-standing mysteries. New faces drive the central conflict, while dozens of beloved supporting characters return for one last bow at curtain call. It feels more robust than simply a long episode, if not quite self-contained or elevated enough to feel like an actual, theatrical-quality film. To put that another way, rather than a film based on a popular TV show, Radiant is more like a TV show made into a film. Ultimately, it’s not the triumphant celebration of the show’s legacy, but a consolation prize for everyone who thought there’d be an eighth season.


Dear Adult Swim: Please Make More Venture Bros.

Venture Bros. Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart Brock OSI
Photos courtesy of Adult Swim

The Venture Bros. movie is as good as this cartoon series get—but it just doesn’t feel like enough. In terms of the plot, acting, and direction, there’s more than enough here to impress viewers. The problem is that it all seems to go by so fast. Sure, we get several laugh-out-loud gags, thrilling action scenes, and plenty of unforgettable moments, and the ending neatly ties up the series’ plot threads. Yet, the happy ending rang a bit hollow for me, if only because after two decades of loving this show, 84 minutes isn’t enough. I’ve grown up with these characters, learned to love them and their idiosyncrasies like old friends, and I’m not ready to say goodbye. As overjoyed as I am that this film exists, I desperately wish there was more.

The Venture Bros.: Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart was released digitally on July 21 and landed on Blu-ray today.