It’s been a while since DC has been able to deliver a good movie, but I had high hopes for this one after seeing the trailer. It would get away from the excessive violence and bring us the classic Superfriends atmosphere that we had been waiting for. As expected, the film was fun and lived up to my expectations. I could have done with some more hand to hand action towards the second half, but it managed to avoid having many negatives and as the film is quite short, it is something that I could definitely recommend to others as a quick superhero watch.
Mysterious animal related crimes have been surfacing in Gotham City so Batman and his comrades decide to check it out. Batman is evaded in his fight and Cheetah manages to defeat Nightwing with the help of Killer Croc, despite the Flash coming in to help out. The heroes are systematically defeated at each and every turn so Batman decides to take the initiative. Meanwhile, the Penguin decides to make a new building and it ends up being the tallest in the city. Could he have some kind of plan to go alongside this or is he just trying to have fun? The heroes will have to try their best if they want to stand a chance here!
All right, let’s quickly talk about the technical aspects first. The soundtrack was surprisingly good and fast paced. It really fit quite well with the action scenes. I think that the music could have been a little more pronounced though so you could really feel the action, but it was still better than expected. The writing was also pretty solid as you would expect from a Superfriends inspired product. Keeping in this atmosphere for future films would be great!
As for the animation, Batman Unlimited looks good. I doubt anyone will be making a case for it looking great, but it can hold his own when necessary. The opening action scenes actually looked quite good and that’s a plus of being so modern. Even relatively low budget films can still look quite good. One thing that I noticed was that the film would use a longer roll animation than necessary so every time the character hit the ground, they would keep on rolling and rolling. It’s not bad though, just something to notice. The night scenes ere all handled quite well.
That being said, I didn’t care for most of the character designs. I really liked Batman’s costume, but that’s about it. The hair styles of the various characters were just off and the Flash looked really odd the whole time. It reminded me of Superman and the Elite to an extent. Good animation can help to negate the character designs, but it was still very iffy. Nightwing’s hair probably stuck out the most to me. Luckily, the voices also helped to mitigate these losses as Nightwing’s was perfect for his character and Red Robin also got a really good one. DC really pulled out the stops for this one.
All right, for a negative, I’d say that the Flash looked really bad. It goes beyond simply plot hax as he is made to be a bit of a joke here. It’s similar to the treatment that Green Lantern got in Justice League War, which I still find to be quite sad. Flash gets tripped by Cheetah here and Man Bat takes him out in a single blow. His high speed punches also have absolutely no effect on Killer Croc, which was just embarrassing. He was treated as a bit of a rookie here and even if this is Wally West, that’s still a bit much. Red Robin was the main comic relief for the film, but he was handled well. What he lacks in hand to hand combat, he makes up for with his intense one liners. I order Sliders from Buffalo Wild Wings myself so I can see why Red Robin was in the mood for it.
Nightwing certainly looked good here. He was on point the whole time and never lost sight of the mission. He felt like a mini Batman and you can be sure that the Dark Knight is pleased with his progress. He may have lost to the villains the first time, but those guys managed to make all of the heroes look bad on several occasions so it certainly wasn’t his fault. Green Arrow also looks good and we get to see him relatively early in his career I’d say because he was still waiting on the patent for one of his inventions. Green Arrow looked good and while he still seems like a bit of a second rate Batman, he isn’t a bad character.
Naturally, Batman looks the best from the group and whenever he decides to take charge, you know that the heroes are about to do well. I don’t care for his Space Dandy design, but this is a Batman who knows what he is doing and that’s always a good thing. He knew how to make a cure for Man Bat and he figured out how to track the villains right away. Batman doesn’t get to look much better than this, his portrayal was spot on.
As you may expect from the film’s short run time, it’s essentially just a compilation of action scenes. There is always some kind of action going on. It can get a little repetitive to see the villains escape the heroes so often though as that really shouldn’t be happening. The heroes had the villains outmatched the instant that Flash appeared. Without him, it would actually be an interesting fight, but I can’t ignore the presence of such a heavy weight. The film probably could have used a better array of villains, although it was a fairly decent team. Cheetah makes for a decent threat, Killer Croc is tough, and the robot Ape wasn’t bad. Man-Bat and Penguin could have been more interesting or imposing though. I’ve never been a fan of those two.
That’s why the sequel looks like it could end up being even better than this film, although I’m being cautious for now. I was pleasantly surprised with some of the fight scenes after all and the film was just enjoyable to watch through and through. This is why Batman Meets the Green Hornet needs to be adapted into a film like this one. I have a feeling that it would prove to be quite the entertaining movie!
Overall, Batman Unlimited was a fun little film. There’s certainly not a whole lot of depth to it and you won’t be forced to ask yourself the tough questions, but it’s a really fun superhero film that will remind you of the good old days. This is certainly the best animated comic book film in a while and it felt like DC’s answer to the Marvel’s Heroes United Run. I’d say that DC took the win here as expected. In the sequel, I want Superman to be added to the roster! I saw the trailer a while back, but that was quite a while ago so I forgot most of it. I’ll be sure to check it out again soon. Let me know what you thought of this film once you see it!