Revisits are always fun and this is a Batman film that I’ve definitely seen a few times. I’ve always sided with Mask of the Phantasm from the classic Batman films, but this one certainly holds its own and has a nice blend of action and detective elements inside. I do think that the woman behind the mask is a cop out in the end, but so it goes.
A new vigilante has appeared with a bat inspired costume. She certainly has no qualms about crossing the line and goes all in on all missions. Batman has to put a stop to this before she does something she’ll regret or gets hurt in this crusade. After all, Batman’s been through a few tough scrapes before and he’s one of the greatest heroes of all time. It’ll be tough to catch her, but there are three key suspects for him to take a look at. The first is a new detective whose family business was burned by Thorne and they never recovered. We’ve got the motive and she definitely has a tough personality. Next up is the young genius from Wayne Enterprises who developed a new metal which can be transfigured into any shape with ease. This has a lot of practical applications as well as uses in the field. Hmmmm. Finally, we have the daughter of a big gang who is rich and likes to go on adventures. She’s certainly got the resources. Well, it’s time for Batman to look into this!
The film moves at a fairly quick pace and the first action scene happens immediately. It’s a formula that all films should follow. Literally all films without exception should open up with some kind of action/fight scene to get the fans hyped. It was probably the best looking scene animation-wise as well. There’s only one plot that I’m not crazy about and I’m sure that all of you can guess if you’ve seen the film. Does Bruce Wayne have to have a love interest in every single film? It gets old fast and the film didn’t need that. He falls in love with the gangster’s daughter of course and that definitely distracts him from the case for a little while. As far as romances go, it’s not terrible, but it’s still rushed and doesn’t really have a place in the film.
Aside from that, Batman was in character for this film. As Batman, he puts the pieces together with ease and he looks like the experienced hero that he should be. It’s always annoying to see so many films show him as a novice or a rookie. I want to see Batman as an experience veteran and I’m willing to bet that most of his fans feel the same way. They’ll be satisfied with how he looks here and his fight against Bane is one of the highlights of the film. It’s a good battle and neither fighter is willing to back down until the battlefield forces a change. Batman is a little outmatched here, but I blame it on cheap shots and the fact that Batman had to watch out for everyone. Otherwise, I go with Batman every time, but Bane makes for a very good opponent. Bane is always portrayed as a strong villain, but this film also showed his intelligent side. It’s not shown very often, but he is crafty and a very deadly mercenary. Certainly not your average power enemy.
Kathy gets the largest role from the 3 new heroines. From the three characters, I’d put her in the middle. Her romance with Bruce is a bit much, but aside from that she’s all right. The problem is that the romance makes up most of her character and she doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time as Batwoman. Rocky is my least favorite member of the three. It’s cool that she’s smart, but she’s a little too timid for me to find her very likable. Rocky also should have broken up with the dude who’s in prison. Sure, he did everything to help her in the long run, but he still came across as rude and ungrateful. It’s good to see that she’s good at video games though. The best member is certainly Sonia. She’s the most determined and is the most passionate about her goals. She’s willing to take on Batman if necessary and nearly gets into a gunfight with him.
From the villains, I forgot how weak the Penguin is. He definitely looks very inept as a villain, but it makes sense that he would be out of shape from pretending to be a villain for so long. Rupert Thorne isn’t any better and I’ve never found him to be an interesting villain. Ditto for the new gang boss. The two ladies who work for the Penguin were impressive though and they gave Batwoman a great fight. It was one of the more enjoyable fights in the film. Penguin’s definitely hired some very good help, that’s for sure.
All in all, the film’s just a lot of fun. It’s always nostalgic to see the definitive version of Gotham and the cases that it brings. I don’t know how long the film is, but it goes by very quickly while still having enough time to introduce all of these characters and provide us with some fight scenes. The writing is very well done as well and it much better than most other superhero films in that category.
Naturally, the animation is quite good here. The DCAU holds up so well through the test of time that it beats most of the current products from DC. The character models are still perfect and make for great fight scenes that are easy to watch and still carry the weight behind each punch that I tend to miss nowadays. It doesn’t have the same theatrical feel that Sub Zero and Mask of the Phantasm had. That’s fine as a movie doesn’t need to have that film feel. There aren’t a large abundance of films that have been able to pull that off after all, but it’s fun to see.
I wouldn’t say that there’s too much of a soundtrack here. It’s certainly not as epic as in Mask of the Phantasm. That being said, there is one song popped up during the credits and the scene in the lounge. It was pretty good and seemed to be treated like a bit of a guest star appearance for the singer. It fit well and it’s the kind of song that can easily be turned into a fight scene theme without sounding off. It’s not the quickest song in the world, but it’ll do. Beyond that, the soundtrack is mostly just the sound effects during the scenes. Usually, this is so subtle that I don’t even notice that the scene is basically silent. It’s always interesting to think back and try to remember if there was music in a scene or not.
Overall, This is a good Batman film. It’s certainly one of his best even when we count all of the non DCAU ones. I remember thinking that there wasn’t enough action in this film whenever I saw it back in the day. It’s not a huge issue, but I do think that another fight scene or two would have been good. Maybe a longer one between Batman and Batwoman since the first scuffle ended with a cheap shot. Batman’s prep time did help him out though and I’m glad that he kept on solving the mysteries. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely fix that ASAP! It’s a Batman film that all Batman fans can enjoy and even if you’re not a comic book reader, it’s easy to follow along. Once you see the film, you can decide if the ending is a cop out or not.