Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants Review


Batman Unlimited was a fun experiment by DC. It’s basically what you get when you mix today’s animation with a far lighter 80’s Batman tone. The first two films were solid. On one hand the designs could use some work but on the other you are getting quality fights without having to worry about the film going all in with violence. This installment ends the trilogy on a high note as it is probably the best of the 3. It’s quite solid and I’ll miss having the gang around.

The movie’s plot centers around the Penguin and Mr. Freeze. Freeze wants to stop some nearby ships and Penguin wants to rule Gotham. As such they form an alliance and Penguin teaches Freeze how to be more ambitious. The icy villain quickly becomes good at this. Meanwhile Damian is having a rough start as Robin since Joker humiliated him on TV. He is determined to get better though and this latest threat to his city could be a perfect opportunity.

I’ve probably talked about this in previous installments but I really like how Batman Unlimited basically has nonstop action throughout. There aren’t many breaks for talking at all here yet the movie still does build up a very complete plot. Who doesn’t want to see Batman in a giant mech suit fighting a Godzilla homage? The concept of having robots vs monsters is certainly a classic one with Pacific Rim being the latest big film to bring attention to the genre. We also get traditional Batman style fights like the Arkham battle where Batman and Robin face off against the villain group. It’s a fight where you get the feeling they will lose from the start since it’s too early for the villains to be defeated, but it’s a fun fight nonetheless. Honestly I think the heroes were pretty well matched up against the villains.

As always the animation is pretty solid. It looks like a main line DC film except for the fact that the character designs are quite different. Some can be a bit off putting, but at the same time I wouldn’t call them bad. Batman’s (Bruce Wayne form) for example looks like something out of Space Dandy or Johnny Bravo. It’s a bit of an odd look for his Bruce Wane persona considering you’d expect something a bit more formal. Still, when you’re rich like that you can dress however you want with whatever hairstyle you want so it’s not as if it’s unrealistic or anything. Anything goes in that scenario. The fight scenes are pretty sharp with a lot of vibrant colors. I think with some fine tuning this could even be a decent basis for a Batman anime of sorts. The scenes when inside the mech could certainly work.

There’s not much of a soundtrack so I’ll skip over that. Maybe the sequel would work on that. Green Arrow still gets shown up by Batman the whole time here. It gets to the point where I feel like he starts to acknowledge this by intentionally trying to sabotage Batman. Keep in mind that even if this is for humor such a stunt can easily cost lives when up against villains. Batman and Robin were getting ready to sneak up on the villains when Green Arrow broke through the glass which announced their presence. Somehow the villains didn’t hear them but you can still see what Arrow was trying to do. Additionally Arrow tries to prevent himself from getting one upped by ordering his own mech suit. Unfortunately for him it simply wasn’t strong enough to win any fights so once again he had to watch Batman come to the rescue. Green Arrow takes all of this pretty well though and overall I’d say that it was one of his better incarnations. It’s not all about power after all so as long as he’s still cracking jokes and trying hard that’s a start.

Meanwhile Damian has his own plot about trying to stay out of Batman’s shadow. He’s the newest Robin as the others have all graduated and gotten their own titles. At first you may even think that he is Red Hood or Red Robin since the costume is basically the same but it turns out that it is Damian. This also helps tie in to the main titles where Damian is currently Robin. He’s a pretty good Robin. You can’t help but feel bad for him during the intro since losing to Joker while being recorded on the internet was a pretty hard blow to take considering it was his first real day on the job. He does his best to improve and study from there. Damian never makes excuses for himself and I’d say that he has a lot of potential if we do get another installment.

Nightwing gets a small role near the end, but ultimately is just here as a cameo. As always Batman’s quite excellent here. He’s got everyone right where he wants them and reminds the other heroes that you don’t need powers to win fights. He’s pretty strict with everyone but never comes across as fair. I think Batman’s character is usually consistent in the movies and that doesn’t change here. He’s just as fun as he always is. As you can tell the character cast here was quite solid. I’d thank the writing for that. The film always seems to be on point and with its short run time the pacing is also good.

As far as the villains go they were solid as well if not a little less impressive. I was pretty surprised to see Chemo since he’s pretty obscure, but it was nice to have him on board. Clayface and Chemo both get their giant monster fights, but don’t do much beyond that. Bane and Killer Croc have a big rivalry going which was fun. I’d probably go with Bane to win that fight ordinarily but it seems like Croc had the edge this time. I suppose since he also had an energy blast he was the more dangerous fighter. Those two were the highlights from the main villains. Of course Penguin is always fun though and is typically one step ahead of the other villains. Mr. Freeze is quite a bit different than usual. His character arc could be a bit cheesy as I think he just didn’t think his goals enough. I hardly see why he would want to help at the end even after Batman’s explanation. Sure, it wasn’t really his plan anymore but the end result was the same. For the villains with smaller roles Joker certainly stole the show here. He had some great moments including his final scene. It shows why you really don’t want to mess with him as a villain. It’s always going to come back to bite you.

Overall, Batman Unlimited is most likely over with this film. It’s a trilogy that probably won’t be remembered very much by the fans but I’m glad that we got it. It’s certainly one that I would recommend and it really delivered on what the core of the project was…a good excuse to bring Batman and the others back for quality action scenes. Also the cliffhanger wasn’t all that exciting anyway so if the film decided to bring back Clayface it’s not like we would have missed much. His abilities can make him a very dangerous opponent I suppose, but his fight scenes wouldn’t be quite as hype as the ones we got here. If we do get a Batman Unlimited 4, I want to see all of the Robins team up since Red Robin missed out on this adventure.

Overall 8/10

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Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem Review


It’s time to look at the next Batman Unlimited film! The first one was pretty solid so I would expect nothing less from the sequel. It’s nice to have a Batman film that feels more like the classic days. It’s a bit of a cross between something like Brave and the Bold and The Batman in terms of atmosphere and character designs. It all works pretty well and the film delivers on what it promises, a lot of action with a good story behind it.

The film kicks things off with a new character who has joined the fray. Gogo is a genius who likes building VR games. Unfortunately he is confronted by his co-worker who tries to destroy him. Gogo quickly figures out that she is actually a robot who is pretending to be his friend, but this knowledge is not enough to turn the tables. Even Batman is unable to save him from this menace. It turns out that the robot is working for Joker along with other villains like the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, and Silver Banshee. For once Batman realizes that he can’t defeat all of these foes on his own so he decides to call in Green Arrow, Red Robin, and Nightwing. Together these heroes will have to save the world!

In a subplot, Cyborg is still adjusting to his new boosters. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much time to do so because a virus has infected the city and as Cyborg doesn’t have too many security firewalls he is quickly taken over. I’ve already talked at length about how Cyborg is a Teen Titan and not a Justice League member so I won’t go into that here, but this movie doesn’t help his case. I figured that the whole point of being half human and half machine was that the human side could help him fight against viruses and such. That never seems to be the case so he might as well be all robot then right? Technically Cyborg is very strong, but none of that matters if villains can just hack into him every day.

This film is naturally pretty light hearted as you may expect although it does get some serious scenes. The intro where the robot tries to murder Gogo is actually played pretty seriously. Likewise, the film isn’t afraid to have some real fights thrown in and the animation is pretty solid. It doesn’t really have any choreography and the fights do tend to get paused for quick one liners and such, but the film looks good when it actually tries. It’s a nice animation style and works well enough for the film. Unfortunately the soundtrack is basically nonexistent so don’t expect to remember any of the tunes by the end. This just isn’t quite that kind of film. The humor isn’t bad for the most part. It can feel a little forced, but it could be a lot worse. I’d give the writing a pass.

Then we have a nice Matrix homage near the end as Batman and Joker fight in the Cyber World where they each have to corrupt the other. It’s a battle of wills so naturally you’re never too worried for Batman. He’s not going to lose when it boils down to a fight of resolve. The pacing is pretty good for the film as well which makes sense since it’s so short. At most you may find it a bit redundant how the heroes keep beating the villains, only to have them escape for another round. I feel like this happened at least 3 times. The villains just wouldn’t quit which is admirable but then there’s no reason to think that the rematch would go any differently. Joker’s robot at the end was pretty cool though. If not for a serious amount of plot hax he definitely would have won in the end. All he had to do was actually try moving so Cyborg couldn’t hit him and then it would have been all over. Maybe deep down Joker actually wanted to lose. That would be quite the twist eh?

The movie also decided to go with a pretty interesting set of characters here. Batman is an obvious pick of course and likewise for putting in Tim Drake as Red Robin. While the latter is treated as comic relief a little too much, he still gets the job done. For Batman, while I mentioned that the animation is solid I have to admit that Bruce Wayne looks very off. It’s something about his human design that makes him look like a character out of Space Dandy or that crazy future 90’s aesthetic. Not a bad thing, it’s just different. Nightwing is another good teammate to have around and while there’s not much in particular to say about him, I do like how the film turned his trope of self doubt on its head. When Scarecrow tries playing the mindgames Nightwing doesn’t fall for it. As he said, he got over that a long time ago.

Then we have Green Arrow who does his best but as always he seems to be a step behind the others. After all, he’s just as rich as Batman, but doesn’t have the hand to hand skills or large array of gadgets that the Dark Knight possesses. As for Cyborg, he was getting mind controlled the whole time so while he is a nice guy there isn’t much to say about him either. As for the villains, Silver Banshee was fun. Her ability is always pretty lethal against most opponents since they will actually get older which can’t really be undone. Solomon Grundy is still the power hitter, but he’s never the most enjoyable villain since he isn’t too smart. The film did a reasonable job of not making him too annoying though and dressing up as the pizza man was smart. Scarecrow was pretty good here. He was a legitimate threat and kept the heroes on their toes throughout. This was also one of Joker’s better outings easy. He balanced out the humor and serious traits of his character well and as always his plan took Batman to the edge.

Overall, Batman Unlimited continues to be a solid series. I look forward to seeing how the third film fares. If you like action films or just want to see some light hearted fun then I would recommend this film. What you see is what you get so there are no real surprises here, but the plot is executed well. You’ll be kept entertained all the way through and since this is one of your only chances to see Red Robin in action, how could you miss it? With a solid blend of writing and animation, this is definitely a complete film.

Overall 7/10