Birds of Prey Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

DC may have made some of the movies starring superheroes of all time like Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman but it’s certainly made some of the worst movies starring villains with Joker and Suicide Squad. While this one is better than Joker, it’s still at a really low level and feels like it is picking up where Suicide Squad left off in a lot of the worst ways. The more we get films like this, the more I’m convinced it is definitely best to stick to films based around the heroes. Not every film can pull off a Venom where you get the lead to be a rather fun anti-hero. The first step is probably to remove Harley Quinn from the starring role though. You also have to get the memo that any film with a villain as the main characters needs to make that character effectively turn good or be an anti-hero. You can’t have the villain…stay a villain.

The movie starts with Joker dumping Harley Quinn so she’s quite upset. She gets drunk and into trouble a whole lot but this catches up to her once she tells the world that Joker no longer protects her. She barely lasts a day before she is captured and Black Mask orders her to find a jewel that Cassandra Cain stole. If she doesn’t produce this jewel then she will be destroyed. Meanwhile Renee Montoya of the cops needs to find this jewel as well. She wants to make Gotham a better place but it’s been a tough road. Meanwhile Black Mask orders Black Canary to get the jewel as well and Huntress is making an appearance here as well.

So everyone wants the jewel that’s for sure. Don’t get hyped about Cassandra Cain though. Like just about everyone else in the film, she is the character in name only. This has to be one of the biggest ruined portrayals of a character. Forget Taskmaster, Lex Luthor, and the other big names. Cain has to take the cake here. Gone is the history of her being a lethal fighter trained from childhood who would go on to be one of the strongest hand to hand fighters in the DC verse. This version of Cain is a petty thief who isn’t very smart in choosing her targets. She is even caught by the cops almost immediately which speaks to her “skill” at being a thief. I did not like Cain here. I doubt I’d have liked her much even if she had a random name since she’s an annoying kid who gets everyone into trouble but this did not help matters.

Zsasz and Black Mask are your classic gritty villains here. Black Mask has a thing where he likes to cut off people’s faces. I don’t know if this is something he does in the comics as well but it’s certainly just here to remind you that he’s evil evil. The guy is incredibly unbalanced as he throws fits and cries and everything. You’re certainly not meant to find this guy all that interesting and his death scene is certainly something. Even the mask isn’t imposing because you already can’t take this guy seriously.

Zsasz is awful but I’ve never seen him in a continuity where he was good anyway so that’s to be expected. As always he’s a lunatic who just likes making scars and being a villain. He seems like a creep in all of his scenes and definitely someone you are hoping will get bumped off early so he won’t get much more screen time. With these two as the only big villains…that wasn’t setting things off on a good note.

The color scheme could have tipped you off to that right from the jump though. Everything is all gray scaled and grim throughout the movie. I saw a western film right after this one and the first scene has more color in it than this whole adventure. The gray scale can certainly work as with Man of Steel or Batman V Superman where you had a lot of compelling dialogue and great fights to balance it out. This film has none of that though so it just serves to continue to show Gotham as a super hopeless place that you should want to leave immediately.

As for the “Heroes” here, well firs toff is Harley Quinn who is decisively not a hero. She beats up people for no real reason like the guy at the club and abuses her power. She is quick to betray Cain when it benefits her and is really someone that you can’t trust at all. She talks tough but loses quite a lot of fights. If not for Black Canary saving her at the start she would have been in a lot of trouble. The problem is that Harley Quinn is not likable or entertaining. She’s just extremely annoying in all of her scenes and ends up being a liability most of the time. You absolutely do not want her in your corner if you’re going to be facing off against a tough opponent as she’ll fail more often than not.

The film will try to have you take her seriously again later on by having her beat a bunch of random thugs but she loses too many times in this film for that to actually work. Then you have Renee who is drunk half the time. That’s not doing her any favors and you don’t see how she will be much of an asset here. She isn’t a professional fighter or anything and the drinking will definitely hold her back. Of course like everyone else she is beating tons of experienced thugs at the end but you don’t see her career lasting long unless she gets some kind of big weapon.

Huntress should have easily been the best character here but she is used as borderline comic relief half the time. Nobody takes her name seriously and they interrupt her big speeches. She does get to use her crossbow to murder a lot of people of course but always blows up with her random anger issues that the other characters poke fun at. It’s a shame since she was so good in Justice League but she is severely lacking in this film. She doesn’t even get the classic costume or anything until the literal end of the film. She’s another character that might as well not be Huntress.

The worst part about all of these adaptions is that you’re likely stuck with them for the foreseeable future. Of course a good writer can improve these characters but otherwise you’re stuck. They really need to try and put some distance with the characters from Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad. Go for a soft reboot or something and then you can try to turn this around. I can’t say I have much hopes for any sequel or spinoff of this film though. It’s hard to picture it being a winner.

For Black Canary, well the film does remember that she has sonic abilities at the end. She is so incredibly nerfed though that a single hit is enough for her to faint. So I guess we can’t expect her to be going up against any tough fighters by the end of this. She does have a decent hand to hand fight against some of the random thugs though so at least there’s that.

This film could have really used an appearance by Batman at some point. Sure he would have stolen the show but it’d be worth it. This whole thing takes place in Gotham and Harley Quinn blew up a giant chemical plant. Surely Batman should be on the case right? Even just some references of Batman taking down minions would be nice since Black Mask is so openly sending his crooks around to bump people off and kidnap the characters off the street. I know this is Gotham but a lot of nights pass by without any sightings of the Batman. They can’t be everywhere but in this case it’s literally Gotham city, he should be popping up somewhere.

I would say Gotham itself is a big problem for the film. A lot of times films like to show how depraved Gotham is and that’s where they tend to fail. For example, of course we have a scene where the villain orders a girl to strip and dance. That’s completely unnecessary and we also have Harley Quinn shown to be someone who frequents these kinds of establishments as a villain. The movie has a lot of fanservice throughout and sketchy costumes.

Birds of Prey is unrelentingly depressing most of the time. This is a harsh city where the heroes lost years ago and villains rule all over the place. It’s not to the extreme of Joker but you will have a hard time finding any really happy/fun scenes. Harley and Cain have some bonding moments but mostly that’s just Harley being a terrible role model the whole time. Someone who will act nice and talk a good game but lose in one hit or just sell you out in the next scene. It was fun to see the owner of the restaurant accept the money and leave though. In this city that seems to be the quickest way out of here.

The writing’s not particularly good and the song choices are really bad. The final song’s probably the worst one by far and had to be aired out at several moments. Yeah this film was really going for grit. The action scenes could have been worse in that respect as it didn’t try going over the top most of the time. We did have some real choreography and fight scenes which is good. The film wasn’t trying to be gritty all of the time. Usually in the moments it wasn’t, it was the characters just being annoying all the time though.

Overall, Birds of Prey is a pretty bad film. At least I’m glad they ended up ditching the long sub title later on since nobody ever used the whole title anyway. I know that point’s been beaten to death but it’s not even all that accurate with Joker having dumped Harley Quinn as opposed to it being the other way around. You can of course say that the process helped her but when you consider the fact that she would probably run right back to him if he would have her….it doesn’t help her case. Regardless, the biggest issue here is that this is a film about the villains…that forgets to make the villains likable. Harley Quinn and her constant narration does not make for a good lead. The Birds of Prey group aren’t likable yet either. Black Canary is decent and Huntress has potential but for the moment give me a random lead from any big DC character and I would probably take him or her instead. The Birds of Prey will have to work hard to improve their characters in the next film but without Harley Quinn holding them back at least they have a chance.

Overall 2/10

Gotham Academy Volume 1 Welcome To Gotham Academy Review

Gotham Academy was very popular when it first came out. Everyone raved about how awesome it was, but then the series slowly died down as the issues kept going. Eventually, everyone dropped it..or so it seems. Well, I finally took the plunge and read the graphic novel. I can’t say that it lived up to the hype for me…at all, but it’s a fairly decent comic. The art and characters just hold it back a little, but the art’s the main problem.

Gotham City is tired of always being super gloomy and gritty. They don’t deserve that reputation when they have such a nice school right? (Bullies aside….) This comic series focuses on the school and one of the students in it, Olive. Olive mysteriously vanished during the summer and lost her memories of what happened. Only a few people seem to know what happened to her, but they’re not spilling the beans and Olive always has to dash off so she can’t interrogate anyone. Bruce Wayne may hold all of the answers, but how can she talk to a billionaire while at this school? For now, Olive won’t worry about it and she’ll just try to enjoy the school life. Try being the key word.

Perhaps it is due to the memory loss, but Olive isn’t a very nice person anymore. Her friends say so anyway. One of her friends is Maps, a fairly nice kid who’s always very eager and optimistic. Maps is easily the best kid in the comic although she could go downhill fast if she starts to take the situation with her brother and Olive personally. If Olive decides to pull the friendzone card, Maps just needs to roll with it. I won’t judge her on actions that have not yet happened though so I’ll give her a brief slide for now. Maps helps to make the comic fun as without her, the school would be a little lifeless.

Olive, Maps, and some other classmates decide to have fun poking around the parts of the school that are forbidden to them. It’s what these kids do for fun after all! They manage to find Killer Croc which was interesting. I’m tempted to say that Killer Croc is completely out of character here, but I haven’t officially seen him in the New 52 yet so maybe not. Either way, he is looking after Olive a little during her stay at the school because he got along with her mother. Although, he may not ultimately get a say in that since Batman is on the prowl. Batman’s role is very small as the comic is trying not to rely on star power yet so he just has a cameo along with Bruce Wayne. He looks like the bad guy to an extent, but you have to remember that Killer Croc is a wanted felon for a reason. He may act pleasant on the outside, but he’s really a very sinister fellow at times.

The ending of the comic was pretty intense as Damian got a quick cameo and outsmarted the other kids. Given his professional training, Damian would be very overpowered in this series. To an extent, I can see why people wouldn’t want him in this school. He will certainly change the dynamic of the comic and also shift away a good amount of focus from Olive. Still, I think this may have been what the series needed to get a little bit of a boost.

As mentioned earlier, I do think that the art really hurts the comic. People seem to love the art, which continues to show the gap between critically praised art and my kind of art. Batman, Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, I consider all of those to have bad to terrible art. Instead, look at Superman, Justice League, and All New All Different Avengers for the art that really sells a title for me. If this volume had that level of art, it would be a completely different experience. I dunno, I just find it really sub par here and the art just isn’t clear or bright enough to really snag your attention. There also isn’t a deep plot yet so it can’t get away with a darker art style like Secret Avengers can.

One subplot that is definitely not good so far is Olive’s plot with Maps’ brother. The guy can’t really take a hint and at least the two are basically solo acts at the moment, but how long will that last? Romance is the last thing that this title needed as the plot threatens to turn the comic into your average school story with romance. That’s definitely not the way that I would have written the script. The romance plot continues to thicken though as a Teenaged Man Bat shows up for some more drama. If you don’t see the parrallels to Twilight yet, you will! It was also a very anticlimactic way to end Olive’s fire plot from her origin.

Sure, we’ll likely find out more about that, but it really doesn’t explain why she has such an aversion to Bats. I just don’t see how the fire memory would be traumatic after the flashback that we got. Olive may end up getting fire powers or something, which would be neat though. The comic hints that she may also have a split personality, which would explain things, but the mystery will likely unfold more as the series goes on. The first arc essentially ended here as we were introduced to Olive’s story. The other classmates aside from Maps don’t have much character or personality yet so we’ll see if they ever end up becoming likable. I doubt it to be honest since they all seem shady or just not very ethical, but anything’s possible I suppose.

Overall, I wouldn’t call it a bad comic, but Gotham Academy’s not a very good comic either. It’s essentially middle of the road, although I would have given it a solid six had the art not been so underwhelming. The series has a lot of potential though. As long as it steers away from the romance and we maybe get an action scene once in a while, I’ll be satisfied. Hopefully, Olive’s mystery continues to be interesting and doesn’t end in an anti climactic way. Damian’s inclusion to the series will also change things and the writers will just have to be careful about how he is portrayed here. If handled right, he could definitely give the series a boost. If you’re looking for a happy school story, then check this one out. It may be up your alley. If you’re looking for a story with a little more charisma…check out My Little Pony Pony Tales. Superman Unchained.

Overall 5/10

Batman Li’l Gotham Volume 2 Review

Well, Batman’s back! I definitely didn’t care for the last volume all that much and I can’t say that things have improved here. It simply isn’t my style and the art certainly hurts its chances of ever joining the other DC elites. The series is over with this volume and its quick ending will likely tell you all that you need to know about this review. Still, at least I can add this series to my very short list of full comic series that I have read in their entirety. That list shall grow with the one shot Convergence titles as long as they all get separate trades!

There’s no plot of course as the volume is filled with various short stories. Each one sees a character try to do something only to find that they’re outclassed by Batman or that it is in their best interest to give up. One story that I remember vividly is about a carpenter who keeps getting calls from villains and it’s really bringing down morale. She finally gets Batman to give her a job by guilt tripping him. This story is certainly memorable because I had been reading it for three days before I was finally able to finish it. It is a short story, but it went on for quite a while. I think the problem with that one was that the gag gets old extremely quickly.

See, the joke is that she’s getting calls from villains and being very matter of fact about it. The problem is that you figure out this gag by the second call and then it continues and continues. There’s no real punchline moment at the end either so you’re really left hanging. That’s why my favorite stories are the ones where there is a lot of action and/or excitement. Like the team deciding that Alfred is evil and they have to stop him now! That’s the kind of story that I can certainly get behind and it was easily the best one of the batch. The ending is a little predictable, but there’s really nothing else that the writer could have done with the comic so we may as well end this way right?

Unfortunately, the art has not improved from the first volume. It’s still downright terrible at times and it’s the main area that holds the comic back. You can only get so far without good art after all. You can have the best writing in the world and an onslaught of cool characters, but if the art isn’t up to snuff…it’s game, set, and match! This style is simply too chaotic and undefined at times. I still believe that just about any teen who is into art could likely top this style or at least emulate it. I want streamlined epicness like X Sanction or Justice League. Upgrade this art into something like that and then we’ll talk!

As with the last volume, the other aspects of this comic are still good. The writing is on the level and we have a good cast of characters. It’s always fun to see the various Robins join in on the action. Jarvis is a likable supporting character as expected and Batman’s always a fun lead. The series certainly had some potential. Not a whole lot of course given its style, but with decent art I could see this matching up to the Tiny Titans. I wonder if this will ever get a sequel series. I really don’t see that happening, but you never know sometimes right? There’s always more time for Batman comedies.

I wonder how the series would have been if it had included more guest stars. I’m inclined to think that it would have at least helped the series out a little bit. Throwing in Superman and the rest of the Justice League for more than a few panels would have been fun. It may have distracted from the rest of the Bat Family, but it would also open the doors for a whole new array of jokes. That’s a lot of potential right there and Batman just didn’t tap into that power. This graphic novel was fairly short and without much of a plot to go on or characters to talk about, this review is fairly short as well. No worries, the next comic review is back to the norm of in depth comic reviewing! Get ready for Superman to return!

Overall, Batman Li’l Gotham is still not my cup of tea. If you’re looking for some light hearted Batman stories and don’t mind some pretty difficult art, then you should be okay. That being said, I really wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a great Batman story. I actually haven’t read many good Batman comics, which is a little sad. I recommend Batman Chronicles or some Batman Archives, they collect stories from his golden years in the 40’s-60’s. If those are a little too old for you, then check out a volume in the Grant Morrison run of JLA. Batman definitely got his props there and Morrison gave him the correct balance of crazy and insanely brilliant.

Overall 5/10

Batman Mask of the Phantasm Review

It’s time for one of the first great Batman films to finally be reviewed and Mask of the Phantasm was certainly a film that turned the tides for animated superhero films as we know them. This film was in the same continuity as the 90’s Batman TV show so that was definitely a draw for many since it was known as the definitive version of Batman. I can’t argue there and seeing him on the big screen was probably a lot of fun. This is a pretty solid film that also contains the Joker so expectations were certainly high coming into it. I’ve seen it several times at this point and it’s always been one of the better Batman films.

Batman is framed by a new vigilante in Gotham, but this new figure is willing to cross the line. He has already vanquished several members of a mob and he intends to finish off the last survivors. Batman won’t have this and he decides that he’s going to have to take this Phantasm down. Will Batman really have what it takes to pull off such a feat? The film also deals with Batman’s meeting with a lady named Andrea. She has something to do with his past and now she has returned after 10 years…what’s her angle!? The Joker also decides to show himself towards the second half of the film so he adds to the intrigue.

Mask of the Phantasm certainly delivers on the animation front as Batman’s cloak looks very crisp and modern. You would think that this was a high budget episode of Justice League and that’s what I expect from a theatrical film. I think that the beginning of the film certainly got the most attention as it looks considerably better than the rest of the film, but the whole thing still looks really good. For a film, it also makes sense to trow most of your budget into the opening to really hook people in as opposed to a show where you want to put some budget into the beginning, but then you’ll want to save a lot of it for the climax. A good indicator of how good the animation looks here is to look at Batman’s design. The way that they design his cape and cowl are pretty good indicators of if the animation is good or great. Mask of the Phantasm is definitely on the latter side of that.

This film’s soundtrack uses a few tunes from the TV show while also inventing a new theme that plays during the intro and ending. It’s an operatic piece that works pretty well with Batman since it lets you know that something serious is about to happen. It’s more fitting with the ending than the beginning since it highlights a key decision that has now been made. It’s rather dramatic and it works well. You definitely won’t doubt that this is a theater film while you’re listening to the soundtrack.

Batman looks pretty good for the most part although I certainly have some qualms with his portrayal here. It naturally revolves around his scenes with Andrea. Many of the events with them take place 10 years earlier during Batman’s first adventures as a crime fighter. She arrived and he started to consider hanging up the mantle before he had even begun so that he could lead a normal life. It’s not the “I am the night. I am vengeance. I am Batman!!!” character that I remember, but this was fairly early on in his career so I could cut him a tiny bit of slack. Now, what I can’t simply overlook is that 10 years later Batman is once again in shambles because Andrea has returned.

No matter how close they were, there’s no way that anything would cause Batman to hesitate at this point. He’s already decided that being Batman is something that he’s going to do until he’s physically unable to handle the job anymore. He definitely wouldn’t consider stopping now for any reason. So, that subplot was definitely a pretty big stretch and it was a little sad how his secret identity was found out so easily. I don’t think he would typically make the mistake of standing in front of the Wayne’s grave or at least being caught doing so. He just didn’t look too good there and I have warned films about the possible traps involved where romance is concerned. I think it did hurt his portrayal here.

That aside, Batman tended to look pretty good in the fight scenes. It’s safe to say that he had the edge against the Phantasm and he took out the Joker with sufficient strength and finesse. It was only close because Joker had the home field advantage and I can live with that. He is still a tough villain after all so a close fight is to be expected. Batman put together the clues for the mysteries pretty quickly here and he also put Alfred in his place when he started to go a little too far. This is definitely the Batman that I am used too and it will be tough for any continuity to ever surpass the DCAU version of Batman.

The Phantasm is a pretty intense villain. I naturally won’t disclose his secret identity even though the film is so old because spoilers must be protected through thin and thin. So, naturally these lines just pertain to when he is in costume. He’s a pretty intense villain and he seems to show no fear as he hunts down gang boss after gang boss. He is equipped with a pretty sharp gauntlet that can cut through guns without effort and he is quite adept at moving through smoke. I think that some of his feats are certainly a little exaggerated since there is no possible way (Barring supernatural powers) that he can accomplish them. One example is where he throws a smoke bomb and Batman immediately grabs at him, but the Phantasm is gone. It’s pretty spooky, but a little hard to buy.

Andrea is one of the new characters for this film and she’s pretty decent although it can be tough for Batman fans since we don’t like to see him give up like this. Unfortunately, Andrea is in a pretty tricky situation since her father got involved with gangsters so now their lives are in jeopardy. That’s why she ended up leaving Batman 10 years ago and then she returns for this film. She seems nice enough, but also a little too easy and the whole affair with Batman happened way too quickly. Naturally, both of them are to blame for this, but also allowing the flirting by Reeves was a bit much on her part. I probably prefer some of the original characters from the final film in the Batman DCAU trilogy, but Andrea certainly could have been worse. At it stands, Andrea didn’t make the film lose any stars. (A star probably could have been gained without her subplot though)

Joker appears to give the film some star power on the villain front. Admittedly, the film probably wouldn’t have been quite as exciting without him. A super villain is always appreciated and you feel pretty confident that he will be able to stand up to the Phantasm. He is the Joker after all and he’s always prepared for every eventuality. His home base is pretty cool and he’s just a very charismatic character. I always did like him in the DCAU even if he’s not my favorite villain in most of the other forms of media. His fans will certainly be pleased with his portrayal here and he is seen as a pretty big threat from the get go.

Arthur Reeves is one of those guys who likes to be at the top of the Anti Batman game. He appears on TV constantly to remind people that Batman is a menace and you would almost think that he was Harvey Dent at first. It makes you wonder how this guy always manages to get on TV, but he is a politician. Let’s just say that all original characters tend to have something to do with the plot so he’s entangled in the past full of mysteries in this film. He’s definitely not a good character and I wouldn’t have minded if he hadn’t been in it. I guess we do need more villains though and he beats some of the sub villains. He just brings shame to the Arthur name! If it helps….he does have the courage to laugh at the Batman!

You may wonder about a certain figure on a boat as the film ends and what it all means. Well, I like to think that the figure threw another figure away as a certain explosion hit and quickly escaped, which is how the figure is here. That also explains why the other figure continues to appear in future media in this continuity. I think it makes sense, but it also undermines one character’s big moment at the ending. Ah well, at least it means that the character resisted from crossing the line one last time…even if it was accidental. This may sound vague, but you’ll know what I’m talking about as you watch the film.

One scene that may make you wince is when Batman takes on the cops. Typically, that is an easy feat for Batman, but they were probably trying to make it a little more realistic for the casual moviegoers so Batman actually doesn’t look good. We’ve seen him take on a planet full of enemies in the past so no true Batman fan will really be able to buy the scene. It’s also sad since Batman ultimately has to be saved. I think it would have been more appropriate for Alfred to have saved Batman since it would have left the crimefighter with more dignity. As the scene stood, it was a pretty sad moment for the Dark Knight. It also makes Bullock look worse than usual since he just shot someone who has been helping him out since day one. That’s definitely what I call being not grateful to someone.

The main plot is a lot more interesting than the flashbacks, but I did enjoy this rendition of Batman’s origin. It was fun to see his first fights against the hoodlums of Gotham. I just think that it would have been even more fun without the romance in Andrea’s subplot. This film definitely has a lot of romance in it and it’s interesting that the other two Batman films have romance plots involved in some way. It may help the general audience I suppose since they expect that, but you can certainly do a good Batman film without such a subplot. After all…what would the fans have to say about all of this? Batman is the solitary Dark Knight…end of story.

Overall, Batman Mask of the Phantasm is a pretty good way to start off the classic Batman trilogy of animated films in the DCAU continuity. The soundtrack is pretty good and the animation is superb. It tops several of the DC films that have come out in the last few years and that’s no small feat. Batman’s portrayal is hardly perfect, but he still looks smart and tough, which is good. The Phantasm makes for a nice villain and the Joker’s certainly a classic villain to use. The opening action scene is pretty great and you really feel the blows. The film may only be a little over an hour, but there are a lot of danger/combat scenes to help make up for that and the action never get boring. I definitely recommend checking this film out whether you’ve watched the TV show or not. It’s good as a stand alone Batman film no matter how much experience with Batman you have. Even if you’ve never heard of Batman before, (Is that even possible?) this is a pretty good place to start.

Overall 7/10

Beware The Batman Review

It’s time to see how Beware The Batman fared. It was a pretty original take on the Caped Crusader and the show also had a lot to live up to. Batman already had a few all star series in the form of The Animated Series and Brave and the Bold. Batman Beyond was excellent as well, although Batman didn’t really get to fight that much. Lastly, we can’t forget about The Batman. Does this show manage to take those out? Well, considering the episode disadvantage…it would be quite the feat!

The series actually does have some plots that continue through the series. The first half is mostly stand aloneish, but we get to meet Katana and we are also introduced to Batman’s cast of villains. None of the all stars are here, but maybe that’s a good thing. When was the last time that we got to see Magpie and Anarchy steal the spotlight? Of course, then we’re reminded of Professor Pig and why we would have preferred the Mad Hatter. Anyway, back to the plot! Professor Pig and Mr. Toad are recurring villains, but they don’t have much of a master plan so I would say that Anarchy is the guy who really brings the plot. We also have the League of Assassins, who play a big role in Alfred and Katana’s past.

Towards the second half of the show, we get a subplot where Batman is starting to become a little more vicious as he keeps to himself more since Alfred has left. Harvey Dent has also risen up through the political system and he wants to arrest Batman at all costs. It will award him the promotion that he needs! Meanwhile, Batman’s toughest foe has arrived in the form of Deathstroke. He’s going to need all of his skills if he wants to pull off a victory!

Well, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is it true that the CG-I kept Beware The Batman from being a better show? Absolutely! The animation isn’t very bad and the character models are decent. At the same time, it’s hard to get excited when watching the show because of the stiff animation. A lot of the fight scenes will end up looking similar and the power levels are a mess. The animation just doesn’t let you really get into the episodes. A lot of the intros just don’t capture your attention and you know that the fight scenes won’t be able to match up to the original animated Batman show…which is around 20 years old at this point.

For an example of the power levels, let’s just look at Batman’s fights. He got crushed by Magpie and Anarchy is able to hold his own against him. Then, Batman humiliates Silver Monkey, who is supposed to be an excellent hand to hand fighter. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you think about it. This happens all of the time. There are also a lot of moments where it’s Batman against the cops and the cops should actually win, but we won’t look at that too deeply since plot hax are usually required in those scenarios. Nobody is really able to deal with Gotham PD’s finest after all.

The theme song is pretty lazy. It’s very short and it just doesn’t scream Batman the way that the Brave and the Bold’s intro did. I really liked the credits theme though since it has an epic feeling to it. Now, that could make you pretty excited for the next episode. Inside of the episodes, the music is pretty unmemorable. Usually, the scenes are fairly quiet so you can focus on the sound effects. That’s not a negative per say…but I wouldn’t call it a positive either!

The show also made the intriguing decision not to use any of Batman’s iconic foes like the Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Bane, etc. We don’t even get to have Robin, Batgirl, or some of the others. (Barbara Gordan is here, but she’s so young that we wouldn’t get Batgirl for a very long time) I don’t mind digging out the obscure characters, but it’s better to use them sparingly instead of every episode. Towards the end, they started breaking out some popular fighters like Deathstroke and Killer Croc, but we were already wrapping up. I don’t think including the big villains would have saved the show from being cancelled, but I would have liked to have seen Mr. Freeze and Bane appear at least once. It would make the episodes more fun. As it is, I think Batman has one of the weaker selections of villains so I suppose that the show did what it could.

All right, time for the comparisons. By this point you can probably already tell how the standings go. Beware The Batman get demolished by The Animated Series, Crushed by Beyond, Terminated by Brave and The Bold, and Humiliated by The Batman. I like to think that is easily beats the new Gotham show that is airing, but I won’t count that one since it would be a little too one sided! This Batman show still holds up well as a superhero show, but it just can’t be compared to those other titles. Again, if the show had not been CGI….we may be singing a different tune. (Still in last of course, but it would be closer) Batman also gets a possible romance subplot that arrives out of the blue towards the end of the series. The lady is pretty suspicious, but Batman doesn’t seem to suspect anything yet. I dunno…this all seems fishy and luckily the show ended before something dicey could happen!

Batman’s portrayal is pretty solid for the most part, but there are definitely some iffy moments during the series. One of them is the fact that Batman actually lets his comrades eradicate the memory from one of the villains. This happens near the final episode of the series and it’s pretty awful. Did the writers not read one of the most iconic Justice League arcs in the comics where Batman made a point to prohibit such an action? It’s why he fought the team in the first place. It was pretty out of character for The Dark Knight. Another problem is that he just looks very weak throughout the series. I’m not expecting him to look quite as tough as Superman, but I still expect better. He lets Deathstroke know that he can’t defeat him in a fair fight on more than one occasion. It’s pretty laughable and Batman fans will want to turn off the TV. This isn’t the Batman that we remember!
On the other hand, this Batman had some good traits. When he wasn’t making rookie mistakes or having trouble against foes with 0 hand to hand experience, Batman got to show off a lot of his detective skills. His best showing is probably when he solved the big puzzle that Humpty Dumpty threw him in. That also took place during the part of the show where Batman got a lot meaner since Alfred left. He went pretty far at some points, but I dare say that he looked his best during those moments.

Alfred has changed a lot from his usual appearance. In this show, he’s an ex M-16 agent so he uses his government sources to find out any intel that Batman may have missed. He’s always got his gun at the ready and he even knows some hand to hand techniques. It’s all supposed to show us that he’s actually a pretty epic guy. Unfortunately, he still manages to lose a lot when the going gets tough. He deserted Batman at a rather dicey time to bring on some trouble to an old “pal” of his. His journey didn’t really have a point since he just ends up coming home empty handed and you have to wonder what he was doing. That certainly wasn’t one of his better moves. Seeing Alfred as a “Professional Agent/Fighter” was interesting….but I’m ready for the classic (Post plump) Alfred to return. That’s still his best era.

Katana is basically the Robin of this show, but we see that she will be a little different right from the start. First of all, she is already a good hand to hand fighter when she joins. She gets a lot of hype although she doesn’t actually live up to it. She has a subplot involving the sword that she stole, a romance subplot with a pretty cheap character, and a subplot with someone who may have destroyed her father. So, she is pretty relevant to the plot, but 2/3 of those subplots didn’t go over very well for her. The romance is rather unnecessary here and Katana is always forced to play second fiddle to Batman. She cannot beat just about any enemy on her own and that can be a little sad for fans. If she always needs Batman to be around, then she’s not really helping out all that much. She likes to break the silence during an adventure with the occasional pun, but it typically doesn’t work. I have to say that I wasn’t really a fan of hers by the time the show ended. She got a little too much hype.

Anarchy is one of the more interesting villains and he actually could be the best one in the show. He’s always presenting Batman with some dicey propositions and he forces the hero to play by his script. He’s not amazing at hand to hand combat, but he’s good enough to keep Batman busy for a while. He even fights with Katana at one point. He mostly stays in the shadows and eggs people on though since getting on the front lines isn’t really his style. He gets a whole lot of episodes so if you don’t like him, it’ll be a long ride.

Deathstroke arrives for the final 3 or so episodes and he’s a pretty fun villain to have around. He’s definitely becoming DC’s Deadpool as we’ve seen him animated quite a few times as of late. This incarnation of him is better than the one in Son of Batman, but he still relies on using a lot of cheap tricks instead of just fighting Batman with his own skills. He only attempts a fair fight once and it doesn’t end well, which is why he must rely on his plans for their future encounters. You’ll likely figure out his secret identity right away since a new character joins the fray without any real reason at one point. It’s good to have a villain who isn’t being played by Anarchy so I give him some bonus points for that. As it stands, he’s one of the best villains in the series.

Barbara Gordon’s role increases we we progress through the series. I think that they made her a little too young here though since she’s basically just a kid. There’s not a lot that she can do at this point so she’s currently tech support for the team. She basically skipped the Batgirl phase and became the Oracle right off the bat. Her romance subplot with a random kid in one episode was probably the low point of her appearances in this show. I definitely wasn’t much of a fan. She was all right when solving the puzzles and helping out, but then I would lose the respect when she started to act a little too smug and confident as she forced the Commissioner to do what she wanted to do.

Commissioner Gordon gets a pretty small role in this show. He’s technically around a lot, but he is usually just there to be pushed around by Harvey Dent or get outsmarted by Barbara. He’s a good cop, but he’s just out of his league. At least he knows that Batman is good. (A quick thumbs up is awarded to such characters) He’s pretty true to his usual depiction and Gordon has always been a pretty consistent character.

Harvey Dent gets a rather large role towards the end of the series as he does everything in his power to make life tough for Batman. The police are basically under his control (The special division anyway) and he attacks Batman no matter what the circumstances are. I’m sure that we were all waiting for his transformation into Two Face, but it’s safe to say that the show didn’t have a whole lot of time to show it. He gets a very brief role and he probably would have been more of a factor as a super villain in the next season. Despite that, he was pretty interesting as a corrupt politician. He always knew when it was the right time to insult Batmans or to take out his gun.

Ra’s Al Ghul is really the same as always. He still likes to think that he is the greatest martial artist ever and he does humiliate Batman a few times. That being said, the show made him a little too strong and the heroes can only beat him with a nice spoonful of plot hax. He got a lot of hype and I was glad that he lived up to it, but his ending was pretty unsatisfying. He’s not a very interesting villain, but he’s tough so I give him some credit for that. If he would just lose the would be perfect!

Lady Shiva is Ra’s right hand man and she looks pretty tough in her appearances. She takes on the combined might of Batman and Katana and she looks consistently good throughout the episodes. You can argue that she does get a little weaker by the end, but I’m sure that it happens to most fighters with these wonky power levels in effect. I’d consider her to be in the top 3 Beware The Batman villains and it’s nice to finally see her on the big screen. We need more serious hand to hand fighters to join the fray! She doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime..but she gets enough to get by.
Killer Croc is the leader of the underworld in Arkham and it’s interesting to think about how he could have broken free from prison at any time. The cops definitely need to step up their game a little. He’s a pretty decent villain and his fight against Batman was probably one of the best fights that we saw in the series. He only appears in two episodes, but he left more of an impression than a lot of the other villains. I wouldn’t mind seeing him a little more although his role was a lot more petty in the second episode.

Magpie doesn’t appear a whole lot, but she’s also fairly tough. Her personality is a little warped since the “accident” changed her, but now she has some super strength and speed on her side. She really does a number on Batman whenever they meet with the Dark Knight usually getting knocked out. She’s a pretty fun villain to watch, but I can’t say that I actually like the character that much. She wants to introduce more romance into the series, but we weren’t having any of that!

Professor Pig is easily one of my least favorite Batman villains and the show really reminded me why he is not one of Batman’s more popular enemies. He just has no point as a character. He borrows some traits from the Joker while retaining a pretty polite attitude, but I don’t find him to be amusing. He’s also pretty weak since he’s overweight and he just likes to carry a big saw or knife. He’s no better than the average thug so he really shouldn’t be a match for the Caped Crusader. How he lasted so long I’ll never know. If his episodes had been replaced with a cooler villain, then that may have even helped the show.

Mr. Toad typically works with Professor Pig and he doesn’t have a lot of character. Towards the end, he forgets his place and thinks of romance briefly, but I think it was mostly in a fake way. Either way, it didn’t exactly do him any favors in my eyes. Ironically, he’s actually tougher than Professor Pig, but I doubt that any of them would admit it any time soon. He’s just another uninteresting villain that I could have done without.

There are some other fighters like Cypher, Silver Monkey, and Man Bat, but they don’t appear all that much or get a lot of personality. A guy by the name of Manhunter shows up and his story is rather dicey for a number of reasons. He vanished for quite a long time and he could have planned out things a little better. Metamorpho also gets a pair of appearances and he’s probably the toughest guy to appear in the series, but he doesn’t get to show off his strength. That’s pretty unfortunate, but without any tough villains…what are we gonna do!

Beware The Batman also has to deal with the fact that Batman is fairly new to the business. I hope that the next show takes place after he has already been a hero for a while like in the Animated Series. That’s the Batman that everyone wants to watch anyway and it’s more fun when you know that Batman has the power of Prep Time! The show already had a number of disadvantages so getting rid of that one definitely could have helped out a little.

The review may have come off a little negative, but the show just made more mistakes than you would expect from a show where Batman’s the main character. There were two pretty strong points to help the show along. One is the writing. The scenarios are pretty well thought out and the Humpty Dumpty episode comes to mind. The plots can be decently engaging even when the situations aren’t very intense and it’s all thanks to the script. Another good part of the show is the fact that we do get a lot of hand to hand fights. In an era where many shows have big DBZ styled fights with epic energy blasts, it can be fun to see a retro hand to hand fight. DBZ always wins, but you can’t have a winner without both sides right? Batman does manage to get knocked out about 2-3 times per episode, but that makes things interesting. Try ordering a slice of pizza every time he gets knocked out…it’ll be a fun wager! A good amount of action can make any show more interesting and this one has a lot of it.
Overall, Beware The Batman is a show that I highly recommend to all Batman viewers. I would naturally recommend that you watch the other titles first, but if you’re a big Batman fan, then I’m guessing that you already have at this point. The others were pretty legendary after all. I may have qualms with the animation and the fact that the series had a lot of filler (or unimportant) episodes despite the fact that it was so short. There wasn’t enough Justice League build up either, which is pretty important for a Batman show. All of the titles that I mentioned earlier had the Justice League or was at least building up to it. This show just didn’t make the effort. Still, now you can tell people that you saw a CGI Batman and the show does manage to contain a lot of action scenes in its own right. It’s certainly of a higher quality than the current Hulk show or even the Pac Man cartoon that is airing. Now, we just need the next Batman show to be announced and we’ll be all set!

Overall 7/10