Friday, November 12, 2004

The Batman

We have a new Batman show on the scene. Let me start with, isn’t it about time Warner Brothers gave some of the other big heroes apart from Bats and Supes a chance. Now that’s over with, on with the meat of the issue.

I really like the intro. The visuals are perfect, exactly what was right with the Beyond cartoon and Teen Titans as well. The music is pretty cool and I’m not sure if it’s in the theme or just background music of the program but I definitely heard hints of the old 60’s tune done very well.

The animation is very slick. Like the Teen Titans cartoon it’s not in the Dini style. As mentioned in the Teen Titans rant, I’m sad to see the Dini era is over. I’ve come to terms with it now, and he’s having one hell of a swansong over on JLU. The fight scenes flow extremely well. They’ve also gone the route of what is coming standard these days and this is using CGI for vehicles, which personally I like but I know these things are love or hate.

I’m not sure why they’ve gone with the Bat-Wave. One, what’s wrong with the Bat-Computer? Two, It brings back horrible memories of the 60’s Batman, especially when backed up by the Bat-Bot. Truth be told I quite liked the suit, just not the name. The amping up of Bane required it, and the fact that got trashed was even better, just Bat-Bot?

Not sure why they went for the Batman Returns version of Penguin rather than the one that’s been used everywhere else. It’s a version that never really worked that well while the freaky looking mobster is so much cooler. This version of Joker isn’t great either. He’s gone from insane genius willing to do anything for a laugh to just plain crazy. Man-Bat was a terrible mistake. They’ve turned the tragic character into just another looney that Bats has to fight. Another tragic character to suffer from this cartoon is Mr. Freeze, yet another tragic hero which for some reason they seem to using the version from Batman and Robin and turned him into Arnold Schwarzenegger, a low beat criminal one at that too.

This makes the rest of the characterisation even stranger. Bruce v Batman is done perfectly, especially considering this is early career, you can believe this guy becomes the obsessed individual we all know, but right now there’s a much more blurred line where Bruce ends and Batman starts. Ethan Bennett is great character, I can understand going away from Jim Gordon when most people think of him as the old Commissioner, but why a totally unique character and not someone like Hardback Bock. Yin is good as well and a great foil to Bennett but once again why the new character when you could use Montoya or another from Gotham Central. Alfred once again is spot on.

Not all the villains were done badly either. Catwoman is fantastic and I think I enjoy this version of the character more than the original Animated Series’. Bane got a power upgrade and a slightly new look to match but apart from that is nearly a carbon copy of Bane of old.

All in all I think the show’s a bit of a let down. Despite the characterisation of the main cast and the animation it just fails on the other levels. Removing what was great about most of the villains kills it, and the bad names for the tech are a step backwards. I’ll keep watching it, but I’m not overly fussed now.