Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quick (Old) Review: Batman- Mystery of the Batwoman

While I catch up on my actual Film reviews, here's some more wheat-like filler in the form of another Quick Review.  This time, it is an oft-overlooked Animated Film made in the early days of the DTV Market...
The spark for me seeing this one was the passing of Efrem Zimbalist Jr recently.  To people my age, he's most recognizable as the voice of Alfred on Batman: The Animated Series.  This carried over to the other DC Animated Shows, a Videogame and a movie.  The last of which is this 2003 film.

Here's an overview...

A new vigilante called Batwoman (no relation to the many Comic Book Versions) is in town and plays by her own rules.  One rule she breaks- she fires a (laser) gun.
In Gotham, Penguin (now voiced by the one-time Martian Manhunter David Ogden-Stiers) and Rupert Thorne (in his first and only New Adventures appearance) are making some sort of arms deal.  They don't like the added interference.
Batman- as Bruce Wayne- has a few suspects to be Batwoman and investigates them in his own sort of way.
With the escalation of heroes in the area and damage to their property, the pair call in outside help: Bane.

I know that I'm in the minority here, but I like 'Gimp Suit' Bane.  It works for me somehow more than the Luchador look.
Batwoman is captured during another mission and it looks like Batman & Robin must save the day.

Who is Batwoman?  Who survives?  To find out, watch this movie already!
Nah nah nah nah nah- Batwoman!  As a DC Animated film, I think this one still holds up.  I speak about it like it is 100 years old, but, to be fair, 10 years in the Animated World is a life-time!  It has taken that long to get a Finding Nemo and Incredibles sequel even talked about.  This isn't Marvel, so let's avoid Disney talk.  As a fan of the original DC Shows, I was wary of this for awhile.  It serves as a bridge between shows that didn't necessarily need one.  As best I can tell, it follows the last Animated series (plus the tie-ins), but also comes before the dark ending to the Bat-Family lore shown in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.  As I said, its place in history is not THAT important.  It also serves to remind you of all the weird stop-start points in DC Animated (e.c. the Justice League flash-forward in 'Epilogue' and the flashback to Batman Beyond in the same Episode).  What is different here is some of the Casting.  They didn't get Paul Williams back as Penguin (they had a reason), but just about everyone else is back.  I should also note that this film implies the beginning of a Batman/Batgirl relationship that...I don't exactly remember coming up.  All I could think during the Scene in question is 'Why is Batgirl hitting on Bruce?  This is a bit creepy.'  Aside from that weirdness, I liked pretty much everything else here.  The Action, Art Design and Story were all good.  For a film aimed at younger viewers, the titular mystery of the Batwoman('s identity) is played well.  They don't cheat, but it is also not super-obvious at first.  If you like the more recent works and the Show (in any of its 12 incarnations), you should check this one out.  It is a bit over-looked (mostly due to it being associated with the subpar Superman: Brainiac Attacks film from 2006) in my opinion.  If nothing else, check out this beautiful cliff mesa off the coast of Gotham...
As the middle step from Animated feature (Mask of the Phantasm & Deep Freeze) and the modern DTV Film (Son of Batman, Batman: Red Hood), this holds a unique place in cinematic history.  That's something, right?

Back to normal reviews shortly...

No comments:

Post a Comment