Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beware the Batman Series Premier Review

S1E1 The Hunted

Batman has a rich great animated history.  Batman the Animated Series is universally loved and The Brave and the Bold is my favorite for it's fun homage to the Silver Age.  So, when Beware the Batman was announced I jumped on the intranets to get the early details. What I read and saw scared me.  A gun wielding Alfred?  Katana replacing Robin?  CG animation?  A more obscure rogues gallery?  To say I was deflated is an understatement.  I actually stopped paying attention and was sure I wouldn't watch it when it finally premiered.   Well, I've watched the series opener.  Did I enjoy it more than I thought I would?  Yes and no.
Right from the opening sequence the CG animation turned me off. It is very similar to Green Lantern:The Animated Series. The character models are fine, but the backgrounds are bland and empty.  Speaking of characters, I like the look of Batman.  Yes, his new look takes a bit to get used to, but it fits fine in the Gotham he inhabits.
The new Alfred is the highlight of the show.  He is an ex MI:6 agent that brings to mind the Alfred of Batman Earth One.  This butler is less about making tea and more about protecting Bruce.  The interaction between Alfred and Bruce is great.  They do not see eye-to-eye on Bruce's night shift job, a theme that will probably run through the entire series.
The story was more fun and mature than I was expecting.  Professor Pyg and Mister Toad are Eco terrorists.  They are upset at the destruction of the wetlands and they are taking the fight to the streets.  To prove that people should go green, they kidnap some of Gotham's elite, including Bruce Wayne.  They let them loose in order to hunt them down like them and their brethren.  The action is great with lots of fights and explosions.  This is where the CG animation really works.
In the end, I am glad I didn't let my initial reactions steer me away from Beware the Batman.  The animation takes some getting used too, but the character models and action sequences were very good.  The story was a good mix of fun obscure villains with a story more mature than most Saturday morning cartoons. Alfred and his interaction with Bruce was the highlight and I'm looking forward to watching more.


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