Such a frustrating disappointment
Good story, Not enough for a whole film
I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant.
The first must-see film of the year.
As a fan of the 1990s Batman animated series and the one with Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne, this was the next best thing in the Batman TV show lineup. It's Batman, but with cyberpunk (one of my favorite kinds of science-fiction) and futuristic technology. Flying cars, biker gangs, sky-high buildings, and laser guns all make it a sci-fi Batman. This was the first sci-fi superhero series I actually enjoyed. And Boy Meets World's Will Friedle joins forces with Kevin Conroy to deliver the ultimate superhero duo since the original Batman and Robin (not the 1997 Joel Schumacher debacle). Plus a whole bunch of new supporting characters and new villains. There's plenty to like, but if you're not into science-fiction and only like superhero action, this may not be your thing. Still, it doesn't hurt to try it. Not only do we get Kevin Conroy again, we also get some cameos from old villains from the original Batman. I'll leave that up to the viewer so as not to spoil anything. By all means try it!
What holds this back from being as good as other Batman shows I've seen is that it's inconsistent. The first season's good, it's executed well for the most part, there are cool villains like Blight, Inque, and Spellbinder, there are dark themes like corporate corruption and assassination, but then Season 2 starts. The show honestly peeked in Season 1, and the last 2 seasons dragged on. There were still some good episodes in the last 2 seasons, but they were few and far between. A lot of the episodes are self-contained, villains that only show up once and then never mentioned again. The show lacked a good staple villain like Joker or Two-Face, so a lot of them were just throwaways. A lot of the villains lacked an origin story too, Blight has one, but Spellbinder and Inque just show up and it's never explored how or why they became villains.The positives are the back and forth between Bruce and Terry, the generation gap works for a lot of the show's humor, the futuristic setting's cool, and the episodes that were good are on point, but at the end of the day, there wasn't a lot to keep me engaged. Some episodes just exist, others feel stretched to 20 minutes. More episodes are mediocre than good, and it feels like the writers just got lazy in some cases. If anything, watch the first season, and "Return of the Joker", the rest honestly isn't that impressive.
Batman Beyond is a series that has been on my 'want to watch list' for some time. This one is Batman as we know it, but it takes place in the future and dwells within a cyberpunk atmosphere. There are a few catches to this though - the original Batman is retired having pulled a gun (taboo for him) to threaten a criminal when he (Batman) himself was too old and weak and it finally caught up with him in the middle of a fight. He retires the suit and lets crime takes its toll - now the police handle everything. Oh, but however! A new rowdy teenager shows up on the scene - he has lost his father due to some scheming by a mega corporation. He wants to get even and steals the Batman suit that the original Batman "Bruce Wayne" was using. After many skirmishes between the two they are well on their way to a relationship where the new Batman is on the field putting in work, while Bruce Wayne monitors from his computer in the Batcave.The series typically uses the same format for each episode - typically the main character "Terry" is minding his own business and going about life as normal for a teenager, when he knowingly steps up to the plate to deal with criminals that are busy plundering the city - courtesy of Bruce Wayne as his informant, or their is a split where Terry himself actually notices the criminal activity in progress or he knows the person personally and must get involved. Rarely does the series stray from this format and it manages to execute it quite well for the entirety of the fifty-two episodes. The few times the series strays from this format is when it actually focuses on the criminal activity in progress or it chooses to build up what is already established in the series and then continues from there - this, incidentally, usually means focusing on criminal activity that is in mid-progress. Rarely past the death of his father does Terry and his family get any build up; Bruce Wayne mostly gets some nostalgia references or references to the past, and we are sometimes given a glimpse of the characters from the original "Batman - The Animated Series" and how their lives are progressing. The series mostly focuses on entirely new characters and villains, but a few that can be worked within the plot and allow the world building up until-this-point to remain fluid; get to have some time in the limelight. The original Joker gets to make an appearance (for instance); and he finally gets to see Batman's identity of all things! Now that's something I'm sure we've all been waiting to see since the series was first created in '93!The first season focuses on the cyberpunk dystopia that has become Gotham city, taking place nearly forty years after the first Batman series. A lot of things have been updated, and as a strange twist of things - many of the technological advances depicted in this series, have made it in some form to our own world as they have developed. We do not have vidcams, but instead we have them built into smartphones; ditto with laptops in the classroom. The second season focuses mostly on the highschool life of Terry and how he is interacting with his peers; but more importantly it pays attention to the development of the world around him. The third season tends to focus more on the development of the villains and their latest schemes; in my opinion, it is the weakest of the seasons, but isn't necessarily bad - it just doesn't feel as fluid and cohesive as the first two.Should you watch the series? If you don't mind a darker atmosphere that feels like something out of a thriller movie, then this movie will be right up your alley. Of course, the original Batman was very close to this as well. However, what this new series is missing is the fact the characters had a bit more 'energy' in the original series. In fact, most of the newest characters featured are of a different culture and class - they are often bitter about their lives or are simply not impressed by what is going on in the world at large. I can't blame them; but I won't blame you if you look in the other direction - this series does away with most of what it established, and those elements that 'did' survive, are made to feel like 'relics'.Originally posted to Orion Age (http://www.orionphysics.com/? p=11403).
Just like BTAS, this show stands on it's own two feet..err wings. The story line is slick, plots engrossing, and consistently fast paced. It's a shame that this series ended too early since it first premiered on the WB back in the late nineties at a time when cartoons really were at their best as opposed to nowadays with soulless crap. Had this series lasted a little longer, I would've been really happy. As it stands, this is one of the best Batman cartoons created for the new millennium; equally on par with the earlier Batman cartoons. Forget the crap that is "The Batman" and get this series and the original to truly grasp what the Dark Knight is and should forever be.