When it comes to Beware the Batman, it's understandable to go into the first episode with fairly high expectations. Many of us are still grieving the loss of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Batman does have an exceptional track record on television (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond). So if a Batman show is aiming to enthrall us on Saturday mornings, we're certainly hoping for the best. Is this the start of something truly special for The Dark Knight or was it all kinds of mediocre? Read on to find out.
The premise for the first plot is fairly straight forward. Two eco-terrorists, Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad, want to punish wealthy executives who were involved in a land deal which resulted in the destruction of a habitat. Guess who has to stop them before they can make these rich individuals suffer? Batman. It's simple enough, but that's by no means a bad thing. In fact, I'd dispute that's a very good thing because it gave the premiere equal time to focus on the relationship between Alfred and Bruce Wayne.
Speaking of Alfred, the new version of the character is sure to surprise some. This take makes the famous butler younger and in much better physical condition (he was even a part of MI6). While Alfred is different when it comes to physicals, the core dynamic between him and Bruce ultimately remains the same and if anything, this change in physical condition helps give the show a unique twist. Where else will you see Alfred testing Bruce by attacking him while he sleeps? Additionally, the conclusion with Alfred paves the way to introduce a new character DC is clearly trying to push. You likely know who she is if you've been following updates for the show, but I won't name her just so a few can still enjoy the surprise.
I'm certain the animation is going to be a deciding factor for a fair amount of you. It's very similar to the earlier episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, meaning it's slightly bulky and stiff at times. It's a tad jarring at first (as was GL:TAS), but it wasn't long before I began to really enjoy the visuals and was immersed in this new take on Gotham City. If you're avoiding the show solely because of the animation, at least watch a full episode before dismissing it. If you still loathe it, then so be it. But it's safe to say it'll also grow on quite a few of you.
I really appreciate the decision to use lesser-known characters and the writing for the villainous duo added a nice dose of levity. Using characters the general audience has never heard about is a risky move, but it pays off because it generates a fun episode which does indeed feel somewhat fresh. I'm sure we'll see the likes of Joker or Bane in due time, but for now, I'm stoked to see they have plans for even more less popular characters (including Silver Monkey!). It's somewhat lame when movies blatantly influence what's going on in the world of comics, but if this motivates some writers out there to use these lesser-known foes, then I'll consider that a win.
Another welcome decision is the emphasis on Wayne's intellect. There wasn't too much to deduce this time around, but seeing Wayne able to solve it so quickly was quite awesome and shows there's a lot of potential when it comes to Wayne giving his brain a good workout in the Batcave. As for Batman's voice, it isn't as rough as you may expect, but Anthony Ruivivar does a serviceable job.
The action was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The opening scene was totally amusing and the cinematic use of batarangs rocked, but Wayne's strikes felt a tad lackluster. Things pick up a good deal in the final act and it's filled with far more entertaining and cool moments that are worthy of Batman's high reputation. The caped crusader isn't quite as formidable as you'd expect in the first half of the episode, but the second half changes that.
There were two or so moments which felt a bit silly to me and just like in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it's slightly off-putting how deserted a major city is, but these complaints aren't major by any means and didn't take away from the episode all that much (Alfred, if you're calling Batman when he's in the field and you're on speaker phone, don't refer to him as Bruce. Just saying.).
While Beware the Batman didn't blow me away or make me fall in love with it, it did a more than thorough job delivering a solid set-up in a very entertaining manner. There is absolutely a lot of potential here and I'm definitely going to check out next week's episode.
What did you think of the series premiere, Viners? Speak your mind below!