By Mbecks14 11 Comments
So I’m rewatching Batman the Animated Series again. I’ve been on a huge cartoon kick, and since it’s October, I felt it was appropriate. So let me start with saying that Batman TAS is not only the best incarnation of Batman or the best cartoon series ever, it’s one of the most influential things in my life. BTAS is what got me into superheroes, a passion that has lasted my entire life. It was one of the staples of my childhood. It is also another reason I really want to get into animation. I want to create and work on series that have substance and that can capture the cinematic drama of the series. Bruce Timm’s art style is also a heavy influence on my own.
Batman the Animated Series is able to capture so much of what makes the character and his universe so great and we really haven’t seen that translated as beautifully into another non-comic medium (or arguably in the comics too) since. Maybe Arkham City, which was written by Paul Dini, a forerunner on the Animated Series. Anyway, I’ll be doing reviews in segments of five with an A(Great), B(Good),C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system. So here we go:
1. On Leather Wings: The kick off to the series is the Man-Bat episode. An excellent detective story that establishes Batman as an urban legend, a detective, and his relationships with Alfred and the GCPD. You don’t even need an origin to understand who Batman is and how he fits in the city. The Gotham City here also has this beautiful aesthetic that is gothic and retro. The animation is beautiful and the drama is high intensity. Man-Bat was a great choice for the first villain, acting as a sort of mirror to the Dark Knight, and the entire episode challenged Batman mentally and physically, like a good Batman tale. Rating: A+
2. Christmas with the Joker: An excessively goofy episode, and definitley not one of my favorites. I honestly don’t really enjoy this one. I like that Robin’s in there and that we get Joker but the dialogue was really cheesey. It was way too silly and over the top for my liking (ie. Giant robots and flying christmas trees). Rating: D
3. Nothing to Fear: Enter The Scarecrow! A good introduction to the character with a solid plot and excitement. It also delved into Batman’s psychosis, an important quality about the character, dealing with Batman’s parents and his fear of disappointing them. Overall, a good episode that was fun but nothing monumental. Rating: B
4. The Last Laugh: Another Joker story! Mark Hamill is the perfect Joker voice, so having him is always great. A good Batman vs Joker tale that requires action and detective work. I always love Joker-Gas. But the episode did delve into the silly a lot again. And I’m not huge on Batman fighting robots, especially when it’s a Joker story. Alfred also has several shining moments that really make him such a lovable character. Rating: B-
5. Pretty Poison: An excellent introduction to Gotham’s femme fatale: Poison Ivy! We learn more about the Bruce Wayne side of Batman which is so interesting to see because they did such a good job of establishing them as essentially different characters. I also love that we get to know Harvey Dent pre-Two Face, and he’s an established figurehead in Gotham with a friendship with Wayne. And of course we have Poison Ivy! I thought they did a great job of making her seem dangerous and exciting. Her use of poisons to become a would-be assassain was a great direction with the character. With a concept that can be silly (killing over plants) they did a scary good job of making you really feel for Ivy. When the fire was destroying her plants, I actually deeply empathized with her. These plants were her children. It was surprisingly emotional. Rating: A