Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Review - Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003 - Dir. Curt Geda, Tim Maltby)

Have you ever been slightly disappointed by the live action Batman films? I've never been that impressed by Tim Burton's films in general (Sleepy Hollow is the only exception) never mind his Batman, and despite the hype on the recent Christopher Nolan Bat-outings, they seem over-long and underwhelming to me. And don't get me started on Christian Bale's comedy gruff Batman growl. 

Now, I know that Kevin Conroy, the voice actor for Batman in Mystery of the Batwoman, would make a rubbish live action Batman, but he has the perfect voice for Bruce Wayne and Batman. It's no wonder that Rocksteady, the developers of the game Batman: Arkham Asylum, got him to voice Batman rather than a stupidly expensive and useless Bale.

All of the voices are spot on in Mystery of the Batwoman and, as with all of this wave of animated Batman, the style suites Gotham and its denizens so well. It is a mixture of Art Deco and film noir, and is more adult in tone than your average animation. 

Mystery of the Batwoman is indeed a mystery. Batwoman is trying to bring down the Penguin and Rupert Thorne due to past grievances. There are three possibilities for who Batwoman could be and the script tries to throw you off the scent at every opportunity. Batman himself even has to do some detective work for a change. 

Along with the clever, witty script you also get some great action set pieces. Bane gets involved in the later stages, where we are treated to a climactic battle on an exploding ship. I like Bane as a villain because he looks cool (and harsh), but he always seems to get defeated in the same way. I wonder if Christopher Nolan will avoid this pitfall in The Dark Knight Rises.

Easily my favourite incarnation of Batman outside of the comics. The other films and series, see below, are of a similar quality, so if you like this, you've got plenty more to go at.

If you like this you could also try:
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr Freeze: Subzero, Batman - Gotham Knight, Batman - The Animated Series.

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