16 March 2006 | mescaline16
"And where...is The Batman? He's sitting at home, washing his tights!"
Ever since the 1992 animated series of Batman, I've watched every single appearance he's made on the TV since then. From the Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman & Robin, to The New Batman Adventures, and yes even Batman Beyond and the two incarnations of Justice League. I can safely say that The Batman is nowhere near the level any of those shows.
The problem is, even judged on its own merits, The Batman falls incredibly short. But I tried to put all that aside and remain objective about the show. I mean, it's Batman right? Nope, it's not Batman. Rather than follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, The Batman ignores all the Batman cartoons that came before it, which is well over a decade's worth of animation.
The series starts off with the third anniversary of Batman's birth and we are introduced to a much younger Bruce Wayne, this also marks the first confrontation between the Joker and Batman. Unfortunately, everything that should've made this a memorable first encounter is lost in favor of silly action sequences, lame dialogue, and one of the worst artistic revisions of a villain I have ever seen.
Another problem is that's pretty much the summary for most of the episodes, even though the series is around its third season. While the episodes have improved slightly, it's a very small evolution and a good 90% of the episodes boil down to Batman versus the villain of the day.
The sad part is the show actually has a bit of promise, such as a decent revisioning of the Clayface character. But otherwise, every other part of the show is weak. I'll start with the character designs. Now we can all say we'd like some new and improved designs for the characters, something we haven't seen before...but there are some things that are just sacred, for instance, the Joker.
There are so many ways I can describe how awful the design is, but I think I'll go with this: he looks like a rejected Street Fighter 2 design for Blanka. The first time you see the Joker your eyes will immediately hurt. Not only that, his puns are horrible, for some reason he knows kung fu (along with every other villain, even the Penguin), and his plans are pointless and silly along with a voice that doesn't fit at all.
The rest of the designs are just as awful including a bizarre-looking Bane and a Marilyn Manson style Riddler. Yeah, I'm still trying to figure that one out too. And Batman resembles some weird looking bird more than a bat as well as having an unsuitable voice. The characterizations are off as well, showing both Bruce Wayne and alter ego Batman as boring individuals.
The animation just doesn't suit the show and never gives off any kind of a dark atmosphere. And the funny thing is, there are twice as many fight scenes in The Batman versus all the other animated Batman shows, but they come off as pointless, hollow, and inexplicably boring.
Batman relies much less on his detective skills and more on stupid gadgets that only serve a purpose for only one or two episodes.
Batman: The Animated Series was the highest point of Batman's animated career, and while it's arguable which of the spin-offs will be ranked below it, I think we can all agree that The Batman will be at the very bottom. A low point for the Dark Knight that years from now when the series is over will be spoken only in hushed whispers.
"Oh, THAT Batman cartoon" they will say with a disgusted tone.
From the animation, to the characterization, to the story lines, and even the action--The Batman fails in every regard. The series stands as a testament to the creative genius and hard work, along with superb voice acting by the likes of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, that went into the creation of Batman: The Animated Series and its subsequent follow-ups. The Batman merely serves as a brief footnote in the bat's history that dishonors all those that have come before it.