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Archive for March, 2017

This second movie related to the original Batman: The Animated Series is in some ways just as good as the first one and in other ways not so much. The animation is good, although the attempts at 3D feel strange. The voice acting is as good as usual. The plot is interesting and fun. Batgirl and Robin are both involved, which is a definite plus. However, the extra characters means that there is less time spent on any individual, so nobody gets a lot of character development. The ending is bittersweet in a nice way, and there’s plenty of excitement. So don’t skip this one if you’re a Batman fan. Once again, if you want to know more, check out the post on the original series.

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Out of all the animated Batman movies, this one comes the closest to replicating the feeling and tone of the first season of the Animated Series. The animation is excellent, the voice acting is spot-on, and the story is compelling. This is Batman at nearly the top of his game. There isn’t much else to say without giving away too much about the plot. There is a new villain and an old villain and lots of drama. If you want to know more about the series that this movie is related to, check out my previous post on it.

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This movie is a cute little story of magic in Ireland. It involves romance, including a Romeo and Juliet type, lots of ancient Irish fairies of varying sorts, and a moral lesson about looking at the bigger picture and caring about everyone. It’s a grand tale and very entertaining. The acting is well-done, the visuals are amazing, and the music is enchanting. The dialogue is a bit stiff now and then, but the awesome cast of character actors more than make up for it. My main complaint is the surprisingly old-fashioned treatment of women as delicate but inconsequential beings. One woman is literally stalked by the main character, and it’s treated as both romantic and an innocent misunderstanding on his part. And she gives in to these opinions eventually. The other main female character is a cutesy princess with no real opinions of her own. The rest of the women in the story are mainly stereotypes and do nothing much of consequence. It’s mildly understandable that there are only white people in the movie (outside of Whoopi Goldberg as the Grand Banshee); after all, it takes place in Ireland (although, one could easily argue that there are plenty of people of color in the real Ireland). But the treatment of women is pretty bad. Looking past that, however, is easy in most of the movie, and the excellent acting and entertaining fantastical elements make up for most of it. If you’re looking for something to watch on St. Patrick’s Day, this is a good choice.

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This is widely considered the best iteration of Batman in any video format, and for good reason. The stories are well-crafted and involving, and the voice acting is top-notch. The animation is well-done for ‘90s cartoons, and the music is just as good. It’s not quite as dark as most movie versions of the superhero, but it’s nowhere near the campiness and silliness of Adam West’s version. There is mild humor sprinkled in appropriate places, and the characters are intriguing without getting overloaded by the usual heavy-handed backstories. My only complaint is that these well-done characterizations don’t extend to the female characters; they all tend to be cut from the same cloth and presented mainly as eye candy.  The few exceptions stand out and are well-known, but the vast majority of them are sheer background and/or titillation.  I will point out that you shouldn’t expect an origin story for Bats at the beginning of the series; you get dumped right into the action, and that’s perfect for this particular series. Most of the villains don’t get a real origin story, either, and that works, too. They do, however, get plenty of psychological drama, and somehow that suits the Dark Knight very well. His efforts are not just to stop crime but to make people’s lives better and put them in a better place, an unusual quality for Batman these days. The lack of backstory details may bother some, but if you just want a Batman that’s thoughtful, well-paced, fun, and satisfying, this is the one.

Unfortunately, that all starts to change midway through the second season, when the show name was changed to Adventures of Batman and Robin.  The alterations were small and not easily noticeable at first, unless you’d been binge-watching the whole thing.  First, the tone changed.  The stories became less deep, less psychological, and less thought-provoking.  Then, there were changes made to characters in order to suit storylines.  For instance, Alfred suddenly became an ex-spy with no fear and great technological talent, despite a previous episode that showed him almost incapable of flying the bat-plane.

It all became much worse when the show transformed into The New Adventures of Batman, however.  The animation changed and wasn’t as detailed or as good.  Some of the characters looked different enough to almost be different people.  There’s a new Robin, who is incredibly annoying and unnecessary.  One of the few saving graces is that Batgirl is around more, but the stories aren’t particularly impressive, and we learn little about her or anyone else.  It’s a pity the show went downhill so quickly, especially considering how amazing it was to begin with.  Its other two incarnations may not have been so bad if they hadn’t had such a phenomenal ancestor to compete with.

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