Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Batman Beyond: New villains, new suit, new Gotham, new Batman

Before getting to the big one, allow me to make a quick detour for a moment to bring you this spinoff. Set several decades after Batman the Animated Series, to try and make something akin to what the comics industry was doing at the time... and I'm sure comic book fans can already tell where I'll be going with this. So lets tackle Batman Beyond... or "Batman of the Future" as it was known here... not as catchy, is it?

As I said, this is set several decades after Batman the Animated series. Bruce Wayne is now an old man, Barbra Gordon is now the police commissioner, many of the villains are either dead, started a family, or their actions have taken a toll on them in some way. However, this does not mean there's no crime in Gotham. Gangs have continued to grow, super villains now have powers resembling the time and more. Basically, Gotham is still a mess, just more futuristic. As such, a new hero must rise. So of course its going to be a teenage punk... because this is going to work out so well. I'll get to Terry McGinnis in a moment, but I will say that I do think the concept of putting Batman into a more futuristic world is an interesting concept, and I would love to see this idea tried again now with new views of the world.

What makes this fall apart though, is the characters. No one here really stands out for their personality. Terry was once a punk, and eventually just acts like a younger Batman, something that probably would have worked better if they did more to separate the two personality wise. I'm all for a younger Batman, if what separates them isn't just origin. No joke, you could have called him Tim Drake, and it would change nothing, mainly because Tim in the Animated series, was basically a punk who became the new Robin for season 4. The other big problem is who he works off of, which is for the most part, Bruce, and a band of villains who... I can barely remember. That's no joke, barely any of these stand out to me. There's a guy who has radioactive powers and a temper issue, a hypnotist, a hunter, The royal flush gang make a return, but they're still bland. There was a father who could control the dirt itself, a shapeshifter (who I can actually remember, as Inque does have a good personality, albeit generic) a kid who somehow gained telekinetic powers from a remote control construction bot... because that makes sense? I think there are more, I just don't remember. I know that sounds lazy, but hear me out, I have a point to this. The main Rouges Gallery for Batman works so well, as they represent parts of Batman. They're timeless, I could show you a picture of any of them, and chances are you could tell me who they are. I don't feel the same way about these villains, they never stuck.

While the animation is a step up from the first three seasons of BTAS, and the voice acting is good overall, this would have to be the weakest show WB has put out in terms of sound design. This coming from the studio behind Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinkie and The Brain, BTAS, STAS and more, but like the rogues, I can't remember a single song here aside from the intro, and its for the wrong reasons. I hate the intro to this show, especially in comparison to the other DC shows I've looked at so far (quick side note, no I don't have plans to review Teen Titans yet, with the main reason being "I don't want to review Teen Titans Go"). Excuse the lack of detail here, but that's all I can really say, it's badly animated in comparison to the actual show, the theme's bad, the whole intro just sucks.

I can't help but compare it to, at the very least, BTAS. On its own, its okay, not the best I've seen, not the worst. but in comparison to BTAS, it falls a little flat. It has nice aspects to it, nice concepts which I think could work well if it was modernized (while keeping the same feel, unlike other modern reincarnations of shows). The major change between the two Batmen is that Terry is more talkative. He's a smart ass, which admittedly does mean he has some great lines. There are some parts that I think could work better if different, like if Bruce wasn't his mentor, turning this into a "rising" story arc if you would, about him learning how to be Batman, which isn't something the original show really did. Overall, the show's worth a look if your curious, just try not to have seen BTAS first, if that's at all possible. Next week, the big one, Justice League.

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