BEWARE THE BATMAN REACTION: EPISODE 1: HUNTED
Happy to see Alfred right off the bat (Ha!) training Batman. He’s like James Bond/Splinter. He seemed to be doing a Michael Caine routine though, which I thought was a bit cheap. But, Batman Begins was in 2005, so I suppose by now it’s fair game. I didn’t like how Pyg was portrayed…they tuned him down quite a bit in terms of violence and just made him an animal-themed villain. Though a major part of that character is animal rights, I suspect people unfamiliar with him will be turned off by the goofiness. He does after all, still speak in limericks. But, I was happy to learn that Mr. Toad, Pyg’s sidekick, is voiced by the legendary Udo Kier!
In regards to Batman, this version he’s a little more like Sherlock Holmes’s recent interpretation. He logically works out how to take down his opponents. It was a nice touch. He has to save Alfred in this first episode, who Pyg thinks is Bruce Wayne at first. Batman wasted no time tracking down Alfred. It’s unclear what Batman’s public reputation is at this point, but I like that Batman and Alfred help each other out. That felt good. Katana being hinted at in the end was also nice. I have to say too, this is the best bat suit I think. Overall, I give the episode 8/10, though Pyg’s mildness and goofiness on top of that was…a huge reminder that it is a kid’s show.
In conclusion, Beware The Batman seems to walk a fine line. It is a kid’s show, but it recalls, to me Batman Begins, and Batman: The Animated Series with it’s seeming commitment to “dark deco” style (a.k.a. making things dark.) even in the 3D. I even though the plot structure was similar to The Animated Series because Pyg and Toad were trying to stop people from building on animal reserves…just like Catwoman and Red Claw in their first outings in The Animated Series. And yet, The Animated Series never particularly felt goofy.
Nothing will compare to The Animated Series, obviously. It was so influential to Batman’s modern take. Beware The Bat has it’s own 70s buddy cop dynamic with Alfred/Batman going on…and it’s only the first episode…we’ll see where it goes. Maybe Robin will appear? Several have commented to me already that this is like Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. I don’t see it. Year One was more about Batman figuring out how to put the fear of God into the scum of the city. True, Batman in in training, but this reminds me much more of Batman Begins or maybe the upcoming Arkham prequel...it doesn’t take the same risks with mature content (As Paul Dini did, with The Animated Series.) but it’s a nice buddy cop show for kids! I’m definitely up to watch more.