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Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

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“Batman Beyond” is still one of the best DC animated series.

What happens when Batman retires? What would Bruce Wayne do? What would Gotham City become? That’s precisely what “Batman Beyond” explores. Set in 2039 in the futuristic Neo-Gotham, the series finds a teen (Terry McGinnis) taking on the Batman mantle under the guidance of Bruce Wayne (with his trusted dog Ace). Like Bruce, Terry struggles to balance dual lives. In the case of Terry, he has a great friend with Max, a girlfriend (Dana) and a Catwoman esque love interest with Melanie (who is a member of the Royal Flush Gang). Terry also has a little brother (Matt) and a mother and is dealing with the loss of his father. Over the course of 3 seasons (52 episodes) and one fan favorite feature film (the director’s cut of “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker”), Terry’s Batman (who dons a new high tech suit) faces numerous new villains including the shapeshifting Inque, the Jokerz gang, robots, Shriek, the Royal Flush Gang, Blight (who is a nasty businessman named Derek Powers whose own company merged with Wayne Enterprises), Derek’s son Paxton, Spellbinder, the Stalker, the Brain Trust, an assassin named Curare, Armory, Repeller, Big Time, and KOBRA.

Way back in 1999, the cyberpunk-rock infused “Batman Beyond” burst onto television. Like many, I was skeptical about a new Batman animated series that was not born out of the comics. Also like many others, I was deeply surprised by how BB turned out to be a fresh and exciting continuation of the classic “Batman: The Animated Series.” Simply put, “Batman Beyond” is a DC animated series that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Not only did it create a universe that would later be explored in comic books because it was so rich, but it also dug deeper into the character of Bruce Wayne in new and interesting ways. The series was a perfect mixture of new and old mythology that even followed up on characters like Mr. Freeze, Bane, Talia, and Barbara Gordon (the new Commissioner).

“Batman Beyond” also explores technology in unique ways especially since it was released 20 years ago before the tech world really began to blossom. It was particularly refreshing to see Gotham City in a new light. You really get to see how the world has changed as Bruce Wayne has aged.

In terms of the episodes, there’s so many memorable ones. The 2 part premiere “Rebirth” does a wonderful job setting up the show and the universe. The Mr. Freeze follow-up “Meltdown” further explores the tragic villain. “The Call” parts 1 and 2 are also highlights simply to see Batman interacting with the Justice League.

Overall Thoughts: If you’ve never experienced “Batman Beyond” before, what better way than to dive into the whole series during its 20th anniversary. Hopefully, we’ll see a live-action movie someday or even another animated film or series down the line.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p for the series and 1.85:1 for the movie. How does it look? The 2D animation does look sharper on Blu-ray, but it’s not the significant upgrade that some might expect. “Return of the Joker,” on the other hand, does look pristine.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio fares better here as it offers up layered sound quality.

Extras:
* An exclusive chrome Batman Funko Pop figure.
* 4 lenticular collector cards (these are very cool extras)
* Digital copy of the entire series
* WB/DC trailers
* “Music Of The Knight”- Bruce Timm talks about the music in the series.
* “Inside Batman Beyond: Meet Series Creators”- Jason Hillhouse hosts a discussion about season 1 and the show’s origins with Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami, and Bruce Timm.
* Commentary on “Rebirth Part 1” by Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami and Curt Geda. Commentary on “Shriek” by Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Curt Geda and Stan Berkowitz. Commentary on “Splicers” by Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami, James Tucker, Andrea Romano and Will Friedle. Commentary on “The Eggbaby” by Bruce Timm, James Tucker, Glen Murakami, Andrea Romano and Will Friedle.
* “Inside Batman Beyond: the Panel”- Another panel with the same line-up from the Meet Series Creators extra. This one is about season 2.
* “Inside Batman Beyond Season 3 Panel”-The title says it all.
* “Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: Close-Up On…”- Discussions about the episodes “Out of the Past,” “The Call Parts 1 and 2,” and “Curse of the Kobra Part 1.”
* A “Crash” music video.
* Video character bios for the “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” movie.
* “Confidential Batman Footage- For Your Eyes Only”- Animatic scene.
* Animatics for “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.”
* “Beyond Batman Beyond”- A 12 minute featurette on “Return of the Joker.”
* Commentary on “Return of the Joker” by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Curt Geda, and Glen Murakami
* “Nostalgic Tomorrow: A Batman Gathering”- A new roundtable discussion between James Tucker, Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, Glen Murakami, Andrea Romano, Bob Goodman and Stan Berkowitz.
* “Knight Immortal”- A 34 minute extra that celebrates 80 years of Batman and all of its incarnations.
* “Tomorrow Knight: Batman Reborn”- An extra about the new Batman (Terry McGinnis).
* “Gotham: City of the Future”- A look at the 2039 version of Gotham City.
* “The High Tech Hero”- A featurette about the sleek Batsuit of “Batman Beyond.”
* “Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics”- Last, but not least is the feature-length documentary (which has been released on DVD before but not Blu-ray). It’s all pretty familiar material if you know the DC world, but it’s still worth a watch.

November 5, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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