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The Batman- The Complete Series Blu-ray Review

2004’s “The Batman” animated series is too generic.

With the release of 2022’s superb “The Batman,” Batman fever is once again sweeping the world. To tie-in with the new movie, WB is releasing 2004’s animated series “The Batman” on Blu-ray for the first time.

“The Batman” animated series (which ran for 65 episodes and 5 seasons) is set during the early years of Batman’s crime fighting days. Story wise, it’s a very standard “villain of the week” set-up with Batman facing off against foes such as The Joker, Riddler, Clayface, Penguin, Harley Quinn, Dr. Hugo Strange, Bane, Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. Other key elements include Detectives Yin and Bennett, the mob, robberies, weapons, alien threats (ala The Joining), and technology (including the AI D.A.V.E.).  As the series progresses, Batgirl and Robin are introduced into the fold alongside other superheroes like Flash, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and Superman. Strangely, “The Batman Vs. Dracula” movie is not included here (which was the only animated feature based off this series). 

It’s no secret that “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Batman Beyond” are the gold standard of Batman animated series. 2004’s “The Batman” had to follow those two series and it struggled to connect with viewers. While not bad by any means, “The Batman” lacks its own identity. It tries to be something the other series weren’t, but the early days of Batman concept is hampered by the stale villain of the week approach and some truly weird animation. The Batman and Gotham City look on point, but a lot of the character models look downright funky (ala The Joker and Bane). It reeks of the animators trying to make the characters look hip, edgy and different from other interpretations, but they just don’t look visually engaging. The series also tries to reinvent itself multiple times to try and grab viewers. It started becoming less about the titular hero and more about the Batman family and eventually a sort of Justice League. It often felt the writers were grasping at straws. 

The episodes themselves are deeply hit-and-miss. There are a few notable episodes like the futuristic “Artifacts” and the Clayface centric “The Clayface Of Tragedy.” The show does utilize Dr. Hugo Strange well (a villain who should appear in a live-action movie) with episodes like the zombie centric “Strange New World” and the climactic 2 parter “Lost Heroes.” On the other side of the coin, there’s a lot of dopey episodes that really knock the show down like “Q&A” with the Cluemaster and “Two Of A Kind” which features Joker, Harley Quinn hosting a daytime TV show, and Bruce Wayne.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The episode transfers are a significant step up from standard definition. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll certainly be over the moon for the picture quality.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 2.0 track does the job. 

Extras:
* Digital copy
* “Gotham PD Case Files”- Villain profiles.
* “New Look, New Direction, New Knight”- A general featurette about the animation and story of the series.
* “The Dark Dynasty Continues”- This extra explores the show’s depictions of Batman/Bruce Wayne, the allies, and the villains. Cast and crew interviews are included.
* “The Batman Season 3 Unmasked” and “The Batman: Season 4 Unmasked”- General overviews of the third and fourth seasons.
* “Joining Forces: The Batman’s Legendary Team-Ups” covers the show’s various DC character team-ups.
* “The Batman Junior Detective Challenge”- A 2 part quiz hosted by Alfred.
* “Building The Batman”- A look at the Mattel merchandise. 

March 11, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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