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Holy Awesome Animated Batman Show, Batman!
Written: Feb 24, 2012
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Out of all the four volumes of Batman: The Animated Series this one is perhaps one of the best bangs for your buck you can get. What’s great about this series is the shade of light that leaves the illusive Batman exposed--showing his weaknesses, strengths, and characteristics that we’ve grown to love over the years. There’s no question this animated series was far greater than people give it credit for in terms of art and story. Especially over ten years after its airing.
This set features the last 28 episodes of the original series that aired from 1992-1995. This features the last parts of the first season and all of the second season, which was re-titled, The Adventures of Batman and Robin. Robin is featured more prominently in this set as opposed to prior episodes and we also get our introduction to Batgirl, which would play out much more in the subsequent new episodes that aired in 1997 after the show went through a complete overhaul and ditched the ‘dark deco’ in favor of a more contemporary art style similar to Superman: The Animated Series.
There are four discs total--each with a wide selection of episodes. The special features are more subdued in this set than the previous two, but there’s a fun little featurette on Batgirl and how she was implemented as well as some great commentaries with writer Paul Dini, producer Bruce Timm, and composer Shirley Walker. The set itself isn’t too great, but the episodes themselves are the reasons to give this set a green light.
Here are the episodes:
Shadow of the Bat: Part I and II – Commissioner Gordon is framed for taking bribes from bad gangster guy Rupert Thorne. His daughter Barbara decides to do something about it and help out Batman and Robin by becoming BATGIRL to get justice for her father. A great introduction to Batgirl and a fun investigative journey as to who would want to crush Gordon’s reputation.
Blind as a Bat – The Penguin steals a helicopter from this impressive air show, which leaves Bruce Wayne blind in the wake. Because of the Penguin’s nefarious scheme, he cannot wait for his eyes to heal before donning the costume so he sets off blind as a bat for justice! A really cool twist on Batman with some pretty amazing moments of drama that shows our Dark Knight at a disadvantage.
The Demon’s Quest: Part I and II – Robin is kidnapped! But who could have done it and for what purpose? Batman quests to find the whereabouts of his partner and comes across Ra’s Al Ghul who is ailing under similar circumstances due to the disappearance of his daughter, Talia. Will villain and hero team up? You better believe it and the results are disgustingly invigorating!
His Silicon Soul – Another Batman appears in Gotham City which leads the real Batman to figure that it’s most likely Karl Rossum, who had a similar MO in an earlier episode. But things aren’t quite as it seems and Batman faces off against some robotic antics that might be more than he bargained for. Not one of my favorites, but a cool follow-up episode that has a cool climax.
Fire from Olympus – A sort of funny Batman episode has this crazy guy manning a powerful electric weapon atop a Gotham City penthouse with terroristic thoughts thinking that he’s the reincarnation of the Greek God Zeus to hilarious (and dangerous!) results. It’s a somewhat hilarious episode at times and not all threatening, but stands out as being one of the more wackier ones.
Read My Lips – Finally! The Ventriloquist and his puppet (or is it?!) Scarface make their appearance as they start up a new gang and give Batman a headache. Is this dummy a dummy or a real supernatural entity? Who knows, but the Batman won’t stand for this type of aggression, man.
The Worry Men – I really dig this episode because of the smart plot. After a rich socialite returns from a trip from South America with a ton of dolls to give to all of her friends, many things start going ajar and Batman must investigate--ultimately deducing the Mad Hatter’s involvement with his brain-altering hypnotic microchips!
Sideshow – Fans of Killer Kroc rejoice! He returns here in a wilderness-themed episode that has Batman dredging through the thickets of things looking for the fiend--coming across a sideshow of misfits in the process who have teamed up with his foe in order to bring him down. It’s a zany and sort of creepy episode that most people will get a kick out of.
A Bullet for Bullock – Love him or hate him, Detective Bullock is one of the good guys and when someone has put a hit out on him he has no choice but to ask for the Dark Knight’s help in bringing down whoever’s responsible before he’s killed! Sort of similar to an earlier episode in the series and an adaptation of a popular Chuck Dixon comic story, this is a great Bullock-themed episode. Will he finally be able to bury the hatchet with Batman!?
Trial – Uh-oh! Batman and the new district attorney of Gotham are held up in Arkham Asylum under the theme of a mock court with the Joker presiding and Harvey “Two Face” Dent prosecuting amongst the rest of the inmates to figure out if Batman is responsible for their plights. What will the punishment be if he is found guilty in this kangaroo court? More importantly, what if he’s found not guilty? A remarkable episode that’s nostalgic and very well put together.
Avatar – Ra’s Al Ghul returns in this one as he’s stolen an ancient Egyptian scroll in the pursuit of resurrecting a sorceress. Talia, Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter, joins forces with Batman to stop her father and Batman finds it weird to beat up some supernatural butt. Not one of the best episodes of the series and sort of lacking in the focus of the series with its plot, but it is watchable for sure.
House & Garden - Poison Ivy is released from Arkham and is finally able to settle down with someone and marry a doctor of all people. Life’s looking up…until Gotham bachelors are being robbed and poisoned with Poison Ivy being the biggest suspect. Is it true that she’s turned her lifestyle of crime behind or is this all a big hoax? Batman must solve this before Dick Grayson (Robin) falls victim next. Definitely one of the best ones on the set as it fleshes out Ivy’s character and mixes things up a bunch.
The Terrible Trio – This is a classic episode dealing with three spoiled ‘friends’ of Bruce Wayne who take upon themselves a life of crime after being so bored with the life of the rich and wealthy. However, Batman’s not going to deal with their crap as they soon find out. This is a very good non-Rogues episode and one that has a larger commentary at its base--which would be further worked into in Batman Beyond.
Harlequinade – The Joker has stolen an atomic bomb and has threatened to blow up the entire city. Batman and Robin must enlist the help of Harley Quinn, Joker’s muse and special lady friend, to help figure out where he’s keeping the bomb and stop him before it’s too late. Tons of development for the Harley Quinn character and an exciting premise that leads to an ultimately satisfying and hilarious conclusion!
Time Out of Joint – Don’t ask me why, but the Clock King is one of my favorite Batman villains. He’s returned to enact his revenge on Mayor Hill who he blames the entirety of his life’s problems on with a device he’s stolen from a scientist that allows him to alter time. Batman and Robin must race against the clock to save the mayor’s life--literally! There are some tremendous displays of animation in this episode and it deals with a concept never-before-seen on the show, so it’s a must watch.
Catwalk – Selina Kyle is trying to click into a more laid-back lifestyle after hanging up her Catwoman persona until she’s brought right back into the heist atmosphere with a plot to steal for a new benefactor, who turns out to be the double-crossing Scarface! Will Batman be able to stop Scarface before Catwoman gets hurt and perhaps protect her from going back to Arkham? Watch and find out.
Bane – The drug-dependant and large man Bane is after Batman after being hired by Rupert Thorne to maim and kill him. This could prove to be a bit of a staggering effort on Batman’s hands as Bane is his largest and most sinister enemy with the fate of Gotham City resting in the balance. Bane is much more prominent and carries a bigger weight in the comics, but is handled with finesse here—though I wish there was more to the story.
Baby-Doll – I remembered this episode from my youth and I think I liked it better back in the day. It deals with a former child star who has an illness that keeps her looking like a child and she’s upset that she can no longer find work and that she’s forgotten so she kidnaps her old cast members. Batman has to intervene and stop her before she does anything else drastic. It’s not really one of the best episodes on here, and yet it’s memorable due to the plot.
The Lion and the Unicorn – Talk about weird! Alfred is kidnapped by the Red Claw because of some stuff from Alfred’s past in the British armed forces! Batman must find his passport and travel to the good ole UK to figure out what’s going on and save his trusty mentor. The episode is, to be honest, a little boring. Aside from the interesting developments in Alfred’s back-story, there’s nothing else of merit. The action is by the books and doesn’t really go anywhere too great.
Showdown – The team tries something new here with an episode all about Jonah Hex with the story set in the Wild West featuring Ra’s Al Ghul and his family. It takes place in the past without Batman’s involvement so it’s not really a Batman episode, but deals with similar characteristics. Hex, though suffering from a terrible film adaptation, is quite cool here and does a good job taking over for the one episode. Very brave of them to try!
Riddler’s Reform – Supposedly the Riddler has turned over a new leaf and gotten a legitimate job to leave his criminal ways behind, but he soon finds out that he cannot help trying to outsmart the caped crusader—especially given that Batman has not let him off the hook that easily. This one’s great and one of my all-time favorite Riddler-centric episodes because of the humor involved and the sheer coolness of the plot.
Second Chance – Right before Harvey Dent is about to have cosmetic surgery to repair the damaged tissue of his body to perhaps soothe his damaged brain he is kidnapped right under the noses of Batman and the Boy Wonder. Our crime fighters go on a search through the city to find out why and who’s responsible. This was an original story and a great additional story to Two-Face’s character that I think a lot of fans will appreciate.
Harley’s Holiday – Hands down my favorite episode of the volume. Harley Quinn is released from Arkham and genuinely wants to start a life for herself. Bruce Wayne and Batman try their best to help her on a path of righteousness, but despite it all a big misunderstanding leads her back to her old ways. This is a very touching episode and very surprising with how hard it hits. Any fans of the character will get a tremendous sense of love for Harley Quinn and Batman equally in this episode (as well as a bunch of laughs).
Lock-Up – When all of our favorite prisoners from Arkham get an abusive and explosive guard fired for his unethical practices, he takes it upon himself to act out revenge on those he feels is leading to the degradation of the city as the new vigilante, Lock-Up. Too bad he’s a bad guy and Batman and Robin have to swoop in and save the city from his wrath. Not one of the standout episodes, but a respectable one with tons of action.
Make ‘Em Laugh – Another one of my favorites! These weird villains are showing up all around Gotham such as a man armed with condiments and Batman and Robin are perplexed as to why. These guys seem to be normal comedians who are falling victim to some nefarious plan orchestrated by the Joker to win an award as the funniest man in Gotham! This is such a hilarious episode with tons of great moments in it that are sure to entertain and amuse you.
Deep Freeze – Mr. Freeze is broken out of Arkham by an aging billionaire who wants to recreate the world in his own image with Freeze’s help under the guise that he’ll help Freeze bring back his wife. Batman and Robin investigate and try to stop them and bring reasoning to Freeze. It’s very successful in creating drama and has a ton of great moments (including the brief appearance by Bat-Mite!), which would later give them reason to make the Batman: Sub-Zero movie in 1998.
Batgirl Returns – The volume ends on more of a whisper than a bang as Batman is out of town and Batgirl must investigate the theft of a figurine at her university and, as she’s doing so, runs into Catwoman who’s also investigating. They team-up to find the figurine and who’s responsible and Batgirl proves she’s not just a second-tier hero--she can hold her own. It’s not a very exciting episode and doesn’t really stand out, but will please any die-hard fans of the Batgirl character.
What’s great about this show is that even the weaker episodes are wonderfully watchable and I never really skip any of these episodes. The art style is so superbly done in the vein of Tim Burton’s world he created in the first two Batman motion pictures, but with a more neon and classic design as opposed to gothic architecture. The depth and darkness of the animation matches the tone of the Batman completely and is the version of Batman I hold the closest in line with the comic books.
All in all, this is a must-have set for Batman fans especially if you’ve seen any of these episodes or want an amazing superhero-related animated show. None of the episodes are too violent for kids, but the adults will get a kick out of the mature storylines and nods to the comic books. This bursts with quality in terms of production and design and I think you’d be a fool to pass up this opportunity especially with what work went into these episodes--they were clearly trying new ideas and concepts with a tried and true hero! !Viva la Batman!
© Jason Haskins, 2012
All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Batman: A Death in the Family
Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Batman Reborn
Batman and Robin Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin
Batman and Robin Vol. 3: Batman Must Die!
Batman and Son
Batman: Dark Victory
Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: No Man’s Land, Vol. 1
Batman: No Man’s Land, Vol. 2
Batman: No Man’s Land, Vol. 3
Batman: No Man’s Land, Vol. 4
Batman: No Man's Land, Vol. 5
Batman: The Widening Gyre
Batman: Year One
The Dark Knight Returns
The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. One
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. Two
Batman Beyond: Season One
Batman Beyond: Season Two
Batman Beyond: Season Three
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Vol. 1
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Batman: Arkham Asylum (XBOX 360)
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12