As with all popular or successful brands and lines, they are hard to kill, and find themselves being revamped nearly every four years or so. Stretching back to the 1920’s, Batman has been perhaps one of the most popular and successful character lines ever created. Flourishing briefly in the 1930s and 40s as a movie serial and then 1960’s as a television show and cartoon, it wasn’t until Tim Burton’s seminal BATMAN in 1989 that the character fully breathed life as a full-fledged character. Since that time there have been five feature films (one of which was actually worthy of the title, and the most recent Dark Knight appropriately titled as it really has nothing to do with Batman….uugghh), as well as least four distinct animated series (again, only one of which could be considered perfect, that being the first one). But enough of this sappy nostalgic wallowing, ON to the FUTURE…or is it BACK….to the…Past..?
That is to say this new animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold harkens back to the style of the 1960’s fun and slight campiness while maintaining a legitimate even tone and great, dynamic sense of action. Also like the 1960s/70s cartoon, this show features the many of Batman’s friends such as Auqaman, Blue Beetle, and Green Arrow, in addition to being a bit more far out with its locations, taking Batman underwater and into outer space.
Unfortunately some parts feel a little too self aware at times, especially with Blue Beetle being a bit too much of a fan boy dork in real life, which I felt alienates real fan boys a little more than it should have. The voice acting also suffers a little from being a little too hokey and redundant at times, but that is perhaps more the directing than the talents as Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show and Office Space fame fills the shoes of the caped crusader in fine style and sets the perfect tone for the show.
However, this chapter in the Batman saga shows much more promise than its predecessors from the past few years. Done in the animation style somewhat similar to The Venture Bros, this chapter in the Batman universe has potential to be a fast, fun, and above all entertaining one. Stuff we like will definitely be checking this one out, and so should you! So dig out those old halloween costumes with custom cardboard batarangs, and settle in for some good ol’ fashioned Batmania!!! Same Bat-time, same Bat-place!!
Check out Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Friday’s at 8pm on Cartoon Network.