Before we get to anything, I will say that intro does a pretty nice job of paying homage to Batman: The Animated Series with the red sky and the intro looking very similar to Batman TAS. With that said, now let’s talk about Beware The Batman as a whole:
Beware the Batman is an American computer-animated television series based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The series premiered in the United States on Cartoon Network on July 13, 2013, as part of their DC Nation block, replacing Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The series was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. The series ran on Cartoon Network until it was pulled from the schedule four months after its premiere, without official explanation. After the series was put on hiatus, the remaining episodes of the season began to air on Adult Swim’s Toonami block, from July 27 to September 28, 2014.
The series is set during Bruce Wayne’s early years as the Batman, following his initial period of battling organized crime. Over the course of the season, he hones his skills with the assistance of his butler, Alfred Pennyworth. Bruce is introduced to Alfred’s goddaughter Tatsu Yamashiro. Tatsu is a martial arts swordsmaster hired to act as Bruce’s bodyguard, but also recruited to act as a superhero partner to Batman.
The most unfortunate thing about this series is the tragedy that happened in the middle of production for this series.
In the wake of the 2012 Aurora shooting, which occurred during a screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, it was announced that the series content would be altered in order to make the firearms in the show look less realistic. In addition initial announcements for the series were accompanied with promotional art that was not intended for public release, depicting Alfred as a gun-toting butler. This upset fans of the Batman mythos, who argued against Alfred’s participation in Batman’s exploits, and his use of deadly firearms as against the Batman’s principles. In response to fan criticism, producer Glen Murakami acknowledged that this poster image was an inaccurate representation of what the character’s actual role would be. He elaborated that the poster was intended to be an action-themed shot that displayed the cast of characters, but that Alfred’s portrayal had been misleadingly made more exciting. “You can’t have an action pose of a guy standing with a tray”, joked Murakami. Mitch Watson also noted the problem presented if Alfred were fighting alongside Batman, as he would be recognized as Bruce Wayne’s butler, and thus reveal the identity of Batman. Regardless, both producers insisted that Alfred would remain true to his intended characterization as a mentor to Batman, who could potentially help Batman if a story plot called for it.
Because of what happened in Aurora, this series got retooled pretty rapidly and what we got, I think, is a too safe version of what could’ve been.
Okay, the show’s not downright terrible but I think they really toned it down considerably from what I think the series could’ve been, had the Aurora shootings not happened.
For one thing, the animation looks a little bit better than Green Lantern did and like I said, the series seems to try a lot to be a new generation version of Batman: The Animated Series and for the most part, it does its’ job very well.
I also have to give credit to the series for giving the lesser known Batman villains some recognition, only Raz Al Guhl, Two Face, Man-Bat, & Killer Croc return for the new incarnation and many of the lesser villains that get their debut here range from characters introduced in the 80s, such as Magpie and Anarky, to as early as 2007, with Professor Pyg. It was kind of cool to see these lesser known characters get their proper respects.
Other than that, the voice acting is kind of bland here. Anthony Ruivivar as Bruce Wayne/Batman is kind of bland, he doesn’t quite pack that great way of splitting his personality of Bruce Wayne and Batman as easy as somebody like Kevin Conroy does. Kurtwood Smith, a great actor, doesn’t really fit the role of Lt. Gordon here either and Sumalee Montano is just okay as Katana. The only one in the cast that actually works is J.B. Blanc as Alfred, out of all the actors, he’s the one that sticks out the most.
The stories they try to tell here are not interesting or exciting at all and some of them don’t even make sense, there’s an episode where at a rally for Harvey Dent as Mayor, Bruce Wayne is “assassinated” by Batman. Bruce survives, but instead of telling the world, Bruce decides it’s better to stay dead while Batman hunts for his imposter….um….why? The explanations they give for Bruce doing this and not telling anybody is not really thought out as well as it could’ve been. Plus, how is offing yourself and saying Batman did it help your cause and not cause more conflict? Oh, that’s right, because we need to fill 22 minutes somehow.
Beware The Batman mores more fluently animationwise and you can tell that it’s trying to branch out more of the lesser known things about the Batman universe but because of what happened in the theater shootings, the series is too toned down to appeal to kids without making them feel frightened but not only that, the voice work doesn’t really fly, the stories are kind of weak. Out of all the Batman animated series we’ve gotten, this one probably ranks as the worst of the bunch. You’re much better off checking out any other Batman animated series than this one.
But I’ll give it credit that is was more enjoyable than the next animated series we’ll look at….oh god, this next one is gonna suck hard to talk about…