Beware the Batman Series Premiere: “Hunted” Review

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There’s a new Batman animated series, but it probably isn’t what you expect…

Batman is a superhero who’s media exposure has only grown in the last few decades. Unlike Superman, who constantly sees writers trying to revamp him, Batman has so many facets that the likes of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan can make very different yet very satisfying Batman movies.

As far as television goes, Batman: The Animated Series is not only the defining adaptation of the caped crusader and his famous rogues gallery, but also a major contender for “Best Cartoon Ever”. Since then, Batman has had a number of animated appearances that vary in tone and storytelling.

Beware the Batman is the first series to recapture the essence of Bruce Wayne in an exciting way in some time. But the essences of other characters have been all but lost.

Take Alfred for example. Yes, in The Dark Knight Michael Caine mentions his time as a secret agent, an aspect of the character that is true to the comics. But when Michael Caine did it he felt much more like James Bond. Alfred in Beware the Batman is much closer to Jason Statham’s character from The Transporter. Gone is the sarcastic whit that so brilliantly bounced off of Bruce’s hard-boiled demeanor in other adaptations. Instead we’re left with an Alfred more interested in martial arts than being a father-figure to a parentless boy. It’s jarring and doesn’t work at the moment, but it could improve.

Now onto the villains. The creators have chosen to leave out Batman’s main rogues gallery to focus on his lesser known villains. No Joker. No Catwoman. No Two-Face. I could go on. Instead we got Professor Pyg and Mister Toad in the premiere. Pyg was actually kind of cool, in almost a Saw type manner, but hopefully we won’t be seeing the amphibious sonic-screaming henchmen anytime soon.

Still though, I was a fan of Bruce Wayne this episode, particularly the detective work that most adaptations of the character tend to miss.

Also, the animation is really well done. It’s similar to Star Wars: The Clone Wars while nixing some of the odd character designs.

But all in all, this was a so-so premiere. There are chances to improve, but I hope the creators give up on their hopes to show lesser-known villains. Joker is consistently cited as the best comic-book villain of all time for a reason. Hopefully, everyone will be reminded of that on a series that may have some potential going forward. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty


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