Verdict: B+ / 5
This past weekend saw the premier of the highly anticipated, Beware the Batman on Cartoon Network. Why “highly anticipated”, you ask? Whilst Bat Fans are always itching for anything Batman; a large majority of DC Nation viewers were watching simply in hopes the show fails. Why the hatred? Two shows: Young Justice and The Green Lantern Animated series. Hearts and minds were shattered across the globe when it was announced that these shows would be replaced by “Teen Titans Go” and “Beware the Batman.” Anyway, enough of the history lesson and let’s get straight to the reason you are reading this.
“Beware the Batman” is a re-telling of the classic Batman story which breaks away from tradition right off the bat (see what I did there?). It starts with a bang as we have the Batman foiling the plans of two low level bank robbers. From the get go Batman shows off his superior detective skills whilst in combat. The opening action scene is calculated, filled with what everyone expects of The Caped Crusader; instilling fear into prey, close combat that blends in different fighting styles and bone breaking. However, we see that this Batman is a bit headstrong and reluctant to accept help, even from his loyal friend and butler, Alfred.
Alfred is not the wise cracking old man that we know and love. This new Alfred is a former British MI6 agent that looks like a jacked version of Jason Statham (I know who thought that was possible!). This Alfred is considered to be a bodyguard to Bruce Wayne and is quite resourceful and combat efficient as you will see upon his introduction.
Another step away from tradition is Batman’s new suit. Gone are the undies and in comes an oversized utility belt which creates the only colour break to what is a head to toe black latex costume.
Gone are the traditional villains, the creators have opted for something fresh such as Grant Morrison’s Wind in the Willows duo of Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad, who seem to be kidnapping all the Billionaires of Gotham… yep, poor choice Professor Pyg. It has been mentioned that more of these new villain appearances will follow and may even lead to some Anarky. (Pun intended)
It is also quite possible that we will see a new sidekick to the Batman, watch the episode to find out more. THIS IS A NEW BATMAN!
All in all, this premier does leave you with a sense of intrigue and wanting more. It is not the failure many wished it to be, but it is not Young Justice either. The first episode did not involve much thinking, or invite the viewer to do any detective work of their own. Instead, they basically spoon fed the story instead of getting the viewer actively involved. On the other hand, it has everything you would expect of a great Batman series: gripping close combat, intense car chases, Batman detective skills and more explosions than Pearl Harbour.
I think that the show can only get better from here on and it proves that re-telling a story can work if you are creative enough!