January 24, 2013

Guest Post: New York Film Academy on BEWARE THE BATMAN

What We Know – And What We Can Expect – From This Year’s Beware the Batman
- by
New York Film Academy

It’s been a long year since the Cartoon Network first announced that it would be adding Beware the Batman to its 2013 roster as a successor to The Brave and the Bold. In that time, we've had a handful of details of what to expect as well as a deluge of wild speculation.

With the spring premiere hitting screens within the next couple of months (an exact date is still something we’re waiting on), let’s take a look at what we know for definite and what we can expect from CN’s upcoming romp through Gotham.

How Will it Look?

Awesome, it seems. A teaser trailer was released a while back and while it doesn't give away anything substantial, it does show of the CGI technology they’ll be implementing in the new series which rivals anything coming out of the best animation schools. In essence, it seems stylistically similar to Batman Beyond’s characterization but rendered with the CGI tech of the Green Lantern Animated Series, and that sounds like a fantastic mix.

Who’s Voicing Batman?

Sadly, Kevin Conroy will not be reprising his role as the voice behind the cowl. Instead we've got Anthony Ruivivar stepping into some pretty gigantic shoes; this has been met with a lot of eyebrow-raising from the community, and understandably so. That said, he is a capable actor in his own right the single line he speaks in the teaser trailer sounds nice and bass-y, so we should probably withhold judgment until the series starts.

The rest of the
confirmed cast look very well-placed, and we’re particularly interested in how voice veteran J. B. Blanc handles Alfred.

Who’s the Sidekick?

In a concerted effort to shake things up for this series, writers Mitch Watson and Mark Banker have chosen a member of the Outsiders. Enter the rather curious choice of Katana (Tatsu Yamashiro) who’ll join the dark knight as “someone who has lost her way and needs guidance to find the right path”. It’s a neat choice of sidekick and we can imagine Tatsu and Bruce complimenting (and challenging) each other extremely well.

We do, however, have to question the creative choices behind the proposed incarnation of Alfred. I mean, look at him:

The promotional poster for the series drew a slurry of criticism as it featured Alfred toting dual pistols. The powers that be instantly leapt to defensive mode – claiming that the art was not intended for public release, and as an action pose it isn't representative of Alfred’s character. We sincerely hope that’s the case, or at the very least they've taken the backlash to heart, but given the above image and the pushing of his secret service background it remains to be seen.

Who’s the Opposition?

As with Katana, the team behind Beware the Batman has gone out of their way to bring new characters to the small screen. This sucks for those expecting some Joker and Bane action, but we feel that it’s right to give them a break following Nolan’s global dominance of the mainstream characters.

The main villain will be Anarky, who hasn’t really seen the light of day since the late 90s. In lieu of the Joker, we think Anarky is a fine choice given his multi-dimensional nature and a heightened skill set being worthy Batman adversary. It would be interesting to see if they use the character to make any political commentary, but bearing in mind it’s a kid’s series, this is unlikely.

The fact that it’s a kid’s series makes the other choice of villain – Professor Pyg – a very odd one given how brutally gruesome he is. Rather than being a vaguely Josef Mengele character however, the writers have hinted that he’ll be more like a mob boss… hopefully in the rewrite, he won’t lose what makes him a compelling villain.

Also on the line-up (alongside Ra’s al Ghul and Tobias Whale) will be the fearsome… 

…. Mr. Toad.


How Dark Will it Be?

This is where we’re getting mixed messages. On the one hand CN have insisted the series will have a heavy amount of realism, but he characters are heavily cartoonish. They've also mentioned that it’ll focus more on Batman’s detective abilities than his fighting prowess, so perhaps it’ll have some kind of cool film noir-esque feel to it, but Alfred might be a gun-slinging weapons expert. It’ll have a more “serious tone”, but they’re quick to remind people it’s a kid’s cartoon.

Lastly, the Internet was aflame with commentary when
it was announced that the amount of guns would be toned down and their depiction “less realistic” following the Aurora shooting tragedy last year. That would explain why Alfred’s weapon of choice in the image above is listed as a ‘pulse rifle’. Ugh.

Whether this decision is right or wrong in a moral sense is subject to an entirely different discussion, but it has certainly thrown the cat amongst the pigeons as to whether or not it’ll be a jarring flaw in Beware the Batman.

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