Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Batman: the Return of the Caped Crusaders, and the return of Young Justice

The inestimable John C. Wright has alerted me to a piece of good news: WB Animation has begun production on a third season of Young Justice. A good part of me wishes I were a bit younger, that I might have the energy to jump and dance for joy.

Young Justice was, in some ways, the peak of DC's animated storytelling. The animation was good, easy to follow, and the fights even looked right. The episodes were had a good story arc that carried across the series, with the characters having their own arcs. Honestly, you should already know this, so why am I writing?

Because of the optimistic hope I have, and the cautious nervousness I feel. It's been years, and there are SO many ways they could screw this up. Ignoring the larger arc of the story so far is one. If they can't get the voice talent back, inadequate replacements is another. And of course, playing Social Justice would be the big one. Because I really don't want lectures on feminism in my hero shows. Give us stories and good action, with compelling characters, and we'll be happy.

Now, to our bit of near flashback material.

WB Animation recently released Batman: the Return of the Caped Crusaders. Yes, it is a Batman '66 animated feature. They went and got Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar to reprise their roles from the show. I REALLY wish they had done this a few years back, so Yvonne Craig could have been in and played Batgirl once more. Anyway, onto the show!

There's a few things definitely wrong here, and I'm not talking about the voices. Those are mostly right. I don't get the feeling this was written by people that really got the show, at least for moments. There's some bits that just don't get the tongue in cheek nature the show and movie had. And there are moments that are a bit more of the grim dark nature that just don't fit.

There's even some flaws they could have avoided easily. The atomic pile is to the left of the Batpoles, not the right and a background piece for the Batmobile. When they first get in the Batmobile, Robin doesn't say: "Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed." Come on, this was in all the episodes. If you're going to do it, DO IT. Don't leave something out because you don't like it, or it seems silly. Things like that made the show.

They did get some things very well, though. The substitute voices are good, even if not the original supervillains and supporting cast. The Catwoman/Batman dynamic is very good, and the ending part of that works very well. The vision of the three versions of Batman '66 Catwoman was a very nice touch. The addition of all the other villains from the show was a rather good bit, even if not all of them are worth reusing.  The villain plot and traps are appropriately absurd.

Overall, I think it's worthwhile. At least once you get past the flaws, there's some good work here. If you get a chance to watch it, I think you'll have some fun.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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