Category Archives: Animation

Lamenting the loss of Beware the Batman

There are many, many animated action shows which have been deemed to be cancelled too early, Young Justice, Sym-Bionic Titan, Green Lantern the Animated Series just to name a few. And this streak wasn’t ended when Cartoon Network cancelled Beware the Batman last year.

When it was first announced, complaints were made, of course. “Why another Batman show?” “Why CGI?” “Why are they using secondary villains?” The problem any Batman series will have is that it is not Batman: The Animated Series, the pinnacle o Batman media, considered by some to be the best representation of Batman on screen. But you have to take things as they come, just because something doesn’t match up to a previous version, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. And that’s exactly what I did with Beware the Batman.

I actually thought it was quite refreshing that we got different Batman villains to what we are used to seeing, even if a couple were kind of just straight up replacements (Magpie was Catwoman, Anarky was The Joker). 2 of the most exciting villains were Humpty Dumpty and Killer Croc. Humpty Dumpty’s stand out episode was one he was hardly in but his fingerprints were all over, Games, a Saw style murder mystery that put the characters together in a house full of traps. Killer Croc was just brutal and his fight with Batman in the prison was probably the best of the series.

The show was split into 2 arcs, League of Assassins and the rise of Harvey Dent in the second. The second half was a lot stronger than the first and culminated in a great 3 parter that brought in the ubiquitous Deathstroke.

And that is why I am really upset about this ending, you had so many things set up in Season 1 that Season 2 could have built on. We saw the formation of The Outsiders in the season finale, consisting of Batman, Katana, Alfred, Barbara Gordon, Man-Bat and Metamorpho, imagine a season 2 becoming a team up show like a Justice League that allows different characters to have stand alone episodes. We know Harvey Dent would have completed the transition and become Two Face, something which had been built up really well in the final 13 episodes of the series. Anarky was still in the mix, as we saw in the last episode, his game of human chess had been won by Batman, but he was up to play again. And mentions of the Penguin were made. Would the series have introduced more of the classic villains? I like to think no, it had a decent rogues gallery, and with 75 years of comics mine, I’m sure more could have been introduced.

But these are all what ifs, as we all know another action show has been sent out to pasture,  which I don’t understand,  at a time where superhero movies are the biggest things in cinema, we can’t get a decent serialised superhero story in animation. These shows aren’t given a chance to grow and expand, instead cut of just as they begin to grow their wings

Superman has a goatee and the Justice League is a terrorist organisation in the first clip from Justice League: Gods and Monsters

It’s been a while since Bruce Timm worked on a DC project (75th Anniversary short aside) so it’s good to see him back. And what a way to come back, presenting the beloved Justice League as pseudo villains. I am particularly looking forward to see the portrayal of Lex Luthor as his arc on the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited was really interesting.

There’s also a preview video with discussions with Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano:

First look at new Laika movie

The animation world was once dominated by Pixar with Dreamworks coming in second. But now we are at a point where new animation studios are emerging that rival the work of these behemoths. Laika is one that is definitely up there. After successes with Coraline, Paranorman and Boxtrolls, Laika announced their new film Kubo and the Two Strings.

“The new movie, from an original screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (ParaNorman) is a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan. It is being brought to life at LAIKA’s Oregon studios via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique. In addition to directing, Mr. Knight is producing Kubo and the Two Strings with Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman). The all-star voice cast includes Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron; Academy Award nominees Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro; and Art Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark on Game of Thronesand who is providing the voice for the title character of Kubo.

In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.”

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