Sunday, August 25, 2013

Joker's Retro Look Back: Batman Beyond

Now I am a huge fan of "Batman: The Animated Series" it was a strong adaptation of the comics with great animation and storytelling, put in some good voice actors and good execution and you have one of the best cartoon series ever. After it's run from 1992 to 1995 on Fox, "Batman: The Animated Series" started to air on the WB and after a while WB ordered more episodes for the series. This new series of sorts would be titled "The New Adventures of Batman." The continuation ran from 1997 to 1999.

Now around 1999 just as "The New Adventures of Batman" was about to end WB announced a new animated series for the Batman but a new look. This new series was "Batman Beyond." "Batman Beyond" was a continuation of the two previous animated Batman series but set in the future.
Now going into it when I was young I was hesitant because I was so use to the Batman animated world that seeing it go into the future felt off to me but once I started to watch it I was hooked and to this day it is still one of my favorite cartoons to this day. It is kind of funny actually when I was a young kid I liked it and then when I was in High School I re-watched it and I loved it. So now as a college student I re-watched the first two episodes again "Rebirth" parts 1 and 2. So how does the series still hold up let's find out.

First let's listen to our opening:

Yes, just all the yes. I love this theme, it may be a minute long but in that one minute you are just rocking out and kicking ass. When I first heard this opening as a kid I loved it and actually one of the reasons I continued to watch it. I love it so much that I even have it as my ringtone. So yeah the opening theme is great both musically and animated.

Now on to "Rebirth" part 1
We open up in the year 2019 (20 years after "The New Adventures of Batman") to an abandon building where we see a bunch of kidnappers counting their money after being payed a big ransom. But lurking in night is Batman with a new look to him. Just as they finish counting the money the head guy tells one of his lackeys to finish off the girl, but just then our cape crusader comes to save the day. After looking like he has the upper hand, something happens, he begins to feel pain in his heart.
Posted Image
(Uh Batman you don't look so good. To many Pizzas?)
Batman begins to look like in a lot of pain, after thinking he has taken care of the kidnappers he begins to untie the girl when the head kidnapper attacks Batman from behind. Batman is clearly weak and getting his but beat. Just as the Kidnapper is about to finish Batman when Batman sees a gun on the ground, Batman picks up the gun. O_O
Posted Image
(Why Batman Why?! This isn't like you! T_T)

With that the Kidnapper runs away due to fear that Batman was going to shoot him. The police quickly arrive and arrest the Kidnappers while Batman gets away. Batman takes off his mask and we see that he has aged. He is out of breath, bleeding, and worst of all he was going to use a gun. Batman looks in shock at what he has done and realizes that he just can't do it anymore, he maybe old and may want to protect Gotham but he broke his own rule and a life that started because he lost his parents to a gun is ended because he used a gun. Batman I mean Bruce Wayne retires. Batman is no more!

We see that time passes, Gotham looks more futuristic and technology has advanced. We go another 20 years into the future to the year 2039 and we see how Gotham has changed. Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprise has merged with another company Powers Technology run by Derek Powers to create Wayne-Powers Enterprises. And it seems crime is worse than before. While on a subway train, a guy in a jester outfit comes in and makes graffiti. He sees if anyone smiled and sees a defenseless woman. This guy begins to start mugging her but no one seems to want to help, except for one teenage boy. Enter 17 year old,Terry McGinnis.
Posted Image

Terry stands up to the jester thug guy and gets some good hits on him. Eventually the jester runs away and Terry comments saying "Jokerz." So by his first appearance Terry seems to be a good kid or at least a kid that hates seeing people harass people and injustice. Then we cut to his school where we see Terry in a wrestling match, some words are exchanged and then the guy Terry was wrestling, Nelson
Posted Image
(No not him)
spits in Terry's face and punches Nelson in the face. Terry is dismissed by the coach and leaves.

Later we cut to Warren McGinnis, Terry's father, who works for Wayne-Powers, he is contacted by a co-worker named Harry to tell him to meet him. Warren meets Harry and gives Warren a disk, what is on the disk is unknown but Harry seems to be scared, fearing for his life, and also doesn't look good either. He look at is hand and it looks blackish. Suddenly Mr. Fixx appears, Mr. Fixx is Derek Power's personal assistant. Mr. Fixx comes to get Harry and take him away. Later Powers talks to Warren and tells him that something happened to Harry, he was involved in an accident and that he is having the medical crew look at him to help him. Warren leaves but not before Powers asks him about a file, Warren says he has no idea what Powers is talking about. Powers seems to believe it but then when Warren leaves, Powers looks to Mr. Fixx seems he knows that Warren is lying.

We cut to home where Warren is looking over Harry's files. Warren is shocked at something that Powers in doing. Then Terry shows up telling his father he is going out. His father tells him that he is grounded. They get into a heated exchanged where we learn that Terry was a trouble maker, he has a consular and his parents are divorced. Terry was probably sent to live with his father due to his rebellious behavior. Warren tells Terry that is anger will always get him into trouble, he can't control it and that is why he always gets in trouble. Warren tells him that he can't expect to get anywhere in life if he keeps on letting temper get the best of him. Terry then comments saying "Yeah, I'll be a big success just like you." Warren looks sadden by this and Terry leaves. As Terry leaves a vehicle shows up and parks near the McGinnis home, inside the vehicle is Mr.Fixx.

Later at a club Terry meets his girlfriend Dana, while waiting in line for the club a gang appears. They are known as the Jokerz gang appears to cause some chaos. Terry once again doesn't like these guys causing trouble and fights the Jokerz. He effectly is beating them using his athleticism and skill. The Jokerz rebound and Terry escapes on a motorcycle. The Jokerz give chase and eventually the chase ends up at Wayne Manor. At Wayne Manor Terry almost runs over some old guy and crashes. The Jokerz catch up and are about to fight Terry when suddenly the old man shows up teling the Jokerz to leave Terry alone and get off his property, meaning this is Bruce Wayne only older much older.
Posted Image
(You've gotten old Bruce.)
A fight ensues and despite his old ag Bruce still kicks butt and Terry also shows his skills in fighting. They are able to defeat the Jokerz and they run away. Terry thanks Bruce for his help but we see that despite being able to do it, fighting puts a strain on his body. Bruce clearly isn't in the best of health and asks Terry to help him get to his medication. Terry helps him and gave Bruce his medication. Terry thanks Bruce for his help but Bruce falls asleep. Terry is about to leave but Bruce's guard dog Ace is at the front so Terry decides to call his father instead. As Terry is about to call his father, he hears a bat screeching. Behind him stuck in a clock there is a bat stuck. Terry manages to pull the clock open and cause a secret passage to open. Terry walks down the passage and it leads him to the Batcave. Terry looks around and finds all the old Batman suits (Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin along with the Batman Beyond suit). Here Terry figures out the Bruce is Batman. Terry's about to touch one of the suits when Bruce comes up and hits Terry with his cane, telling him to get out.

When Terry gets back home he comes back to see the police there. Terry is alarmed and runs inside the house. Terry sees his mom and asks him what happened. Apparently the Jokerz came inside the house and surprised him at least that is what the police think due to the graffti on the wall. Terry finds out his father is dead. Terry goes to live with his mom and we find out also that Terry has a little brother as well. Terry is guilt ridden with the fact that his father is dead, he blames himself for it. The blue lighting in the animation really shows the amount of depressing and guilt Terry holds in himself. He thinks to himself that if he wasn't so rebelious and listened to his father, that maybe he could of helped his father, maybe his father would still be alive. He also lives with that the last thing they did together was argue. That is a lot for 17 year old to feel but I'll admit that even though I didn't tear up when I was younger I tear up now because living with that kind of guilt of an argument being the last thing you had with a person you cared about before they died really is emotional.

As Terry looks through his things as he sets up his room, he looks at the picture of his father and inside the picture frame was the disk. Terry looks at the disk and smells something fishy, he doesn't know what it is exactly but he knows that this may of been the reason for his father's death. Terry then leaves knowing of one person he can think of that can help him. Little does Terry know, he is being spied on by Powers and they know he has the disk now.

Terry has Dana drive him up to Wayne Manor, he tells her to leave so that she doesn't get involved in anyway. Terry uses the intercom to try and get Bruce to look at it. Initially it looks like Terry isn't succeeding. Terry can't go to the police because they are cozy with Powers and Bruce is really the only person that Terry believes can deal with this. Terry gets aggravated and says "You're no Batman you old fraud." Apparently calling Bruce out and saying he isn't Batman is what convinces Bruce to open the gate and let Terry in. Terry enters through the gate and walks up to the house with Bruce watching. End of part 1

With part 2 we find out that what was on the disk. Turns out that Powers is making nerve gas and Bruce is not very happy about that. Terry looks at the Batman suit, we find out that it has some neat features, such as flight and amplifies strength 10 to 1. Terry thinks Bruce will do something about it since he is Batman, but Bruce tells him that he "was" Batman. Bruce tells Terry to give the disk to Commissioner Barbara Gordan (aka Batgirl). Terry doesn't really want to do this but Bruce is too stubborn to change his mind. Terry says to Bruce that something else besides age is the reason why he won't be Batman anymore and leaves. As Terry is walking he is intercepted by Powers and Mr. Fixx. Powers asks for the disk, when Terry says he doesn't know what Powers is talking about and about to walk away, Mr. Fixx grabs him. Terry yells for help but Powers says that it is no use. Terry manages to break free and get away but Powers was still able to get the disk. Terry looks on from where he was hiding and has a look of anger on his face. He is not letting Powers get away with this!

We cut back to Wayne Manor, Bruce is eating soup and watching the news. Suddenly he hears ace barking and Bruce becomes suspicious. Ace comes to into the house and sniffs looking for something. Ace leads Bruce into the Batcave where the suit is missing. Bruce isn't happy about that.
Posted Image
(He don't look very happy about his suit being stolen...then again when is Bruce ever happy?)

Terry of course took the suit and is trying to get the hang on the flying feature. After a stumble Terry sort of knows what he is doing. He flies to Wanye-Powers Enterprises and listens in on a conversation Powers is having with a potential buyer of the nerve gas. Powers shows him what the gas can do, first with plants, then we see the buyers reaction when the gas is used on animals. Powers then shows what the gas can do to humans. Harry was involved in an accident involving the gas and Powers shows the devastating results of the gas on humans. The buyer seems impressed and wants the gas. Powers is pleased by this but still considers Terry a threat, that could ruin his deal. Mr. Fixx shows no concerns saying "I took care of his old man didn't I." So now Terry knows the person that killed his father was Mr. Fixx. Terry is angered by this but before he can do anything the security at Wayne-Powers discover Terry. Terry manages to get away. Powers learns that someone has broke into Wayne-Powers and shocked to learn it is Batman or at least someone dressed like him.

Terry hides when he hears Bruce through a radio receiver in the suits cowl. Bruce warns Terry to return the suit, but Terry says that someone had to do something. Terry manages to get security by surprise. Terry is showing his skills as he is dodging gun fire and beating up the security. Terry looks like to have the upper hand until Bruce activates the fail safe. Terry can no longer move or fight back, now security has the upper hand. Bruce listens as Terry is getting beat up. Terry begs Bruce to turn off the fail safe, just as security is about to finish Terry off, Bruce turns off the fail safe and Terry gains the upper hand again and manages to get away. Bruce tells Terry that he has to bring the suit back but Terry tries his best to convince him otherwise. Terry explains to Bruce that the guy who killed his father is on the transport and that this is his one chance to stop him. Bruce despite his stubbornness understands how Terry feels and allows him to go and stop Powers and Mr. Fixx.

Terry makes it to where they are loading the nerve gas. Terry manages to beat security and is about to bring Powers and Fixx when he ambushed by the crane operator. Powers grabs a gun and tell Fixx to take the hovercraft into the air. Terry is grabbed by the crane and is about to be crushed when he uses the suits ability to make batarangs and throws it at the crane operator knocking him out. Terry is set free but Powers is in his sights as he begins to shoot him. Fixx tells him to shut the doors so they can take off. Terry tries a batarang but Powers shoots it. Terry then uses the last remaining canister of the nerve gas and throws it at Powers. Powers accidently shoots it releasing the gas.
Posted Image
(I'm sure he'll be fine.)

Terry manages to grab on to the hovercraft. As Terry is trying to get into the hovercraft we see Powers is begging for help because he knows what this gas can do. Terry manages to make it into the hovercraft and attacks the pilot's seat. But it turns out that the autopilot was activates and Fixx attacks Terry with electric brass knuckles. Fixx looks like he is gaining the upper hand. Fixx pins Terry down and tells him he is good for a punk that thinks he is Batman. Terry Responds with "I am Batman!" Terry musters up his strength and manages to get the upper hand and knocks Fixx into the hovercrafts controls. Unfortunately Fixx's electric brass knuckles betray him, because when they hit the hovercrafts control it starts to electrocute him and short circuits the hovercraft causing it to lose control. Terry manages to get out of the hovercraft but it looks like Fixx is stuck there was the hovercraft crashes into the ocean sinking to the bottom, with the nerve gas and Fixx still inside. Looks like this punk Terry manage to stop Powers this time.

We go to the next day where we see Terry returned home with the suit under his bed. Terry's mom wakes him up telling him that they have a guest. Of course this guest is Bruce Wayne. Terry's mom asks how Terry knows Bruce and Bruce tells he that Terry defended him from a bunch of hooligans. Bruce offers Terry a job to be a part time "assistant" since Bruce knows he is old but sees potential in Terry. Bruce warns Terry there will be difficulty along the way but Terry says he can handle it. Bruce says "Very good Mr. McGinnis, welcome to my world." (Awesome line!)
Posted Image
(Do you think you handle riding with the devil in the pale moonlight?)

And thus the partnership of Bruce and Terry is formed and our new Batman, Terry McGinnis is born.

The episode ends with a scene with Powers finishing his radiation treatment, to eradicate the virus. That was the good news, however there is some bad news for Mr. Powers. The medical people seem hesitant but Powers demands to know the bad news. They medical people ask for the lights of. In the darkness a green light is emitted and the laughter of Powers can be heard.
Posted Image
(See he looks so happy)

So our two part premiere episodes, "Rebirth" part 1 and 2, for "Batman Beyond" are finished. So how does it hold up?

Well I have to say that this two part premiere still holds up in almost every area. The animation is still as good as I remember it may look outdated to some people but I still consider it some pretty good animation. The episodes story wise were strong as well and as I have gotten older I appreciate and understand how good the writing was for these two episodes. This was all DC Animation, Bruce Timm and crew created this themselves. Though set in the future the show feels like a Batman show, it still has the I guess you can say spirit that "Batman: The Animated Series" and "The New Adventures of Batman" had. It is a new look but same spirit. I like Terry McGinnis, he is almost the complete opposite of Bruce Wayne in terms of his story. Terry isn't a rich kid, he lost his father as a teenager, Bruce's parents were killed by a thug and a low life while Terry's dad was killed by a rich man covering his tracks, Terry has his mother and little brother while Bruce had Alfred. The list can on and on but you get the idea. But despite being opposite they are still similar, they both want and believe in justice, they both are good people despite what they show on the outside, and in a sense kindred spirits who understand each other.

This brings me to one of my complaints which was the scene when Bruce used the fail safe. My problem is that Bruce comes off more as a jerk as you can see he knows that Terry is getting beaten. This scene could of been made a little better maybe if Terry said more things to maybe convince Bruce to shut down the fail safe, maybe show a lot of Terry's determination that even though the fail safe in the suit is still active Terry is trying his best to move and even says something like "I don't care what you do to me after this but tonight I need this suit" or "I don't care if you shut down this suit I'm going to stop Powers and that man who killed my father." Or just have that scene look a little more different so that it does make Bruce not look like a total jerk.

The voice acting was really great, Kevin Convoy returns as Bruce Wayne and does a great job at portraying the old man Bruce. Will Friedle who was Eric Matthews from "Boy Meets World" is great as Terry. He definitely brings to life this trouble making 17 year old who has a good heart. Frank Welker as Ace the dog believe it or not it pretty good, I know it's just a dog but Ace is awesome and that chemistry Terry and him have is just amazing to watch for me. Sherman Howard as Derek Powers is also good. He does give off the voice of a smarmy and shady business man that is able to full people into thinking he is a good guy. Lauren Tom as Dana though not much of her is seen so I can't fully evaluate her but she does good in portraying the caring girlfriend. Michael Gross as Warren McGinnis was good as well, though only brief he portrays Warren as a good man who despite the trouble his son causes, still loves him. Teri Garr as Terry's mother, Mari and Ryan O' Donohue as Terry's brother Matt do good as well. George Takei as Mr. Fixx was awesome because he was able to give a voice to a man you just hate and despise. You feel like Terry whenever you hear Mr. Fixx voice. So the voice acting cast did a good job.

All in all Rebirth parts 1 and 2 are great episodes into the Batman mythos. It sucks you into this futuristic steam punk like world of Gotham. It shows you a Gotham without Batman for 20 years and how far it has fallen. From the thugs like the Jokerz to Powers who practically controls all of Gotham, it's a new world we are in. Terry definitely has his hands full. The writing is strong and the animation and voice work are great. This two part premiere for Batman Beyond still holds up and I look forward to watching more from this awesome series.

If you want a rating I guess my rating will be go watch Batman Beyond.

No comments:

Post a Comment