“Batman: The Brave and the Bold”: The Complete First Season is a fun show with witty dialogue and some genuine laughs. The good news of this Blu-ray release is fans finally can get all 26 episodes in one collection rather than the volume sets.
Genre(s): Animation, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | NR – 584 min. – $29.99 | December 5, 2013
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Bob Kane (“Batman” creator)
Voice Cast: Diedrich Bader
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C (untested)
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
I was a little hesitant when I first got “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” as I had seen various screen shots online since it aired and knew this latest of the “Batman” animated shows was not going to be like the others. In fact, when I watched the first episode, ‘Rise of the Blue Beetle’, I was unsure how I was going to get through all 13 episodes in the first part of season one.
First things first, this is not “Batman: The Animated Series”, a show that is still perhaps one of the best representations of the Dark Knight ever made and in some sectors, even better than the live action films, Nolan’s contributions included. It was dark and damn entertaining as it showed off both sides of Batman and Bruce Wayne. “Brave and the Bold” is a different beast all together. It takes its cue from the 1950s and 1960s comic book both in terms of animation style and tonality with the stories.
Each episode begins with a prologue of sorts showcasing Batman teaming up with another superhero (like Blue Beetle or The Atom) in a short segment that is basically self contained and often times unconnected with the main story, though there are nuggets of wisdom that do tie in. This incarnation of Batman uses his semi-brooding voice over explaining various ideas about his latest crime-fighting partner and such. What makes “Brave and the Bold” stand out – and why some young Batman purists used to “The Animated Series” or the dark Nolan version of the character might hate – is he teams up with extraordinary sidekicks and while he often reiterates that he likes working alone, he seems to willingly volunteers to help others resolve issues.
I’ll just get it out of the way and say that although I was at first hesitant with this version of Bats, after the initial shock I had a hell of a good time with the show. Yes, it is at times quite corny with the dialogue and the stories aren’t exactly intricate until we come upon the 2-part midseason finale in which even purists might enjoy as we get to see more of Batman’s world and an old nemesis finally make an appearance. Speaking of which, that is I guess my only complaint about the first 11 episodes is that outside of a couple flashback scenes, we do not get to see Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne at all and classic supporting characters including Alfred are merely mentioned and never seen. In fact, until the finale, we don’t even get to see the Batcave.
In terms of the voice talents, once again voice casting director Andrea Romano (who has worked on a ton of DC-related projects including most if not all the DCU Animated Movies) puts together a nice cast. Although Kevin Conroy will always be THE voice for Batman and Mark Hamill for The Joker, Diedrich Bader and Jeff Bennett respectively both do the characters justice and fit much more with the style and lighter tone than at least Conroy could have.
Overall, give “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” a chance even if you are a diehard of the “The Animated Series”. While most of the time it is a tad silly – I still don’t quite understand how Batman shows up in the 1800s to rescue Jonah Hex… – but pretty dang entertaining.
As for this second part, I still mostly enjoy the series for the fun factor, the animation style and just how different it is from the other animated Batman incarnations, although there were an episode or two that kind of annoyed me and another couple where the plot falls apart. First, my least favorite episodes were ‘Legends of the Dark Mite’ in which Batman gets an obsessed fan in a powerful being from the fifth dimension (voiced by Paul Ruebens) – I know many fans loved it, I for one didn’t as much – and ‘The Last Bat on Earth’ where Batman goes to the future to stop Gorilla Grodd who is taking over a gorilla army to conquer the region. Honestly, I’ve never liked Gorilla Grodd and with him being a major villain in an episode only hurts it.
That said there are plenty of good things about the second part of season one. I liked the inclusion of the Equinox (ODED FEHR), a villain whose mission is to keep order in the universe but goes ballistic and only causes havoc and chaos.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
No features have been included.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” swings onto Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archives and although it’s a fine looking picture, it’s hardly anything spectacular. Colors look vibrant but the animation itself was never the high point. However, it’s a decent looking transfer with only minor instances of artifacting.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
Although the episodes receive an upgrade from Dolby Surround Stereo to DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, it’s not a huge difference with the bulk of the sound coming from the center speaker. It’s not a bad mix but hardly all encompassing either.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”: The Complete First Season is a fun show with witty dialogue and some genuine laughs. The good news of this Blu-ray release is fans finally can get all 26 episodes in one collection rather than the volume sets. However, the video and audio are not huge improvements over its DVD counterpart, if you can nab this at a good price (~$15), then it might be worth picking up even if you already own the volume sets.