Sunday, 26 July 2015

Afew thoughts on Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

Well this nifty little package features a cheap looking toy of some strange robotic animal that also appears to be some sort of featured villain in this DVD release, along with some other dubiously designed animal-bots that appear to be throw-backs to the knock-off transformer toys of my youth, plus superheroes, apparently quite a few superheroes. And Batman.

Of course, And Batman.... this is, after all, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts.

So let's get this straight.... A redesigned animated Batman, robo-animals, super villain team-ups and then chuck in Green Arrow and Flash alongside an already present pair of sidekicks and I would guarantee that this feature length cartoon should be written off as a disaster, a shameful toy tie-in or child-centric superhero brand recognition exercise.

I'll humbly admit that I was wrong. I tuned in with low hopes and perhaps for the first twenty minutes could have turned off convinced that I was right and may have been wasting my time. A lot happens quite needlessly, some of my favourite heroes pop in sporting wardrobe choices that the jury are yet to pass judgement on, but thankfully the action is under way, and it rarely lets up.

Villains of an animal based appearance take centre stage to kick off the caper and before you know it we have the good guys all on scene in Gotham. Origin stories, introductions and exposition go hurtling out the window and any real sense of canon is deliberately mishandled and left ambiguous, ripe for discovery as the adventure plays out...

Bruce Wayne knows Oliver Queen is Green Arrow, we have two previous Robins reporting for duty as Nightwing and Red Robin. But this seems to be everyone's first encounter of Penguin and Man-Bat. Flash's secret identity is never even addressed...

All these curious threads and more are dangled like nerd-bait for those that like their continuity to be regimented and follow comic book tradition. Yet the story is never dumbed down at all and it is best enjoyed if you simply strap in and go with the flow.

If it has flaws then they are easily forgotten and happily forgiven as a real sense of fun sits at the forefront of this potentially polarising team-up that somehow seems to go someway to follow up the magnificent Brave and Bold series and meet a high standard against almost impossible odds.


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