The Batman: The Complete Series was a beast of a different sort when it came out. Releasing right before the Nolan Trilogy and after the successful animated series, this particular Batman show went down a different path altogether to tell a story of a new young Batman in Gotham with many thrilling elements on its side. The show went on to win a ton of awards for its voice work and story arcs. And now, the entire five-season series is available in a fantastic 1080p HD image in widescreen, along with a new DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix. There are over 90 minutes of new and vintage bonus material as well. Highly Recommended!
There have been a ton of iterations of Batman over the past several decades. Whether it be in comic book form, cheesy television episodes, or big-budget feature films, the caped crusader always brings the masses together to watch Gotham be saved time and time again. In the middle of all these cinematic and comic appearances, the animated realm become a fan-favorite for Batman. Most will remember Batman: The Animated Series in the '90s as the essential animated Batman portfolio. But in the early to mid-2000s, there was a new kind of caped crusader patrolling the streets of Gotham in The Batman: The Complete Series which not only won a ton of awards over its five-season run but created a different approach than anything that came before it.
The Batman: The Complete Series aired during the Christopher Nolan Trilogy years of Batman and added a different take than what fans and people were used to from the Animated series and whatever Christian Bale was doing at the time. This series of The Batman covered the early years of the cape and cowl starting into Bruce Wayne's third year as a vigilante. And even though some episodes of this show are more stand-alone than others, a serialized concept took over where continuity became a key factor in storylines. The Batman series no doubt divided fans of the character down the middle with its original take on the storyline and alternate style of animation. Whatever differences the show made, it sure struck a chord with its fans and professionals alike, since the series is still talked about today and won numerous awards for its achievements in animation, voice work, and more.
Each season consists of thirteen episodes and features a young Bruce Wayne still getting into the groove of his alternate identity as Batman. Familiar faces make appearances with Joker, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman who all show up early on. After the main villains wreak havoc, the lesser-known faces peek through the shadows with Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Spellbinder, and more. With a different take on these characters, this version of Batman is more agile, acrobatic, and fierce, making each fight sequence more impressive than just the standard punches and kicks that everyone is used to. His fights range from in the streets, alleyways, and even high in the sky as this Batman flips and flies around to take out the bad guys.
As the series goes on, a story arc that works well is the transformation of Batman's vigilantism into his team up with the Gotham City Police Department and all the help he provides. This is where his relationship with Commissioner Gordon comes into play as the two begin to do that iconic detective work together. In its fifth season, Batman begins to form the Justice League, teaming up with the likes of Superman, Flash, and other recognizable superheroes. Batgirl and Robin are prominent figures too in late seasons, so almost every fan-favorite character shows up at some point or another. The voice-cast has a ton of fun bringing new elements to each character, especially with The Riddler who is much more sadistic this time around. Guest star voices include Ron Perlman, Clancy Brown, Gina Gershon, James Marsden, Robert Englund, Patton Oswalt, and more, all of who deliver great performances.
The Batman: Complete Series is a fantastic addition to the DC universe and did things a little different than previous entries inside Gotham. The originality and character performances here garnered the creative team numerous awards for their work and it's well-deserved. As time goes on, more and more fans of The Batman, in general, will no doubt come to love and appreciate this five-season showcase of their favorite characters. And of course, this series says that it's completely great to go in a different direction with an old franchise and tell a thrilling and fun story that doesn't follow the normal path.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Batman: The Complete Series swings its way to Blu-ray + Digital Code from Warner Bros. There are six discs that span five seasons here. All discs are housed inside a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork is fantastic with a great illustration of Batman running with bats flying behind him. There is an insert for an episode list and an insert for the digital code.
The Batman: Complete Series comes with a 1080p HD transfer that looks leaps and bounds better than its DVD counterpart. The series was originally produced in 1.78:1 but was changed to 1.33:1 for its original broadcast. But now it's back in widescreen and despite some small issues, the image looks great. Like most DC animation, the image is mostly flat without a lot of depth like a Pixar film. And this particular show was made in the early 2000s, so there's not a lot of detail in the image like there is now with the DC Animated films. The animation is smooth and the color palette is more vibrant this time around.
Primary colors of costumes and faces pop out nicely and the distinction of black levels, shadows, and greys are more distinguishable. There is some small crush in darker scenes and there is some mild banding in each episode, but overall, the image is a big upgrade from its previous release. There are elements of some good detail in buildings and vehicles in the background, along with firey explosions in its discreet animation style, but other than that, it's a rather flat style of illustrations.
This release comes with a new fantastic DTS-HD 2.0 MA track and it sounds wonderful. The big sound effects of gunshots, gadgets popping off, vehicles driving by, and other superhero sound effects busting in, all sound wonderful and loud. There is some great directionality with the sound effects and ambient noises of citizens of Gotham chattering in the background as well. Bigger action sequences utilize a lower end of sound as well. The score always adds to the suspense and thrills of each episode and the dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along with. This is a great audio soundtrack for this show.
There is about 91 minutes worth of bonus features here with some great behind-the-scenes looks at how the show was made and some voice-work. There is one brand new extra here that is a great retrospective that brings back cast and crew. The rest are vintage bonus features from previous releases.
The Batman: Complete Series is still divided amongst fans of Batman. It's hard to compare this to the hit show Batman: The Animated Series because they are two completely different takes on the character. But with this particular series, a young Batman finds his way with some great liberties taken with his character and the villains that work very well. The new 1080p HD video and its great DTS-HD 2.0 audio track are both excellent. And with over an hour and a half of bonus material both new and old, this set comes Highly Recommended to both new and dedicated fans of the caped crusader.