Teruhisa Yahaji, active producer, and Art Director Makoto Shiraishi give us an incredible vision of the Batman Beyond universe. The original Batman animated series of the 90’s might have been aimed towards children, but it was so well written and slick that older audiences enjoyed it as well. That is basically how my love for Batman animation began and still does to this day. After hearing of the uncut version, I purchased the american DVD to discover what had been edited out. After watching the Uncut version, I immediatly discovered that this was more faithful to the Batman legend than the edited version of the film. The final battle between the Joker and Bruce Wayne is a lot more darker in this version, and how the Joker dies in this version is a lot more appropriate and makes Tim Drake’s guilt a lot more understandable and convincing. This movie portays the Joker at his absolute deadliest and once again proves how dark and sinister he is.
In this action-packed adventure, the sleeker, more dangerous and seemingly immortal Clown Prince of Crime is back to terrorize Gotham, Batman and the aging Bruce Wayne. Even when the censored version more or less makes sense plot-wise, it has a funny feeling of incoherence to it, as if the censors sanded the edges off of it until it lost its shape and it’s hard to tell exactly what the filmmakers are trying to do. This is a movie about time, anguish, torture, secrets, and the bonds between teachers and students and enemies and friends. Deep emotion is extracted from what would otherwise be ordinary cartoon melodrama. This movie is the bridge between Batman Beyond and Batman: The Animated Series, including why the old Bruce Wayne uses a cane, the cause of Barbara’s bitterness, and what happened to the young Robin, Tim Drake. It also features the return of a perennial fan fave, Harley Quinn! The voicework has been consistently excellent throughout the series history, and this is no exception, and its nice to see Mark Hamill reprise his role as Joker.
Much of the change in the film comes in the nightmarish flashback sequence. Joker electrocutes Tim Drake; he stabs Batman; he himself is shot to death. Other deleted or changed scenes include the death of Bonk and a scene where Terry McGuiness as Batman is hit by a stun gun. And despite the violence, I loved the battle sequences between Joker and Batman. Essentially, what I’ve tried to show in this lengthy review is the vast collection of animated stories to which this movie is connected. While it can be view as a film all on its own, it really is a story that is parted of a larger whole.
Here is the catch however, The Joker died years earlier right in front of Batman but somehow he’s returned! This mystery involves several twists and turns and a painful trip down memory lane for both Bruce and his former Batgirl. This all leads up to an electrifying conclusion that will stay with you forever. This was, prior to Heath Ledger, the scariest portrayal of the Joker outside of the comics. The animation is an almost theatrical quality, sleek and excellent. A great blu-ray to add to your collection, and don’t worry, it’s in Widescreen and any fan of Batman or any of the many animated series about Batman will really enjoy this film. With plenty of action and suspense to go around, this is truly a futuristic adventure featuring the newest Dark Knight that is not to be missed.