Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman
I am afraid to say they there is a new vigilante in town. Garbed in an all in one body suit. Sporting a bat emblem. Dangerous to the touch. And she is a woman too.
Yes. That’s right. I said 'woman'.
But who is this 'Batwoman', huh? Batman and Robin don't know. Well? How can they? Especially when they are too distracted by a nefarious gun smuggling ring spearheaded by the Penguin, Boss Thorn, and Carlton Duquesne.
However, as luck would have it, Batman get's a strange notion that this mysterious vixen-like vigilante is linked to this trinity of thieves, when he notices that Cartons only daughter, Kathy, has a very similar shaped silhouette to this female felon. Therefore, under his civilian guise as Bruce Wayne, Batman asks Kathy out on the date, just so he can find out if his theory is correct or not.
And is Batman right? Is Kathy Batwoman? Well, it does not look like it when they're both having dinner together at the Penguins Iceberg lounge a day or so in their 'union', and he spots Batwoman in the process of battling the Penguins henchmen.
OK then, so if its not Kathy, who is it then? Bane? No. He's a man silly, who is secretly in cahoots with Penguin. What about Dr. Roxanne Ballantine perhaps? She's the tech-head that is currently developing a new type of synthetic metal for Waynetech, which is the same substance that Batman finds in the Penguins club during Batwoman's attack on this pug-faced villain! No. It is not her either. Because when Batman confronts Roxanne with this information sometime later, she has a foolproof alibi for where she was during one of Batman's Batwoman sightings.
Nevertheless, I am still very happy to say that Batman does figure out who this wondrous woman really is on the following night. You see, what next transpires is fast – dynamic – and revealing. In which shots are fired – edifices blown – Robin rescues – Batman battles – criminals captured – aires are viewed – and Batwomen are revealed.
So who is Batwoman? HA! I’m not telling, she’ll kill me.
Listen, you have to remember that 'Batman - Mystery of the Batwoman' is about an evolving mystery. And to allow a mystery to unravel, you have to give it some room to breathe. Girth. Expansion. Scope. Et'al.
Not 72 minutes. All it can do with that is affixiate.
You see, conceptually speaking of course, this narrow time frame does a number of things to impede the plot. Fractures the overall narrative. Weighs down the scenes in lengthy exposition. And can sometimes come across as being too benign as a gala adventure.
However, this film does try to redeem itself in all other aspects of storytelling. In some way it reminds me of a nineteen seventies Batman comic book – where Batman stumbles onto a mystery, and then try’s his best to figure out the who, the why, the where, and the when. Moreover, in another way, it reminds me of a Saturday morning television show too – where the main protagonist seems to float leisurely around town, and manages to pick up the girls and save the day in the process.
Strange that huh? A Batman animated film being able to amalgamate a Batman comic book and a television serialization. NOT!
Also, another thing that is strange with 'Batman - Mystery of the Batwoman', given my bereft of knowledge in all things 'comic book', is that I think that this film was devised for another reason apart from yet another piece of animated action. That reason dear reader, is to test the waters for another Batwoman.
Now you have to remember that the 'new comic book Batwoman' was devised in 2006 – three years after this animated film was made. Therefore, it only stands to reason that DC wanted to gauge the public's reaction to this eventuality from happening first. So, what do they do? They make a Batman film with three Batwomen in it, and then from the public’s response, another marketable commodity is created, TA-DAH!
Well you have to take heed that the original Batwoman was out of the comic books for over twenty-five years by this point in time (allegedly killed by Bronze Tiger before he joined the Suicide Squad)! And then, within a three year time span, a film was made about her, and a new incarnation to follow as well. Oh! And do you think that the new Batwomans costume (both in the comic books and in this film) pays a passing resemble to a certain Batman Beyond costume, was merely a happenstance? HA! Don’t make me laugh! Conspiracy and mystery my friends. That is what makes a real story. One that this film does capture. But only in a sultry, pithy, and somewhat shitty way.
Still worth a watch though.
THE RATING: B