Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem
2015, Warner Bros. Home Studios
I’ve always been a fan of the Batman Unlimited line of action figures. They’ve been around for a few years but it wasn’t until 2015 when Warner Bros. started releasing direct to video movies based on the toy line. The toy line itself has always had a brightly-colored and simplified design, so it’s perfect for having it’s own animated series. It actually makes me a bit nostalgic for my younger years when the cartoons were designed to sell the toys.
The Unlimited universe has its own style and setting. While Batman: The Animated Series had a somber film noir/art deco style that made the series look at home in the 1940s, Batman Unlimited is full of all kinds of high-tech gadgetry, is obviously set in the future what with its flying cars and the fact that Batman oddly has robot animals as sidekicks that morph into vehicles. Because toys.
The first movie, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, starred Batman, Red Robin, Green Arrow, Nightwing and the Flash as they battled a new animal-based supervillain group featuring the Penguin, Killer Croc, Silverback, Cheetah and Man-Bat. This time, it’s Halloween and Solomon Grundy, Silver Banshee, Scarecrow, Clayface and the Joker are wreaking havoc on Gotham City and it’s up to Batman, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Red Robin and Cyborg to stop them.
While I enjoyed the first movie, Monster Mayhem ups the ante. The whole animal gimmick brought together a goofy and under-powered team of villains, but the monster montiff does bring in an engaging squad of criminals. I’ve always been a sucker for Scarecrow and Clayface. What really puts this movie over the top is the FANTASTIC job Troy Baker does as the Joker. He sounds exactly like Mark Hamill, which is a good thing. When Hamill officially retires from playing the Joker (though I’m not sure why he’d ever want to), Baker needs to be the go-to guy. In fact, he’s already portrayed the Joker twice: once in the animated movie Batman: Assault on Arkham and also in the Batman: Arkham Origins video game.
I have to give a shout out to Roger Craig Smith, who also does a great job in the role of Batman in this series. He’s a close stand-in for Kevin Conroy and was also in Batman: Arkham Origins as Batman.
In closing, I really enjoyed this movie and it gives me great hope for the future (?) of the series.