Fans who grew up with Batman: The Animated Series as their go-to cartoon superhero show have undoubtedly noticed the darker, more violent trend in those same cartoons now. I don’t think this is bad or even unwanted, as you can tell from my review of this month’s Batman vs. Robin. But a return to a more traditional, 90s feel is certainly welcome. That’s what we get in Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts.
The story brings together classic Batman foes and heroes to uncover the plot behind Penguin’s new invention of Cyber Animals. The robotic creatures keep popping up during strange crimes committed by the Animilitia, a squad of animal-inspired villains that includes Silverback, Cheetah, Killer Croc and Man-Bat. Luckily, Batman has his own squad to call on and Flash, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Red Robin answer.
Animal Instincts comes straight out of DC Entertainment’s desire to create a Batman animated film for younger kids. That sentiment registered strongly with screenwriter Heath Corson who “wanted to capture that fun of Silver Age Justice League comics.” He’s definitely done that here. Humor is used to great effect and is mixed effortlessly with both hand-to-hand and high speed action scenes. Fight sequences are often one-on-one giving each hero and villain a chance in the spotlight.
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As is quickly becoming a tradition, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Animation unveiled a new Batman movie at a world premiere event at WonderCon on April 3. Inspired by best-selling graphic novel, Batman: Court of Owls, Batman vs. Robin is an excellent addition to the ever expanding universe of DC’s original movies.
Picking up on three months after Son of Batman left off, Batman vs. Robin showcases the still tenuous relationship between Bruce and Damian Wayne as they each try to better fit into their respective roles as father and son. Being crime fighting partners is both a help and a hindrance to their relationship, especially when it seems like Batman can’t rely on Robin to put aside his League of Assassins tendencies. The duo are to the test when Talon, the enforcer for The Court of Owls, tries to lure Damian in as his new protégé while Gotham’s secret society also enacts a plan that could destroy the city.
The film boasts a strong voice cast, including the return of Jason O’Mara (Batman), Stuart Allan (Robin), and Sean Maher (Nightwing). Allan once again brings the perfect amount of petulance to Damian and Batman vs. Robin goes the distance to remind us Damian isn’t a child the way the previous Robins, including Dick Grayson, were.
He was born and raised with assassins. Nightwing even remarks to Batman about Damian, saying, “He’s just a 10-year-old boy.” But Batman gently corrects him. “No. He just looks like one.” The film drives this message home so well it doesn’t seem as impossible for a kid to face off with full grown adults, even Batman, and hold his own or come out ahead.
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Stars and the executive producers from TNT’s The Last Ship treated fans to an exclusive new trailer at WonderCon this weekend and unveiled key art for the upcoming second season. The show was basic cable’s #1 new series last year and TNT is hoping for a strong repeat with the new season as well.
Based on William Brinkley’s novel, The Last Ship chronicles the aftermath of a global catastrophe that nearly wipes out the world’s population. Captain Tom Chandler’s (Eric Dane) Navy destroyer was able to avoid the disaster, potentially making Chandler and his crew among the last humans on earth. In its first season, the show reached an average of 14.5 million viewers across all platforms.
At WonderCon, cast members Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, Travis Van Winkle, Charles Parnell, Christina Elmore, John Pyper Ferguson, and Jocko Sims filled out the panel with executive producers and showrunners Hank Steinberg and Steven Kane and fellow EP, Jack Bender.
The Last Ship will begin its second season on Sunday, June 21, with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. (ET/PT)
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