Friday, August 21, 2015

Criminals Runs Wild in "Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem"

DC Comics and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment deliver the latest chapter in their all ages DC Kids direct-to-DVD series. Based on the Mattel action figure line, “Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” plays out like an electrifying prequel to “Batman Beyond.” Although, it obviously takes place in an alternate universe or one of the “Multiverses” as they’re called.

In “Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem,” the Dark Knight assembles his heroic friends like Green Arrow and Nightwing to stop the Joker and his cronies from unleashing a diabolical computer virus.

There’s a whole lot more going on in “Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” than just some action and adventure for the sake of you and your kid’s enjoyment. Showing Gotham City helpless at the absence of electronics is obviously a cautionary tale of how dangerous it is to rely too heavily on technology. The presence of Cyborg seems to show that technology can be used for good, but can be corrupted as well.

“Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” is influenced heavily by many different inspirations. Futuristic Gotham is reminiscent of the cityscapes seen in “Blade Runner” and “The Fifth Element.” Virtual reality sequences bring to mind “Tron” and “The Lawnmower Man.” The segment is comedic and even has a nod to “Transformers” through Batman's use of what could only be referred to as a Dinobot. There seems to be borrowed elements from the latest Bat-cop comic book storyline which is presently running in the pages of Detective and Batman titles as well.

The design and personalities of most of the characters was spot on. I love the fact that Bruce Wayne isn't just a brooding extension of Batman like he’s been in the comics as of late. He has his own separate personality from the Dark Knight and even takes the time to smile. Joker's pointy nose is distracting and the Scarecrow's bulky body doesn't really fit his moniker.

It was exciting to see Red Robin and Nightwing on screen and in action. With the popularity of the live action TV show, it's no surprise that Green Arrow is a vital part of the crime fighting team. Maybe they can recruit Batgirl for the next animated adventure to pull in some female super hero fans.

“Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” is not rated. I would give it a G rating as it’s safe for all ages. There’s some comic book violence as you would expect. Besides that, there’s no profanity or gore to be found.

The Blu-ray of “Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” boasts over 42 minutes of bonus material. A featurette entitled “Gotham of Tomorrow: Designing a Future World” is included. We also get ten shorts from the DC Nation hour that ran on Cartoon Network. It also contains a bonus cartoon from the DC Comics Vault.

“Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” is another refreshing departure from the darker and more mature DC Universe Animated Movies. It’s safe for the whole family the way all super hero films should be. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the animated DC features. They’re just aimed at an older crowd and that limits which ones I can watch with my nine-year-old son.

“Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.

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