Did anyone else watch The Batman? It was a pretty rad cartoon that got off to a slow start in my opinion. What bogged the show down, for me, was that the first season or so just introduced all of the various Batman villains, something I’ve seen in several incarnations over my many years of being a Batfan. It eventually went on to feature Batgirl and Robin, team up the various villains with each other and even bring in the Justice League. It wasn’t up to the same caliber as Batman: The Animated Series or as fun as Batman: Brave and the Bold, but it was a fun little series from the episodes I saw (it lasted 5 seasons, one of which included an awesome rendition of Dark Knight Returns). The figures they put out were super cool too.
What first grabbed my attention about the series though was this straight-to-DVD movie which pitted Bats against everyone’s favorite vampire. I had heard it was pretty good, but never got around to watching it until last night as I played a little Russian roulette with my NetBox queue and landed on or near it. And it was pretty freakin rad. You never know with something like this how vampy it will get. It is a WB cartoon afterall and these are the guys who edited the crap out of the Batman Beyond: The Return Of The Joker movie (another one I need to check out, which is also on NetBox).
So, no, you don’t get full-on scenes of Batman staking vampires, but you do see vamp versions of The Joker and Vicky Vale and Batman fighting off the undead with batarangs. Batman of course develops a cure for vampirism that he injects into every single vampire in a fight scene straight out of the Arkham Asylum game (but, you know, three years early).
Lack of blood and guts aside, this is a super fun movie. You know how a lot of vampire (especially Dracula movies, like 1979’s Dracula) are really boring in the beginning? Well, with this one, you start with an Akrham breakout, action with Joker and Penguin (Penguin goes on to take the Renfield role), Dracula hunting victims, a party at Wayne Manor that Drac attends, Batman fighting Drac, Batman fighting VampJoker and the big final battle. The fight scenes are rad, on the level of JLU and it’s especially fun seeing Batman actually losing his first fight with Dracula. It’s even more fun to see the vamp-fighting gear that he and Alfred develop to level the playing field and give Batman the final victory. Speaking of the final fight, it’s a hard fought one for Batman and Alfred that includes a pretty great “smoke clearing reveal” scene and Batman getting a pretty fantastic one-liner in before, well, before the end. I don’t want to spoil it as it’s pretty cool.
All in all, it’s probably one of the better Dracula movies I’ve seen (at least one of the more action-packed ones)and it gave me something I didn’t think I’d ever seen in animated form: Batman fighting a vampire Joker. Plus, it’s an easy 83 minute watch and it’s on instant watch, what more do you need?