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Cartoon Review: "The Batman" Season 1 (2004)

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

"The Batman" Season 1 official DVD cover art.

"The Batman" Season 1 official DVD cover art.

Quick Info

Director: Various
Distributor: Warner Brothers Animation
Released: April 10, 2007
Runtime: 276 minutes
Availability: On DVD, available for digital purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and other stores, streaming on HBOMax

Story Summary

It’s early in The Batman’s crimefighting career and he’s cleaned up crime in Gotham City, but now a mysterious insane criminal calling himself The Joker has appeared and starts wreaking havoc in Gotham City. Soon, other criminals like Catwoman, Mister Freeze, and the Penguin also begin crime sprees in Gotham City.

Meanwhile, Detectives Ellen Yin and Ethan Bennett keep trying to catch both criminals and the Batman because Chief Rojas wants them all locked away. Ethan believes they should work with Batman, while Ellen Yin doesn’t.

Batman constantly questions whether he should keep being Batman or not.

It May Not Be “Batman: The Animated Series” but It’s Good

This was the first series that did not take place in Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe and fans were disappointed because the stories for all the animated series under that umbrella were really fun and fans enjoyed them a lot.

Fans were hoping for a repeat of Batman: The Animated Series and were disappointed that The Batman was nothing like it. I understand why people were disappointed when Batman: The Animated Series won multiple Emmy awards and had outstanding writing that everyone enjoyed.

For this series to just start out on an “okay” note disappointed fans, but it was also my first animated Batman series that I watched and while it wasn’t the most amazing animated series or the best first season ever, it was still fun and enjoyable.

The Batman investigating the Penguin in Gotham City.

The Batman investigating the Penguin in Gotham City.

The Batman | Batman Vs Penguin | Full Fight |

The Animation Is Good, but Not Amazing

Rewatching the first season I noticed that the art style imitates anime a lot but not enough that you could call it an anime. I do like the character designs and they are unique, but I could see why some fans don’t like them.

The fight scenes have decent fight choreography but not the most amazing fights when it comes to other animated series that DC Comics and Warner Brothers animation were putting out when this series was released.

Teen Titans might have had wonky fight choreography, but comparing the two series and Teen Titans had better fight choreography even in its first season compared to The Batman.

The Voice Acting Is Good

Rino Romano is the voice actor for Bruce Wayne/Batman and I like his voice acting. He’s not imitating Kevin Conroy and that’s a good thing because he’s being his own Batman and he did a great job voicing both sides of the character.

The biggest surprise is Kevin Michael Richardson and the Joker. This voice casting choice was weird and many fans were disappointed because Mark Hamill set a high bar for voicing the Joker. I did enjoy his Joker voice but I don’t compare the two voice actors, and for what he did with the Joker, it was very unique.

Tommy Kenny was also a surprise as Oswald Cobblepot because he was voicing Spongebob Squarepants and was associated with playing comedic character. While Penguin does have some comedic elements to him, he’s not really a comedy character in The Batman and he did a great job in this role.

Steve Harris voiced Ethan Bennett/Clayface and he did a great job voice acting the new character. I liked his voice acting in this cartoon. He gave an emotional performance for the tragic aspects of his character and he was great in this first season.

Ming-Na Wen did a great job voicing Detective Ellen Yin and I liked her voice performance. She brought her character to life and she did a great job in her role.

I liked the voice acting in this cartoon, and even with some odd casting choices they all did a great job playing their parts.

"The Batman" 2004 Series Season 1 Intro HD

The Music Is Good

Thomas Chase’s soundtrack is good, but it doesn’t have the most amazing or memorable tracks for the cartoon, what stands out is the score’s use of electric guitars and modern-sounding music compared to Batman: The Animated Series soundtrack.

It’s a good soundtrack, but not the most amazing music for a Batman show, still nice music but not the best when it comes to these kinds of cartoons.

Batman encountering the Joker for the first time.

Batman encountering the Joker for the first time.

The Cast Has Genuine Diversity

These days everyone on social media is complaining about how TV shows and cartoons don’t have diversity, mainly when it comes to characters of other races being in mainstream programming.

The problem is that most people complaining about diversity wish to shoehorn characters of various racial backgrounds into stories without good writing to make them likable.

Having a diverse cast is great when you have good writing to go with the new characters, and The Batman has a genuinely diverse cast of a Black and Asian detective working together and being friends in Gotham City. They have good character writing and are likable as characters without anyone going out of their way to talk about race or anything like that.

Ethan Bennett is also an original character created just for The Batman, while he’s loosely based on an incarnation of Clayface, his character is a brand new creation for this series, and this is how diverse characters should be, a new creation with their own character motivations and backstory, not race-swapping an established character.

Ellen Yin is loosely based on Ellen Yindel a character that appeared in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, and she is similar to the comic book character, but she has her own storyline that doesn’t follow the comic at all.

She’s also a unique character that is a strong female character and has good writing to back up her character.

The writing for the series is good and has new, original characters that are diverse without being annoying, and if you want genuine diversity, this cartoon has it for you.

The “Bat Embargo” Made Storytelling Interesting

The “Bat Embargo” was a policy that DC Comics had that certain DC characters associated with Batman could not be used in the cartoons because of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movie trilogy. Those characters included Two-Face, Scarecrow, and Ra’s Al Ghul. The only exception to this is the Joker, because well, he’s the Joker.

So for The Batman, the writers had to become creative, can’t use Harvey Dent/Two-Face, let’s create a new character, Ethan Bennett, and give him a tragic backstory with similarities to Harvey Dent without ripping off Harvey Dent, and so they did.

They used lesser-known villains like Cluemaster and Firefly to fill out the roster for the villains because fortunately, Batman has a huge rogue’s gallery, so if you can’t use certain characters, there are always others to pull on, even if they aren’t the best ones.

The Writing for the Series Is Decent, but Improves Over the Seasons

The writing for The Batman is decent, but when fans were expecting writing on par with Batman: The Animated Series were disappointed by this series. While this isn’t the best writing when it comes to Batman cartoons, it’s still decent and will improve as the cartoon goes on.

While it is a good show, many Batman fans were expecting something amazing, and they were disappointed that it wasn’t. It is a good cartoon, just not the best thing I’ve ever watched.

Detective Ethan Bennett tries to arrest the Joker.

Detective Ethan Bennett tries to arrest the Joker.

Reader Poll

Some Characters Using Martial Arts That Normally Don’t Is Weird

There are characters, such as Joker and Penguin, that use martial arts in this series and they never use martial arts in the comics or the other Batman cartoons.

Some fans don’t like the martial arts skills these characters have because they’ve never had these skills before. I understand how out of characters it seems and I get why fans don’t like it, but it does make the fights a little more exciting.

They Didn’t Choose the Best Rogues for Season 1

One thing I notice about the series is that because of the “Batman embargo” they couldn’t use some of the best characters but they made some weird choices about the villains they decided to use. Cluemaster was a weird choice as a villain and he’s the low point of this season.

Also, the limited use of villains in the cartoon makes it a little weird, but it’s still okay, but they could have chosen better villains than Cluemaster for this cartoon.

It’s a Decent Start, So Give It a Chance

The Batman is a decent cartoon. I enjoyed it a lot; sure it’s not the best Batman cartoon. I liked the animation and the stories but the stories aren’t the best, especially since people had high expectations for this because of Batman: The Animated Series but were let down by what the show is.

The Batman is a good cartoon that was off to a decent start but does have a good story in it, but it’s doesn’t have the best execution. It does have a lot of potential that will improve over time.

I say you should give the series a chance, if you have an HBOMax subscription you should give the cartoon a chance because it is a good cartoon.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Good story, plot, and characters

Giving martial arts to characters that don't normally have it is weird

Decent animation

Fight choreography is not the best

Good voice acting

They didn't use the best villains for this season

Decent soundtrack

It has good voice acting, music, and animation, it may not be amazing, but it’s good, and "The Batman" is off to a decent start that any Batman fan will enjoy.

— ReViewMeMedia

My Grade: B-

The Batman season 1 is a decent cartoon that I enjoyed watching. The plot is good and the characters are well written and likable. The villains are pretty good for the most part.

The character designs are a little weird but if you give the cartoon a chance you’ll probably enjoy it. I liked it and I enjoyed rewatching it.

It has good voice acting, music, and animation, it may not be amazing, but it’s good and The Batman is off to a decent start that any Batman fan will enjoy.

It’s worth your time to watch if you have HBOMax and if you like Batman. I bought the DVDs a long time ago because I enjoyed the cartoon a lot when I was younger. I still enjoyed it as an adult but it’s not the best cartoon I’ve ever watched. It is worth your time but not necessarily your money, but it is a very affordable show being only $14.99 for the DVDs on Amazon or $12.99 for digital purchase on Amazon or iTunes. I enjoyed the first season of The Batman and you might too, just don’t go in expecting Batman: The Animated Series and let it stand on its own.

It does improve with every season so you should give it a try if you’re interested in watching a Batman cartoon.

My Rating

© 2021 ReViewMeMedia

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