Synopsis: The ultimate crime-solving combination reunites when Batman joins the Mystery Inc. gang to catch a gaggle of villains wreaking havoc in Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Super sleuths Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma join forces with the world's greatest detective, Batman, when they discover that villains from both of their respective rogues' galleries have also combined efforts to terrorize the city. With Scooby snacks in tow, the crime-fighting teams encounter classic Batman foes (Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn) and allies (The Question, Aquaman, Plastic Man, Martian Manhunter). As always, you won't know who the ultimate villain is until those "meddling kids" pull off the mask!
Avid Scooby-Doo fans know this isn't the first time the Caped Crusader has partnered with Mystery Incorporated. Forty-five years ago, Batman (and Robin) were the featured guest stars in a pair of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Premiering in 1972, the renowned detectives worked to solve crimes together in the hour-long television movies entitled The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair and The Caped Crusader Caper.
Diedrich Bader, who voiced the Dark Knight in the fan-favorite Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated television series, reprises his role for this all-new film alongside the longtime Scooby-Doo voice cast of Frank Welker (Scooby-Doo & Fred), Grey Griffin (Daphne and Black Canary), Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) and Kate Micucci (Velma). The guest cast includes Jeff Bennett (Joker), Jeffrey Combs (The Question), John DiMaggio (Aquaman), Nika Futterman (Catwoman), Nicholas Guest (Martian Manhunter), John Michael Higgins (The Riddler), Tom Kenny (Penguin, Plastic Man), Kevin Michael Richardson (Detective Chimp), Tara Strong (Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy) and Fred Tatasciore (Harvey Bullock).
Jake Castorena directs the teleplay by Paul Giacoppo, based on a story by supervising producer James Tucker. Michael Jelenic is the producer. Executive Producer is Sam Register. Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are Executive Producers.
Review by James Harvey:
Thanks to Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang, Batman: The Brave and The Bold is back in a feature-length animated adventure, and is it ever great to have this particular take on the Caped Crusader back in action! Playing out like an extra-length episode with a killer mystery and full of hilarious bits and solid action, Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and the Bold is just pure fun and a nice return of one of the best animated iterations of the DC Comics icon.
After recruiting Mystery Inc. into the Mystery Analysts of Gotham following a successful test of their crime-solving abilities - which includes the likes of Detective Chimp, Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, Black Canary and The Question - our heroes find themselves working a case involving a mysterious break in at a chemical storage depot. Naturally, there's more to this case than any of our heroes could expect, and it seems to have ties to Batman's mysterious sole unsolved case, resulting in a smorgasbord of villains coming out of the woodwork to thwart the good guys. And, as our heroes find out, things are not always what they seem.
Naturally, as the mystery of the Crimson Cloak unfolds, it takes a few twists that fans might not expect and ends up becoming quite personal to Batman. The film's trailer doesn't remotely hint at some of the film's biggest surprises, and barely hints upon the full scope of the mystery our heroes are trying to solve, so this review will remain as spoiler free in that regard as possible. Even some of the more predictable beats of the film end up having a neat twist. Suffice it to say, Batman fans will not be disappointed with how the film plays out.
None of the film's expansive cast comes up short, either, with everyone getting great moments throughout the film. If you're a DC Comics fan, each hero gets at least one solid moment to shine and a perhaps a laugh or two. The same can be said for the Mystery Inc. gang, with each of them getting more than a couple moments to show both their detective prowess and/or their heroic side (including a very cool costume bit in the film's climax that should 100% not be spoiled for DC Comics and Scooby fans alike). It's an amazing feet considering just how many characters are being covered. Yes, there are a few cameos and appearances that are quick, but they don't hinder the movie in any fashion and are definitely welcome, especially as a reminder of Batman: The Brave and The Bold's quality.
Outside of the film's story, Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and The Bold is just littered with great character moments and comedic beats. First off, yes, Aquaman is just as hilarious here as he was in the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series, with at least one laugh-out-loud moment as he desperately tries to get involved with the case Mystery Inc. and the Mystery Analysts of Gotham are working. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Martian Manhunter's cookie obsession comes into play, which somewhat brings him into conflict with Scooby and Shaggy. Velma and Detective Chimp bring their brain power to the table, resulting in a couple moments of intellectual competition, while Fred falls head over heals for Black Canary. Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and The Bold is full of fun moments such as these, and countless more, and it's a real joy to see how they play out. And not once does any moment feel forced or out of place.
For Batman fans, there is a host of great Easter eggs to uncover, including an awesome flashback to the hero's early days, a cool shout-out to one of the character's biggest comic book crossover (which leads to arguably the film's biggest laugh, coming from a befuddled Batman himself), and a host of cameos during a visit to Arkham Asylum (which includes a shockingly well-stocked cafeteria and it's own cemetery). However, one of the coolest Easter eggs is the location of a diner where Batman and the Mystery Inc gang meat, situated on the corner of Spears and Ruby.
One of the many reasons why Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and the Bold is so successful is because it brings the crew from the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series back together. Not only is voice cast from the late DC Comics animated series back for this feature-length mystery, save for a recast or two, but so is the creative team. James Tucker returns as supervising producer and writer, Michael Jelenic as producer, and Paul Giacoppo provides the teleplay. Jake Castorena, storyboard artist and director on a wealth of DC Comics-based animated projects, directs this flick and does an excellent job recreating the style of animated series source material. Dynamic Music Partners also returns to provide the score, including a nifty take on the original Batman: The Brave and the Bold opening credits. And, man, how great is it to hear Diedrich Bader back in the role of Batman? He hasn't lost a step.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has made Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and The Bold available in standard definition DVD and Digital HD. The DVD release for the animated feature includes a top-notch audio and video transfer, allowing for colors to pop and the dialogue and action to come out crystal clear. The physical release also includes two vintage Scooby-Doo cartoons, both featuring earlier crossovers with the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder. This is an excellent inclusion on the part of Warner Bros., and a nifty to get these episodes into one's collection. And while these two episodes are definitely products of their time, they're still enjoyable and worth watching. However, as excellent as the DVD release is, it would've been nice to have Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and The Bold available on Blu-ray. Those looking to own the movie in high-definition will need to make due with its Digital HD release.
Scooby-Doo! and Batman: The Brave and The Bold is not only a welcome return for one of the best animated iterations of Batman, but it's also a solid outing for Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. crew as well. Not only is it riddled with easter eggs and callbacks to both properties, but it's also a legitimately engaging movie that's full of solid action beats, a cool little mystery and great gags. Without question, this is a animated movie that's definitely worth adding to one's collection, whether you're a Batman fan or a Scooby-Doo fan. Must Own!
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