Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Available this coming Tuesday, January 9, is Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a new movie teaming up the two groups of detectives. And it’s tons of fun! (Thanks to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, I received a review copy.)
Moving along at a brisk 75 minutes, I was impressed by how well the cartoon combined the most appealing parts of both franchises, very much in keeping both with the usual Scooby-Doo! structure and the much-missed Batman: The Brave and the Bold series. There’s plenty of both action and comedy, particularly in a chase sequence where Batman and the kids have to go on the run from both villains and other superheroes.
I’ve previously posted the trailer, but the premise is two-fold: the Scooby gang, after providing their mystery-solving skills, are invited to join the Mystery Analysts of Gotham, made up of Batman (voiced by Diedrich Bader), Black Canary (Grey Griffin, who also voices Daphne), The Question (Jeffrey Combs), The Martian Manhunter (Nicholas Guest), Detective Chimp (Kevin Michael Richardson), and (apparently barely tolerated) Plastic Man (Tom Kenny).
There, they learn about an unsolved case from Batman’s past, where he’s regretted not being able to save an innocent in a situation with ties to the history of one of his classic villains. Of course, they help solve it, along with Aquaman (John DiMaggio), who wants to join the group although he’s bad at detection.
The story (by producer James Tucker; screenplay by Paul Giacoppo) allows for plenty of fan-favorite moments, as when Fred (Frank Welker; also the voice of Scooby-Doo) goes google-eyed over Canary or we get to see how the kids would cope with visiting Arkham Asylum. (Where everyone’s in black-and-white stripes, but they all get to keep their hats, so we can tell which villain they are.) Velma (Kate Micucci) is generally in charge of exposition, while Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) does his usual food-based comedy. There’s one sequence with, of all people, Bane and Blockbuster, that was hilarious, particularly when it came to Batman’s reaction.
There are a bunch of obscure Bat-villains, such as the Ten-Eyed Man, so the older viewers can have fun testing their knowledge. Batman is the only one who seems to remember Scooby is a dog (except when he’s driving), sending him to sniff out clues, a nice touch. I don’t want to spoil the fun of all the twists and revelations, so I’ll stop talking about particular bits, but this is the kind of cartoon it’s enjoyable to watch and then revisit.
Not previously announced, to my knowledge, are the two extras: the two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972) that feature Batman and Robin! “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper” are each about 42 minutes, and while it’s a wonderful nod to completists, watching them today makes the current animation look really great, compared to the static shots and misshapen faces on display in the older cartoons. The pacing is also ridiculously slow. Still, it’s a relevant part of the characters’ histories. What a great bonus!