As cartoons go, "Batman Beyond" is simply the kind of cartoon they just don't make anymore. The series, which ran from 1999-2001, aired on Fox as a kids' show, but was decidedly darker and more clever than most of the usual afternoon fare. The series takes place years after the prior "Batman: Animated Series", which was also headed by by the same producers.
"Beyond" sees the legendary Bruce Wayne as an old man who's still tough, but incapable of fighting crime like he used to. In steps Terry McGinnis, a young man who has discovered Batman's true identity. Bruce watches over Terry has he takes on Batman's famed Batsuit and goes out into Gotham City to fight enemies like the Royal Flush Gang. There's also "The Call", a 2-part episode where Batman is brought in to be a part of the Justice League.
It's easy to see why "Batman Beyond" caught on as well as it did when it hit the airwaves (and why it's become a cult hit since.) The show's animation, which has some anime influence, is gorgeously dark, stylish and moody. Additionally, the action sequences are beautifully staged and more cinematic than most live-action blockbusters. The show also remains superbly written (for an animated series like this), with intelligent stories and some powerful dramatic moments on occasion.
1) King's Ransom
4) Big Time
5) Out of the Past
6) Speak No Evil
7) The Call: Part I
8) The Call: Part II
10) The Curse of the Kobra: Part I
11) The Curse of the Kobra: Part II
VIDEO: "Batman Beyond" is presented full-frame and looks excellent, with great sharpness and detail to the animation. A few minor specks and marks were noticed on the print used, but only on rare occasions. Colors are especially vibrant and bold, looking beautiful throughout the movie. There's really not a great deal to mention with this presentation, which really looks excellent with no major complaints.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack remains crisp and clear, with bold effects and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: We get a panel discussion from the show's producers about the season and an additional featurette with producers Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, directors Butch Lukic and James Tucker and actor Will Friedle discussing their favorite moments from this final season.
Final Thoughts: It may not be for the youngest viewers, but "Batman Beyond" is a marvelous animated series, with engaging plots, great characters and swift, sleek action. It's too bad that this is the last round of episodes. Highly recommended.