Saturday, December 20, 2014
BATMAN TAS: CHRISTMAS WITH THE JOKER
It's Christmas Eve in Gotham City, and The Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum, and is hosting a Televised Christmas Special with Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock, and Summer Gleason who are held hostage, and The Joker will kill them if Batman and Robin doesn't save them by Midnight. In production order, this is actually the second episode of the series, so this marks the first appearance of The Joker and Robin.
Mark Hamill (Aka Luke Skywalker) voices The Joker, and he does a fantastic job. He's funny, but scary at the same time, and the design for him is completely awesome! I also love the amount of chaos that he brings on Gotham, and the amount of traps that he sets up for Batman and Robin, which does lead to many cool and creative action sequences. Some people may dismiss The Joker in this episode because he's more over the top and laughable, than he is scary and threatening, and while I agree that this isn't The Joker's darkest compared to other episodes, I still can't help but enjoy watching this villain in every single scene he's in, especially when hosting a Christmas Special. He's just a complete riot in every scene he's in, threatening or not, and Mark Hamill sounds like he's having a great time voicing him.
This is the first time we meet Robin (In Production Order), and he's actually really awesome. He's great at fighting crime; he can make some cheesy lines sound funny; and the partnership between him and Batman is both fun and interesting. In fact, I like that Batman acts like a Scrooge, while Robin is trying to get him into the Holiday Spirit, and it isn't annoying or corny as you think it is, its done really well. I especially love that "It's A Wonderful Life" is included in the episode, because it gives Batman a bit of something to relate too, and realize to at least cherish the happy moments of life; and it's not forced, or done in a very corny, its done very maturely, and does fit the episode's tone. I do question where Robin was in the first episode, but from what I understand, he goes to College, and fights crime with Batman when he comes home, which does make plenty of sense, and give you a good amount of episodes with Batman fighting crime alone, and Robin fighting crime with Batman. I just wish this episode addressed it, but I won't hold it against it.
The episode itself does indeed have great dark and Christmas animation that brings a dark Christmas feel to the episode, along with the occasional Christmas music; there are plenty of great action sequences that are fun and cool to watch; the relationship between Batman and Robin is nice; and getting to spend it all with The Joker as your host is what makes it a Christmas joy. Maybe not one of the darker episodes, but it is still a fun, dark, and action-packed Christmas Special that Batman fans of all ages can enjoy.