Batman Unlimited: Mech vs Mutants is an upcoming direct-to-video animated film and the third entry in the Batman Unlimited series. It premiered on July 24, 2016, at San Diego Comic-Con International, and it will be released on Digital HD on August 30, 2016 and on DVD on September 13, 2016.
Present at the roundtables were: Roger Craig Smith-Batman/Bruce Wayne, Will Friedle-Nightwing/Dick Grayson and John DiMaggio-Killer Croc.
The latest film in the Batman Unlimited franchise begins with Mr. Freeze’s latest experiment which can turn organisms into super-sized mutants. Penguin convinces him to using his invention in Gotham City and the duo recruit Killer Croc, Bane, Clayface, and Chemo. With super-sized mutant monsters wrecking Gotham, it’s up to Batman, Red Robin, Nightwing, Green Arrow, and Flash, along with some mech-suits, to stop them.
A big theme for this particular press event (along with the one for DC Superhero Girls) was certainly the idea that this is “for kids,” but in a really positive way. Roger Craig Smith called this the “classic version of Batman but skewed toward a younger audience,” and Will Friedle reflected on something Bruce Timm told him once, that there “always should be a Batman for everybody.” Friedle continued, “I love the fact that we’re doing a G-rated Batman right as they premiered The Killing Joke.” The actors saw this as a way for all members of the family to sit and enjoy one take on Batman while still given the option to watch (or play) a more adult version of Batman at another time.
Smith, Friedle, and DiMaggio all seemed to really enjoy voicing characters in this particular take on Batman, excited to be a part of something that will introduce Batman to kids by either the toys or the movies. John DiMaggio commented that the series is “silly, fun, and lots of action,” while Smith described the movie itself as “Pacific Rim in Gotham.” There is certainly a trend of escalation in these films, and Smith agreed that they “keep ramping it up, but that’s what you have to do with kids. It’s really interesting to see Batman use even more technology to face this particular threat.” He later joked that he would like to see the next movie have Batman in a mech-suit riding a dinosaur.
All three actors also discussed their particular takes on their characters, with Batman being “calm, cool, and collected,” Dick being “comic relief, cocky, and with a bit of a chip on his shoulder,” and Killer Croc being “Killer Croc! Just three stories high!”
Friedle commented on comics being “American mythology” and that people are finally starting to catch up with all of these amazing stories that have been written for 75 years. Batman Unlimited, while not drawing from any one of these stories in particular, is a way to help this mythology endure and give kids and adults alike a chance to engage with well-known and popular characters.
I stayed and watched the premiere on Sunday, and I continue to enjoy this particular series. I was surprised to see Damian Wayne as Robin, with more characterization than Red Robin was getting in the previous two films. The film explained that Tim Drake is off with his “team,” presumably the Teen Titans. I will say that Damian in the film is not like Damian in the comics, and his character seemed more like an authentic Tim Drake from pre-Flashpoint. If this line continues, which I believe it will, I do hope that they replace one of the supers (Cyborg, Flash) that they bring on with a female hero, because up to now it has only been a boys club. Other than that, I do agree that this is a good representation of Batman and a way for younger audiences to be introduced to a character with such a rich history.
As mentioned earlier, Batman Unlimited: Mech vs Mutants releases digitally on August 30 and on DVD on September 13. You can pre-order your copy on Amazon here.