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Beware the Batman – Control Review: Boring Batman Defeats Mind Control

The moral of this episode was, “Girls can be too emotional and tend to think with their hearts instead of their heads.” This moral is both trite and stupid. Not only is it totally contingent on the individual; I know plenty of boys who think only with their hearts, then beat people up because they’re sensitive and get angry too easily (looking at you, high-school wrestling teams across the nation), and it’s also an age-old stereotype. So despite the episode’s pretty awesome subway explosion scene, this is one of the weakest episodes of the season so far. 

The plot really started a few episodes ago, with Jason Burr, a super scientist, inventing a super-conductor (the show doesn’t call it that, but that’s what it is). Fast forward to now, as Jason finishes the machine and Cypher decides to take it. The villain is another member of the League of Assassins - it seems like the show is putting too much stock into this conspiratorial villain league. 

Cypher from Beware the Batman
Katana goes on a date with Jason, who makes her dinner. “I don’t mind being the woman of the house” Jason says, and thus informs children of normative gender roles. Katana, thankfully, tells Jason to shut up. Jason is the most annoying character the show’s ever used. I hope he doesn’t come back (though the last scene, in which he tritely opens his eyes from a coma, suggests that he will).

The villain this week is super stupid. First, he looks like a Ben 10 character. Second, his power is super dumb. He can make weird, neon-colored spaghetti straps (that look a lot like glow-sticks) come out of his hands and mind control people. However, if the chords get cut, the persons brain gets fried (or maybe he was lying about that, as the end of the episode reveals, but maybe not - it’s confusing). 

Ben 10 Green Line Guy

Mind control is a super power best utilized subtly. If you just mind control dudes to make them fight, you run the risk of mind controlling weak fighters. Thus, when mind controls Jason, who isn’t very good at fighting since he’s a nerd (psh, as if Batman’s not a nerd!) and then he mind controls Katana, which is the perfect excuse for the two to fight! This would be cooler if the two didn’t spar every episode, including this episode in the first five minutes. Plus, Katana doesn’t even use her sword!

Batman must stop mind-control spaghetti guy, who highjacks a train. This leads to the only scene in the episode worth watching. The train explodes, Batman saves people, etc., etc. But, it’s still pretty neat to watch Batman running around on a train, and the CGI allows for a lot of movement in this scene (as opposed to the lack of moment present in every other scene).

Also, there’s no Alfred in this episode (well...he makes Batman and Katana a smoothie - not joking). There are, however, some cool parts with the Batmobile. The car has a HAL-like computer installed in it, and its lack of personality almost becomes a personality in and of itself. The car gets some good zingers in: it tells Batman he only has a 7% chance of success, to which he says, “Then you better wish me good luck,” and the car responds, “Good luck” Overall, the car is kind of stupid. But, it looks pretty cool and has a lot of neat weapons. 

This episode reminds viewers that Beware the Batman is a kids show and, often (unfortunately) kids’ shows are dumb...

I still have 100 words to fill, so here’s a perfect place to mention that Teen Titans Go! is an overall more interesting show than Beware the Batman. It’s not the Teen Titans I grew up with as a teen; it’s much goofier and sacrifices action for comedy. However, the animation style, which is bold, simplified, and kenetic, really highlights the jokes. The show seems to take inspiration from classic Tex Avery cartoons, as there’s gag after gag, usually a gag every five seconds. The show also uses digital backgrounds to its advantage. Traditionally, backgrounds were static (like in Flinstones or Looney Toons), because changing them would be hard and time consuming. But with digital animation, you can change the background just as easy as anything. Often, the backgrounds act as a tag to the jokes’ punchline. Plus, the simplified, chibi-esque character models allow a lot of emotion and exaggeration in the Titans faces. While the demographic may skew a bit too on the young side (lots of gross-out humor), I think this show has one of the most interesting animation styles on TV. Check it out!

Teen Titans Go!



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