Los Angeles traffic is my number one enemy. There’s nothing that can entice me to make the trek through the mess of winding and twisty travel ways of the LA freeways.
This past Saturday, I had the great honor and privilege to represent BATMAN ON FILM at the world premiere of Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold at the world famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood!
There has been a precedent for the Batman and Scooby team-up, dating all the way back to the Caped Crusader’s guest appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies from the 70’s. The two-episode set still sells to this day in every Target checkout lane. WB even tricked us a bit with its live action Scooby-Doo film’s first trailer, leading on the audience to think it was a Batman film.
Before I get into the film itself, I have to say the premiere event was wonderful. All the writers, actors, producers and director were great people to chat with and very fan friendly. In all the limited interactions I have had with celebrities, these people were welcoming and humble to the core.
I spoke with Diedrich Bader, who voiced Batman in this film (as well as the 3 seasons of Batman: The Brave and The Bold), about reprising the role and he was surprised they were doing one again. He thought he had a different part in a DC animated film and assumed that Kevin Conroy was voicing Batman. Writer James Tucker confirmed to him, “No, you’re Batman.” Bader loves the role of Batman and said, “[Batman] is the best role I have ever had and the one with the best backstory.” It was cool to see his enthusiasm. Being Batman is an honor, and Bader stands shoulder to shoulder with all the Batmen in my opinion.
I was really looking forward to speaking with the enigmatic John DiMaggio, who voices the king of the seven seas, Aquaman! I asked if he thought Jason Momoa may have borrowed from his portrayal, which he graciously refuted. He did say that while Jason was an amazing Aquaman, he lacked in the musical theater department. I pressed to see if maybe an animated spin off could be on the way for next year and he said he was just grateful to reprise the role again. If this movie does well, hopefully it could happen! Whoever would’ve thought we would see Scooby and Aquaman together? Personally, I think it was…OUTRAGEOUS!
My new super best friend is Kate Micucci, who is the voice of Velma. We both agreed that the real brains behind the entire film is Velma. She’s a better detective than Batman if you want to be honest. The fun part about being in this movie is that it has 40 years of history that people connect with, so it’s just an honor to be a part of the Batman/Scooby legacy.
Director Jake Castorena (who is a longtime BOF’er) loves the idea of Batman teaming up with other characters, as it really highlights the resourcefulness and uniqueness of Batman and at the same time it exposes people to new characters they may not check out otherwise. Teaming up Scooby and Batman is like playing with all your action figures again.
This sentiment was shared with writers Paul Giacoppo and James Tucker. Both mentioned that it’s just fun having Batman team up with other characters from our past. Tucker said that having a version of Batman that kids can gravitate to is important for the character’s longevity and as a gateway to the entire DC universe. Plus, you don’t need Batman to be dark to be true to his character.
Now, on to the film! One of the first things I noticed was how well the two animation styles of Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and The Bold mesh together. B:TBATB has a very stylized look and the visual cues of this new film fall more on that side of the fence. A lot of the classic Scooby gang tropes and jokes are on display and they work well in this twist. The unmasking of villains and the classic Scooby Gang “splitting up” are good set ups for later jokes.
Batman is not alone in this movie! Besides the team of Mystery Inc., Batman is joined by fellow members of the Mystery Analyst Team of Gotham! This means you’ll see characters like the Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, Detective Chimp, The Question and the always-welcomed Black Canary. Aquaman shows up as well, but he’s excluded from the team since he’s not an actual detective. Or is he? Speaking of Aquaman, he’s given a power upgrade in this movie—he borrows water telepathy from Mera. It works for the scenes he’s included in, but it’s just kind of glossed over in case anybody was wondering where these powers came from.
The basic plot is the Mystery Inc. team is helping the M.A.T.O.G. solve all their unsolved cases. They get to pick one case to start, which happens to be the only case Batman has never solved. There’s even a flashback to Batman’s early days, including the longer ears and purple gloves! Batman does not want to reveal the impact it has made on him, but through some developments he finally comes clean.
The two crime solving crews team up in classic Scooby fashion and explore the halls of Arkham Asylum as well as the Arkham Graveyard (kid spooky!) you get all the Batman villain cameos you want and some funny gags as well—there’s one especially memorable moment involving Bane and Blockbuster. It’s almost eye-rolling until Batman basically says out loud what you’re already thinking.
The storytelling is very kid focused, even more so than Batman: The Brave and The Bold ever was. I don’t think that’s a negative though. You must defer to the world of Scooby-Doo in this situation, and it works well. There’s a part of the movie that may almost seem sacrilegious to the most hardcore of Batman fans. I saw it telegraphed the moment they introduced a certain display case, and the payoff was fun and kind of a “no duh” moment. You’ll know what I mean when you see it!
If you’re a fan of Batman: The Brave and The Bold or Scooby-Doo, please buy this. All involved said they will make more if this is supported. I would love to see some more Batman from B:TBATB in the future—as does the cast and crew who love this character. – Justin Kowalski
Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold is available Tuesday 1/9 on DVD and Digital download!