On Feb. 13, 2018, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment dropped the English dub trailer for its upcoming film “Batman Ninja.” The anime-style animation has gotten plenty of buzz from fans worldwide already, and seeing the English trailer has gotten us even more hyped to see it! If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, you can do so below before reading further into this analysis.
Before anything else, I think we need to admire this animation. Warner Bros. has adopted anime-esque animation in the past (ex: remember those arguments between “Teen Titans” fans and anime kids in middle school?), but this film is unique because it is unashamedly Japanese. The animation, character designs and even the setting are different than anything we’ve seen so far, and, to be completely honest, I think it’s just the type of refreshing look we need for Batman and his crew.
We’ve all gotten used to seeing the same iterations of the Bat-family in different animated films, series and comics. Subsequently, we have a general idea of what their character will be like before we even look into it. The great thing about this film is that we really have no idea what’s going to happen with each character.
When I say we don’t know what’s going to happen with them, I mean that their character designs are so different from regular cannon that it’s difficult to say they will have the same personality. The bat-boys, for example, look completely different from their modern cannon selves — Tim Drake is blonde for god’s sake. I’m excited to see if these design choices really do indicate something different about personalities, but I will be ecstatic if my boys turn out to be their usual selves.
(Side note: as a Red Hood fangirl, I’m going to be disappointed if Jason’s face isn’t shown at all during the movie. But this throwback is amazing and I can’t wait to see what they do with it!)
Usually, when time travel timelines occur, only a select number of individuals are transported. It’s fascinating to see that such a large number of characters is included in this film — even Alfred made the cut! Not that Alfred isn’t a pivotal character (and also the scariest member of the family), but his presence has mostly been secondary in the DCU as far as I know. It seems like it was very important to have the entire Bat-family together in this film, including Selena, and I’m desperate to know why.
Alright, we all know that Batman is well-known for his gadgets, and he makes do without them when the time calls for it. But what happens when he’s transported hundreds of years into the past and no longer has access to any modern weaponry? He gets some badass, custom-made feudal weaponry apparently. I kind of laughed when I saw the little bat on this kunai. You can take the Bat out of Gotham, but you can’t take the overdramatic tendencies out of Bruce Wayne.
But, seriously, seeing Batman in feudal Japan is going to be epic. His ninjutsu skills fit perfectly with the setting of the movie, and it’s going to be phenomenal to see him in action against the Joker, who is essentially a feudal lord. Batman’s character may have Jewish roots, but to see the character being reclaimed and reborn in a Japanese light is amazing.
Another design that I absolutely adore: Bane as a Sumo wrestler! This design seems incredibly creative on its own, but it also makes me wonder if we are going to see any other forms of martial arts represented in this film.
This scene. THIS SCENE. This is going to haunt me until the DVD release because I need to know what’s going on with Gorilla Grodd. We know that the Bat-fam probably needs him to live so they can get back to modern Gotham, and it looks like they’re helping Grodd escape an explosion even after he was injured. But my gut instinctually questioned if they’re helping him because he’s become an ally to them. Because the official release indicated that the villains in this movie take the role of feudal lords, I think it’s okay to assume that Gorilla Grodd is one of them. And Batman is supposed to help restore order to the land. What better way to do that than form an alliance against the Joker between all the feudal lords?
While we’re on the topic of alliances, I’d like to dicuss Deathstroke’s role in this film. In the split second we see him, he’s looking more badass than ever. I do find some irony in the fact that Slade Wilson, whose preferred weapon is notoriously a sword, is using a gun in feudal Japan. But I digress. Despite being one of the villains, Slade doesn’t appear to be wearing anything to indicate that he is also a feudal lord. Grodd and Joker both sport extravagant clothing that seems to indicate a higher social status. But, though he does exude and extravagance of his own right, Slade appears to be loaded up for work. And if that’s true, we have to question who it is he’s fighting for.
We know that Batman and Deathstroke are enemies, but it’s also important to consider that Slade hates the Joker almost as much as he hates Batman. So, while it’s entirely possible that he will ally himself with the Joker to finally take out Bats, it’s also possible that he will ally himself with Batman just because he’s tired of the Joker’s shit. Slade is a man of opportunity and he looks out for number one. So, if he’s transported hundreds of years into the past against his will and finds out the Joker is heading the feudal daimyo, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went all out to get back to the right time period. In fact, I’m really hoping that’s what’s going to happen…give me that Deathstroke-Batman alliance, DC!
What are your thoughts on the trailer or expectations for the film? Follow me on Twitter and let me know what you think!
“Batman Ninja,” rated PG-13, is available on digital April 24, 2018 and physical release May 8, 2018.