Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review: Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode 117: Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!

The problem with Brave and the Bold (particularly in the first season) is that the cold openings are often better than the episodes proper. This episode manages to sidestep this problem by having a crummy cold opening as well. None of the episode is bad, exactly, it's just all subpar. The cold opening has Batman and Wildcat punching Bane a whole lot of times. Well, alright, but where are the jokes? We get Wildcat saying stuff like, "you interrupted me during my workout. I've still got 537 push ups get through." Oh yeah, real great. Wildcat works out a lot. Good stuff. I understand that what the show is trying to do is distill the essence of Wildcat down to its simplest and most ridiculous forms - that is how it creates some of its funniest moments. But is Wildcat's most ludicrous thing really that he... works out a lot? Surely it would be his old age, or his brutal stupidity, or the fact that he is a blatant Batman rip off, pretending to be someone who was around before Batman. But nope, apparently it's the whole... working out... thing. Oh, and Bane, as presented in this show, is just a really boring villain. Apparently he's not some super smart madman with fists of steel, aparently he's just a tedious muscled jerk. Why not make Bane in any way interesting? Because that would require effort, I suppose.

But to the episode proper - what did I think of that? Well, I thought that Booster Gold could have been a really funny character in Brave and the Bold, either as what he pretends to be in the comics (a giant douche), or what he really is in the comics (a guy pretending to be a giant douche so that villains don't suspect that he is any real threat). The show went with the first choice. Not what I would have gone with, but okay, it could still work. Booster Gold as giant douche could be funny. But he just... isn't. He's pathetic, and a little sad, but he isn't funny. There are a few funny moments to do with Booster-as-douche. The flashes of him in the future, showing how he became Booster Gold in the first place work surprisingly well. But most of the time you just feel sorry for him. Booster-as-douche should be a cocky self-assured moron who thinks he's the greatest thing ever, despite all evidence to the contrary. Here, he seems like a guy pretending to be a cocky self-assured moron, because he's nursing a desperately fragile ego, and the constant knocks he receives from an uncaring world don't help him any at all. His stupidity doesn't make you laugh, it just makes you feel bad.

And this sets a sort of pall over the rest of the episode, so that things that would have been funny if the tone of the episode was lighter and sillier just come across as somewhat mean spirited. The show always walks a fine line between parody and loving homage, but here, because the episode fails to put you in a good mood, the loving homage stuff sort of feels like vicious parody stuff, and it's all just a bit of a downer.

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