As someone who was interested in watching the Batwheels animated series basically since it was announced, I have to say that the current special episode didn’t disappoint. I hope this show finds an audience. Also, I need all these characters in toy form ASAP!
I was provided with a free screener of Secret Origin of the Batwheels for review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
The iconic Batman franchise has gone through numerous interpretations. While we have seen certain creatives take a more comedic route with the Caped Crusader, Batwheels offers something unique in the sense that it mashes Batman with Pixar’s Cars. The result is a CG-animated offering that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Batwheels knows what kind of show it is and that works in its favor.
There’s a lot I liked about the half-hour-long special episode, titled ‘Secret Origin of the Batwheels’. One of the positives is that this isn’t another Batman origin story. The Caped Crusader’s well-established in Gotham and with Duke Thomas (AJ Hudson) as Robin and Cassandra Cain (Leah Lewis) as Batgirl, one would assume Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson, and the other predecessors in the BatFamily are somewhere out there, too.
Now, I can see certain Cassandra fans not liking her talkative nature in Batwheels. Then again, you have to understand that this is a kids’ show and I doubt the writers will be diving into her actual unfortunate backstory. So, yes, we have a version of Cassandra who talks a lot. At least, she looks very cool riding her bike. And considering we don’t get to see lots of women driving bikes and doing crazy stunts, I give Batwheels points for that.
As for the premise, after Batman (Ethan Hawke), Cassandra, and Duke got trapped and someone’s adamant about breaking into the BatCave, the BatComputer (Kimberly D. Brooks) decided to install copies of her motherboard into the BatFamily vehicles. This resulted in the vehicles coming to life due to the highly advanced AI BatTech.
Our main lead vehicle is the Batmobile, or Bam (Jacob Bertrand) for short. We also have Robin’s sports car named Redbird (Jordan Reed). Cass’ bike is Bibi (Madigan Kacmar). There’s also a monster truck named Buff (Noah Bentley) and the jetplane is Batwing (Lilimar). The assistant robot who fixes stuff is called Moe (Mick Wingert).
The writers made Bibi and Batwing the “girls” of the team, even though technically all of the automobiles should have been “girls” because of how people tend to refer to vehicles. Anyway, every vehicle has its own special abilities. For example, Redbird has a Stealth Mode.
With the vehicles just coming to life, I liked how the writers showed that they had a lot to learn. They are basically kids at this point. I liked how the team faced defeat during their first battle with the villainous vehicles (also brought to life via the BatComputer motherboards). And they had to rethink their strategy for a rematch. There’s a lesson about teamwork and playing to your strengths.
There’s a lot of comedy involved in every scene. Be ready for a lot of vehicle-related puns. Like a lot. And while I enjoyed the jokes, I think the writers could have done a better job of explaining certain plot points. Hopefully, they will do so as the show continues.
As of right now, I’m a bit confused about why Batman had so many motherboard chips available. I would like to know more about the main villain. Also, from what I could understand, the BatVehicles can continue to have conversations and showcase expressions (all of them have digital eyes and mouths) but to human beings they will continue to appear as regular vehicles? I’m not sure.
Talking about the visuals, everything has a simplistic feel but is yet attractive at the same time. As I have said before, I need all of these characters in toy form. There’s just something about the vehicle and human character designs that I really liked.
And yes, the opening theme song slaps!
Also, if for some reason these vehicles combine into one giant Transformer-like being, I will scream!
I recommend checking out Batwheels if you’re looking for a new take on the Batman franchise. The writing is enjoyable. The character designs are cool. This is also the show for you if you’re into a version of Batman who exudes BatDad energy.
‘Secret Origin of the Batwheels’ is ready to premiere come September 17, 2022, on Cartoonito on HBO Max, laying the groundwork for the full series debut later this fall on Cartoonito on Cartoon Network and HBO Max.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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