Holy Classic Crossover Batman! The Mystery Inc. teams up one more time with none other than The Dark Knight in Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and The Bold. The following review is spoiler-free, so jump in and get excited about DC’s latest direct-to-DVD animated movie.
The movie begins when Batman recruits the Mystery Inc. gang to join the Mystery Analysts of Gotham. As the Mystery Inc. took the lead to solve a new case, a new villain presented itself: The Crimson Cloak! Through mysteries and misadventures, they soon find that The Crimson Cloak may be related to one single case that Batman was not able to solve a long time ago…
For both Batman: The Brave and The Bold and Scooby-Doo!, guest-stars and team-ups are often familiar and the heart of both shows. However, this 75-minutes movie is a real treat especially for fans of Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series which ended in late 2011. The series was well-known for its light-hearted take of the Caped Crusader (yet terribly under-appreciated) which celebrated all the best aspects of his Golden Age and Silver Age stories. It goes incredibly well with everything we love about Scooby-Doo!, especially when you let the nostalgia run wild as you watch. The right kind of humor is what runs the entire movie: mostly witty, sometimes mean, and even overtly poking fun at its own tropes (on both teams). This is what made Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series very unique and it feels fulfilling to watch for a fan who have been deprived of the series for about six years.
Alongside Batman (Diedrich Bader), we get to see familiar heroes in the Mystery Analysts of Gotham: Black Canary (Grey Griffin, also the voice of Daphne Blake), The Question (Jeffrey Combs), Martian Manhunter (Nicholas Guest), Detective Chimp (Kevin Michael Richardson), and Plastic Man (Tom Kenny). A special shout-out is due for the outrageous Aquaman (John DiMaggio) who is undeniably the highlight of the movie, just as he was in pretty much all of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold episodes he starred in. While in the movie his mystery-solving competency was initially doubted, he became an important key character who contributes significantly to the teams. Aside from these heroes, we also get to see a lot of obscure Batman villains whom you have probably only ever seen in the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series.
The Mystery Inc. gang was very delightful to watch. This version of Fred Jones (Frank Welker, also the voice of Scooby-Doo), Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley (Kate Micucci), Shaggy Rogers (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo is both classic and fresh at the same time. It’s classic because it does and addresses all the bits from our usual Scooby-Doo story template, especially Shaggy and Scooby being obsessed with food and acting as the default baits for the bad guys while the rest of the team set up the trap. It’s fresh because we’re seeing Mystery Inc. help in a case that even The Greatest Detective just can’t solve alone. Of course, this isn’t the first time we see them teaming up with Batman. There were two episodes from The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972) which featured Batman and Robin, titled The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair and The Caped Crusader Caper. However, the story made it fun to see how Mystery Inc.’s and Batman’s different crime-solving strategies can actually complement each other. While Shaggy and Scooby are used to instinctively run from the bad guys or putting up unconvincing acts to distract them (which weirdly always work, please keep an eye out for this one), Batman is used to fighting them upfront. There are great moments where it’s emphasized that Scooby is, indeed, a dog, which can be both very useful and very dangerous depending on the situation.
One thing from that you may possibly dislike is the fact that, for a mystery-solver team-up movie, the plot is not particularly engaging. If you know your Batman and Scooby-Doo, you should have just about enough clues to figure out the culprit before the movie ends. Of course, it’s not like the movie has the burden to put up a Sherlock Holmes mystery, so it shouldn’t bother you much. The plot does not drive much of the movie, but the character dynamics make up for that very sufficiently.
In overall, Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and The Bold brings the best of both worlds together. With fan-favorite moments and Golden Age goodness, this movie earns an 8.5/10 from me. Get your copy now, available on DVD and digital on-demand platforms!