Review: Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants

Batman fights a Godzilla-sized Killer Croc… in a giant Batman-themed mech suit.

If your head did not just explode from the sheer awesomeness of that idea, then I am sorry, my friend – there is just no help for you. Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants, the third and final film in the Batman Unlimited series, proves that they saved the best for last. The script is tighter and cleverer than in the previous movies, and the action gets literally supersized in Pacific-Rim-style brawls.

After several months in exile in Antarctica, the Penguin (Dana Snyder) convinces his antisocial roommate Mr. Freeze (Oded Fehr) to return them to Gotham in over to take it over. Their plan: break into Arkham Asylum to free Bane (Carlos Alazraqui), Killer Croc (John DiMaggio), Clayface (Dave B. Mitchell) and Chemo, then combine the essences of three of them into a super-growth potion that will make Killer Croc and Chemo into kaiju-sized monsters. In case you’re wondering why they would want to do that, Killer Croc has somehow gained the ability to spew ice, which causes a small ice age to fall over Gotham.

Batman (Roger Craig Smith) immediately takes on these foes alongside his newest Robin Damien (Lucien Dodge), Nightwing (Will Friedle), Green Arrow (Chris Diamantopoulos) and the Flash (Charlie Schlatter). However, things quickly spiral out of control when Penguin betrays Freeze, and causes Clayface and Bane to also grow to gargantuan proportions. So there’s only one thing that the Caped Crusader can do: run back to Wayne Enterprises and get the building-sized, fully-functional battle mech suit that can punch out these giant monsters. Green Arrow has one too.

I may be slightly biased in the favor of Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants, because I happen to think that Pacific Rim is a modern masterpiece. Mecha punching giant monsters makes me happy. What can I say? And there’s definitely a similar vibe to this film, with an emphasis on giant monstrous supervillains being repeatedly punched through buildings by Batman and Green Arrow’s giant mechanical fists. Also, toxic chemicals, snow and lava are spraying everywhere, so it’s not just punching.

It’s also probably the most complicated of the Batman Unlimited movies – in addition to the four kaiju-sized supervillains, there are also two main villains who are planning to betray each other. It’s abundantly clear that Freeze and Penguin aren’t going to be friendly for long, which further complicates a tale that already had plenty of stuff going on. There are some things that are a little zany (a penguin operating lab machinery), but they oddly seem to fit the over-the-top tone of the film.

The voice actors all do pretty good jobs, including Oded Fehr’s turn as the antisocial, perpetually-frustrated Mr. Freeze. The movie also works in a subplot for Damien, who is upset and feeling inadequate because he humiliated himself during a fight with the Joker. He doesn’t really resemble the arrogant brat from the comics… at all… but he is a fairly likable Robin.

And in addition, to the villains who actually do stuff in the movie, there are also some cameos by characters such as Cheetah, Mad Hatter, Hush, Two-Face, and most notably Troy Baker’s Joker, who is there just to be cranky because Penguin isn’t including him in the plan. Admittedly, it would be wonderful to see a kaiju-sized Joker rampaging through Gotham, but it never happens.

Also, there’s a henchpenguin named Buzz, who is hands-down the best character in the movie.

Batman Unlimited: Monsters vs. Mechs gives us exactly what the title suggests – if the thought of Batman piloting a Jaeger-style mech gives you a thrill, then this little animated movie might just be your speed. At the very least, it’s a fun way for the kids to spend an hour or so.

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