Film Review: Batman Subzero
Release: March 17th 1998
Genre: Action, adventure, drama
Directed by: Boyd Kirkland
Cast: Kevin Conray, Michael Ansara, Loren Lester
This is it, you know. This is the very pinnacle of mature animated cinema, I completely mean that. Upon finishing up this delight, I was more than inclined to believe that there is actual hope for humanity. That we’re not all dumb husks walking aimlessly in a world without objective. Batman Subzero is one of the finest comic book based films of all time and you’re damned if you’ve missed out. It rivals Burton and Nolan and delivers one of the darkest, lightest and most emotional polar-dimensions of all time. I am dead serious, this is one of the best Batman films I have ever seen, it’s perhaps even higher (in my list) than Batman Returns. It’s certainly higher than Batman Begins.
Subzero tells a harrowing tale of Batman facing down one of his most bitter enemies. The feature really focuses on the villainous being, Mr Freeze, and draws him into an emotional and heartbreaking light. Robin and Batgirl are getting it on and Bruce is sort of wandering around like Sherlock Holmes without a case to solve or a PSP. It’s a very heartwarming tale, perhaps the most emotionally engaging of the Batman films. Although, I have yet to see the Red Hood (OMG U NOT A BATNERD!!11) so who knows. I’m pretty sure this is the closest I’ve come to crying at the character’s journey through life.
The voice cast is the same, except from the obvious lack of Mark Hamill and the arrival of Michael Ansara. The entire cast, as usual, are some of the finest talent to ever exist. To me Michael Keaton is the face of Bats, Kevin Conray is the voice (skipping Christian Bale on that one) and the suit is… well it depends on which context. I like all the suits, except the ones from Batman Forever and the Robin one. They had bat-nipples. Bat-nipples. Nipples. I think that perhaps the animated features walk the fine line between maturity and kid-friendly animation. All good stuff really, they hold some of my favourite stories for the caped crusader.
The good news is, the film excels at everything. Characterisation is playing centre-field here and the full film is just a massively well written masterpiece. If you’ve never heard of Batman, there is nothing intrusive or barriers to get in the way of your enjoyment. There are massive moments of emotional outpouring, which is rather subjective on how you react to it, because most of it isn’t even towards Batman. Mr Freeze is perhaps the most human of all the Batman villains, at least he is depicted more human in this feature. The ending is haunting, heart-warming and a nice soothing coffee after a full bottle of caffeine. Still on the edgy side.
I don’t think there’s anything really bad to say about the film, it’s a masterpiece. End of. The scenes of Robin and Batgirl are perhaps overblown, and some of the supporting characters could do with more backstory. I generally just can’t think of any solid complaints, just nitpicks around one of the greatest Batman tales ever told. I’ve been having my doubts about The Dark Knight for a while ago, the film I mean, and perhaps Batman Subzero is as fine or rivals the original Batman flick. Then again, I hate all of humanity, so my opinion is very reserved.
Nath’s final say: Watch this if you have eyes.