DVD Review: Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants

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For a series of films based on a Mattel action figure line, Batman Unlimited is more fun that it probably has any right to be. Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment are cranking out these flicks at a brisk pace. The third, Mechs vs Mutants, is now available on DVD and it's the third Batman Unlimited since May, 2015 (when Animal Instincts debuted). Both that film and it's follow-up, Monster Mayhem, were granted Blu-ray Combo Pack releases. The downgrade to standard-definition-only for the latest installment will no doubt come as a disappointment to many Bat-fans, but the film itself is on par with its lighthearted predecessors.

As the B-list series in Batman animated films, make no mistake: this one is geared towards kids. That doesn't mean there's nothing here for "big kids" (i.e. grownups), just know going in that this isn't The Killing Joke or Batman: Year One, etc. The story in Mechs vs Mutants is pretty simple, with the title more or less explaining things. Mr. Freeze (voiced by Oded Fehr) wants to transform Gotham City into an Arctic tundra so he can function without his suit. He teams with The Penguin (Dana Snyder) for a massive jailbreak at Arkham Asylum that frees Killer Croc, Bane, Clayface, and Chemo. Utilizing DNA from each supervillain, Freeze cooks up a mutant serum that turns these baddies even worse.

Meanwhile, Batman (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) is aided by his son Damien (Lucien Dodge) as Robin, and some of Gotham's finest. Green Arrow and Flash are among those pitching in to defeat Mr. Freeze, Penguin, and the rest. Lucky for them, they have gigantic, Pacific Rim-style robotic "mechs" they can hop into and give the super-sized villains a run for their money. Plenty of action ensues as the all-star villain team fights the all-star heroes team. Again, it's silly and kid-friendly, but still fun for older comic book fans looking for 75 minutes of escapism.
rsz_batman_unlimited_mechs_vs_mutants.jpgAgain, sadly the series has been downgraded to standard DVD, which means no lossless audio either. But the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix is pretty punchy, at least. In terms of bonus material, there's an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold ("Night of the Batmen") from the vault. But just as we lose hi-def presentation, there's none of the new bonus material that accompanied both Animal Instincts and Monster Mayhem. Could sales for those two 2015 feature films have been that weak? Even the animation for Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs Mutants feels just a little more workmanlike. Kids won't be disappointed though—they'll have a blast playing with their Batman Unlimited toys while watching this one too.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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