Review of Batman Ninja

Batmanninja

This animated movie, featuring character designs from the creator of Afro Samurai, sees the Caped Crusader get transported back to Feudal Japan. Rather ironic, given that Batman is pretty much a modern day ninja. Just like a Japanese assassin, the Dark Knight uses stealth and martial arts to subdue his enemies… and they both look cool in black attire too. How did Batman end up in the past you ask? That’s all explained in the opening scene. Gorilla Grodd’s time machine is responsible for Batman’s historical trip and he didn’t go there alone. Catwoman, the Joker, Harley Quinn and various other villains have joined him along for the ride.

OVERVIEW

Batman Ninja’s plot follows Bruce Wayne who is stuck in the past. He has to find a way back to present day Gotham, but before that he needs to defeat numerous rogues who have taken over the land. Poison Ivy, Deathstroke, Two-Face and Penguin reached Japan two years prior to Batman’s arrival and in the interim they have managed to assemble sizable armies. Can the outnumbered DC hero triumph against so many adversaries? Usually I would say yes, but victory is far from assured as this version of Batman is dumber than Adam West’s rendition of the character. On more than one occasion he is outwitted by betrayals that even his young sidekicks can see coming a mile away.

Gullible isn’t a trait most people associate with Batman. The protagonist acts out of character throughout the eighty-five minute running time. He even losses confidence when the Batmobile is destroyed. Batman Begins to question how he can succeed without the aid of modern tech, which makes no sense. This is the guy who can topple the likes of Superman, even with a handicap of possessing no powers. Who cares about a car he can easily afford to replace? Guile and a few Chiropteran shaped boomerangs are the only things Batman usually needs to save the day. The tone of this motion picture isn’t faithful to the source material. It feels more like a low tier anime rather than a traditional Batman tale.

VERDICT

I watched the English language version of the movie and wasn’t too impressed with the voice acting. To be fair though, I think the poor performances were due to cheesy dialogue rather than a lack of talent. If you ask me the script feels like something penned by an amateur fanfic writer who grew up watching eighties action movies. Batman Ninja’s sole saving grace would have to be its visuals. The CG graphics are quite striking, although there are a few scenes were the animation would have benefitted from some more frames. Nothing major, but said moments made it seem like I was watching a 30 FPS video game rather than a movie studio production.

My rating for Batman Ninja is a one out of five. The movie didn’t do anything for me. During my screening I kept looking at my watch and for a brief moment I even fell asleep. Had I not committed myself to writing a review of this flick, for the billions of followers who read this blog, I doubt I would have lasted till the very end. Despite it not being my cup of tea I suspect that there will be an audience for this film. Some viewers will have fun with how “bat shit” crazy it gets. The finale for example features a giant mech fighting a swarm of monkeys. Nuff said. Overall, the action makes for a good trailer. Sadly however there isn’t enough substance here to carry an entire movie.

35 thoughts on “Review of Batman Ninja

  1. Too bad not much outside the animation was that good for you. I saw commercials for this one, and it looked pretty cool. I guess it’s skipworthy though.

    • If you like the trailer feel free to give the movie a watch. Perhaps you will enjoy it more than I did. Everyone has different tastes. IGN for example gave the movie a 9.7/10! The same site gave Your Name a 7/10.

  2. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    I agree that this animated movie was more like a lower frame rate video game; it was like random cutscenes of increasingly crazy things happening.

    Thank you for sharing your review,
    -John Jr

    • The director has previously worked on Mega Man and was the producer of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Given his background that may well explain the video game aesthetics and onscreen craziness.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        Thank you for sharing that, that makes sense and I was wondering why it reminded me of that show, the current season of that show that is playing on Toonami is the worst season of that show that I have seen so far on Toonami.

        -John Jr

    • I thought the trailer looked really cool. Sadly the final product didn’t meet my expectations. This review is just my personal opinion though. You may end up liking the movie much more than I did.

    • Batman is American so it would have felt weird watching this in Japanese. Given the movie’s many faults I doubt that a listening to a different language track would have much affect on my final score.

      • Maybe but the dialogue would have been more accurate. Don’t forget, because the two languages are so different, the English script is re-written to fit the mouth movements, so there is a chance the original translation would be less cheesy! πŸ˜‰

    • Batman and ninjas could theoretically work. The League of Shadows for example dress and fight like ninjas. For me the movie didn’t work because it was too silly. Shame. I think a film based on a classic Batman comic, which uses this art style, would be a hit.

      • You’re right about that. Very good point about The League Of Shadows. I guess the execution of the events didn’t match the aim.

  3. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be that great, but your review really seals the deal for me. I think I’ll still watch it, just because the visuals look amazing, but I won’t have any expectations for it.

  4. Batman in Japan sounds awesome πŸ˜€ Too bad it didn’t live up to it, though πŸ™‚ They could have done something really great with that. πŸ™‚

    Joke looks terrifying in the trailer, btw hehe XD
    Great review πŸ˜€

  5. That’s disappointing to hear. It did seem like an odd concept, but I was open to a more off-the-wall interpretation. And the animation looked like it was going to be high quality. I guess I’ll skip this.

    • My word isn’t gospel. Feel free to check it out. You might enjoy the movie more than I did. I just prefer Batman to be more serious. Even the Brave and the Bold, which has its fans, wasn’t something I loved.

    • If you are are curious and have 85 minutes to kill check it out. On the other hand, if you have a backlog of good stuff to keep you entertained you can safely give this a miss.

  6. I never really thought I’d read about Batman being incompetent, let alone for a film. On paper, batman and ninja sounds like it should work but it sounds as if this movie proved that wrong.

    • I think a Batman story set in feudal Japan has the potential to be excellent. Unfortunately the movie failed to tap into that potential, due to the poor script. I wouldn’t say that Batman is completely useless in this film. He fights well, but my complaint is that he is uncharacteristically gullible.

    • There are zany animated movies that I enjoy. When it comes to Batman though I prefer him to be dark and serious, which is probably why I couldn’t get my head around this film.

      • Figured that would be why. I’m cool with all iterations of the Dark Knight from the Caped Crusader to Batman Beyond. Plus I like nonsense.

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