THIS POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS :
Although it was 5 years after the series ended and WB was currently working on Justice League, this animated movie is a welcome addition to the video library. Why? Well, if Mask of the Phantasm compliments the first 70 episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and SubZero compliments the 15 episodes of the Adventures of Batman and Robin, then Mystery of the Batwoman compliments the final 24 episodes of the Gotham Knights version of Batman. Kevin Conroy once again delivers a voice over performance that is nothing short of excellence and perfection. I admit I was a bit leery when I heard about Batwoman and all I could think about were the old 50's comics of Batman. But I was blown away by the Batwoman character, her look, her costume (which I assumed inspired Bruce Wayne to create the costume on Batman Beyond)and the fact that this movie keeps you guessing who Batwoman is all the way through. If you want to know who Batwoman is, then buy or rent the DVD. Barbara Gordon makes a cameo appearance and I think the writers were trying to hint that Bruce and Barbara had something going on between them like they did in Batman Beyond. Tim Drake appears as Robin, but his role is a small one and sadly, there is no sign of or mention of Dick Grayson alias Nightwing, which leads me to believe he has established himself in Bludhaven (his city in the comics).
Of the three suspects for Batwoman, my favorite is Kathy Duquesne, who looks an awful lot like Halle Berry. Kelly Ripa did a great job as one of the other suspects. When it comes to the villains, I'm glad the Penguin was one of them, but I did not like the fact that they replaced Paul Williams with David Ogden Stiers. Pengy just didn't sound right. Same thing goes for Robin. The new guy did okay, but just as I was starting to get used to Matt Valencia, they replaced him. It's interesting to note that Kevin Michael Richardson, who voices Carlton Duquesne is now the voice of the Joker in "The Batman" series. And we finally see what Rupert Thorne looks like revamped since he didn't show up in the Gotham Knights episodes. The late John Vernon will be missed. Although I enjoyed Henry Silva as the voice of Bane, if he had to be replaced, they got the right man in the form of Hector Elizondo. I only wish they could have used Two Face, Riddler, or the scary new version of the Scarecrow.
The musical score and especially the soft sounding intro were superb. I wish that was on a soundtrack and I especially enjoyed the beautiful and talented Cherie in the Iceberg Lounge along with her song, Betcha Neva. While some feel that this movie is weaker than the Mask of the Phantasm and Subzero, I find it just as strong and enjoyable as the rest, plus like I said earlier, it's a full length movie based off the Gotham Knights version of Batman, which I think gives a good balance. I would at least recommend renting this DVD first before buying it for those who might be leery of this movie, but personally, it's well worth the purchase. I give Mystery of the Batwoman a 9.
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