Batman: The Animated Series aired from 1992 to 1995. The series found its way into HBO Max’s DC hub, allowing for a nostalgic viewership revival. Batman: TAS was praised at the time for its tone and writing, which was darker and more mature than other superhero cartoons aimed at children. The show’s themes were more complex than other cartoons, which when revisited as an adult, a viewer can appreciate the harsh realities that may have been touched upon in childhood.
The complexity of these themes ranges from revenge, a central theme of many episodes, to gentrification and even likable villains. These themes are covered by the film noir aesthetic and the show’s dialogue,
ten Relationships: Quick Fall
This is the first time that Bruce Wayne meets Selina Kyle, he quickly falls in love with her. And while Selina doesn’t show much interest in Bruce as Catwoman, she is deeply in love with Batman when they first meet in their respective costumes. However, despite their romance (although spanning two episodes, “The Cat and the Claw: Part 1” and “Part 2”), the two haven’t known each other for long.
The reality of falling head over heels in love with someone in a matter of days is pretty slim. Although it can happen, there is a greater chance that the relationship will crumble and burn, not because one in the couple is a jewelry thief and the other is a vigilante.
9 Police Incompetence: Why Batman Is Needed
Throughout the series, Batman overpowers the police in many situations. For example, in “Appointment in Crime Alley”, as the police gather to deal with a hostage situation, Batman appears and quickly obtains information about the crime scene without the officer knowing he was there. acts of Batman. And when Batman decides it’s time to intervene, the officer finally turns around as if to denounce this bystander, but because it’s Batman, he allows him to pass.
The Gotham police best assist Batman or come and arrest the criminals in the end. The worst is when Batman offers a criminal to the police in his office or somewhere near an unsuspecting officer.
8 Corporate Greed: The Making of Many Villains
Without corporate greed in Batman: TAS, many villains, wouldn’t have the perfect motivation to become villains. An example of this is the origin of Mr. Freeze. In the episode “Heart of Ice”, Victor Fries was once a GothCorp scientist attempting to freeze his wife to cryogenically save her life. Once Boyle discovers this, he calls in security to shut down the experiment and fire Fries, resulting in the creation of Mr. Freeze.
This is one of the frequently recurring themes in BTA. The reality of the devastation wrought by corporate greed is magnified by the effects of the villainous Batman. It transforms them from their old human selves into something sinister and deadly.
seven Revenge: a frequently ordered dish
Revenge is another important theme in BTA. As mentioned briefly before, this is the primary driving force behind the Batman villain. It can be heartbreaking, like with Mr. Freeze, or exceptionally mean-spirited, like with the Clock King. Whatever the reason behind it, it cracks a person up when they feel there is an insult towards them or their passions.
Revenge makes the would-be villain feel vindicated in their choice to go after the corporation or the welder of money and power. Moreover, it gives them the idea that they are doing justice, like Batman, because of the offense that has been committed.
6 Friendly Villains: Some Villains Aren’t That Bad
There are plenty of bad guys in BTA who start out as likable characters when first introduced. Mr. Freeze is one, as well as Clayface, to some extent. Even regular Gotham crooks, like mobster, Arnold Stromwell, have stories that lead viewers to view them as more misguided than downright evil.
Stromwell is the perfect example of a likeable villain. In his A Christmas Carol– like a moment, Batman takes him to see that his son is addicted to the same drugs he peddled. Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t work in Batman’s favor, as Stromwell still tries to escape in another assassination attempt. He makes a comeback when confronted by his brother.
5 Gentrification: under the guise of development
The storyline for the episode “Meet in Crime Alley” features a plot by Roland Daggett to destroy the Crime Alley neighborhood in order to acquire the land for development. After being turned down by the zoning board due to protests from Crime Alley residents. A feature in the episode tells the story of how once wealthy Park Row became the criminal “slum”, Crime Alley.
Daggett’s slum clearance plan to blow up buildings felt like a gas explosion because of the dilapidated infrastructure. While this is an extreme plan to “revitalize” a neighborhood, it speaks to the aggressive way many developers have dealt with residents at different times in history.
4 Fear of failure: even Batman fears failure
In the episode “Nothing to Fear”, the Scarecrow fires a fear toxin dart into Batman’s neck. There’s a hint of Bruce/Batman scare earlier in the episode as Bruce rides an elevator with Dr. Long at a Gotham University event. As Dr. Long exits the elevator, he jokes that Bruce’s father would find Bruce a disgrace to the surname.
Even as Batman, Bruce feels the weight of his fear of his father’s condemnation of his choices. It’s a complex idea to have a superhero, defender of justice, who also fears the advice of a beloved parent. Wondering if his dad would have praised Bruce for his choices so far.
3 The Cost of Fame: Matt Hagen’s Sin of Vanity
In the episode “Feat of Clay: Part 1”, actor Matt Hagen’s origin story of how he became the villain known as Clayface unfolded. Prior to the episode, Matt was in an accident which left his face mutilated and hampered his acting career. Arrives Roland Daggett with a miracle cream like a plastic surgeon in a can. With the luck of not having to undergo many surgeries, Matt does side jobs for Daggett.
Once Daggett sensed that Hagen was just another loose end, he called in his accomplices to handle the situation, eventually turning Hagen into Clayface. It’s because of movie star vanity and societal pressures to be at a certain level of attractiveness.
2 Psychological trauma: the story of Harvey Dent
Two-Face’s origin in its two-part episode focuses on Harvey Dent’s psychological trauma. As a child, Dent was bullied by another boy. After reaching his boiling point, Dent punched his bully, taking a stand against the other kid. It wasn’t until Dent later learned that the boy was in hospital that he felt an extreme sense of guilt.
Due to Dent’s fear of his rage, he suppressed his anger to create “Big Bad Harvey”. This is a point that most kids might have overlooked when they first watched the show. While it’s easy to empathize with the character of Dent, this episode is also a great example for explaining to children that they have to accept their emotions.
1 Guilt: another popular theme
A character’s guilt is spread throughout the series in one way or another. For example, in “Two-Face: Part 2”, Batman is riddled with guilt after Harvey Dent’s accident. He blames himself for not being able to save Harvey, as shown in his dream. In this dream, he also sees his parents, who wonder why he couldn’t save them.
Batman’s guilt leads him to believe he can return Dent to normal. Unfortunately, his guilt, offset by a sense of hope for a better future, can sometimes get in the way. But it reminds the viewer that we all feel these wide ranges of emotions and has the same flaws.
Next: 10 Best Batman TAS Episodes That Don’t Have A Happy Ending