The movie begins with a truck carrying a shipment of guns being attacked by a vigilante as it enters Gotham City, which should come as no surprise to anyone (least of all, the criminals). The crooks think its Batman, but soon realize that it’s a woman dressed in a similar fashion. Unlike the Dark Knight however, she seems to have no problems with killing her foes. Because of her moniker and costume choice, she’s immediately assumed to be one of Batman’s allies, much to his dismay. Because he doesn’t want to be associated with a reckless vigilante, he goes about uncovering her identity while tangling with crime lords like the Penguin and Rupert Thorne.
The story is well written and interesting, if a bit predictable. The mystery is finding out who the Batwoman is (as the title so subtly suggests), and it’s presented in a way that keeps you thinking and guessing. Three female leads are introduced as potential suspects, and each one is given a motive and a surprisingly fleshed out back-story. To keep it from being too easy, all of the women are given a different voice actor from Batwoman, who is voiced by Kyra Sedgwick. In the end, there’s actually a fun and surprising twist on the idea of a whodunit.
|Her costume is a bit like the Batman Beyond suit.|
Despite the relatively small scale of the story, there’s some good action in this, with the grand finale being the most memorable. Even though he plays a relatively minor role in the scheme of the story, Bane provides Batman with a very epic battle aboard a burning cruise ship. The problem with this mystery being the plot isn’t that it’s a bad plot; it’s that it doesn’t feel like a story that needs a movie to be told. This would have been better suited to an episode or two. The stakes aren’t very high, even with the inclusion of a few of Batman’s super villains. It all comes down to stopping a shipment of guns the Penguin’s trying to sell. Its small scale as far as villainous schemes go, and doesn’t really present the danger or personal threat that a full length film should have. The story isn’t so much about Batman, Robin, or Batgirl (the latter is only in the movie for a few seconds), but instead entirely about this new character.
That said, Mystery of the Batwoman is still an entertaining Batman story that displays the quality that has become a staple of the entire animated Batman mythos. It doesn't match nor even reach for the heights that Return of the Joker and Mask of the Phantasm achieved, but for fans of the animated series, it’s not to be missed.