At last, the musical episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold has hit American shores, and oh boy, was it worth the wait. Hit it!
"Mayhem of the Music Meister!"
Written by: Michael Jelenic and James Tucker and lots of other people
Tongue-in-cheek musicals seem to be the thing to do these days, and I couldn't be happier. I love the musical form when done right, and the Brave & the Bold crew bring a lot of love-- and a helluva lot of skill-- to the table when it comes to the all-singing, all-dancing episode. It's going to be difficult to review, because no other episode, aside from maybe the Bat-Mite one, has nearly this much awesome per second. Every frame, every note of this is just made of pure win.
The cold open this week is about twelve seconds of the Music Meister warming up the orchestra, before the usual opening theme kicks in. Consider this the overture. From there, we're thrown into a high-stakes super-team-up. Aquaman, Black Canary, and Green Arrow drop in on the nefarious Black Manta, Clock King, and Gorilla Grodd-- and they all start bursting into song. Who's the dastard behind it? Why, the Music Meister (Neil Patrick Harris), of course, who belts out expositional songs while the heroes and villains form a chorus line against their will.
Enter Batman, stage left, from something resembling the Whirlybat. Meanwhile, the Music Meister falls hard for Black Canary (Grey DeLisle), who sings more like a nightingale. Her sonic scream kicks in on the high notes, however, blasting the Meister back. But, oh, snap! West Side Story snapping! So the collected goodies and baddies start dance-fighting at the Dark Knight.
Your brains still working? No? Good.
"Something tells me this is only the beginning of the Music Meister's evil orchestrations," says Batman as he rescues allies and enemies alike from their high-kicking, flame-y fate into the exhaust of a rocket. Meanwhile, the Meister reveals his plan-- through song, of course. He's going to use satellites to put the entire world under his evil musical mind control. As far as evil plans go, it's actually a pretty good one.
Batman bursts in once more, and it's at this point that my brain simply couldn't keep up with the frenetic, fun-netic pace of the episode. Music note Segways on power lines? Batusi and shark-repellant references? Manic, random costume changes from the Meister? Absolutely fantastic. And since WordPress doesn't want to let me embed a Youtube clip, I'm just going to link you to the full "Drives Us Bats" number, which must be witnessed in all its glory. Check out that massive chorus with pretty much every villain and guest hero who's appeared yet! I caught a tiny OMAC singing! My life is complete. And there's still two-thirds of the show to go!
From here, we get a great slow-motion love ballad to the Caped Crusader from Black Canary, with what might be the line of the night: "If only he could love me like he loves fighting villains!" It segues into a duet with the Music Meister as he reveals his unrequited crush on the Canary, contrasting with hers on our man Batman. Then it's time for the ode to deathtraps, with the Meister in punk rock mode and all sorts of crazy killing contraptions. "Was the singing really necessary?" Batman asks Canary upon escaping. You bet your blue undies it was, Bats.
The only way to beat the Music Meister is for Batman to start belting out some notes, having a sing-off with a newly mind-controlled Canary, which leads to some sonic scream microphone feedback that breaks the Meister's control, thanks to the Bat Auto-Tuning Amplifier. And, to wrap things up, Batman spurns Canary's come-hither advances, but Green Arrow pitches in with a song of his own to win the heart of his lady love.
Okay, so I'm just recapping the plot here. What we got, however, was a love letter to the musical form woven together out of pure Broadway bombast. I love this show's dedication to craft, and its complete allegiance to fun at all costs. So what I'm saying is, yeah, I want to buy the soundtrack.
Moral of the Story: If you fight crime and can hold a tune, you can get the woman of your dreams.
Verdict: A glorious tour de force.
- This makes the second musical super-villain Neil Patrick Harris has played. Who do you prefer: Dr. Horrible or the Music Meister?
- Holy crow, Grey DeLisle can sing.
- So Batman doesn't sing, unless you count the bit at the end, which clearly wasn't Diedrich Bader's dulcet tones. I guess nobody's going to top Kevin Conroy's musical number from JLU.
- Anyone catch those bumper stickers? "Metal Men, Atomic Knights." Rock bands or hints at future guest stars?
- "The show's closing early, Music Meister, due to criminal intent! ... And bad reviews."
- The curtain calls at commercial were a cute touch.
- Atlantean Busby Berkeley shot! Magnificent.
- "Put a sock in it!"
- "Actually, I'm more of a baritone."
- This totally needed more singing Aquaman. Other than that, best episode ever? Quite possibly.