Few characters have inspired as many entertaining and visually-inspired fan films as Batman. Over the years the Caped Crusader has starred in several labor of love short films financed and created by longtime admirers of the classic DC Comics superhero including Sandy Collora’s Dead End (which pitted Batman against the Joker – played by the late Andrew Koenig – as well as Aliens and Predators) and World’s Finest (Batman teams with Superman to battle Lex Luthor); Jeffery Scheetz’s CGI-animated New Times (featuring the voices of Adam West and Mark Hamill); and John Fiorella’s Robin-centric Grayson.
The latest, and one of the best, Batman fan film to hit the web is Batman: Death Wish, and like the best short features of the pack this one has an interesting hook. You can watch the 12-minute film here below.
The plot follows Batman (no actor credited) and Robin/Tim Drake (Christopher L. Robinson) as they investigate a series of attacks on Gotham’s criminal underworld that claims a few members of the Dark Knight’s own rogues’ gallery, including the Riddler (Michael T. Coleman) and the Scarecrow (Joey Rassool). Assisting them are Oracle (voice of Bonnie Gordon), Catwoman (Whitney Moore), and Nightwing (Matthew Hiscox, who also directed). Harley Quinn (Rayne Bidder), Batgirl (Jennifer Zhang, who also wrote the script), and Poison Ivy (Ali Williams) all make appearances as well.
Death Wish is tightly-plotted and stylistically accomplished but feels like the first act of a much grander adventure. There are some humorous moments and a decent amount of action, and it even ends on a cliffhanger. Most interesting are the filmmakers’ use of the Batman and Robin costumes that were used in the Joel Schumacher-directed Bat-films, right down to the controversial rubber nipples. But in this case the costumes look right for the characters and the actors’ restrained performances keep the proceedings from descending into camp goofiness. The Scarecrow of this film is clearly modeled on the character’s look from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and Catwoman’s outfit owes a debt to writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke, the creative team behind her 2001 comics revamp.
You can find out more information about Batman: Death Wish, including cast and crew listings and behind-the-scenes photos, at the film’s official website.