Being a huge 'Scooby Doo' fan for goodness knows how long, any new show, special or film would be watched with great anticipation. While 'Scooby Doo Where Are You' is still the jewel of the crown of the franchise, a vast majority of the 'Scooby Doo' films have a huge amount to like and are worth watching at least once.
'Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold' is not one of the best 'Scooby Doo' films. Not like 'Zombie Island', 'Witch's Ghost', 'Big Top', 'Goblin King' (am aware that this is not going to be a popular opinion) and 'Mask of the Blue Falcon', though find a lot to like about almost all the animated 'Scooby Doo' films (one of few exceptions being 'Monster of Mexico'. It is though one of the most interesting outings, and serves as a mostly successful and fun crossover of Scooby Doo and the Batman heroes and villains. Already knew that Scooby and the gang worked well with Batman and Robin, having featured together in two episodes of 'The New Scooby Doo Movies' (two of the better episodes of that show too), so was psyched.
There are flaws with 'Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold'. There is a lot going on, and sometimes it feels like there's too much and with an over-crowded feel. Maybe there could have been less characters as well, a vast majority of them are done very well indeed but some are less engaging and necessary (Martian Mindhunter being a prime example).
Also thought for my tastes that the ending was rather rushed and was not as surprising as it had potential to be, a little too suspectable too early.
However, 'Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold' is a 'Scooby Doo' outing of many pleasures. The crossover aspect is handled very well, with a likeable hero in Batman, equally well done characters like The Question and Aquaman (in an interesting, if slightly goofy, slant to his character) and enormously fun villains such as Joker and Penguin.
Mystery Incorporated are as enjoyable as ever. Shaggy and Scooby never fail to bring a smile to my face and their friendship is so charming and entertaining, a large part of 'Scooby Doo's' success in the first part. Velma, who tended to have a lot of annoying moments post-Sander/Schwartz era, isn't annoying here. Fred is fun and a confident leader, never ridiculous, and Daphne is not as bland as she sometimes can be.
The animation is great. Everything is beautifully drawn and meticulously detailed, with rich, atmospheric colours and a lot of care and time clearly went into how the characters were drawn and move. The music is both dynamic and groovy, with a lot of energy and a haunting undercurrent.
Writing is smart and clever, as well as very funny. There are some endearingly goofy jokes (in classic 'Scooby Doo' fashion, while also feeling current), witty digs and inspired references to previous 'Batman' incarnations that evoke a lot of nostalgia. Much of the story is really good and diverting, sometimes creepy and often quirky with an engaging mystery that isn't lost too much amongst the crossover aspect.
Voice acting is spot on, Frank Welker has still got it, being the only voice actor to still be around yet was there from the very beginning and Matthew Lillard once again proves himself to be a worthy successor to Casey Kasem. Diedrich Bader, Tom Kenny, Jeff Bennett and Jeffrey Coombs stand out of The Brave and the Bold characters.
Overall, good solid fun with a lot of interesting elements but not Scooby at his best. 7/10 Bethany Cox