Time is of the essence.
Get those kids into the theater and sell some toys. That’s what the executives at Warner Bros. and DC Comics seem to have instilled as their mantra of late. And you can’t blame them. After their dark cinematic universe failed to do numbers on the big screen and its CW counterpart targets demographics well-beyond toy-buying age, why not pivot to Sunday morning cartoon aesthetic and cutesy irreverence towards their own intellectual properties? Why not take what (I assume) is a popular action figure franchise known as DC Super Hero Girls (launched in 2015) and make an animated television series developed my “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” showrunner Lauren Faust? Stick it on Cartoon Network and watch the cash roll in.
Despite action figures and a web-series of 3-minute long adventures debuting around the same time, the addition of a theatrical lead-in will still bolster potential viewership. Enter #TheLateBatsby: a piece I must imagine plays exactly like those web-shorts, but with an updated look to introduce the one utilized in its jump to TV. Cue Mr. Freeze threatening to wreak havoc on the neighborhood just as Batgirl receives a call from the rest of the “girls” (Wonder Woman, Bumblebee, Supergirl, and Green Lantern) to take him down. Unfortunately for Batgirl, however, her dad hasn’t yet turned in for the night. So she must bide time until she can escape her room and help win a battle that surely already started.
It’s short, sweet, and to the point with a “DC Super Hero Girls” logo flashing onscreen before the end credits roll. The direction is smaller than expected as the action (fighting Mr. Freeze) is tabled in lieu of the mundane happenings and pratfalls Batgirl endures in her desperate attempt to catch up with her team. There are a couple decent laughs as the style skews super young to win fans from Disney’s well-oiled Marvel machine, but it can’t help feeling incomplete as a standalone entity. We’re thrown into a scenario under false pretenses, endure a side quest, and get denied access to the big show. It’s the definition of a marketing ploy tease. With a hashtagged title, nobody should be surprised.