by: Matthew J.R. Kohler
Storytelling Meets Quality Fighting
One of the most unique fight scenes are from these two episodes. One of the reasons is that Penguin and Batman never face each other in battle, but instead in a debate. The other pivotal part in the choreography is how many times Batman loses in these episodes, something that doesn’t happen that often. Let’s start with the first fight.
The first fight occurs at the end of part one, when the dynamic duo steps into the lair of the G.O.O.N.S. The highlight is when Batman takes on three goons with an umbrella. First off, I love that they use umbrellas as swords. Absolutely brilliant. Anyway, let’s continue. Although they do the same movements repeatedly, the camera keeps moving around throughout the fight, to also show Robin taking on two fighters. The thing that makes this fight work, like many others in the show, is the variety of action that occurs all at once. While people are being thrown through tables, other people are constantly moving.
The bank heist fight scene is one of my favorite fight scenes in the show. This is one of the few times where two rivals team up to battle the bad guys. This scene is crazy. About ten henchmen are in the room fighting both Penguin and the dynamic duo. In terms of storytelling through fight scenes, it makes sense that Robin is beaten so early in the fight. Assuming that everyone agrees that Batman is better than Robin, it makes sense that two or three henchmen are too much for the Boy Wonder. For Batman, it takes about nine to take him down. The best part about this sequence was the difference between the fake fighting that Penguin does and the “real” fighting that Batman does. In the fight, we see Penguin clearly miss with his strikes against the henchmen, while Batman is actually hitting his opponents. A simple camera trick—changing the angle—is used to distinguish the real from the fake. The fight scenes ends with Batman being brutally beaten by 9 opponents.
The story of this fight scene shows the depths of both Penguin’s corruption and Gotham’s bizarre nature. News teams go into the middle of the brawl; bystanders count how many “knock outs” Batman and Penguin have. Instead of aiding the fight against crime, it is used to entertain the citizens of Gotham.
The final fight was the only part that fell a little flat. It was interesting to watch Penguin do absolutely nothing. But, like all poorly run campaigns, the runner’s resources run paper-thin, and Penguin suffered the same fate at the end. With only a handful of tired men versus the dynamic duo, it was curtains for the Penguin.
Overall, the fight scenes were very engaging and told its own story. Seeing the rise and fall of Penguin’s campaign demonstrates that great fight scenes can be the backbone of a good story.