Batman does not kill. Period. It’s what sets him apart from the people he arrests and other vigilantes who do take an eye for an eye in order to take down hard criminals. The Batwoman in the title is such a vigilante and the mystery is her identity which means Batman goes Scooby Doo and has to revert back to his more detective persona which he originally started out as.
This direct to video is based upon the “The New Batman Adventures” thus features Tim Drake as Robin and Batgirl in a cameo. Probably because her presence would ruin the dynamic of the Batwoman and Batman, and the women who could be hiding behind her mask.
The majority of the movie revolves around Batman trying to find out who Batwoman is. The media link her to Batman of course, an extra reason for him to find out who’s behind her mask. There are three possible suspects, though they are not presented as suspects we immediately view them so anyway as they are simply introduced in this movie for the first time. One is the daughter of a crime boss who hates her father’s occupation, the second an engineer at Wayne Corp. and the third a police officer. Besides that, Catwoman was completely ruled out at the beginning in a piece of dialogue so guessing her to be behind the mask is a no-go.
Since Batwoman is kind of on Batman’s side there are some bad guys to be put in the movie as well. From Batman’s villain gallery there are Penguin and Bane, as well as Rupert Thorne and a limitless supply of henchmen. All the villains here are here to present a target for Batwoman and to be quite honest, it’s that she’s having a vendetta against them because other than fabricating some weapons they don’t seem to be up to any special schemes. Certainly not a scheme Batman would have trouble uncovering.
The whole Mystery Of The Batwoman plot line is a bit lame. It’s not the first time in the animated universe Batman is pitted against a ruthless vigilante. The Phantasm from Mask Of The Phantasm served a similar function. It’s a bit of a shame that when making a feature length movie the writers hardly seem to be able to come up with something else than a who’s-behind-the-mask-of-the-new-vigilante plot. Mr Freeze’s plot in Sub Zero might have been a bit tiresome, this is just getting lazy.
It’s not all bad though. As I’ve come to expect from the animated Batman movies the animation is decent and the story moves along at a brisk pace. There are some nice touches in the script and the fact that Batman actually has to do some detective work is a nice departure from the man who sometimes just seems to be everywhere a crime is happening. But there’s nothing special here; no epic feel and like Subzero this just feels like 2 or 3 regular episodes stitched together.