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Batwoman, E4 review - can Bruce Wayne's female cousin fill his bat-costume? | reviews, news & interviews

Batwoman, E4 review - can Bruce Wayne's female cousin fill his bat-costume?

Batwoman, E4 review - can Bruce Wayne's female cousin fill his bat-costume?

Ruby Rose plays Batwoman, Gotham City's newest saviour

Ruby Rose as Kate Kane, aka Batwoman

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been saturating the globe with its multi-format superheroes, leaving its DC rival looking clumsy and disorganised by comparison.

However, DC’s “Arrowverse” – a roster of TV shows including Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl – is part of its fight-back effort, and now joining its ranks is this new take on the Batwoman character (E4).

Kate Kane and her Batwoman alter ego first appeared in comic form in 1956, but this latest reincarnation leaps into the present with its androgynous-looking lesbian heroine, played by Ruby Rose (familiar from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black). Kane is a cousin of Bruce Wayne, though up to now hasn’t realised that he’s Batman. In fact she has always blamed Batman for failing to save her sister and mother from a fatal road accident, but partway through this opening episode she discovered not only his secret identity, but that he wasn’t at fault after all.

In this portrayal, Batwoman isn’t too far removed from such formidable females as Nikita or Hanna. The opening scenes found her enduring some high-intensity survival training in Siberia with a mysterious guru-like Native American, who left her handcuffed in freezing water under a thick layer of ice just to see how long it took her to break free (not long, surprisingly enough).

Meanwhile, back in Gotham City, we learn that Batman himself skipped town three years earlier, leaving the inhabits perplexed and panicky at losing their local superhero. Now, Gotham is policed by a militaristic private army called Crows, run by Kate’s dad Jacob (Dougray Scott), an ex-military colonel who has recruited a hard-bitten bunch of Navy SEALS and Green Berets to mete out to the local scumbags the merciless treatment they deserve. Our story opened on the night when Gotham’s legendary bat-signal was about to be switched off, marking the final ignominy of the vanished Batman.

But an assault on the city by freaky female villain Alice (Rachel Skarsten) put the Crows on the back foot by kidnapping one of their operatives, Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy, pictured above with Rose). Revelations a-plenty came tumbling down. Not only was Sophie Kate’s girlfriend when they were training at the military academy together, and has now renounced her gay sexuality to conform to the Crows’ illiberal requirements, but it seems that Alice is Kate’s supposedly dead sister, now resurrected as her nemesis from the dark side.

This was too much plot for a single episode, with Kate’s assumption of the Batman mantle also speedily crammed in, so inevitably the narrative felt cluttered and confusing. The action scenes were suitably pacy, though hardly revolutionary, while Dougray Scott does a persuasive line in fascistic authoritarianism. The jury’s still out on Rose’s Batwoman, but she looks capable of springing a few surprises.

Batwoman isn’t far removed from such formidable females as Nikita or Hanna


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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