Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is a 2003 direct-to-video animated film based on the animated series The New Batman Adventures, serving as a stand-alone sequel to both Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. It was released in the U.S. on October 21, 2003, and was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The film was directed by Curt Geda.
A new heroine has arrived in Gotham whose identity is a mystery—even to Batman. During a patrol, the Dynamic Duo spots her trying to stop one of Penguin's shipments on Gotham's interstate, using a plasma rifle to send the Penguin's truck with its driver off the bridge. Batman and Robin save the driver from falling to his death. Batman must figure out who Batwoman is and stop familiar enemies, the Penguin and Rupert Thorne, from selling illegal weapons to the fictional nation of Kasnia. The two employ Carlton Duquesne, a gangster, to provide protection.
Batwoman's main focus is on illegal activity by the Penguin, Thorne, and Duquesne. Despite taking the Bat symbol as a sign of justice, Batwoman sullies the Bat prefix by taking out criminals with ruthless and dangerous techniques. She seems uninterested in sparing the lives of her adversaries.
Batman, with Robin, sets out to stop the Batwoman from making mistakes as she tries to take out the villains and as he encounters numerous twists, setbacks, and apparent false leads in determining her true identity. The newest gadget on display is a wind glider used by Batwoman that utilizes some of the most advanced technology ever seen in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, also becomes involved with a new lady in his life: Kathy Duquesne, the crime boss's daughter.
In addition to Kathy Duquesne, Bruce is introduced to two other women who, as his investigation into the Batwoman's true identity continues, seem to fall well into suspicion: Dr. Roxanne "Rocky" Ballantine, a new employee of Wayne Tech whose technology development is used by the Batwoman against the Penguin; and Detective Bullock's new partner Sonia Alcana, whose knowledge of the weapons being smuggled by the Penguin and Carlton Dunquesne is much greater than the detective should know. With Carlton Duquesne unable to stop Batwoman's raids on the facilities used to hold the various weapons, the Penguin calls Bane for additional support to ensure that there are no more losses due to the Batwoman.
Not long after Bane arrives in Gotham, it is revealed that there is not one but three Batwomen, all of whom were the women suspected by Batman; Kathy and Sonia met taking art classes at college, and Sonia and Rocky were roommates. They had taken turns to remove suspicion on any one of the three while using Roxanne's technological genius and contempt for the Penguin (who had framed her long-time fiancé Kevin), Kathy's money, and access to several key aspects of her father's organization (Kathy wants to end her father's criminal career as it led to her mother being killed), and Sonia's physical and police skills to ensure that Thorne's operation is thwarted (as the crime lord previously left her family in financial ruin after arsonists who worked for him burned down her parents' shop and were not punished due to the lack of sufficient evidence). Alcana was also saved by Batman nine years prior, the event giving the detective the original inspiration for the costumed identity she now shares with her friends.
In the final confrontation, a ship taking the weapons into international waters for the exchange is destroyed by a bomb planted by Kathy. But not before she is unmasked by Bane. Kathy and Batman narrowly escape the explosion despite the efforts of Bane, who falls into the Gotham River and vanishes. In conclusion, the GCPD are left to assume that Sonia is the only Batwoman after she helps rescue Batman from the ship. Sonia resigns from the police due to the potential problems her presence could cause and decides to leave the city. Batman gives Sonia evidence he discovered which helps clear Rocky's fiancé. Carlton agrees to testify against Thorne and the Penguin after saving Kathy's life during the ship's destruction. After she reconciles with her father, Kathy drives off with Bruce.
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Kimberly Brooks as Kathleen "Kathy" Duquesne
Kelly Ripa as Dr. Roxanne "Rocky" Ballantine
Elisa Gabrielli as Detective Sonia Alcana
Kyra Sedgwick as Batwoman
David Ogden Stiers as the Penguin
Kevin Michael Richardson as Carlton Duquesne
Héctor Elizondo as Bane
Robert Costanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock
Tim Dang as Kevin (uncredited)
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Jim Gordon
Eli Marienthal as Tim Drake / Robin
Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon
John Vernon as Rupert Thorne
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
Cherie performs the single "Betcha Never" in the Iceberg Lounge as herself. This is the only time in the DC animated universe that Paul Williams did not voice the Penguin. This film marked the final performance of John Vernon as Rupert Thorne.
Although most returning characters retain the same designs from The New Batman Adventures era, the character animation is considerably brighter and more lively than from the series. Rupert Thorne was featured in Batman's original show: The Animated Series, but not in The New Batman Adventures. The animators had to create a new appearance for him specifically for this film; he is streamlined and seems to have lost some weight compared to his previous appearance. Carlton Duquesne is a new character introduced at the start of the movie. He is a large, powerfully built African-American man, presumably middle-aged, who apparently has established himself in Gotham City's underworld. Bane is placed next to him in one particular scene and is seen to be even larger and stronger than Duquesne, further adding to his menacing aura in this movie.
Series writers Alan Burnett and Michael Reaves created the script, and Kevin Conroy reprises the voice of Batman. The movie also shows further continuity with previous Bruce Timm-developed Batman shows: Barbara Gordon's relationship with Bruce Wayne (as mentioned in Batman Beyond) is shown coming to an end, and Robin and Batgirl are older than shown in The New Batman Adventures but have not yet been forced to quit in the wake of the events revealed through flashbacks in Return of the Joker.
The US VHS/DVD release of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (October 21, 2003) included the bonus short silent film Chase Me. Chase Me is a 2003 American direct-to-video animated short film based on the animated series The New Batman Adventures. The silent film was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and followed Batman as he chases Catwoman across Gotham City. The chase sequences are accompanied by a soundtrack mix of a quiet piano score and jazz-style score that plays up the chase.
The film was written by Paul Dini & Alan Burnett and was directed by Curt Geda. It was co-produced by Geda, Burnett, Margaret M. Dean, Benjamin Melniker, and prolific Batman-producer Michael Uslan. The score is by Lolita Ritmanis.
Chase Me is also included as part of the main feature on video streaming sites such as Amazon Video.
Main article: Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (soundtrack)
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman received mixed reviews.