Back in 2012, a couple of guys filmed a fan made short film called Nightwing vs. Red Hood where the former sidekicks beat the unholy hell out of each other. As far as fan made superhero films with virtually NO budget go, it was a pretty well executed effort met viral success on the internet. Eventually, the idea arose for them to delve a little further into the Bat universe. So, with the help of the crowdfunding titan, Kickstarter, they turned to the fans for help. After meeting and surpassing their goal, the result is Nightwing: The Series.
The first eight minute episode of the five part miniseries, which debuted this week, is mostly a winner. Through small easter eggs, costume designs and references, the show pays more than its share of tribute to The Dark Knight Trilogy and the Arkham game series. But if you listen to its music and overall aesthetic, its approach also seems to take several cues from the television series, Arrow (which takes several cues from Batman Begins). Essentially, it throws us right into Dick Grayson’s fully established days as his own superhero outside of Batman’s umbrella. We’re given all the backstory on the former Robin we’re probably going to need through fairly decent original artwork in the title credits. The opener is unapologetically light on story and character development but plentiful in the ass kickery department. Our villain, Deathstroke makes his presence known in a decapitating, gun kata grandstanding, Turn Down For What fashion that would make his Arrow counterpart, played by Manu Bennett, proud.
Nightwing’s introduction is a bit less action packed but let you know what kind of hero he is: a man far more lighthearted than his mentor with his first chance to stretch his legs. All in all, being fan-made might be an automatic grounds for cringing with some fans, but those fans would really be doing themselves a disservice by dismissing Nightwing immediately. In the era of Kickstarter, there’s really very little to distance well-oiled projects like this from mainstream approved shitshows like Gotham is quickly shaping up to be. The average web cruiser spends eight minutes of YouTube time on much more frivolous endeavors. Give it a shot. Let us know how you feel about it. Unless you’re a troll…then don’t.
Bottom Line: Not as awesome as Batman Begins. Not as sloppy as Grayson (2004). It’s impressive enough that it’s (probably more than) worth eight minutes of your time. 7.5 out of 10