Holy crazy flashback Batman! Those holy catchphrases that Robin (Burt Ward) are iconic and ridiculous both at the same time. However you and I both know that we love it, all 356 of them from the classic television series. Fast Forward 50 years and for some strange reason they’re still fun to hear, even if some of them are just plain dumb. That’s just part of what we get from Batman ’66 and in Warner Bros Animation’s new film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader we get all the campiness and even some of the original voices from the TV show to bring that nostalgia back.
Keep in mind however, that this movie is not to be taken seriously. Just like the television series and even the Batman ’66 comics, the whole purpose is to play up the camp that we all know. This film does just that. Even in midst of the excitement of being able to experience Batman as I did as a kid, watching reruns of the show, there was a slight case of awkwardness that stuck with me throughout the film. Now it wasn’t a deal breaker by any means, and the movie was still great, but it is obvious that Adam West and Burt Ward are no spring chickens and that is echoed in their voices as they reprise their roles of the Caped Crusader and his sidekick.
The story was however an interesting one because the movie starts out like the classic TV show did, but to a degree felt rushed within the first ten minutes. I’m not even kidding, literally ten minutes in and Batman and Robin are in a death trap that seems so outrageous that it’s even a trap at all but yet the dynamic duo are facing imminent doom. Of course our heroes make it out alive and the movie continues, but it takes an awkward turn. The premise of the story is that Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman have stolen a ray gun that can duplicate anything. Just the perfect weapon for any dastardly criminal. Batman and Robin must act quickly to find the ray gun and get it back before they wreak havoc on the city. Now this is where the awkward turn takes place, and if you don’t want to spoil it just yet, I suggest you bookmark the review now, watch it and then come back.
Now that I’ve warned you, there’s no turning back. During the first trap, Batman is poisoned by a potion provided from Catwoman that turns Batman into what he would fear most. A Villain. But it takes an interesting approach than how we would normally see Batman be. Just a few examples: He fires Alfred because Aunt Harriet wanders into the study and sees the red bat-phone. Bruce is a complete asshat to Aunt Harriet, regardless of how gullible she may be, and Batman is much more violent to the criminals in one particular fight. I will admit, that it was fun to see batman in this light, and even during the scene you get to hear some relatively famous quotes from other Batman movies and comics. The trick is can you spot them.
Batman ends up taking the ray gun back, and keeps it for himself and begins to use it to duplicate himself over and over and over again. Imagine that a city full of Batmen all controlled by Batman himself. I told you, it’s an interesting twist in what we’re used to from Batman ’66. At the end of the day Robin and Catwoman team up to take on the Caped Crusader by freeing other villains from Gotham State Penitentiary, I know it’s not Arkham Asylum, but in the tv show, there was no Arkham so you’ll just have to let that one go. Here we get to see some classic villains such as The Bookworm, The Clock King, King Tut, Mr. Freeze, and one of my favorites Egghead. They did a great job capturing these classic and rather ridiculous characters to create an epic fight scene against an army of cloned Batmen. Oh did I mention the action words that pop up? There are plenty of those to go around, and I think that you will be sufficiently entertained by them. Needless to say at the end of the day, Batman is brought back from the delusion that he was having from Catwoman’s poison and saves Gotham City once again. I will however not spoil how that happens, because I want you to enjoy it for yourself.
All in all this movie was overall entertaining in capturing the essence of the classic tv show with the animation and the characters being spot on. I still got held up on the voices because you could easily tell that Adam West and Burt Ward were older (duh). Julie Newmar (Catwoman) on the other hand even at her age which we won’t bring up because remember Old Chum, it’s not polite to talk about a woman’s age, did a fantastic job bringing Catwoman back with the sass that she always had. Is this a movie I would recommend to everyone? absolutely. Is it a movie that’s great for kids? Your darn right it is, even with the innuendos that they put in that kids will miss but adults will giggle at. The one thing I appreciated the most about the movie and the story and not only did they do a good job recreating the tv show, but they brought a new and original story for a new generation of crime fighters. I know that there has been slated a sequel to this movie, and I know in the most recent episode of The Definitive Crusade I am heard saying that I think it was premature for Warner Bros. to announce a sequel this early, however after having watched this, I am excited for the sequel and see the Dynamic Duo battle against Gotham’s most dastardly criminals. Just remember if there’s anything from the show that you must remember going into this movie, it’s the most important line in all of cinema, “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.” The movie is entertaining and one that to be honest all Batman fans should have in their library.
Director: Rick Morales
Writers: Michael Jelenic, James Tucker, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, William Dozier
Stars: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar