I don’t think I’ve been so intrigued by the aspect of a Batman cartoon movie so much. I mean, these movies are everywhere that it is truly beginning to become old news – that is, until you randomly throw the 1966 Adam West version of Batman into the mix. If you’ve never seen the old TV show or at least the movie that ended the series, you need to. I rated that 60’s movie pretty highly because it is so bad that it is great. I’ve never been able to determine if they do that on purpose, or if in the 60s, that was typical and dare I say it – serious stuff. Whatever the case, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders definitely knows how silly it is, and it revels from that fact. Let’s get into it.
In Adam West and Burt Ward’s triumphant return as Batman and Robin, they have to face all of their dastardly foes including The Joker, Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman (also voiced by the original Julie Newmar). This, of course, is to be expected. If you’re making these geezers return to voice their characters, you can’t just let them do it without all of the villains. What do the villains want to do? Well to make Batman…Badman. They want to change the good things about him and turn those around. Only, they know not of what that means in the long run.
I’ll first tell you what works about this film as well as what doesn’t. First of all, Adam West and Burt Ward voicing these characters is a true blast from the past. Twenty years before I was born, they graced the screen in roles that are basically completely foreign to how we know them today – but they were comedic gold. Hearing their voices again brings me back to a time before I was even born, and I don’t mind it at all. Furthermore, they made sure to include lots of references to what made the original so great – even by today’s standards. Their ridiculous and unfounded powers of deducement, the ka-pow and blam-o action shots, the holy macaroni statements by Robin, the not-so-subtle hints at Bruce and Dick’s “secret life”, and honestly quite a bit more. They stuck the landing on a lot of good – but miss out on other things.
I’d have to say that one pertinent thing that makes the original show great is precisely the fact that it’s not a cartoon – but rather a live action presentation in the 60’s, before they had practically any technological advances and had to massively rely on humor including practical and cheesy effects – something this cartoon couldn’t do because they had the benefit of being a cartoon. At the same time, I get it, they couldn’t play themselves in a live action presentation anymore given their age…but at the same time, if they did, it would most likely be pure gold. Old geezers chasing each other through the park? Come on. It would be a legend. Another possible negative element this film holds is its episodic structure – I would say that even though there was an absence of credits rolling and it was strung together just fine, I’d say it felt like maybe two episodes put together, and I lost a bit of focus somewhere in the middle. The old show was pretty simple and straightforward on how they did things – but that’s not really a huge disappointment to me either.
Honestly, this isn’t really a movie to miss. It has all the nostalgia you can logically ask for with Adam West and Burt Ward returning to their iconic roles. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s pretty cool to watch. Check it out!