At a party, the late Adam West & Burt Ward announced that two direct-to-DVD animated films based on their on their iconic 60’s show “Batman” will be out in 2016 & 2017. One of the animated films is called, “Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders.”
Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders was released in digital format on October 2016 and came out on DVD/Blu-Ray a month later. It received positive reception from critics and fans alike. A sequel called, “Batman vs. Two-Face” was released in 2017. This was Adam West’s final performance as Batman.
The upcoming “Joker” film is slated to come out this October. I wanted to share my thoughts on what’s good or bad about the animated follow up to the show, until Joaquin Phoenix’s iteration as Joker is released this October.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Adam West (may he Rest In Peace) & Burt Ward reprise their roles as The Dynamic Duo. They both did an amazing job for their respective voiceover performances.
Julie Newmar reprises her role as Catwoman. She did a good job for her voiceover performance. As of 2019, She’s the only surviving cast member to portray a villain from the show.
Voice Actors such as Jeff Bergman, William Salyers (Rigby from Regular Show) & Wally Wingert provide the voices of Joker, Penguin & Riddler. Wally on the other hand, also voiced Riddler in the “Batman: Arkham” video games.
The Animation is presented in traditional hand drawn format. It brought us back in time to see The Dynamic Duo in a bigger adventure.
Humor retains its campy nature reflecting The Silver Age Of Comics. Cartoon Network’s “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” was inspired by the show’s goofy tone.
Action Sequences are bigger than the show and live action film, adding more fluid to The Dynamic Duo overcoming obstacles in their way including a chase scene & a fight scene bigger than the climatic battle from the original movie.
Thomas Lennon (Lt. Jim Dangle from Reno 911) provides the voice of Chief O’Hara.
The Dynamic Duo’s goofy costumes are retained.
Whenever the heroes punch a bad guy, the words, “POW” or “BAM” are added to resemble a comic book coming to life.
Vehicles like The Batmobile & The Batcopter return once again. You can’t have a bat themed vehicle if you’re gonna make a Batman movie or television series.
The Beatles’ performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” is referenced by The Villains onstage.
“Gotham Palace,” a variety talk show, is based on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The film made an inside joke to Julie Newmar’s replacements Lee Meriwether & Eartha Kitt.
A death trap alludes to the show’s formulaic structure. We all know the bad guys made a stupid decision to leave them for dead. Unaware of their tactics, Batman & Robin managed to escape from peril. Think of it as a wink to longtime fans.
A weapon centering on duplicating, serves as a plot device.
Like the original 1966 film, Catwoman plays a pivotal role.
Batman starts to act like an evil version of Frank Miller’s version of Batman in “The Dark Knight Returns.” I don’t wanna give anything away, you’re gonna have to watch and find out why.
Batman said, “Come on, let’s get nuts!” A nod to Michael Keaton’s line from Tim Burton’s “Batman.”
Remember that dance scene with Batman on the show? He does the exact same dance again during The End Credits. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker will have his own dance scene. Thus, evening the odds with his archenemy.
The opening theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is played in one scene. Stanley Kubrick’s classic yet boring epic space adventure is one of Christopher Nolan’s favorite films.
Opening Credits pays tribute to the opening credits from the show and comic book covers. To put the icing on the cake, the theme song is also back.
A “Mexican Stand-Off” pays homage to “The Dollars Trilogy” & Quentin Tarantino’s films ranging from “Reservoir Dogs” to “The Hateful Eight”
Negative: Dialogue is hokey at times. I’ll give this flaw a pass. Let’s face it, this is a throwback to the show’s cheesy tone alluding to The Silver Age Of Comics. I didn’t mind the hokey dialogue.
Dutch Angles are present in most scenes. The show was mostly shot with Dutch Angles. I dislike these type of shots, unless they work in an uncomfortable manner. The way they used Dutch Angles predates the poor cinematography from “Battlefield Earth.”
The Final Verdict: A-
Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders is a decent throwback to the classic 60’s Batman show. Adam West, Burt Ward & Julie Newmar were terrific reprising their iconic roles, the formulaic structure gave fans a wink to the good ol’ days, animation looked pretty well and a few aspects listed as positive, indicates this is a way better DC film than “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” If it weren’t for the Dutch Angles, I would’ve given Return Of The Caped Crusaders an A FOR APEX! My highest grade. If you’re excited to see the upcoming Joker movie, I highly recommend this animated movie.