Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Adam West and Burt Ward have donned the tights again in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader, an animated sequel celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Batman television series which serves as a wonderful gift to fans who grew up watching this corny wonderful show and yet another painful reminder of how Paramount royally dropped the ball on Star Trek’s anniversary.   They made a YouTube video!   THAT’S ALL!

Unlike Paramount and CBS, DC didn’t rest on their worthless fat asses and constructed this odd and satisfying tribute to the Adam West years and, let me tell you, it couldn’t have been a more fitting tip of the hat to the carefree days of Batman ’66.    Now, to be fair, if you didn’t like Batman ’66, and I know there’s a number of you, you probably won’t care for this movie either.   But in fairness to the movie, if you didn’t care for Batman ’66, why are you watching this movie at all?  If you’re hoping that they spend 90 minute mercilessly slamming the corniness of the old TV show, you’re going to be disappointed.   If anything, they openly and shamelessly embrace it and even kick it up a notch.   From the SOCKS and the POWs to the unnecessarily labeled death traps… yes, Joker, we see it’s a giant oven.   You don’t need a sign.   This is a love letter to Batman ’66 and it’s sealed with a kiss and a can of super Bat-Glue.

Yeah, they thrown in a little more innuendo, but it’s quick and harmless and might even be missed if you’re not looking for it.   Honestly, this movie makes better use of Aunt Harriet than the entire run of the classic series.   I know that’s not saying much, but there it is.

What’s more, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders actually has to the audacity to tell a pretty entertaining story instead of making it nothing more than 90 minutes of “oh gee, isn’t that nice?” callbacks and retreads.   I don’t want to spoil anything, but they play with the dynamics of the dynamic duo and it leads to some interesting teamups that I would have never considered.  It just makes Return of the Caped Crusaders an entertaining movie and not just useless nostalgia.

Sure, you can tell that the team has gotten older.  Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar all sound like 50 years have passed, but you soon forget as the story unfolds and they slip comfortably into their roles.   I’m just disappointed that the makers of this movie didn’t sign a contract with Satan and sell their souls to resurrect Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshwin, but I guess some people just aren’t that committed to their art.

Unfortunately, as entertaining as I found this film, I think it might have worked better as a thirty-minute movie – perhaps with the better thirty-minute cut of the Killing Joke I’m hoping is out there somewhere.   This could have been a Bat-Anthology along with some other Bat-Tales.   Just seems to be that Return of the Caped Crusaders was, perhaps, forty-five minutes too long.   The nostalgia factor is high and the makers of this movie certainly captured the look and feel of the old television show, but the old television show was told in 30 minute chunks for a good reason because there’s only so much corniness we can shallow willingly at a time.

But, I do have to give these guys their due.   This was a film crafted from love and it is so refreshing to see a lighter and more friendly take on Batman in the mainstream.   Even when the movie arguably goes dark, it still stays fun and wholesome.

I understand that there is a sequel in the works that will introduce William Shatner as Two-Face and I will be there to watch the trippy awesomeness transpire.   Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!

About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.