Director: Rick Morales
Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward & Julie Newmar
Synopsis: Batman and Robin are back in action to take down their fiendish foes once again with original actors Adam West voicing Batman, Burt Ward voicing Robin and Julie Newmar voicing Catwoman.
Rating: 12 Duration: 78 minutes Release date: 7 November (UK)
More than any other than any other superhero, there is a version of Batman for everyone. The brooding Dark Knight of Bale & Nolan, the violent vengeance filled Ben Affleck, the comic-book camp of George Clooney and gothic noir of Burton and Keaton have gained as many fans as they have critics, but what about the day-glow delight of Adam West’s Batman? The 1960’s version of Batman has had a resurgence over recent years and that has surely reached its peak with the Return of the Caped Crusaders.
Serving as a continuation of the popular 1960’s TV show we are reunited with Batman and Robin (Adam West and Burt Ward both return) as they attempt to take down the combined villainy of the Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman (Julie Newmar). The plot, as thin as it is, involves Batman’s biggest villains joining forces and threatening to destroy Gotham City with a weapon known as the Replicator Ray. So far so 60’s. It’s a stark contrast to the type of adventures we have gotten used to seeing Batman involved in lately and, for the most part, it’s a highly enjoyable romp that proves, if nothing else, that Batman can take on any form.
Sticking to the tone of the TV show, Return of the Caped Crusaders is not aiming to be high art, rather it is content to entertain and spark a sense of nostalgia among fans of a certain age. One can debate whether younger viewers will find as much to enjoy here as say a 32-year-old man who has his own film blog, but what it does it does well and does it completely without shame.
It’s notable how funny Return of the Caped Crusaders manages to be. With its knowing humour it takes some subtle and some not so subtle digs at the camp nature of its proceedings, as well as aiming a few blows at the modern interpretation of Batman. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy does not escape ridicule, and nor should it, because as good as Batman can be in any media he can also be somewhat lost as well.
Despite starting at a good pace, Return of the Caped Crusaders loses its way a little as the film moves along and the idea can wear a little thin by the end. It also feels a little erratic as events get ever more ridiculous and the plot seems to take dramatic turns at regular intervals. It almost feels like a three-part TV special being viewed in one go, but lacks the drama to keep anyone truly involved. Then again, this is not really the aim here and while it may sound contradictory, there is enough fun to be had in its 78 minute run-time to remain entertaining.
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