Director: Rick Morales
Starring: Adam West, William Shatner & Julie Newmar
Synopsis: Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent is mutilated in a laboratory accident. When the duplicitous Two-Face embarks on a crime spree, Batman and Robin must solve the mystery of his identity while facing off against several other foes.
Rating: 12 Duration: 72 minutes Release date: 30 October
Following on from Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders we return to the world of Batman ’66 with Batman vs Two-Face. Much like its predecessor, this animated film tells an all new story set in the Adam West era of Batman, while also paying tribute to both the character and the man who made Batman such an icon for so many.
Serving as a direct sequel to Return of the Caped Crusaders, we catch up with Batman & Robin as they attend a demonstration by Dr Hugo Strange as he uses his new invention to rid Gotham City of its criminal contingent once and for all. His “Evil Extractor” machine intends to rid the likes of Joker, Riddler, Penguin among others of their evil nature, thus eventually turning Gotham into a crime free zone. Unfortunately, the machine malfunctions and results in District Attorney Harvey Dent being horrifically scarred in the explosion. This results in Dent developing a split personality known as Two-Face. As he embarks on a crime spree throughout Gotham, it is up to Batman & Robin to stop him and attempt to restore Harvey Dent’s true side.
On a personal note, while I’m not old enough to have seen Batman: The TV Show when it first aired, I do recall it from repeats during the 1980’s and 90’s. Bearing that in mind, Adam West was my first introduction to Batman and the world of the caped crusader. Michael Keaton followed in 1989 and over the years several actors have all come and gone, but there was something endearing about West’s portrayal that would always stick with me. It was fantastic news then, that we would get another film to showcase his talents and an animated feature was the best way to depict the further adventures of Batman and Robin.
Free from the restrictions of a live-action adaptation, Batman vs Two-Face excels in animated form. The animation itself is impeccable, while the set pieces work much better here and the limitations of the TV show can be glossed over. The story is somewhat more serious than either the TV show or Return of the Caped Crusaders and delves into the back story between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent and gives the film something to hold on to. This isn’t so much fan-service and is more of a solid continuation of the story with new characters like Two-Face being introduced to this time-line.
Even with the films tone going for a more serious take, the outright silliness we have come to expect is still here and keeps a nice balance. The only downside is knowing that this is Adam West’s final performance as the Bright Knight, and his untimely passing is keenly felt. Still, even though this is West’s final time as Batman it is one great way to go out. His performance, and that of William Shatner as Two-Face for that matter, is nuanced and well humoured with no lack of charm from either. It’s a fitting end for West and a truck load of fun for any Batman fan.
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- Adam West Tribute Panel from San Diego Comic-Con 2017
- Burt Ward and Julie Newmar discuss their personal lives and ambitions