Adam West was the first ‘famous’ person I ever interacted with, as a twelve-year-old stammering my way up for an autograph. He signed my 1980s era edition of a Batman comic and we watched the feature-length film that he and Burt Ward filmed, 1966’s Batman: the Movie. It was glorious, but the world has moved on from the Boom! Pow! Whap! of the Dark Knight. Until now.
Reuniting West, Ward, and Catwoman’s Julie Newmar, Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders proves again that there’s a humor, a cleverness in the way that West and Ward worked. While it’s only their voices, the 1960s’ Batman still slings alliteration and obscure quips that entertain. Matching wits with Catwoman, Joker, Penguin, and Riddler, our two heroes get an updated animation version while holding onto their entendre-laden, slapstick comedy.
This time, the villains are using a special ray to duplicate, and the action ends up in space. It’s an entertaining, amusing jaunt for our heroes, but the added bonus of who the voices are make this one special. That’s primarily where the special feature, “A Classic Cadre of Voices,” takes its purpose from, with the addition of “Those Dastardly Desperadoes” as a bonus for folks wanting a deeper look at our villains.
In the end, this is a PG-rated lark that is different from the trend of our films (animated or not) into darker areas. Thanks to the retroacting acting, theres’ a joy to be had in experiencing an easier-going, happier Batman and his favorite sidekick.