In a year which has given us many dark and serious portrayals of the Batman mythos, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a vibrantly loud, bright, and cheesy film that hearkens back to original 1960s television show, not only with a similar look and dialogue, but the original stars as well: that’s right, Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar are back! Along with Batman, Robin, and Catwoman, we also get to see the villainous machinations of the Penguin, Joker, Riddler, and even Evil Batman (dun Dun DUN!!).
While the sixties were perhaps the golden age of corny television (although some episodes of Full House could definitely give them a run for their money), not everyone knows that Batman, with its goofy banter between the characters and admonitions to wear seatbelts, drink milk, etc, was intentionally so–William Dozier (executive producer) once described it as a sitcom without a laugh track. This film follows in that vein, maintaining the lighthearted spirit of that much-loved show and making sure to work in lines like “Holy entrée, Batman!” along with the classic POW!s, SMACK!s, and BAM!s. (You can see a clip of Burt Ward discussing them here). While the film has just enough spice to have earned it a PG rating (for “Action, Suggestive Material and Rude Humor”), it is safely within the family-friendly realm, and a good opportunity for the generations who loved the original Batman (or its re-runs) to introduce it to their millennial loved-ones. Well-versed fans will also enjoy the many inside jokes and other Easter-egg-esque touches (such as the décor in the Batcave which references not only the TV show but the comics as well).
You may have caught the film’s premiere at New York Comic-Con or perhaps its one-night-only limited theatrical release from Fathom Events on October 10th, but for those who didn’t, you can check it out on DVD or Blu-ray combo pack now. If you get the combo pack the film also comes with two bonus features, “Those Dastardly Desperados” (interviews from the cast and crew about the development of this particular version and how it ties in with the traditional and not-so-traditional treatment of the villains) and “A Classic Cadre of Voices” (where the actors discuss their approach to voice acting and the process of recording sessions, etc).
The film is available on Amazon video for 24-hour SD or HD rental ($3.99/$4.99) or for purchase starting at $14.99. If you want it on disc, you can get the DVD on Amazon for $12.96 or the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for $17.96.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the buoyant and lively feel of the old series and want to relive some of the fun, you may want to consider checking it out—-and keep your ear to the ground for news of the sequel coming in 2017 with a new villain in the mix voiced by none other than William Shatner!