Many of us remember the classic Batman TV show from the 60s. But with all those darker edgier versions of Batman over the years, I never thought I’d see the day when the campy style of the franchise would make a comeback, like in the straight to DVD animated release, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and Catwoman. Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon are also featured. It’s so amazing that even though the original actors from the TV series have all passed on; the voice talents in this movie sound a lot like them from the Joker’s laugh to the Riddler’s maniacal giggle.
What’s also amazing is that characters like Chief O’Hara, Warden Crichton, and Dick Grayson’s aunt Harriet Cooper also appear, since they were never featured in any other version of Batman.
Even the fight scenes contain the same level of excitement as the TV series, words and all. Not to mention, the perils the caped crusaders end up in have the same thrills. The only difference is that there is no narrator. In a way, that’s a good thing.
Here’s another cool tidbit. During a fight scene, Batman gets hit in the head and temporarily sees three cat women, each one different. Now that’s funny, since three different actresses played Catwoman over the series run.
As for the story line, Catwoman uses a potion to turn Batman evil. During the process, Batman acts more brutal and edgier, which is a shock to everyone, including the villains. In any other version of Batman, that’s normal. Heck, in Superman vs. Batman, he goes as far as using a bat shaped branding iron to leave his mark on the criminals he defeats. It certainly makes you think.
In addition, Batman uses a replica ray to clone himself many times as a means to take over Gotham City. Robin comes up with an idea to stop Batman by sending other villains after him by breaking them out of jail. (Remember that there was no Arkham Asylum in the old version of Batman.) They include Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Egg Head, King Tut, Bookworm, Louie the Lilac, the Siren, the Minstrel, the Archer, the Clock King, Shame, Black Widow, Sandman, and False Face. Even though these are only cameo appearances, it’s nice to see these retro villains make a comeback.
This was an excellent movie containing all the charm of the classic Batman series, as well as the authentic animation. If you’re highly familiar with the old version, it’s very easy to catch on to the nostalgia it contains, including how female villains like Catwoman never get punched out like the other criminals.