Director: Rick Morales
Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Jeff Bergman, William Salyers, Wally Wingert
Running time: 78 minutes
HOLY NOSTALGIA TRIP BATMAN!
BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS is pretty much everything you’d expect from a cartoon movie based on the classic 60’s Batman TV series, and that is really where it becomes difficult to review. While it is true that most films should be judged as independent products, there are some that can’t really stand on their own. I can see a general audience getting some form of entertainment out of BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS, especially younger audiences, it is honestly fans of the original series who will get the most out of the film.
While at times the film does feel a little like a parody of the TV series, it does a great job of representing what people remember it being like. From the life lessons given to Robin, comic captions, ridiculous riddles, even Catwoman posing in the background while everybody else fights, the movie is clearly made out of love for the 60’s series and everything it involved.
Speaking of everything it involved, one of the biggest joys about the film is the returning cast from the show. Having the likes of Julie Newmar reprise the role of Catwoman is brilliant, but easily the best part of the cast is Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. All of the other characters have new actors stepping into the roles, and they do a great job, however no one other than Adam West and Burt Ward could have played the caped crusaders themselves. It is so fun to hear these guys back in the role, as it’s unlikely we’ll see them again in live action (as amazing as that would be), and every line of dialogue feels like it was just lifted from the original series.
Obviously the film is not live action and by now most people know the level of quality to expect from DC’s animated properties, the style is easily on par with prior cartoons, however what sets this entry apart is how colourful it is. It captures the style of the TV series and brilliantly recreates sets and props from the show, as for the new elements it adds, they fit perfectly. The movie even includes the flipping transition cards that would feel missing if they weren’t there.
BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS is another excellent entry into the already impressive collection of DC animated movies. The element that sets it apart however is it may be one of the least accessible. I feel that most people have some kind of basic knowledge of the 60’s series, be it the captions during fight scenes or corny dialogue. No doubt though the more knowledgeable you are on the series the more you will get out of this movie. I would love to hear the opinion of someone who is completely new to Adam West Batman, but as a long time Batman fan I had a lot of fun with this film and am really looking forward to the already planned sequel.
BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS is out now on DVD/Blu-ray now