The back of the DVD case reads: “When Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission. But the tip is a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever, who seek to defeat the Dynamic Duo once and for all! Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, the fearsome foursome intends to take over the world! Can the Caped Crusaders use their high-flying heroism and groovy gadgetry to declaw Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), ice the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), upstage the Joker (Cesar Romero), and stump the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) in time?”
Holy camp classic, Batman! If that doesn’t sound like a fun time, what does? Batman and Robin, four villains and a deadly dehydrator?! Sounds like director Joel Schumacher time-traveled to the 60s with the moisture-robbing plot device from Batman Begins in tow! Sounds like something … meant to be laughed at … on purpose. Hm.
While in my pupae stages I thought this movie was just poorly conceived, like a bunch of guys went out to make a really epic Batman movie and failed miserably. I was used to the Batman in Batman: The Animated Series and Tim Burton’s movies, where he’s a dark, brooding anti-hero spending every agonizing moment of his miserable life stewing in the childhood memory of the murder of his parents. If Adam West’s Batman witnessed such tragedy in his youth there’s no sign of it. He prances, flirts, waves his arms in the air as he leaps around and everything in the Batcave is obsessively labeled, even the water cooler – the Bat Water Cooler. He’s still a bit unhinged but he’s nicer about it in this version. Now that I am older and wiser I can appreciate the beloved hero in his various interpretations, especially this warm-hearted, well-written goofy version. He’s a farce, a parody of action/adventure yarns, one that actually influenced the comic books to take on a less-serious tone, and it managed to increase sales and popularity of the character.
Based on the 60s TV series, Batman the Movie is the first in my new series of superhero movie reviews that will continue right up to my inevitable review of anticipated The Dark Knight, out July 18th. I’m a tremendous Batfiend bristling with excitement for the new release, so it’s with great pleasure I stalk, glide and pratfall down the memory lane of Gotham Cities past. Welcome to the latest installment of …