Movie Review: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)

As most, if not all of you probably know, Adam West sadly passed away last week at the age of 88. Whether you knew him from “Batman”, “Family Guy”, “The Detectives”, or something else, you can’t deny the impact he’s had on pop culture. So to commemorate this great man, I want to talk about the last thing he did as the Caped Crusader… other than the upcoming animated movie “Batman vs. Two-Face”, but that is not important right now.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders”.

Bruce Wayne (Adam West, R.I.P) and Dick Grayson (Burt Ward) have to suit up once again to stop their enemies who have teamed up to do villain stuff. So now Batman and Robin will have to once again stop the fiends. And this is basically a continuation of the 1960s “Batman” series. Especially the first half which is exactly like an animated version of a classic “Batman” episode, but with more action. Then during the second hald they do something quite interesting that plays around a bit more with the plot. Without spoiling too much, Batman starts going through some changes during the second half which becomes the primary plot thing during that part. And I’m not really sure what to say about it. There is fun to be had there, especially with some of the visuals and lines, but overall it’s quite a weird shift from that first part. So really I’d say that the overall plot in this movie is fine. It’s entertaining enough, and the pacing is good, but something just feels a bit off about it.

The characters are just as cartoony (HA!) as in the 60s show and they’re simply entertaining and for the most part well performed. Adam West (may he rest in peace), while sounding quite old, knocks it out of the park, you can tell that he still had that energy that he had back in the 60s, which makes his performance so enjoyable. Burt Ward once gain brings a sense of fun to Robin, which I quite enjoyed. Julie Newmar, yeah, she was okay. She didn’t sound quite like she used to, and overall her performance wasn’t great… it was fine. Since Cesar Romero has been dead for years, Jeff Bergman had to take over Joker duties, and he just nails it. William Salyers did the voice of Penguin in this and he was great. Riddler was played by… Wally Wingert? Huh, I guess that since he was a great Riddler in the “Arkham” gams he got to do it here… and he was great here. Jim Ward did the voice of Commissioner Gordon in this and he’s great. Alfred in this was voiced by Steven Weber, and I didn’t recognize his voice here… yeah, he was quite good. Thomas Lennon as chief O’Hara, he was good. Lynne Marie Stewart as Aunt Harriet, she was good. Overall, it’s well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis, and Michael McCuistion, with some of the tracks of course being new arrangements of Neal Hefti’s classic tracks… and this music is just classic “Batman”. It has that fun and jazzy feel of the 60s show, and it’s just awesome to hear. It just perfectly captures the feel of the 1966 series.

This movie was directed by Rick Morales and it’s overall very well handled. Everything has a nice flow to it and the animation (direct-to-video budget standards) is good. Everything design-wise is just straight up the 1960s show. And since this is animated and not live action, they have a lot more freedom with what they can do and it shows that they decided to have as much fun as possible with this version of Bats. There are plenty of fun visuals done here, both in the sense of just normal fun, and some as references/jokes. Speaking of which, this is quite funny. Lovingly poking fun at the old show and even a little bit at some of the newer and darker iterations of the character. It has the campy style of the old show while still being self-aware enough to have some fun with it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating. On Metacritic it does exist, but it has no score to it. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is a lot of fun, at least if you enjoy the classic show to some extent. It has a good plot, great characters, really good performances, great music, and really good animation. The only problem is that something feels off about the plot from that weird shift in the second half. Time for my final score. *Nana nana nana nana*. My final score for “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is an 8,99/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” is now completed.

As fun as it is seeing those comic book hit things (wham, bonk, bam, etc.), nothing will ever beat this classic.

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