Batman: The Movie

Posted: July 9, 2018 in Movies
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This past week has been a case of several first time viewings of movies a lot of fans have no doubt seen countless times before. Yep. Batman: The Movie. Never saw it. Sure I saw the re-runs of the TV series when I was a kid and I loved that. Yet I had never saw the movie which was put out into theatres in between the show’s first and second seasons. Directed by Leslie H. Martinson and starring several of the show’s key cast bar Julie Newmar who was unable to appear in the film. For fans of Batman and those who love all versions of this iconic character – more so if you loved the show – this is an essential watch.

The plot is great. Batman’s rogues gallery – the Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and Catwoman ( a great Lee Meriwether taking on the role for the movie) – hatch a diabolical scheme to take over the world. So it falls to the dynamic duo of Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) to save the world.

This film is brilliant and crazy. It’s so bonkers. I can’t help but feel that surely the cast and crew knew how outlandish the dialogue and situations were and had their tongues placed firmly in cheek throughout. Of course everyone plays it straight which is the right call but that simply adds to the charm and the humour of the film. Fans of the Batman 60’s series will know what I mean when I say this film is camp fun. The set design is fantastic – vibrant and colourful sets feature throughout from the Batcave to the villain’s lair. I love the look of this movie and the tone.

There are countless quoteable lines of dialogue scattered throughout the film. I don’t want to give away any of the gags. No doubt you all know what I am hinting at because I have a feeling most Batman fans will have seen this by now but just in case you ain’t seen it I don’t want to ruin any of the set pieces or gags. The actors playing the villains are excellent. All of them do a great job. The stand out would be Romero as Joker. He was a big fixture in my childhood and I still find the look of his character freaky to this day. He’s great in the film. Meriwether also does great work as Catwoman. She really jumps into the role and has fun with it. The star of the flick though is Batman himself. Adam West is excellent. He has this earnestness to him that just had me laughing out loud at some of his words of advice or his wisdom that he so freely delivers throughout the film. Everyone involved must have had a ball.

Clearly this Batman is tone wise unlike any other Batman more modern fans would know of. Although look, putting it simply, the show/movie is the stuff of legend to this day and I find it hard to believe that any fan born post 2000 has no clue as to the existance of this version of the caped crusader. This film has great gags, funny dialogue, that kick arse theme music and some fun fights. It’s a must see for Batman fans and as an early example of one of Hollywood’s first big studio superhero movies. This film came out in 1966 and it would only be the following decade that saw the release of Superman in 1978 and the rest as we know is history. Those early films taking on a more hopeful and colourful approach to two of DC comics icons. These days it’s all so dark and serious. If today’s directors and producers can only look to the past and understand why these older films are held in such high regard. Sometimes it’s okay to have a little fun with these sort of films.

 

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