Batman The Movie
Who says that superheroes need to stay confined to the dark, blockbuster genre? For those the read the comics, you know how the earlier stories called upon heroes that had a bit of a sense of humor. The problem was that the humor often hid the not so good storytelling. A lot of the initial comics had writing that was very mundane and graphics that were very cool with the pulp style. But confined to the dated look, even for it’s time, prevented a more “epic” feel and would force the catchphrases and sassy dialogue to become the hook for the readers.
Though even I think the past portrayals are a little too silly, those comics like Spider-Man and Captain America were big sellers and have gone on to bring in a new age of titans that will go down as modern day Greek myths. Still having yet to find a mainstream audience willing to taking superhero’s as seriously as they are today, one man found an audience with a more…different tone; Batman. Before all the Christen Bales and Michael Keatons, the world had Adam West as the caped crusader. Though the clips I’ve seen are funny, I can’t look at the TV show, as it is not available on DVD or the Internet. So instead I will look at the original Dark Knight, Batman The Movie.
If your expecting an old fashioned dark cave with deep backstories and scary villains, you’re not going to find it here. This Batman is much more comedic and campy.
The movie opens up with what I assume is like every other episode. Batman (played by Adam West) and Robin (played by Burt Ward) receive a hint about a yacht that is danger, so the pair fly out with a batcopter. Upon reaching the ocean, they find out it was a trick set up by the movies four villains (Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman).
In a submarine that is made to look like a penguin (an idea to tell how campy they push it), the bad guys are preparing a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust. But rather then simply going after the world, the villains work to stop Batman for once and for all. Catwoman tries disguising herself as a Soviet Journalist, the Penguin tries to pass as the military commodore and the caped duo use sonic charges and shark repellent to stop the wrongs and save the United Nations Security Council.
By looking at what Batman The Movie has to offer, you’re already going to know whether or not you like this. Personally, I hope you give this a chance as I actually found myself very entertained. For such an odd hero like a comedic Batman, I actually found myself very pulled in to the Adam West version. I can tell that he’s playing the part straight up serious against the rest of comedians. This only makes the movie even funnier.
When I look at the movie, I’m reminded of the superhero film serials of the forties. Despite being in color with a bigger budget, I can’t help but feel like that I’m watching a series of episodes put together. The costumes are almost like Halloween costumes, the plot’s beyond ridiculous, and most of the action scenes are very minimal. But this seems to be the point exactly. It’s supposed to be an old fashioned serial with added slapstick. The end result is funny, even if not all the pratfalls work. If your a fan of movies like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, then your going to love this. I’m a little torn about recommending this to modern Dark Knight fans, but I say at least give it a try.
I’ll give this four bands of campy villains out of five. Until the TV show is released, the movie will settle fine as a substitute. Batman the Movie defines everything that made that show funny and is a good introduction to the world of Golden Age superheroes.