Home Film & TV Review: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

Review: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

by Mike Pinkerton

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is full of fun for fans of Adam West, but not perfect.


If you’re wondering, that’s a Bat-Handkerchief. Yep. It’s time for Adam West Batman and Burt Ward Robin.

It was a typical Monday. Class went well, but a little uneventful. I was supposed to get my laptop repaired, but the place I wanted to go wasn’t open. It was my ex-girlfriend’s birthday, but I’m not on speaking terms with her, and I’d really rather not be.

Then, I saw it online: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, would be playing one night only in theaters. It was a throwback to a time when Batman was a cheery, upright, well-adjusted member of society that just happened to wear actual tights. Someone who lived the dream of being a superhero. And no matter what, this Batman‘s just as valid as brooding, maladjusted individual everyone knows and loves, unless you’re my mom. For some reason, she still hasn’t grasped the nuanced modernization.


It’s probably because the modernization doesn’t have this badass.

With no more than 10 people in the theater, we sat down to a Fathom event, which was projected at the wrong aspect ratio. It’s particularly jarring when you see Easter eggs in the Batcave background, but half of them are projected onto a curtain.

Speaking of, there are references a plenty, to not only the 1960s television series but even The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the Silver Age of comic books, which spans roughly 1956 to 1970. Batman and Robin fly a Bat-Rocket at one point, something production designers in 1966 only dreamed of. Oh, and the United States is still in the Space Race.


Holy Lighter Take Batman! This might be the first animated Batman to not show his eyes as pure white slits.

The plot itself feels as though it’s a direct continuation of the original series, albeit with, somehow, the Bat-tongue even firmer in the Bat-cheek. The animation itself manages to feel like a sophisticated update of cartoons of the era most of the time, however, it isn’t flawless. In one shot, a person supposedly walking a stroller (I can’t say who or else it’ll spoil the film) doesn’t move their legs at all! It’s simply a drawing moving in front of a background!

And I’m unsure if it’s unintentional or not, but one shot shows Robin’s insignia in reversed colors (normally it’s a yellow R on a black circle, but it’s seen as a black R on a yellow circle). This may have been a reference to the animation goofs from the Superfriends, just like it was done on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but we’ll never know until we hear from one of the creators.

BAM! POW! BANG! It’s all back. The only thing missing is the spinning Bat-logo in between scenes.

Personally, I miss Batman: The Brave and the Bold. It was always intended to be the more lighthearted Batman, while it still tried hard to do new exciting things to make it distinctive. But Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders doesn’t do as well, it’s not as willing to go full on crazy, when it has every right to. Fortunately, Adam West does get nearly as crazy as he does on Family Guy. Most of the action in the film is between him and Catwoman, voiced by Julie Newmar from the 60s series as well. All the sexual tension is still there 50 years later; it makes one wonder if they ever did date in real life. Hell, it makes me hope I’ll have that good of chemistry with someone, especially in my 80s!

Don’t worry, more villains show up. Just in case you needed your Egghead and Louie the Lilac fix.

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