In 2014, Batman: The Complete Television Series arrived on Blu-ray for the first time. It was complete with all the Bat-Tastic bells and whistles a fan could want. Sadly though, that seemed to be it for Adam West’s caped crusader. That was until West dropped the news at Comic-Con that he and his faithful sidekick, Burt Ward, would return for another adventure. Only this time, it would be animated. Yet, that news seemed to be forgotten as two San Diego Comic-Cons transpired and little or no mention of this animated feature surfaced. Then, as if out of nowhere, a clip/ tease arrived and before we knew it. a full trailer debuted with a screening scheduled for New York Comic Con 2016. Holy Premiere, Batman! This all sounds great and well to do, but the story doesn’t end with today’s release of the animated film on home video. In fact, yet another Bat-Bomb was dropped at NYCC, a sequel was already in the works. At long last Two-Face would join the 1966 Batman legacy and he would be portrayed by William Shatner. If you have already donned your cape and cowl, we have some great Bat-News for you: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader is not just tribute to the 66 series, it’s a new story that takes its cast, animated medium, and the Bat-Legacy to a new level.
What I expected from Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader was a larger version of a TV series episode. This would be complete with punch captions, great 60’s music, a dance number, and a voice over that would highlight the dangerous cliffhanger. I got all of that but the voice over (which felt strange), but it was something I was willing to concede to go without.
The story in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusader features The Riddler, The Penguin, The Joker, and Catwoman in a fiendish plan to pull off an incredible heist of a duplication ray. Catwoman also has an additional scheme to turn Batman into a villain with a special spray and scratch. At first, this doesn’t seem to work, but we are all too quick to notice that West’s Batman is not the Dark Knight of Frank Miller’s comic. As the story progress, he slowly turns into that Batman.
This is not a physical change, but a change in character. It is our love for West’s 66 Batman that immediately sets off the red flags. A quick firing of Alfred and screaming at Aunt Harriet are more than enough to see that something is not right. The plot quickly turns towards Robin having to team-up with Catwoman to set everything right. Can they stop an army of Dark Knights? I won’t spoil the fun or adventure.
What fans of Batman, on a whole, will appreciate is hearing West recite lines from Frank Miller’s classic comic and from Burton’s 1989 Batman. Fans of the series will appreciate how delicately Michael Jelenic and James Tucker’s screenplay teeters on the edge of campiness and fun, without being self-parodying. That alone is a real feat when doing a 66 Batman project. On one final note, I recommend watching the special features after the fact. I mistakingly did not do this so the illusion that William Salyers, Jeff Bergman, Wally Wingert, bring to their perspective portrayals of characters once played by legendary actors is gone. I just kept thinking that those aren’t the original three guys, which was unfair, because their performances are spectacular.
I’ll be back again for another Batman adventure. I just cannot wait to see what they have in store for William Shatner as Two-Face. Same Bat-Time. Same Bat-Channel.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Blu-ray™ Enhanced Content includes:
· “Those Dastardly Desperados” featurette – Joker, Catwoman, Penguin, and Riddler are impossible not to watch! Those Dastardly Desperados explores how these fiends became more than just antagonists in a Batman story; they became icons in American pop culture.
· “A Classic Cadre of Voices” featurette – A new talented cast of actors join Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar in Batman: Return of The Caped Crusaders. Go behind the scenes and witness the vocal techniques and timing needed to deliver a classic Bat-Comedy!
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for November 1st, 2016
Action / Adventure / Mystery / Western
Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend, The (1949)
Cry of the City (1948)
Gideon of Scotland Yard
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Man on Fire (1987)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Western Union (1941)
Ergo Proxy: The Complete Series
Non Non Biyori Repeat
Overlord: The Complete Series
Rurouni Kenshin Part I: Origins
Sky Wizards Academy: The Complete Series
Snow White With the Red Hair: Season One
Sword of the Stranger – Movie
To Love Ru Darkness 2
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Peanuts Double Feature: Snoopy Come Home and A Boy Named Charlie Brown
Lone Wolf and Cub
Science Fiction / Fantasy / Superhero
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (4KHD)
Paddington Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with Meet Paddington book
Star Trek Beyond
Hell on Wheels (2011) – Season 5 Volume 2 – The Final Episodes
Hell on Wheels – The Complete Series
Outlander – Season 2
Outlander Season 2 Collector’s Edition- Blu-ray/UV
The Walking Dead: Season 6 Limited Edition