Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders full movie review - Holy Animated Feature!
Boy, oh boy did I have a smile on my face the entire time while watching this film. Only clocking in at around 75 minutes which seems to be the norm for DC animated movies was a nostalgia-fest treat. Based on the 60's Batman series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, they return to voice the characters that made them famous. They, along with Julie Newmar, who returns to voice Catwoman, are back with one of the best DC animated films in a while.
The four main villains, Catwoman, Penguin, The Riddler, and The Joker have all returned and it feels like it could be a direct sequel to the 1966 film that also had these four villains as the main antagonists to Batman and Robin.
The scope is much, much larger here in this animated film that could never be done in the live action series. One could say it is out of this world??
The animation is spot on. Every character very closely resembles their live action counterpart. The one tiny nitpick would be no moustache for Cesar Romero's Joker. Everything in the Batcave also seems to be flipped so it looks to be more of a mirrored version of what we saw in the TV series. They recreate the "BOOM" "KAPOW" pop up effects when someone gets punched as well as the original theme music. The animation style was interesting to me because it looked very different to other DC animated films. Everything other than the characters and vehicles seemed to be drawn extra large. I have no idea what the reasoning for this was but it was a great choice.
The storyline was very faithful to the series, the first 20-30 minutes play out almost exactly like an episode of Batman would. It's the following 15-25 minutes that are really wacky and even when the live action series involves a lot of "suspend your disbelief", this takes it to a whole new level. I won't spoil it for you because it wasn't even hinted at in any trailers I saw so I would want it to be a surprise for anyone watching for the first time. It pokes a lot of fun at itself and the campy-ness of the series? lots of throwbacks to the original. It was right before the final act that I felt the very quick pacing of the film come to a complete halt. Very happy to say that it rose back up again for the final act and came to a great conclusion.
The voice acting was done to perfection. The three returnees are of course great and it was very surprising to get such great, accurate performances from Jeff Bergman (The Joker), William Salyers (The Penguin), and The Riddler (Wally Wingert). While it did feel like they were doing an impression of the original actors it was all they needed to do. If they tried to make it their own it would've destroyed the movie (Wally Wingert has actually voiced The Riddler in the Batman Arkham videogames so it was great to see him do the same character that was separate from that universe so well). There are also a tonne of small cameos that are great to see from a huge fan of the 60's TV series.
A sequel has already been announced with William Shatner cast to voice Two-Face. I am immensely happy that there is going to be a sequel (I could see there being many sequels down the line) but have no idea how they are going to do Two-Face considering he was never in the original series.