The sheer elation of Warner Bros latest animated feature Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders arises from the following aspect. The film takes Adam West’s Batman from the sixties television show and injects him with an arrogant and egomaniacal edge that results in a fascinating interplay between the absurdly virtuous portrayal of the hippie era and the grim, edgy and no-nonsense characterisation from the comics and movies.
At the same time, the picture impresses in taking the famed pop art ascetic of the original program and translating it to animation. The opening credits elevate the famous dynamic duo to comicdom immortality as they appear in many of the famous comic covers that have graced the Dark Knight’s long history as the audience are shown flicking comic books and the team travelling through them. They stop at one of their foes which result in the iconic cover being conceived. These are punctuated with the onomatopoeia speech bubbles that were a signature trademark of the show.
Elsewhere the film impresses with its scope and vision. There is death trap that has Batman and Robin as part of a large cooked dinner, which includes some amusing off the cuff remarks from the famous team. Moreover, the crime fighters face their dastardly foes in space, which the film commendably wrings enough ridiculousness and dry wit out of the situation.
The most striking visuals come from Gotham City being animated at night and Batman’s shadowy silhouette looming over his cowardly foes. They illustrate the picture’s tightrope nature of portraying The Caped Crusader with a goofy reverence and a sense of fidelity to the original conception of the character.