Film,  Uncategorized

REVIEW: Batman (1966)

Review: Batman (1966)
Written by: Lorenzo Semple Jr
Directed by: Leslie H. Martinson
After the 20th Century Fox Logo (Wait…) and the Acknowledgement:
“We wish to express our gratitude
to the enemies of crime and crusaders against crime throughout the World for
their inspirational example.
“To them, and to lovers of adventure,
lovers of pure escapism, lovers of unadulterated entertainment, lovers of the
ridiculous and the bizarre…
“To funlovers everywhere… This
picture is respectfully dedicated.
“If we have overlooked any
sizable groups of lovers, we apologize.
“-The Producers.”
We are welcomed to Gotham City, 1966! 
A bright(?) sunny(?!) happy place? 
Gotham City?
Sunny?
Happy?
What sorcery is this?
Where are the gargoyles?  Where’s the rain?  Where is This?!
Well kids, buckle up.  This isn’t the Gotham we’ve all become used
to, this is a Gotham City where things aren’t quite as dark.  A Gotham City where not only are Batman and
Robin allies of the GCPD, but as we’ll learn, fully deputized agents of the
law and where the Joker’s chief concern is getting one over on Batman and the
other Rogues and not pure vile chaos.
This is the Gotham City of Adam
West and Burt Ward.
The film jumps directly into the
action, with Bruce and Dick returning to the Manor from a Sunday drive and
changing into costume before racing off to follow an anonymous tip that
Commodore Schmidlapp’s yacht is in terrible danger.  After a ride into town in the Batmobile and a
flight over the City in the Bat-Copter (and a cameo from one of the first
fitness gurus on television, Jack LeLanne) the pair make it out to sea.
Leaving Robin to pilot the chopper,
Batman climbs down the “Batladder” 
 
to rescue the Commodore only to find
themselves in a trap!  The boat was a
mirage and Batman is being lowered into a watery-shark infested grave.  Robin pulls Batman out of the water and finds
his mentor doing battle with a shark and in need of the “Shark Repellent Bat
Spray.”
Dick climbs down the ladder and
hands Bruce the spray and it drives the shark away but when it lands in the
water it explodes-
What am I doing? 
Chances are you’ve seen this
movie already and if you haven’t I refuse to spoil the unfiltered joy of it
all.  Let’s just talk about this movie
for a bit.  It’s 1 hour and 44 minutes of
unapologetic fun.  Seriously, from the
second you read “Shark Repellent Bat Spray” on the can and see it’s not his
only repellent Bat Spray you should know exactly what you’re getting into and
here’s the best part…
They deliver.  They deliver over and over, this is like the
greatest hits of the series.  Adam West
and Burt Ward are the heart and soul of this movie, somehow being both
completely genuine and completely over the top at the same time.  You get Frank Gorshin, Cesar Romero and
Burgess Meredith at the absolute top of their game acting the ever loving hell
out of their villainous roles.  
You get Lee Meriwether having a
blast as Catwoman (I’m a Julie Newmar man myself but Meriwether is right up
there with Anne Hathaway rounding out my top three Catwomen.) 
You get all the fun gags of the
television series including the “Bam!” “Whap!” “Sploosh!” on the screen.  You get the climbing up the wall gag, you get
bat gadgets.  You get all the “Holy X!”
exclamations you could want and the ridiculous “Obvious” answers to the Riddler’s
clues. (“Ball-point banana” for example.)
You get:
You get romance!  You get THE Romance!  When I saw this movie for the first time at
age five I have no doubt that it planted the seeds of a lifelong love of The
Bat and the Cat in my little brain.  
It’s all laid out on the table in
a glorious buffet of Batman that defined the character for the next twenty
years.  For all the good and the bad that
would bring until Denis O’Neil Frank Miller and Alan Moore brought things back
to the character’s roots.
There are references to this era
of Batman to this day, and with good reason. 
It’s heartfelt, some might call this smirking-parody but it’s never felt
that way for a moment.  This is a love
letter to Batman as he was in the fifties and early sixties, and it holds up even today because
of that love.
I will stand this movie up next
to the Nolan Trilogy as required viewing for all Batman fans.

Come back tomorrow for our next review in the 25 Days of Batman -v- Superman Celebration! Same Bat time, same Bat Channel!

Just another guy on the internet.

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