- Directed by Rick Morales
- October 6, 2016 (NYCC) / October 10, 2016 (US)
- Bruce Wayne / Batman-Adam West
- Dick Grayson / Robin-Burt Ward
- Catwoman-Julie Newmar
- The Joker, Announcer-Jeff Bergman
- The Penguin-William Salyers
- The Riddler-Wally Wingert
- Commissioner James Gordon-Jim Ward
- Alfred Pennyworth-Steven Weber
- Chief Miles O’Hara, Warden Crichton-Thomas Lennon
- Aunt Harriet-Lynne Marie Stewart
- Miranda Moore-Sirena Irwin
Batman and Robin must defeat the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman, who have teamed up as Batman slowly becomes more evil.
Batman: The Return of the Cape Crusaders is an animated film directly inspired by the 60s Batman series. If you’re expecting the Dark Knight, then skip this one. This is all about the Bright Knight created by the legendary Adam West.
I had my doubts going into this. The live action Batman series was very much a product of its time. The adventures of the Caped Crusader had taken a much goofier turn during this period in the comics. There were plenty of gimmick villains, but the stories were not nearly as serious as they are today.
Batman: The Return of the Cape Crusaders does a good job of capturing the essence of the show. It’s goofy and it’s silly and Batman makes illogical leaps of logic to solve the crime and defeat the baddies. The plot is ludicrous and the execution of everything is pure camp.
Camp is an aesthetic of silliness used for humorous purposes. You may not laugh but you will smile. For example Batman takes over Gotham City in a way that only Batman could in this version. Batman literally takes over Gotham.
I like how they get the surviving actors to return here. There is no way anyone could have done an adequate impersonation of Adam West as Batman. Nor could a pair of actors have appropriately emulated the dynamic of Burt Ward and Adam West as the, wel, Dynamic Duo. And the humorous sensuality of Catwoman was more than just Julie Newmar’s look. It was in her voice and her delivery of lines.
The actors filling in for those who have passed do a fine job. They manage to sound very much like them. Jeff Bergman as The Joker and Thomas Lennon as Chief O’Hara do a particularly good job of fooling you into thinking it just might be the original actors brought back.
The Rogues Gallery’s plot involves a duplication ray. The plot here, while fun and goofy, has in my opinion shades of the Batman film which was inspired by the live action series. In there they used a dehydrating ray. What exactly is the reason for the ray being built? How does Batman’s Rogues Gallery’s plan on using it? That is what the Dynamic Duo must figure out.
This film does something that the series didn’t and probably couldn’t and makes Batman the subvillain though it’s because of evil mechanizations by Catwoman. An interesting twist to the Bright Knight concept. You may miss the first few hints of what’s going on since the Dark Knight is so prevalent these days, but you won’t miss them for long.
The animation is great and stylized after the live action series. Disturbingly so. I’m not saying that in a bad way but it’s very nearly a one-to-one transition. A few of the characters do look different enough and that’s probably due to rights issues from the respective estates but overall it’s uncanny what they do.
If you are a fan of the original series then Batman: The Return of the Cape Crusaders is for you. If you want something a little lighter in your viewing then check this out as well. Overall I think this is a good film that’s very entertaining and just a fun and silly diversion that all will enjoy!