- Directed by Rick Morales
- October 8, 2017 (New York Comic Con) / October 10, 2017
- Bruce Wayne / Batman-Adam West
- Dick Grayson / Robin-Burt Ward
- Harvey Dent / Two-Face-William Shatner
- Catwoman-Julie Newmar
- Alfred Pennyworth-Steven Weber
- Commissioner Gordon, Hugo Strange-Jim Ward
- Chief Miles O’Hara, Warden Crichton-Thomas Lennon
- Aunt Harriet Cooper-Lynne Marie Stewart
- Joker, Bookworm, Desmond Dumas-Jeff Bergman
- Riddler, King Tut-Wally Wingert
- Penguin-William Salyers
- Dr. Harleen Quinzel-Sirena Irwin
- Lucilee Diamond-Lee Meriwether
When Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent is mutilated in a lab accident, the Dynamic Duo must face off against a slew of villains to stop the villainous Two-Face.
Batman vs. Two-Face is the second and final film spinoff inspired by the live action Batman series of the late 60s. And as they did before they managed to perfectly encapsulate the feel and the appearance of that show with a few caveats probably due to the estates of the deceased actors as well as modern tastes.
What I like is that they reached into the mythology of the TV show for the villains used. There is a veritable potpourri of characters here. We have Joker, Bookworm, Riddler, King Tut, Penguin, Egghead, and Mister Freeze all making appearances here.
They even dip a little bit into characters that have not appeared in the show but rather appear elsewhere in the Batman mythos. Hugo Strange and Dr. Harleen Quinzel show up. Makes me think they were planning to use her fully in a third film of some type which due to the death of Adam West never came to be. They hinted at a connection between her and Joker in her only scene.
The real treat in all this is William Shatner showing up as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. I’m not sure there is any other actor who could have voiced him in this movie. I do not think there was ever another actor more perfect for the role of Dent in this fictional universe.
When you think of Star Trek you think of something a little more serious from Shatner but when it comes to his general place in pop culture, I think he floats somewhere in the realm that Adam West does as well. That is not anything to be ashamed of. Captain Kirk is an icon and William Shatner is a significant pop-culture figure beyond that. His acting style is certainly unique and has lent itself more to just generally weird performances than it has to drama.
Adam West returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne. He is once again the big Boy Scout in a Batcape. Nobody is this wholesome and clean and the more I think about it the more I think that the TV show, though inspired by the comics of the time, may have been a parody as well of the comics of the time. They were wholesome but not THIS wholesome.
And who best to play his sidekick Dick Grayson/Robin but Burt Ward? He is all “Gosh darn!” and earnest stereotypical idealized 50s teen. I know Batman came out in the 60s, but Robin was not a kid from that era. Take a look to Leave It To Beaver for what I mean.
They certainly play up the Batman and Catwoman romance theme here. I don’t believe there was an actual romance at any point between the two in the series. As best as I can remember they were merely attracted to one another when Catwoman would wear a disguise as a character with a name that was clearly a pun on her being a cat themed villain. In that it takes its inspiration from the comics and the movies and the assorted filmed iterations of the Batman and Catwoman dynamic.
Something else this movie does differently from the show is the Bright Knight shows up largely at night. In this film and its predecessor, you don’t see him active during the day like he was in the Batman live action series.
Julie Newmar through voice acting still sells the part and she ranks as my favorite Catwoman. She knew and to a large extent still knows how to use what she has. There is just something about the way she talks and in the original series how she walked and reacted. She gives Catwoman here almost as much sensuality and sexuality as she had originally.
Speaking of Catwoman, Lee Meriwether voices a character named Lucilee Diamond with whom Catwoman switches places. Aside from the name being a pun, Meriweather played Catwoman in Batman: The Movie. A rather clever joke if you are aware of who is voicing the character.
The plot of the film starts out with Hugo Strange trying to use a machine to drain all the evil out of an assortment of villains. This seems like a really goofy plot perfect for superhero comedy but Star Trek: The Next Generation used something very similar in a first season episode to kill off Tasha Yar. Come to think of it, it was goofy there and didn’t really fit. However it works here.
Batman vs. Two-Face is a witty film that doesn’t give you side splitting jokes but is still humorous. It’s just silly fun. Its goal is to entertain. Batman is ridiculously upstanding. Robin is ridiculously all American. They do hang a lantern on the police of the Gotham PD knowing they are regularly outmatched by every super villain that shows up and can’t handle the crime of the city without Batman.
And what can I say? The animation is great. It is directly inspired by the television series. While I don’t believe this is officially a continuation of the TV show, you could certainly feel it was. The tone and the look and everything went so well with it.
Batman vs. Two-Face is a fantastic follow-up to Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusaders. Much like its predecessor it feels like it belongs with the show that inspired it. If you want something light or are a fan of the 60 series, then this is worth taking a look at. I recommend this!