Batman 1966 Movie 55th Anniversary Retro Review: Goofy Like Never
Even if you know what to expect, looking back to the 1966s Batman: the movie today is shocking. After years of being pummeled with serious, grainy, big budget superhero glasses, it’s hard to imagine a film as innocent and conscious as the a based on the popular tv show. Everyone involved is so fond of nonsense, so turned on by crazy ideas, so absolutely aware that this is complete nonsense, that the result is not just a time capsule from another era in comic book movie history, but a reminder of why the movies comic books are excellent in the first place.
Released July 30, 1966, Batman: the movie-DWritten by Leslie H. Martinson and written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.—came out between the first and second seasons of the hit television series, which itself lasted for three seasons, from 1966 to 1968. I wasn’t born until 1980, so obviously that wasn’t something I wasn’t aware of until decades later. But growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, especially with the Tim Burton Batman movies rejuvenating interest in the character, the original show was on television a lot. And I watched it a lot. And, finally, I saw the movie. But that was probably the last time I saw him before this week to celebrate his 55th birthday. Sure, I have worn not just nostalgia for the show, but many more decades of superhero baggage, in viewing. Which is important to mention here because, damn it. I knew Batman: the movie was going to be campy-tit shows is campy, tthe memes and pop culture references from the movie (the bomb, the shark, etc.) are campy, I had prepared for campy, but it came well beyond even that.
In Batman: the movie, Adam West and Burt Ward play Batman and Robin, as well as their alter-egos Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. But instead of fighting a single supervillain—as they would on TV every week—their four biggest opponents team up against them: Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), Joker (Cesar Romero), and Riddler (Frank Gorshin). That alone is worthy of a movie and a good level compared to what you would get on TV. From there, the plot is almost too elaborate to explain. Basically, the bad guys-called United Underworld—have too complex a plan to take over the world, which Batman and Robin continue to foil. It all plays out a bit disjointed, with the film almost mirroring a TV show as the bad guys put together elaborate schemes. only to be foiled over and over again, with the larger image lingering in the background.
Anyone who watches an ordinary movie with a plot that was it complicated and filled with so many tangents, would probably reject it. The beauty of Batman: the movie It is what it is done with such joy, it is entertaining anyway. You can’t help but
CC Marvel at the absurdity of everything that is happening thanks to the high performance of all the bad guys. Because make no mistake, while West and Ward are awesome like Batman and Robin, it’s the villains who make the movie so fantastic, just like they do in the series. Whether it be the distinct and cheerful laughs of Riddler or Joker, the way Catwoman always rolls her Rs into a “purr,“ or Penguin …everything, everything is absolutely a delight. Then there’s the fact that they’re all so, So bad for being supervillains. Seriously, every brainless ploy is too elaborate, every chance to kill Batman and Robin takes way too long, every puzzle is too obtuse to actually relate to anything. But the actors are all so engrossed in these characters, everything works.
If everyone in the movie didn’t believe how ridiculous everything was, there’s no way it would work; Ilike the opening sequence where Batman is hanging from a ladder on the Batcopter and a shark bites him, so he asks Robin to bring him the Bat-Shark repellant spray they just have. Or how this spray, with everything, everywhere, is perfectly labeled, even inside their own home. Or how Robin and Alfred follow Bruce go out on a date and have a camera perfectly framed on him at all times and become uncomfortable when he starts snooping. Or when the four deadliest villains in the world stand in a room with a huge gun and no one opinion. Seriously, you could go on describing all of the insanely ridiculous storylines that happen in the movie and you’ll never be bored.
Which, of course, is the point. This is not a film to be taken seriously. Batman running around with a lit bomb and continually finding people or things in his path that won’t allow him to get rid of them isn’t meant to be dramatic. It’s supposed to be funny. The whole movie puts the “comic” in the “comic”. All the over-the-top nonsense, ineptitude, completely impossible things that happen, are there on purpose to make you revel in their hilarity. When Batman and Robin crash into a foam rubber convention, it’s so beyond reality that you have to love it.
Essentially, every scene is like that on some level. Batman fights on a submarine holding a cat. He and Robin are owners a super molecular dust separator to bring world leaders together again. Multiple shots of Bruce Wayne clicking the instant costume change lever. That Bruce and Dick wear their costumes even when they are alone. The irrelevant Archival footage from different countries waiting for Batman and Robin to resurrect their world leaders. Really, watch Batman: the movie after a long time away it was like standing on a beach and wave after wave of savage, funny things crash into me over and over again. It’s not like a modern audience would be able to support characters of this stature.e. Christoper Nolan’s Batman movies or Todd Phillips’ Joker are so far that putting them in the same category is almost a disservice to all of them. But I’m glad they all exist and I’m glad this amazing stupid palate cleanser is something that after more than half a century is still doing wonders.
- Although the movie is only 100 minutes long, I feel like a good 10 to 15 minutes could have been cut some of the bigger budget scenes—mainly those involving the Batcopter and the Batboat. Each is undeniably cool but we don’t need two minutes of flying or gliding on the water every time we see them.
- Oh, cut the torpedoes fired from the Penguins submarine too. There are so many torpedo scenes shot from Penguin’s submarine and five people need to approve it every time. It is atrocious.
- As well, cut out the entire subplot where Penguin dresses up as a human and returns to the Batcave. It’s like a 10 minute scene that’s just there to set up how the dehydrator gun works, but we’ve seen how it works before, and it goes on forever without any gain..
- You could also shave for a few minutes if the bad guys weren’t celebrating every time they think they’ve killed. Batman and Robin. It happens a lot.
- If these villains wanted to do damage, maybe they should use these rockets they are very, very good at shooting to kill people instead of exploding in clouds that spell out puzzles.
- Adam West’s scenes as Bruce Wayne are interesting in that they show him grappling with the secret identity, which adds depth to the film, but also how much more comfortable West seems. in Batman than in Bruce. Bruce’s scenes are all very, very awkward.
- Everything in the movie is obviously dated, but few things are as bad as the headlines when Bruce Wayne is kidnapped. They read “Bruce Wayne and His Kidnapped Girlfriend” followed by “Pretty Girlfriend Seized at Brazen Snatch”. Glad she’s just his mate and her looks are more important to mention than anything else. But hey, it was the 1960s, which is basically what you can tell about the whole movie.
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