Bad Movie Review: Batman The Movie

I’m going to first start this off by saying that I unashamedly LOVE Batman. He’s my favorite comic book hero bar none. Everything about Batman is awesome. I would explain this love further, but if you have any common sense you will have to just come to the same conclusion I did. Think of it this way: If Superman calls Batman the “Most dangerous man in the universe”, then it’s true. When Superman entrusted only one person with a Kryponite ring to keep him in line, the only choice was Batman, and he answered the call with resounding beatings dished out to the Man of Steel. Heck, Batman kept detailed files on all of his allies in the Justice League in case he ever needed to take them down, using an ingenious combination of planning, science, and strategy to exploit all of their weaknesses. Therefore, Batman is awesome. But now on to the movie.

For those of you who have grown up on the Post-Burton Batman, seeing this movie will be a jarring experience. You’ll think to yourself, “How could they do this to a Batman movie?!”. And when looking at it from modern eyes you’d be correct to ask that question. But imagine how it was in the 60’s. Batman comics in this period were a lighthearted kids affair. It was all about the adventure and the excitement, and often the comics had a science fiction edge to them; this movie is no different. The tone of Batman that we know today wouldn’t come along till the mid 80’s. This movie was released in 1966, which means one thing: Batman is going to be groovy. As a kid this was the first experience of Batman I ever remember having, so going from this to the Tim Burton film was a confusing transition. Then Batman: The Animated Series came along and gave me a great middle ground along with one of the greatest cartoon series ever made, but I digress.

This movie is so awesome that even the poster can barely contain it.

The first thing you have to realize with this movie is that you can’t take it seriously, and I believe the movie doesn’t want you to. The best way to enjoy this movie is to look at it as a comedy or parody. And when you do that, holy jackpot (as Robin would say), this movie becomes awesome. Adam West as Batman is one of the most hilarious but earnestly overdone roles in film history, you can’t help but love it. If you only know Adam West as Mayor Adam West from Family Guy then you do not know half of what makes West totally the boss. The way he delivers his lines with seriousness, gravitas and smugness all at the same time is nothing sort of brilliant. It’s like he knows this movie is ridiculous, and he just goes along with it, it’s amazing.

Burt Ward as Robin is just sort of there with his trademark HOLY (insert ridiculous pun) Batman! quips (every single one he ever did on the show is listed here). They are pretty hilarious, but other than that he doesn’t contribute a whole lot, West definitely steals the show. As far as the villains go, you have The Joker, The Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman and a bunch of pirates. Yes, Batman fights pirates. Cesear Romero as the Joker is considered by some to be the best Joker ever, but I like the Animated Series version and the Ledger version better. Frank Gorshin as The Riddler is completely insane, and he’s a lot of fun to watch. The Penguin is played by Burgess Meredith, and I would have to say that I love this version of the Penguin, mostly because Burgess Meredith is completely rad. If you don’t know who he is, he also played Mick on the Rocky movies, but he was also fantastic on some classic episodes of the Twilight Zone.

The plot involves a device that can turn people to dust, Batman and Robin fighting the villains on a submarine, exploding sharks and octopuses, a hilarious scene with Batman trying to get rid of a bomb, and all of Batman’s equipment beginning with the word Bat. You have the Bat-ladder, Bat-rope, Bat-radio, Bat-chopper, etc etc. It’s great. The first 10 minutes of the movie tell you everything you need to expect: Breathless narration, implausible costume changes, bikini girls waving at the Heroes as they fly over in a helicopter, disappearing yachts, shark attacks warded off by shark repellent spray, exploding sharks, and Batman answering questions from reporters in a way only Adam West can. This movie is a heck of a good time. As a serious Batman fan I love this movie. Watching it now after seeing the Burton and Nolan versions of Batman, this movie is a fantastic spoof of the entire genre. Everyone must watch it.

“Robin! We must find bathrooms quickly! The fate of the free world hangs in the balance!”

Highlights of the film
1. Adam West and his amazingly overacted dialogue.
2. Exploding sharks.
3. The image of Batman fighting pirates.
4. The fact that all Bat-equipment has to start with Bat.
5. Robin saying the he and Batman’s message is “Support your Police!”
6. Every time that Batman says “Precisely Robin!” or “Right you are Robin!”
7. Commissioner Gordon’s hilarious outbursts.
8. The random Irish cop that hangs out with Commissioner Gordon.
9. The completely roundabout way that Batman and Robin figure out who’s behind the shark attack.
10. The pirate henchmen who say “Yo Ho!” every time they are called upon.
11. The ridiculous Captain Kirk-style fight choreography.

Get some friends together and go watch this movie now. You’ll thank me later. It’s available for instant viewing on Netflix.

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