Warner Bros. Animation gave the fans at New York Comic Con a real treat. They presented the crowd with the world premiere of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. This new animated film is heavily inspired by the 1966 television series. So, it stands to reason that the production would cast as many of the original actors as they could. Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar star in the film as their characters from the show. So, how’s the movie?
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders might be the most enjoyable Batman film in over a decade. The movie not only pays heavy homage to the 1966 show, but it also takes serious delight in the Silver Age silliness of Batman artists like Dick Sprang. Probably the most surprising thing is that Return of the Caped Crusaders comments on more modern and darker interpretations of the character. Without spoiling the plot, the movie outright drops references to Tim Burton’s Batman, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, and even Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Seeing as how DC has begun to realize that fans are getting numb to the grimmer version of Batman, Return of the Caped Crusaders feels like a welcome return to a lighter and more approachable version of the character.
And Adam West agrees! When the panel started, West was asked why this version of the character has maintained such popularity over the years. His response was that the 1966 version and its various interpretations have always been made for the whole family to enjoy. The audience seemed to agree as they welcomed this statement with a sustained round of applause. Thier disdain for a grim and dark Batman was even clearer when a fan asked how the filmmakers managed to craft a female character in this film (Catwoman) with more agency than Batgirl in the recent animated version of The Killing Joke.
It's clear that fans are ready for Batman to be fun again. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is the ultimate love letter to the fans, willing to poke fun at itself while also creating what would be the best episode of the 1966 show ever (Batman gets to fight in space!). With loads of laughs, a sharp plot, and a true respect for its roots - the cute acknowledgment of all three actresses who played Catwoman tore the house down - this is one Batfans cannot pass up.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will have a limited theatrical engagement on October 10. Go see it in theaters if you can! If not, it will be released digitally on October 11 and will get a home video release on November 1.