New York Comic Con featured the world premiere of Return of the Caped Crusaders, an animated Bat-adventure that reunites Adam West and Burt Ward in a 1960s-esque epic! This good-natured, animated romp is being touted as the antidote to DC's darker cinematic direction: and it's proving successful. In great news for Bat-fans everywhere, DC gave us another treat at NYCC; Return of the Caped Crusaders is officially getting a sequel!
What Is 'Return of the Caped Crusaders'?
Nowadays, fans think of Batman as the Dark Knight — a grim and brooding presence that watches over Gotham, bringing evildoers to justice. Back in the 1960s, though, if you mentioned Batman, you'd get a very different reaction. The classic 1960s series, which starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, was an absolute hit; hilariously camp, it held Batman and Robin up as paragons of virtue. It really wasn't made to be taken seriously; the classic 1966 movie, which essentially launched the modern superhero film, even featured a moment when Batman needed to use his "shark-repellent Bat-spray"!
Return of the Caped Crusader is an animated movie that reunites key members of the original cast. It promises to be every bit as quirky and camp as the original (although I suspect some of the moralizing will have been updated, as it was frankly bizarre even at the time). As a fan of the original, I admit that it's going to be strange hearing the youthful Robin played by the present-day Burt Ward! Still, it's sure to be tremendous, quirky fun.
The animated adventure will have a limited, one-day release at US cinemas on October 10 (a week later in the UK), and will then be available on Digital HD and DVD. I freely admit that this is one DC animated movie I will not be missing.
Why Do We Need This Animated Adventure?
Return of the Caped Crusaders in the Batman film 2016 needs, but not the one it deserves. DC has had a troubled year. In marked contrast to the rival Marvel Studios, DC Film has launched a superhero universe that's pretty dark. Man of Steel showed an alien attack that wreaked havoc on Metropolis, and culminated in Superman breaking General Zod's neck. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice compounded this, with Ben Affleck's Batman bitterly frustrated and making an attempt to kill Superman! Even Suicide Squad, with all the humor of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, had tonal problems — it swung from the fun, slapstick comedy of Quinn to much darker themes.
Even DC Animation hasn't been immune to these criticisms. This year's The Killing Joke animated movie was heavily criticized as unnecessarily violent, with the addition of a sexual relationship between Batgirl and Batman that was widely felt to damage Batgirl's character.
Return of the Caped Crusaders is a welcome reminder that DC superheroes don't have to be dark and gritty. It's a reminder that superheroes are the characters we grew up with, and can be associated with humor and joy just as much as they can with deep metaphors and powerful symbolism.
If you're on board with a fun & campy Batman, we'd definitely recommend checking out our Batman Song below!
What Do We Know About the 'Return of the Caped Crusaders' Sequel So Far?
In even better news, now DC has announced - via The Hollywood Reporter - that we're also going to see a sequel! The team will be united yet again in an animated adventure that pits them against the villainous Two-Face. Ironically, Two-Face never appeared in the classic Batman series, although Harlan Ellison had penned a script that would have introduced him. The villain of the sequel is being played by none other than William Shatner, of Star Trek fame!
Shatner is a fantastic choice. While he never appeared in the Batman series (he was busy playing Captain James T. Kirk, after all), he's an icon of the same era, so fits perfectly with the style of these animated adventures.
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Superhero films have come a long way since Batman, but it's great to see we haven't forgotten their roots. Return of the Caped Crusaders - and this promising sequel - take us to a simpler era, an age of humor and hilarity. For those of us who grew up loving the classic series (and movie), this is one nostalgic treat that's sure to leave us delighted.
Have you seen the classic Batman 1960s show?
All images: Warner Bros.