Get ready for a heaping helping of heroism, because the '60s Batman is returning for an all new animated adventure. Warner Bros. and DC Animation already announced Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders with a hilarious teaser, but now we have a proper look at what to expect from the film with its first trailer.
The new movie features the return of Adam West and Burt Ward as the voices of Batman and Robin as they fight to save Gotham City from their most fearsome foes. Julie Newmar also returns to voice the fearsome feline villainess Catwoman, who's ready to torment the Dynamic Duo alongside the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin.
Recent years have seen a resurgence in DC Animation, with a notable dedication to building up the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, and while Return of the Caped Crusaders clearly doesn't take place in the same continuity it still represents an important step for DC's animated originals. The movie finally brings a dose of comedy to DC's animated offerings, breaking a trend of more adult-oriented animation.
DC Animation Needs Something New
The company's latest line of animated home releases launched back in 2007 with a specific goal of making more adult-oriented stories. That's more than obvious in their Batman movies, which have featured adaptations of classic Batman comics like Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns that have stayed true to the violence, sex and mature themes of the books.
And of course, that adult style hit its peak with the recently released Batman: The Killing Joke — DC's first R-rated animated feature that went out of its way to include a sexual relationship between Batman and Batgirl that wasn't in its source material.
There's nothing wrong with mature or adult-oriented stories, but so far the takes we've seen from the DCU Originals line have been devoid of one thing — comedy. The films have dealt with the weightier issues of superheroics, which has no doubt been interesting for many, but at a certain point it's nice to have a break from the heavy subjects with a lighter story.
For some, it might even seem like DC Animation can only do dark stories — a complaint we've seen time and again when it comes to the company's live-action films. Bringing in a fresh element of comedy could attract more viewers to the animated movies while bringing something new to current fans.
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'60s Batman Is Perfect For Laughs
DC's animated features have been more gritty than light, but the '60s Batman TV series is a great launching pad towards some more comedic fare. Remember, Adam West's take on the character was the definitive version of Batman for many up until Michael Keaton inhabited the role in 1989. A whole generation was introduced to Batman as a do-gooder detective instead of the Dark Knight, and while things have changed in the years since it's hard to ignore that legacy. Without the Batman show, the character might have fallen out of the public consciousness before his '80s rebirth, and a new animated movie is a fitting tribute to the series's legacy.
Moreover, DC's already proven the modern appeal of the series with Batman '66, a comics series that also returned to the world of the show. The book lasted 30 issues between 2013 and 2015, earning critical praise and fan adoration alike for its light-hearted, comedic take on the Dynamic Duo. The book even incorporated characters created after the show's run — like Poison Ivy, Bane and Killer Croc — giving a fun retro flair to some new elements.
Return of the Caped Crusaders seems to take some visual cues from the comics, and if the movie takes more from the books we could see some really exciting expansions to Batman's '60s universe. That also includes a more modern comedic sensibility, which we'd definitely welcome.
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will be available on Digital HD on October 11, with a Blu-ray Combo Pack release set for November 1. Do you want to see more comedy in DC's animated movies? Let us know in the comments below.