Holy Animated Comebacks! Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Hits Blu-ray

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Batman Return of the Caped Crusaders

As often as we comic fans like to say that Batman is supposed to be a benevolent fascist, and battle whether our favorite is Nolan's "Dark Knight" or Miller's "Dark Knight" or one of the post-60s comic book incarnations, there will always be a special place inside each of us that regards Adam West as the Batman. Alas, as the Caped Crusader is well into his Golden Age, it's unlikely we'll ever see him play the role again.

But wait! What's this!

Could it be?

A new Adam West Batman?

The resurgence of the Boy Wonder?

Catwoman triumphant?

You don't want to miss this, bat-fans! BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS is a multi-leveled plot featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprising their roles -- albeit in voice only -- with an animated feature that squeezes almost all of 1966 into a full hour-plus adventure. In a sequel to the 1966 BATMAN movie, this story involves the teaming of Batman's greatest arch foes: The Joker (Jeff Bergman, doing a wonderful Cesar Romero impression), Penguin (William Salyers), Riddler (Wally Wingert) and Catwoman (Newmar). They've come together to steal a new scientific device -- a duplicator ray -- that can, as it suggests, duplicate whatever it is aimed at. And what they ostensibly want is a Gotham, each, to rule.

However, that's just the tip of the iceberg in this magnificent meandering into alliterative allocutions! Because Catwoman, the felonious feline, still has plans to get her crooked claws into Batman's pure heart. But the only way to do so is to make that heart not so pure. And when the duplicator ray and Catwoman's perfidious poison come together, Gotham City finds itself beseiged by an army of it's greatest enemy: Batman!

Watch as an exiled Boy Wonder joins forces with Gotham City's most curvaceous criminal! Cringe as Batman takes down Joker and Riddler with lines from BATMAN (1988) and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS! Chortle at the improprietous implications and insidious innuendo that is the mind of Aunt Harriet! And nod with vociferious agreement at the subtle takedown jab at the ending of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!

The best part about BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADER, beyond having our iconic idols from the glory days deliver one more blow for justice, is that the animators include everyone from the series. A prison break and subsequent battle sees Batman fighting everyone from Bookworm to Mister Freeze, King Tut to The Archer, The Minstrel to Egghead, Louie the Lilac to Siren, Shame to... well, you get the idea. Look sharp and you'll find your villain. Even all three versions of Catwoman -- including the Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt roles -- are here, introduced in a clever method that allows for it to happen.

The sad part is that, with such an inclusion of all that was this era of Batman, there's only one person missing: Batgirl. And while I wouldn't want her shoe-horned in by the writers just for the sake of inclusion, it would have been a nice nod, particularly given that we just lost Yvonne Craig a little over a year past.

Bonus features on this Blu-ray release include featurettes on the villains and on the voice masters who brought them all to life.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0