Batman and Robin must work fast to thwart a dangerous plot
when the Penguin, the Joker, the Riddler, and Catwoman join forces.
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Starring Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton
Based on the 1966-1969 TV series
Based on characters from DC Comics
I'm a dedicated Batman fan, and I can appreciate the innate camp of a billionaire dressed like a bat fighting crime with his teenage sidekick in a unitard. But this travesty is something else. It's embarassing that this used to be the only way Batman fans could see their hero in live-action. Jesus wept. This has aged like milk in a cabinet. I can honestly say I've gotten more enjoyment from the Schumacher films. The acting, the dialogue, the story, it's all so nonsensical that it's hard to stay awake.
Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) are called upon to save the world when their four greatest enemies join forces to do...something. It's all pretty vague and involves turning government officials into powder and holding them ransom, but there's also a sea captain and a secret machine, as well as a Russian reporter who's secretly Catwoman. It's a chore. The only saving grace is the villains, all of whom put their own mark on the iconic characters they're playing, even if that mark is at times wildly ridiculous. Cesar Romero, Lee Meriwether, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshin are all decent and somewhat memorable, and they kept my interest. But Batman and Robin are boring, one-dimensional, and revered as heroes by the entire world despite never actually doing anything of note. It's mind-boggling.
Batman: The Movie is a great lesson in what superhero movies used to be like before Tim Burton showed up. Sure, there's a lot of camp in Richard Donner's Superman, but the heart is there in spades. This film has none of that. It spits in the face of everything Batman has ever represented, even then, and I can't imagine any self-respecting Batman fan ever truly enjoying this.