Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – Review

Almost as if in answer to the darkness of Batman: The Killing Joke, on the heels of that movie comes the much more lighthearted Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Have you missed Adam West as Batman, Julie Newmar as Catwoman and Burt Ward as Robin? Then Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is the movie for you!


I was hesitant about Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders when I first heard of it. Often when someone tries to recapture the magic of something that worked in a bygone era, it doesn’t translate well. There’s a fine balance between kitsch and schlock. But I really should not have been worried. At the helm of this movie is DC Animation head James Tucker, who has been producing quality animated movies ever since he took over the group from Bruce Timm and produced the excellent Justice League: War.

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders captures all of the camp and magic that made the 1966 Batman TV series work so well. Tucker, who cowrote the screenplay, definitely captures the voices of Batman, Robin and their rogues very, very well. Thankfully, Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar are all still around to add some extra magic to the movie. All three actors came on board to play Batman, Robin and Catwoman respectively.

What really helps Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders work is that the movie pokes fun at itself too. Aunt Harriet’s musings about Bruce and Dick’s relationships seem like they could have been taken directly from an Ambiguously Gay Duo sketch from SNL. It’s interesting to think of the original Batman TV series inspiring that series of sketches, whose jokes seem to have inspired some of the bits in this movie.

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version=”7″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div> <p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>Dancing Batman wishes you a very happy Saturday! #batman</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A video posted by Billy! (@impossibilly) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2016-12-10T16:53:55+00:00″>Dec 10, 2016 at 8:53am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src=”//”></script>

The actors in the movie who voice The Joker, The Riddler and The Penguin capture the original actors’ voices, cadence and spirit very well. And I especially like that the animators really went all out making the characters look like their live action counterparts, even including Caesar Romero’s whited-out mustache on The Joker.

I loved the way they incorporated, even briefly, many of the villains from the show, including all three actresses who played Catwoman over the span of the series.


The movie is rated PG, but I would have no problem showing this movie to a young child. The action is campy, and much more toned down than DC’s other animated Batman movies. There are some jokes intended for an adult audience, but I think those would pass kids by unnoticed.

If you grew up watching Batman reruns on the PIX-11 equivalent in your hometown, you will definitely want to check out Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and new.