Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review #3

Paragon Pundit Hero Movie Review
#3: Batman (1966 movie)

Tonight the Pundit goes back in time to one of the more infamous comic book movies… the original “Batman” movie from 1966. It was produced by 20th Century Fox and starred Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshin. The movie was released on DVD in 2001.

The movie was done following the first season of the ABC TV series, retaining (almost) all of the actors, characters, and overall themes from the series. (Series regular Julie Newmar had other commitments.) Although it pretends to be serious, it truly is the definition of camp.

The movie starts with Batman (West) and Robin (Ward) racing to rescue a kidnapped Commodore Schmidlapp on board his yacht. But instead of finding a yacht, they discover an exploding shark chomping on Batman’s leg. Batman manages to get rid of the shark using his Bat-Anti-Shark-Repellant, which he manages to store in his Batcopter, and gets away before the shark turns into shark bait. Returning to police headquarters, Batman and Robin work with Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara to deduce that the master criminals behind this dastardly deed are the Joker (Romero), the Penguin (Meredith), the Riddler (Gorshin), and Catwoman (Meriwether), and that it is all part of a plot to take over the world.

While the Penguin impersonates Schmidlapp to sneak into the Batcave and use the Bat-resources to his advantage, Catwoman seduces Bruce Wayne by pretending to be a Russian reporter named Miss Kitka. She has no idea, of course, that millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is really Batman, and he manages to use that to get out of their trap… which involves him running along a dock in the middle of daytime as Batman, holding a huge bomb with a lit fuse, trying to find someplace to toss it that doesn’t involve throwing it at ducks, boy scouts, a romantic couple, or a marching band, which all just come out of the woodwork. This leads to one of the lamest lines around… “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

The so-called master plan involves a dehydration machine, a penguin-shaped war surplus submarine, and the United World Security Council (a.k.a. the United Nations). I’d go further into it but I don’t want to Bat-warp your brain any more that it already is at this point.

Sufficient to say, this is how Hollywood saw comic books at that time. If you don’t believe me, then Google up some of the old Filmation cartoons for all of the DC and Marvel heroes. They’re actually better than their live-action counterparts. It would take the release of “Superman: The Movie” to change this view, but that is another review for another time.

This pundit is no friend of camp, especially when it involves superheroes. This whole movie reeks of fermented cheese, and unfortunately it set the stage for future bad hero movies as people like Joel Shoemacher would transform the future Batman movie franchise into pathetic versions of this 60’s movie. Watch it at your Bat-peril.

Capes: I can only give this movie 3 capes. I wish I could give it more, but the cheese factor really did this movie in.
Cheese: Full-blown all-out Limburger (5) cheese with a Bat-order of Bat-Sauerkraut to Bat-boot.
Books: Sorry, but only 2 books here. The story is Bat-weak and the over-Bat-acting really kills it.

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