‘Batman vs. Two-Face’: Rest in Peace, Old Chum

We’ve come to the end of the road, chums. After 51 years, we’ve finally reached the end of Adam West’s run on Batman. Sure, in the future, we will remember The Dark Knight, Batfleck, and the comic books and TV shows, but there will always be that inkling of that campy, silly spectacle of the 1960’s where words appeared on the screen when someone was punched or kicked and the guy playing Batman took it way too seriously.

But that was the true genius of Adam West; The fact that he took the role seriously. Adam West’s Batman was the straight man in a world gone mad and his strange detachment, as if he were the only man in the world who didn’t really how insane the world had become was what made Batman ’66 a classic. Adam West, in every sense of the world, was a comedic master and the bat-signal will never shine quite as bright as it did when he wore the cape and cowl.

Today, though, we’re talking about Batman vs. Two-Face, an animated “what if” that re-imagines Two-Face as a Batman ’66 bad guy played by William Shatner.

You see? It’s already amazing, isn’t it?

Doctor Hugo Strange (also Batman ’66-ified) summons Batman, Robin, and Harvey Dent to his lab where he has invented a machine to drain the evil out of Gotham’s most evil supervillans, but thanks to the machinations of Harley Quinn (because we have to shoehorn her into everything these days), the machine overloads and blasts that concentrated evil into Harvey who becomes the villainous Two-Face!

That’s the first ten minutes, mind you. The rest of the movie is a glorious concerto of hammy acting and ridiculous plot twists that allow two of the greatest acting hams of this and any other generation to chew the scenery like pigs and it’s amazing.

Adam West and William Shatner are really in top form. I remember when I reviewed the last Batman ’66 animated movie and remarked that West sounded old as Batman at first, but with Batman vs. Two-Face, I didn’t even notice. Shatner as well sounded amazing and, to be honest… I’m rather surprised how the normally golden-voiced Captain was able to so effortlessly bring on the palpable menace as the Dual Do-Badder. Since Paramount screwed up the Star Trek 50th anniversary, can we get an animated movie too?

Strangely enough, this time around, it almost seemed like Burt Ward of all people was phoning it in. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy to death, but he just didn’t sound that committed, particularly in the scenes when he’s under the influence of the Two-Face gas (yes, that’s a thing). It’s almost like he didn’t completely understand what was going on.

But, let’s be honest… this is Adam West’s movie and it’s a fitting swan song to the late actor and voice icon. Here he’s incredibly charming, he has unlimited charisma, and he takes the part seriously because he loves it and it shows. Most importantly, it leaves us wanting more that we know we can never have. There will never be another Adam West, a true measure of his impact on Batman and a tragedy of a realization.

Rest well, old chum.

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