Batman (1966): Fun Camp That Doesn’t Quite Work

Batman (1966)

     An important thing to remember in regards to “Batman” is he hasn’t always been the grim Dark Knight. For much of his history he’s actually been the one popularized by the live action show that brought about this movie where he was pretty much a mortal good guy with a side kick who used gadgets to solve issues and had a colorful collection of rogues. I’m going to state up front, I have a bias against the camp of this era. I grew up on Burton’s 1989 “Batman” and “Batman: The Animated Series” that came out of it, which in turn introduced me to “The Dark Knight Returns,” “The Long Halloween” and “The Killing Joke” all of which are some of my favorite Batman stories. I’ve always been a fan of noir and the early camp Batman had none of that noir feel to it.

     Given my bias, I am going to judge this film on it’s own merits though, even if due to the nature of my bias I did not enjoy it as much as the Burton or Nolan films, this is a film that can still compete against “Batman and Robin” and “Batman Forever.”

    “Batman” was directed by Leslie H. Martinson and written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and produced by William Dozier.

The Pros: Bat and Penguin Gadgets – This is one bit of comedy that I actually enjoyed. Penguin has Rocket Umbrellas that the Rogues fly on, Batman has Bat Repellent and the list goes on. The list of gadgets was rather inventive and I like how it was this era of comics that inspired the Monarch and the gadgets in “The Venture Bros.”

The Rogues – The Rogues all have distinct personalities and work sort of…The Penguin and Catwoman are the only competent ones though. The Riddler and Joker could have been replaced by Pirate thugs and the story wouldn’t have changed at all.

Catwoman – Lee Meriwether is great as Catwoman as she is the one who actually manages to infiltrate and hurt Batman as a secret identity she takes is one Batman falls in love with and when he learns they are the same person it breaks his heart, which is sadly the only real damage anyone faces in this film. So she gets point for that. She clearly had fun in this role too.

The Penguin – The Penguin is all about the gadgets and they are fun! He also manages to infiltrate the Batcave too. Seriously, the Joker and the Riddler weren’t needed at all. The Penguin on his own manages to be the greatest threat of the bunch in regards to the capture of the device and turning the world leaders into dust (don’t worry, they are turned back). Burgess Meredith is fantastic.

Batman – Adam West makes a great Batman. He has charm and is easily the best part of this film besides Catwoman and the Penguin. Seeing him as Bruce Wayne is fun too as he goes through convoluted means to keep his identity secret.

Okay: Camp – The camp doesn’t always work. When it does (Penguin’s vehicles, Batman’s devices, etc.) When it doesn’t it is bad…from the Riddler ruining plans to our heroes being really really stupid.

Joker – The Joker has a great design but he basically functions as a minion. There is nothing he did in this film that couldn’t have been done by one of the pirate minions. He is a useless character in this.

Riddler – Like the Joker he has a great design but he spends most of the film sabotaging the Villains plans because of his need for riddles, making him also a useless figure in regards to the story. He isn’t a threat or is no more a threat than Penguin’s hired muscle.

The Humor – The humor is hit and miss…I liked all the Bat devices and Penguin devices as well as the Penguin’s submarine, but besides that it felt too forced. If it had been a funnier film I would have rated it higher.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack is standard camp and isn’t anything I’d listen to again.

The Cons: The Cinematography – The filming looks cheap. This clearly looks like a made for television movie and there isn’t anything unique about it.

Authority Figures Who are Allies – Comissioner Gordon, the President and others appear in this but don’t really do anything but give Batman and Robin their missions. There is nothing unique about any of them, making them cons. Gordon in Burton’s movies had the same problem.

Robin – The wonder kid is just annoying. He is useful at least but he comes off like Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He is solving all of Batman’s issues and solving the Riddles when that should be Batman. Robin isn’t needed in this at all.

Don’t Drink and PSAs – I get kids watched this show but this was really annoying. It felt like the IHOP in “Man of Steel.” It wasn’t needed and had no place in the film.

Stupidity of our Heroes – Batman and Robin have to have every clue given to them, usually by the Riddler. Our heroes are not really competent at all, but everyone around them isn’t either so I guess it balances out?

  For what it is worth I did enjoy this film at times, even if at other times I found myself bored or the humor not quite working. Part of the issue was Batman and Robin had to have the answers handed to them in very obvious riddles by the Riddler most of the time and it was impossible to take any threats they made seriously since they took at 5 minutes to do a PSA about not drinking and remembering to stay in school. If this was a satire it would have worked a lot better, but because it was played straight it was brought down some. This was still fun camp and I’d honestly say it is worth checking out. This was Batman’s history for a long time and Adam West manages to be a very charming and corny Batman.

Final Score: 7 / 10

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Rick and Morty – Season 2, Episode 5 – “Get Schwifty” – People and the Universe are Crazy

Get Schwifty

   “Get Schwifty” is a lot of fun! There manages to be great satire of how people look for patterns where they often times aren’t there or the patterns are completely misunderstood and we see Morty’s relationship develop further with Rick as he learns a lot more about him.

    The episode involves a Big Giant Head arrives above Earth and asking for a musical performance or else Earth will be destroyed. When Morty and Rick rise to the occasion they find Earth put onto a reality show with the life of Earth on the line again. Elsewhere Summer joins a religion about the Giant Heads.

The Pros: The Music – The music in this episode is great! It has an improv aspect to it. Morty and Rick are great together and how the creators mixed it up made it a lot of fun. I still go back and listen to the music from this episode. “Get Schwifty!”

The Message – The message is not to assume on the unexplained as chances are you will be wrong. Those who were worshiping the Giant Heads missed the fact that they were just on a reality show and the entire religion was a lie.

Bird Person – Bird Person was in a rock band with Rick and together they were rebels against the Galactic Government. He lets Morty know that Rick is in a lot of pain and his catch phrases are calls for help…which ends up being true from what we see later when Rick is put into a younger body and brain in a future episode. Bird Person humanizes Rick.

The President – The President is a lot of fun as he fully believes in Rick and Morty and even joins them in the final song they perform that makes Earth the winner on the reality show.

Ice T – Ice T protects Earth and redeems himself as he is taken in by the letters and is made Water T again, just in time for the Numericons to attack as he goes to avenge his father. His arc was funny and a lot of fun.

Morty – Morty runs away from Rick as he doesn’t get why everything is on the line and he just wants to protect his family. He comes around to liking Rick again after Bird Person shares some of Rick’s psychology and story and they resolve their issues.

Rick – Rick loves living with everything on the line (as he is never board when that is going on) and we see that he is musically talented and charismatic in his own way as the President grows to really like him. He really makes this episode and we see him relate to Morty more by the end.

Okay: The Rest of the Family – More could have been done with Summer, Beth and Jerry besides the usual arc of “Child does crazy thing and parents try to be accepting but pay the price” comedy trope.

   Bird Person, Ice T, Rick and Morty are really the characters that make this episode great. The message is great too even though it’s hard to pull off messages in comedy shows well as they are usually overly blunt and end up telling more than showing. This episode is one I’d highly recommend for sure.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10