Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Wally Wingert, Jeff Bergman
Written by: Michael Jelenic, James Tucker (screenplay), William Dozier (based on the 1966 Batman series created by)
Directed by: Rick Morales
Run Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes
It is not difficult knowing where to start on the second Batman ’66 movie to come from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This movie is a treat and I am completely thankful that Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment went to great lengths to capture the look, feel, and tone of the ’66 show that I hold so dear. Furthermore, it saddens me that it took those two studios so long to do this. Imagine what we could have had with Frank Gorshin (The Riddler), Vincent Price (Egg Head), and even Roddy McDowall (the Book Worm) contributing when they were still with us. Alas, this will probably be the last ’66 animated Batman film, as the “Bright Knight” himself is no longer with us. So how does Batman Vs. Two-Face rank? Somewhere in the middle, between our modern sensibility of the characters and the '66 series.
We waste no time getting right to the heart of the story and establishing Harvey Dent's (played by William Shatner) transformation into Two-Face. In typical Batman ’66 fashion, a doctor has a new device that will suck evil from different members of Batman’s rogue gallery, all with the promise of ridding Gotham of their wickedness. There is a sabotage of course, by one of the rogues, and the device blows up leaving Harvey transformed into his split alter ego, Two-Face. However, instead of the story springing from that moment, we are quickly dealt a montage of adventures that the Dynamic Duo has with Two-Face as the titles roll. Upon their completion, we find that Harvey Dent’s face, and thus his personality, has been restored and he is ready to go back to bringing the villains to justice… or is he?
Harvey Dent claims to be on the mend, even taking a job as the assistant to the assistant district attorney to earn back the people’s trust. What is refreshing, in the Batman ’66 motif, is that Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne (Adam West) are best friends. So there is time spent with West being the Bat’s alter ego. The twist here is that Dick (Burt Ward/ Robin) does not like how close Bruce and Harvey are. This creates a weird dynamic between all three of the characters that matters later when Two-Face reappears. I won’t spoil anything.
What works here, in terms of the ’66 series, is that the writers found a way to involve other classic villains including The Bookworm (Jeff Bergman) and King Tut (Wally Wingert) into the plot. They are just mere pawns to the greater threat, but the believability in which the Dynamic Duo foil their schemes is in the classic fashion of piecing together of oversimplified clues (just being honest, Bat-Fans).
What doesn’t work in terms of the original show is Two-Face. What is evident is that Two-Face is not as cookie-cutter as the other villains. None of Batman’s ’66 rogue gallery was Batman’s friend first or an ally in his fight against crime. So to have a character swing so far to evil and then back again, clearly makes him an oddity in the ’66 Bat-World where good guys wear white (blue and yellow spandex) and bad guys wear black (purple and green). What works now is that the character of Two-Face falls more in line with our modern superhero themes. A man split right down the middle who is at odds with his own identity. I thoroughly applaud Batman’s (the writer’s) solution to bringing Harvey/ Two-Face in.
Like I mentioned earlier, this is our last turn with West’s the “Bright Knight”. However, it looks as if the seeds to another story were being sewn, that will never happen now. A new character was introduced to the ’66 rogues gallery and an Easter Egg of a scene is in the bonus features. Ah, what could have been. We just have to appreciate what we were given and enjoy the hours upon hours we have with West as his one only Batman.
Watch a clip Two-Face’s origin HERE on AFJ.
Need more Adam West Batman action? Check put "AFJ’S TOP 10 ADAM WEST BATMAN FIGURES (W/ BONUS PICKS)". Our tribute to the legend in action figure form.
"Batman vs. Two-Face," featuring the final performance of Adam West as Batman, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD is out now!
Special Features for Batman vs. Two-Face include:
• “The Wonderful World of Burt Ward” (featurette) – Spotlighting Burt Ward’s life away from acting – particularly his many benevolent activities, and his lifelong devotion to the health and welfare of dogs.
• Adam West Tribute Panel/2017 Comic-Con International 2017 – At the 2017 Comic-Con International in San Diego, a panel celebrated the life and times of the late Adam West, the legendary “Bright Knight.” Fans laughed, cried and cheered as actress Lee Meriwether (Catwoman from the 1966 Batman movie), director/writer/actor Kevin Smith, actor/radio personality Ralph Garman, producer James Tucker and moderator Gary Miereanu captivated the audience with anecdotes and tales about Adam West.
• Actors Burt Ward and Julie Newmar discussing various aspects of their lives, ambitions, and inspirations.
The last outing of West as the Bright Knight!