A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Batman is the 1966 movie spin-off of the popular TV show from that time. This is the campy and silly Batman and not the noir superhero-with-a-dark-side portrayed in recent decades. This movie has goofy fight scenes with plenty of comedic pratfalls, and viewers are briefly led to believe Batman has been blown up; he's quickly shown to have survived. The Penguin always has a cigarette, held in a cigarette holder. Overweight women are the target of a joke: They're too busy scarfing down vast quantities of food to notice the panic of those around them attempting to flee the restaurant. Batman goes on a date with a woman; they kiss, and the woman slips into a slinky robe.
What's the story?
The stars of the 1960s TV series jumped onto the big screen for this Dynamic Duo adventure in which an inventor and his "dehydration machine" are abducted by a quartet of supervillains: Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin). The quartet plots to hold the United Nations Security Council for ransom. The foreign dignitaries will be dehydrated (reducing them to powder) but rehydrated if the ransom is met. In pursuit, Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) engage the villains in goofy fight scenes, though physical contact between the brawlers is often covered by the movie's famous on-screen exclamations ("POW!"). Viewers are briefly led to believe that Batman has been blown up; he's quickly shown to have survived.
Is it any good?
Fans of the old TV show will welcome the opportunity to experience once again all the series' hallmarks. They're all here: the unforgettable Neal Hefti theme music, the spinning bat sign, the pop-art exclamations, and Robin's "Holy ... !" hyperbole. Viewers unfamiliar with the TV series will have to judge the movie on its own merits, which are few. BATMAN contains none of the mock tension and suspense that was such a major component of the original TV series. The sparse usage of the TV show's silly narration also undercuts the comedy. The talents of the zany villains from the TV series are wasted, as they're seen merely scheming instead of showing their bizarre quirks.
At some points, Batman becomes an out-and-out comedy (as when our hero combats a rubber shark), further ensuring that kids used to the tightly scripted and intelligently plotted animated series, animated movies such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and the grimly heroic live-action Batman Returns will have little use for this quaint, ironic fossil from another era.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this movie compares to other Batman films. How does the Batman character seem different to you?
Which version of Batman do you prefer, and why?
What are some of the ways in which the fight scenes between Batman and the various "bad guys" are made to be more comical and cartoonish than other forms of violence shown in movies and TV shows?
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