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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a movie that was made and released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1966–1969 popular animated television series. Three of the original stars of the show -- Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar -- reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and the Cat Woman. Their voices may sound older, but they're the real deal, and the spirit of fun that was a trademark of the show and its characters is intact. An antidote to the much darker Batman fare that has become a cultural phenomenon over the last decade, this "retro" version is fast-paced, comic, and filled with the traditional Batman KERPLOWS!, SMOKS!, ZAPS!, and WHOMPS! that accompany the exaggerated cartoon action. And, as was his habit in 1966, Batman continues to provide "meaningful" insights about life as he continues to save the world. This movie has some mild sexual banter and innuendo as Batman relates to his old nemesis, Cat Woman. That coupled with a scene in a nightclub that finds women dancing in cages and the exuberant battle sequences explains the film's PG rating. Only for kids who are comfortable with cartoon fisticuffs and clearly know the difference between real and pretend violence.
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What's the story?
It's clear Batman and company are in big trouble when four of their most formidable enemies team up in BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS. The Joker (who still sounds and looks like Cesar Romero, is voiced by Jeff Bergman), the Penguin (William Salyers), the Riddler (Wally Wingert), and Cat Woman (Julie Newmar) have gotten their malevolent hands on a Replica Ray, which can duplicate anything and everything. It's their key to finally ruling Gotham City. And Cat Woman has a spray can of "Batnip" that could actually turn Batman into a cunning criminal consort. The superheroes take on the supervillains with striking valor, velocity, and vibrant versatility. And just when it seems that Batman and Robin (voiced once again by the iconic Adam West and Burt Ward) have accomplished their mission, a surprising new villain emerges, threatening to turn the planet into a pulverized, powerless, parking lot of panic! Holy trench warfare!
Is it any good?
The campy, dynamic, and oh-so-self-aware Batman of 1960s TV has returned to delight old fans and inspire new ones with Adam West and Burt Ward along for the fast-moving ride. Director Rick Morales and his team of writers and animators bring back all the elements that made the 1966–1969 series such a crowd-pleaser. The pop of the "speech balloons," Robin's obsession with "holy" expletives, the alliterative artistry, and Batman's penchant for philosophizing while under fire all have made it into the final cut. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is very well-done, with a twist that gives it some momentary heft. Though there's a tinge of the darkness that has followed Bruce Wayne and company since the turn of the 21st century, this is the Batman of more innocent times. Only some mild sexual wordplay and innuendo between Batman and Cat Woman contradicts the story's basic virtue. Fine for all except little ones who can't distinguish between real and imaginary violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the prospective audience for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Whom do you think the filmmakers are trying to reach? If you were already a fan of the 1960s television show, did this new movie meet your expectations? If you're new to the concept, did this film inspire you to check out the earlier series?
Compare this version of Batman to others you've seen (movies, Lego DVDs, TV shows). What makes it special? Why do you think it's fondly remembered after so many years?
Look up the term "alliteration." What are some examples of alliteration that appear in the movie (for example, "prince of perverted puzzles" referring to the Riddler)? How does the use of this literary device add to the magic and humor of Batman's character? Write a description of someone you know using alliteration.
Why do you think Batman is such a popular character? What is it about him that both kids and adults relate to?
- On DVD or streaming: November 1, 2016
- Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar
- Director: Rick Morales
- Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage
- Run time: 78 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action, suggestive material, and rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.