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Non-Review Review: Batman! (1966)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I have to confess, I think that Adam West’s Batman! gets a bit of an unfair time from comic book aficionados, movie fans and even casual pundits. In the years since the iconic movie and television show, fans have acted like camp and comedy are elements that have no place in the world of the Caped Crusader. There is – of course – a reason for that. Darker portrayals have since come dominate Batman’s characterisation, from Tim Burton’s Batman to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. However, I think one of the most endearing aspects of Batman as a pop culture icon is his ability to adapt. “I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be,” Batman tells Gordon at the climax of The Dark Knight. Sure, sometimes we need him to be a staunch and iconic hero triumphing against adversity. Other times we simply need him to whip out the Bat Shark Repellent.

Batman was “Urk-ed” by the Penguin’s plan…

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Batman Live at the O2 (Review)

I had the chance to check out the new Batman Live stage show at the O2 (the Point) this evening, fresh off the british leg of its world tour. It was very much Batmanas camp pantomime, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it is, after all, a show to bring the whole family to. Still, I couldn’t help wondering if the show was looking to the wrong sources for inspiration. After all, batman has been many things to many people over his seventy years of existence, so there’s a lot of stuff to draw on no matter what angle you choose to take. So I found it quite a bit strange that the stage show opted to draw on Tim Burton’s darkly gothic Gotham when offering light family entertainment, especially when one suspects the Adam West iteration of the character might have suited the tone of the material better.

Joker's wild...

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Non-Review Review: The Hangover, Part II

“It happened again,” Phil whines over the phone to his buddy’s wife during the opening sequence of The Hangover, Part II. Of course it did, that’s the entire point of the sequel. The movie unashamed offers fans pretty much what they might expect from the sequel to a relatively high concept comedy: “more of the same.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing – moments of the film had me rolling around from side to side to side, attempting to figure out if it was hilarious or just plain wrong – but it does mean the film lacks a lot of the originality and sense of freshness that made the first one such a beloved comedy classic.

Bangkok Dangerous?

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The Art of Bat-Deduction…

My copy of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin hardcover should be shipping from Amazon today. In recognition of that fact, and in acknowledgement of Grant Morrison’s description of his book as the Adam West television show filtered through the lens of David Lynch, I give you perhaps my favourite moment of 1960s Batman, from Batman: The Movie. Batman and the Boy Wonder have just been attacked by a shark, leading to the infamous “Bat Shark Repellent” scene, and the Caped Crusader (because it’s just… wrong to call Adam West’s version of the character the Dark Knight) must figure out who was behind the plot:

Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder.
Gordon: You mean, where there’s a fish, there could be a Penguin.
Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? “C” for Catwoman!
Batman: Yet — that exploding shark was pulling my leg!
Gordon: The Joker!
O’Hara: It all adds up to a sinister riddle… Riddle-er. Riddler?

And the scariest part? He’s 100% right. They don’t call him the world’s greatest detective for nothing.

On the phone? That's justice...