Hello and welcome back to the long awaited series of Mini Meh reviews back on Ooh Sometimes, and frankly it couldn’t a better one to start off the mutterings of a fat sleepy old fart than with something entirely geek-filled and a touch of sadness. Sadness not in the geek factor of the mini meh, but the sadness of what this 72 minute film represents.
The release of Batman Vs Two-Face is somewhat timely one can argue, as it’s not long till Justice League drops on our doorsteps, the latest in the DC cinematic car crash being presided over by various people with large budgets, bad scripts, moody f**kers and the desire to make as much money as Marvel / Disney have done. Wonder Woman may have bought the DC Universe and Warner Bros some time and goodwill from the fans, but it’s looking very unlikely that Justice will do anything other than put a further nail in the coffin of the entire series.
In fact, given that Wonder Woman was the only film to be widely praised, including on this very blog and indeed a sequel is forthcoming for that alone so far, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a huge reboot effort would come if the Justice League can’t bring justice to the huge lore and characters it all comes from.
Last year was particularly bad. Batman Vs. Superman was saggy pants to be polite about it, and with the other content released, the animated release of the 60s Batman, along with some of the original cast from then in Return of the Caped Crusaders by default became the best Batman film of 2016. It had humour, lots of references and nods to the 60s TV series, and a wonderful story which actually went places we never expected. It was just a welcome relief to enjoy Batman’s silly side once again, and given the success, a sequel was quickly given the go-ahead.
However Adam West died of leukemia in June 2017 and thus, sadly this meant there would be no more of the caped crusader in the happy, funny, ridiculously good incarnation. It did however come to pass, that Adam West had actually completed all work on Batman Vs. Two-Face and thus what we have here is in essence, the last performance of Adam West, along side Burt Ward as Robin, Julie Newmar as Catwoman, and even better, William Shatner as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent. This was shaping up to be something great.
So the big question is, does Batman Vs. Two-Face not only give a wonderful send-off to Adam West, but also provide a all new wonderful trip back to the 60s along with bringing it into the present with all new action, jokes and various holy phrasing from Robin?
In a word, yes. In more words, damn right they did! It may be the fan boy in me talking now, but honestly it’s hard to imagine that the writers would be able to make lightening strike twice considering how the Return of the Caped Crusaders turned out. But they did, and they actually built upon the good start they made. In fact, for such a short film, it’s incredible to see how much story and pace they packed in.
The story goes that Gotham City’s District Attorney Harvey Dent along with the dynamic duo (after Batman was seeing Catwoman from outside her prison cell, with a poetry book….. not even kidding) bears witness to Dr. Hugo Strange’s new evil sucking device, where actually not being a swedish sex toy, is actually a way to remove evil from supervillians. Dr Strange is being assisted by Dr. Harleen Quinzel, which as we all know is Harley Quinn who gets involved with the Joker, but at this point, is an upstanding psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum.
It’s actually remarkable what the writers pulled from in terms of content from the 60s as well as characters and ideas from more recent years and yet it seems to all fit so well. The way it’s played out briefly, is just hinting at more treachery to come were there to be any more animated adventures.
Of course the evil extraction experiment goes wrong with the supervillians overloading the machine and we see Two-Face be born in the ensuring explosion. The titles then go to show the various run-ins Batman and Robin have with Two-Face until the point he’s caught and then turned back into his old self. But not all is as it seems, as various other villains get captured. Someone’s pulling the strings of the dynamic duo…. Harvey himself looks and acts perfectly fine, but Two-Face resurfaces too, but how? Is there someone else trying to make the reformed District Attorney look bad again?
All this and more of course gets answered, and some of what happens actually is surprisingly creative. The animation is good, the sound and music is spot on, the voice acting is amazingly camp, in keeping with the 60s version of Batman. Insults comprise of “Your mother wears combat boots” in one example, whereas Butler Alfred talks of “Friends before Females” to Batman before he drives off during one such sequence. The callbacks with the punch cards coming from computers, along with reaching conclusions based on completely stupid clues make a welcome return and it’s just a very well put together package.
So I can only end on a high note and say that you should go and get this from your nearest retailer as you will not be left without a smile on your face if you’re a fan of DC’s Dark Knight. It’s sad to know there will be no more of these, but damn, they go out with style and silliness the DC cinematic versions can only dream of. Between this and Lego Batman, it may be a touch choice to say which is better…..