REVIEW: BATMAN: YEAR ONE

CAST (VOICES)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Ben McKenzie (Gotham)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Jon Polito (Gangster Squad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Sara Ballantine (Spider-Man 90s)
Jeff Bennett (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Roark Critchlow (V)
Grey Griffin (Justgice League: Cosmic Clash)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Liliana Mumy (Cheaper By The Dozen)

We’ve seen the origin of Batman’s psychosis and motivation in several forms over the years, from Tim Burton’s creative ’89 reimagining to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. By relation, we’ve also seen earlier stretches of the Dark Knight’s career that follow after his emergence, where he stumbles while finding his footing as his persona, arsenal, and tactics for fighting injustice build within the dangers of Gotham City. The previous incarnations, strangely enough, all occurred with a particular series of comics available to the filmmakers’ and directors’ disposal (and, in the case of Batman Begins, used as a semi-direct source): the Frank Miller-written, David Mazzucchelli-drawn Batman: Year One, which took the character’s rookie year down a fierce, rough-and-tumble path. So when word arrived that the four-comic chronicle would arrive on the disc in the style of their recent animated pictures — like the largely successful Under the Red Hood, with hints hearkening to Mask of the Phantasm — it generated palpable excitement.

We’re shown a young Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie) grieving beside his murdered parents’ graves and experiencing flashbacks to their murder, all after he’s traveled abroad and honed his fighting skills for twelve years, while a brawny Jim Gordon (Bryan Cranston) transfers into the crooked Gotham City police force after a stint in dealing with Internal Affairs (as an accuser, not under investigation) elsewhere. The story carries natural gravity, reflected in the film’s tone; the struggles Gordon undergoes as he witnesses Gotham’s police corruption takes center-stage as he juggles his domestic life, while a grim Bruce Wayne endures a dark breaking-in process once he’s discovered the frightening vigilante identity that’ll come to personify him — and how he can use his wealth and position to purge evil from the city.

The creative team’s diligence towards staying faithful to Miller and Mazzucchelli’s content deserves hefty praise; the look and tone of the universally-flawed characters and the bleak but vivid setting feel reverent, from the neon lights of Gotham’s “red light district” to the stale air of Gordon’s office and the gloom permeating the mausoleum-like halls of Wayne Manor. As it tickers through the days through Batman and Gordon’s lives, it feels like thumbing through the pages of the book at almost the same rate as reading it, only with a slightly more vibrant visual tone. Scenes that linger in the shadows become brighter, handled in a more pragmatic art style. Ben McKenzie aptly sounds the part of a young Bruce Wayne and Batman. During dialogue scenes, McKenzie’s suitably gruff and intimidating; Bryan Cranston’s Jim Gordon, though the Breaking Bad actor fares even better

This is a great film which covers Batman’s origins and the complexity of Gordon’s relationship with work and his wife – with colleagues who stand for everything he fights against and a marriage in crisis, his personal story grabs your interest. The disc contains some impressive bonus features, my favourite being a documentary about rescuing Batman from the camp image he gained in the sixties and seventies. It looks at the grittier works which emerged and re-established him as a dark hero with depth. There are a couple of episodes from the animated series chucked in, but more importantly there’s an animated short about Catwoman which reminds you that this is intended for more mature audiences.

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REVIEW: SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE

CAST (VOICES)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Tim Daly (Superman: TAS)
Andre Braugher (The Mist)
Susan Eisenberg (Justice League)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Julianne Grossman (Spaceballs: TAS)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)

Weeks after the events that led to Lex Luthor’s arrest, the impeachment of his presidency, and Batman’s success in saving the world from the impact of an arriving meteor, a spaceship lands in Gotham City Harbor. While Batman investigates the sunken craft, a young girl with no knowledge of English or any other human languages emerges from the water and accidentally crashes Batman’s boat. Three longshoremen find her where she attacks two of them in self-defense while the third one just gives up his coat to her in order for her to cover up. She accidentally causes all sorts of havoc with her Kryptonian-like powers until the Dark Knight exposes her to a piece of Kryptonite while Superman gives the blimp that she unknowingly used her heat vision on a water landing.

With Superman’s help, they discover that the girl is Kara Zor-El, the niece of Jor-El and Superman’s biological cousin. While Superman welcomes Kara, teaches her English, and helps her adjust to Earth society, Batman remains suspicious. Tipped off by Batman, Wonder Woman and Lyla ambush Clark Kent and Kara in a park and take Kara to Themyscira, on the basis that only there can she learn to control her powers. Superman reluctantly agrees, but still prefers to watch to Kara himself. Meanwhile on the planet Apokolips, Darkseid learns of Kara’s presence on Earth, and orders Granny Goodness to have her brought to Apokolips as a possible candidate to lead the Female Furies since the departure of Big Barda and the warrior Treasure being a failed candidate.

While Batman and Superman are checking on Kara on Themyscira, Kara was paired up in her training against Artemis. While Kara and Lyla later sneak away for a swim, a horde of Doomsday clones arrive from Apokolips. Superman, Wonder Woman and the Amazonian army fight them for a while until Superman vaporizes all of them with a single blast of his heat vision, but Batman discovers that Kara is missing, and that Darkseid’s Omega Beams have killed Lyla (while trying to prevent Kara’s abduction).

Distraught, Superman vows to avenge her and save Kara. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman locate and recruit Big Barda to help them find their way on Apokolips. Once there, Superman tears his way to Darkseid’s palace while Wonder Woman and Barda go through the sewers directly into the fighting arena, where Granny Goodness and the Female Furies ambush them. After a long fight, Granny and the Furies are subdued. Batman, meanwhile, makes his way underground and finds the Hell Spores, the source of the fire pits on Apokolips, and activates them.

Superman encounters Darkseid, who sets the brainwashed Kara on him. Kara pummels Superman while Darkseid watches, until Batman confronts Darkseid and informs him that he has activated the Hell Spores, all of which will destroy Apokolips. He issues Darkseid an ultimatum: free Kara and promise to leave her alone and Batman will deactivate the Spores. Intrigued, Darkseid admits his admiration for Batman’s tactics. Acknowledging that neither Superman nor Wonder Woman has the “strength of character” to destroy an entire planet, Darkseid relents. Superman manages to defeat Kara and Barda and Wonder Woman present Darkseid with the subdued Granny. Defeated, Darkseid allows them to leave Apokolips. Back on Themyscira, a funeral is held for Lyra as Kara pays her respects.

With their lives normal again, Clark decides to take Kara to meet his adoptive parents in Smallville. However, Darkseid, who was waiting to kill Superman, ambushes them: he had promised to leave Kara alone, but not Superman or Earth. Darkseid’s Omega Beams blast Superman into orbit, leaving Kara to face the tyrant herself. A lengthy battle ensues with Kara (having received both Amazonian and Apokoliptian training) putting up a respectable fight, but Darkseid eventually overpowers her. Superman recovers and returns to Earth to confront Darkseid again. He gains the upper hand and pummels Darkseid using a combination of punches and heat vision at super speed. Darkseid grabs Superman and begins attacking him with Omega Beams. As Superman’s skin starts to glow red hot from the assault, Kara uses Darkseid’s Mother Box to activate a Boom Tube behind Darkseid. Superman uses the momentary distraction to his advantage and pushes Darkseid through. While Superman anticipates Darkseid’s eventual return from Apokolips, Kara informs him that she changed the coordinates to a random spot in space, leaving Darkseid floating around frozen in ice.

Having saved her cousin’s life and found her place on Earth, Kara decides to use her powers to fight for altruism under the alias of Supergirl. She is met with applause by Wonder Woman, the Amazons, and, finally, Batman. Superman and Supergirl then fly off to Metropolis.

I hugely enjoyed Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, besides of the screenplay, the characters and the awesome action scenes.Bringing in Summer Glau as Supergirl was a masterstroke she is brilliant voicing the character and makes you feel for her.

REVIEW: BATMAN (1989)

CAST

Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Jack Nicholson (The Shining)
Kim Basinger (Cellular)
Robert Wuhl (Police Squad)
Pat Hingle (Shaft)
Billy Dee Williams(Alien Intruder)
Michael Gough (Corpse Bride)
Jack Palance (Young Guns)
Tracey Walter (COnan The Destroyer)
Carl Chase (Alien 3)

The mayor of Gotham City orders District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) to increase police activity and combat crime in preparation for the city’s bicentennial. Reporter Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) and photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) begin to investigate reports of a vigilante dubbed “Batman”, who is targeting the city’s criminals.  Mob boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), who has already been targeted by Dent, discovers his mistress (Jerry Hall) is involved with his second-in-command, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson). With the help of corrupt police lieutenant Max Eckhardt (William Hootkins), Grissom sets up Napier to be murdered during a raid at the Axis Chemicals plant. During the ensuing shootout, Napier kills Eckhardt, after which Batman suddenly appears. The two struggle, and Napier is accidentally knocked into a vat of chemical waste. Batman flees, and Napier is presumed dead.

Batman is, in actuality, Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), a billionaire industrialist who, as a child, witnessed his parents’ murder at the hands of a young psychopathic mugger. Bruce meets and falls for Vicki at a fundraiser, and the two begin a relationship. Meanwhile, Napier survives the accident, but is horribly disfigured with chalk-white skin, emerald-green hair and a permanent ruby-red grin. Already a sociopath, Napier is driven completely insane by his plight, he reinvents himself as “The Joker”, kills Grissom in revenge for his set-up, and usurps his criminal empire. In addition, the Joker seeks retaliation against Batman, whom he blames for his disfigurement. During his research for information about Batman, the Joker himself also falls for Vicki.

The Joker begins to terrorize the city, first by lacing hygiene products with a deadly chemical known as “Smilex”, which causes victims to laugh to death when used in certain combinations. The Joker then sets a trap at the Gotham Museum of Art for Vicki, and he and his henchmen vandalize works of art. Batman arrives and rescues Vicki, and the pair escape in the Batmobile. Batman gives information about Smilex to Vicki so she can warn the city via Gotham newspapers about the poisoned products.

Bruce meets with Vicki at her apartment, prepared to tell her that he is Batman. They are interrupted by the Joker, who asks Bruce, “Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight?” before shooting him. Bruce, who was wearing body armor, escapes, and recollects that the young mugger who killed his parents had asked him the same question; he realizes that the mugger was none other than the Joker himself. Vicki suddenly appears in the Batcave, having been let in by Bruce’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough). After avouching himself to Vicki, Bruce—as Batman—leaves to destroy the Axis Chemical plant. Meanwhile, the Joker lures the townspeople to a nighttime parade with a promise to give away $20 million in cash. When the citizens arrive, however, he attacks them with Smilex gas, spewing it from his giant parade balloons. Batman arrives on the scene and saves Gotham City from the attack using the Batwing. A mad Joker kills his friend Bob, then takes out a long gun and shoots at the Batwing, causing it to crash. Next, the Joker kidnaps Vicki and takes her to the top of a cathedral.

Batman pursues the two, and at the top of the dusty edifice, he and the Joker confront each other in single combat. When the Joker attempts an escape via a helicopter, Batman grapples the Joker’s leg to a heavy stone sculpture, causing him to fall to his death. Commissioner Gordon unveils the Bat-Signal along with a note from Batman read by Harvey Dent, promising to defend Gotham whenever crime strikes again.

A great Gothic interpretation of Batma. One of the all time greatest Batman adaptations ever.

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – SEASON 1-3

Image result for batman the brave and the bold logo

MAIN CAST

Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (Super hero Squad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Corey Burton (Critters)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Vyvan Pham (Generator Rex)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Mikey Kelley (TMNT)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Jeff Bennett (James Bond Jr.)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies)
Armin Shimmerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Jeffrey Combs (Gothman)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam West (BAtman 60s)
Julie Newmar (Batman 60s)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and Thje X-Men)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Revels)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

There’s a gloriously meta moment in the back half of this season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where the show’s producers are raked over the coals at Comic-Con. One of the twentysomethings in the crowd grouses and groans about how the Caped Crusader in the cartoon isn’t his Batman, and…well, he’s not wrong. DC’s comics anymore are joylessly grim and gritty…22 monthly pages of misery and scowling and torture and dismemberment and death and high collars and way too much crosshatching. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, is defined by its vivid colors and clean, thick linework. It’s a series whose boundless imagination and thirst for high adventure make you feel like a six year old again, all wide-eyed and grinning ear to ear.


You know all about The Dark Knight’s war on crime, and in The Brave and the Bold , he’ll duke it out against any badnik, anywhere. He doesn’t go it alone, either, with every episode pairing Batman up with at least one other DC superhero. Heck, to keep it interesting, The Brave and the Bold shies away from the obvious choices like Superman and Wonder Woman. Instead, you get more interesting team-ups like Blue Beetle (more than one, even!), Elongated Man, Wildcat, Mister Miracle, Kamandi, and B’wana Beast.
Other animated incarnations of Batman have been rooted in something close enough to reality. Sure, you might have androids and the occasional Man-Bat, but they tried to veer away from anything too fantastic. The Brave and tbe Bold has free reign to do just about whatever it wants. One week, maybe you’ll get an adventure in the far-flung reaches of space with a bunch of blobby alien amoebas who mistake Batman for Blue Beetle’s sidekick. The next might offer up Tolkien-esque high fantasy with dragons and dark sorcery. Later on, Aquaman and The Atom could play Fantastic Voyage inside Batman’s bloodstream, all while the Caped Crusader is swimming around in a thirty-story walking pile of toxic waste. He could be in a Western or a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a capes-and-cowls musical or even investigate a series of grisly something-or-anothers alongside Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.

Batman has markedly different relationships with every one of those masked heroes. There’s the gadget geekery with an earlier incarnation of the Blue Beetle. With the younger, greener-but-still-blue Beetle, Batman takes on more of a mentor role.

More of a stern paternal figure for Plastic Man, and a rival for Green Arrow. Sometime it might not even be the most pleasant dynamic, such as a decidedly adult Robin who doesn’t feel like he can fully step outside the long shadow that Batman casts.

There are some really unique takes on iconic (and not so iconic!) DC superheroes here, and far and away the standout is Aquaman. This barrel-chested, adventure-loving braggart is my favorite incarnation of the king of the seven seas, and if Aquaman ever scores a cartoon of his own, I hope he looks and acts a lot like this. Oh, and The Brave and the Bold does a spectacular job mining DC’s longboxes for villains too, and along with some of the familiar favorites, you get a chance to boo and hiss at the likes of Kanjar Ro, The Sportsmaster, Kite Man, Gentleman Ghost, Chemo, Calendar ManKing, Crazy Quilt, and Shrapnel. The Brave and the Bold delivers its own versions of Toyman, Vandal Savage, and Libra while it’s at it, the latter of whom has the closest thing to a season arc that the series inches towards.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is every bit as fun and thrilling as you’d expect from a series where every episode’s title ends with an exclamation point. Each installment is fat-packed with action, and the series has a knack for piling it on in ways I never saw coming. Even with as imaginative and off-the-walls as The Brave and the Bold can get, it still sticks to its own internal logic, so the numerous twists, turns, and surprises are all very much earned.

The majority of the episodes have a cold open not related to the remainder of the episode. Despite its episodic nature, if you’re expecting a big storyline in these 26 episodes, you’re going to be pretty disappointed as the extent of an overarching story in the season is the occasional villain that appears more than once, like Starro, but that’s really the only connecting bridge between episodes.

Season 2 contains one of my favorite episodes of not only this particular season, but probably in the entire series, “Chill of the Night!”, which goes back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents, turning him into the crime-fighter he would become, it’s one of the most well known origin stories in media, ever, but it’s done so well here. Another reason I love this episode is my blinding nostalgia for the voice cast.

The original 1960’s Batman, Adam West, guest stars as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, who starred opposite of West as Catwoman from the original Batman TV show, plays Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne. My favorite Batman of all time, theatrical or not, Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series and various other series/movies/games, voices the Phantom Stranger. Lastly, the baddie of the episode, The Spectre, is voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the definitive voice of the Joker.

The Episodes in season 3 are wildly imaginative; so much so that purists will probably be put off, at least initially. They range from “Night of the Batmen”, where batman is incapacitated and it is up to Aquaman, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, and Plastic Man to don the cowl, and keep gotham safe. As weird as that may sound, this episode is pure fun, and a joy to watch. Other stand outs are the never before seen in the states “The Mask of Matches Malone”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”, and “Powerless”.

Special mention has to be made of the final episode of the series however, “Mitefall”. In this meta episode, Batmite does a fantastic job breaking down why the series is ending, and the disconnect of the so-called “purists”, whose baseless, closed minded, ignorance eventually doomed this excellent series.

When all is said and done, we received three outstanding, and criminally underrated, seasons and it is a joy to see.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE BATMAN VS DRACULA

CAST (VOICES)

Rino Romano (Get Him To The Greek)
Alastair Duncan (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)

The Batman vs. Dracula opens inside Arkham Asylum, where a heist is being planned. A mass breakout finds the Joker and the Penguin pitted against each other in search of the loot, which is located in a graveyard. The Batman (voiced by Rino Romano) steps in and heads off the Joker while the Penguin proceeds to break into a crypt and inadvertently awaken Dracula (a perfectly-cast Peter Stormare), who has been “dead” for centuries and somehow vaguely transported to Gotham City. The count begins assembling his army of the undead, and soon the battle is on to decide who will be the last man-bat standing.


The combination of the Batman mythos with the Dracula legend blends ideally at times. A dream sequence that casts the Batman and Dracula as one and the same is visually arresting and thematically compelling. More importantly, temptations to evil and questions of crime-fighting ethics are a major part of what makes Batman an interesting character. It’s nice when those aspects of Bruce Wayne/Batman are handled honestly, instead of glossing them over.


Bat-fans will enjoy both of these features. Although each has a distinct style and different creative teams, they both hew to the basics of the Batman story and the world of Gotham City. There is nothing particularly exceptional here, other than good entertainment and, especially in The Batman vs. Dracula, some wonderful visuals.

 

REVIEW: BATMAN AND ROBIN (1949)

 

CAST

Robert Lowery (Adventures of Superman)
Johnny Duncan (Plan 9 From Outer Space)
Jane Adams (Angels in Disguise)
Lyle Talbot (Atom Man vs Superman)
Ralph Graves (Ladies of Leisure)
William Fawcett (Gunsmoke)
Leonard Penn (Spartacus)

Those familiar with Batman and Robin only through Warner Bros.’ franchise or 20th Century-Fox’s campy TV series (and subsequent feature) may be surprised to learn that Batman’s big screen debut dates all the way back to 1943, in a serial produced by Columbia Pictures. The Batman, as it was called, was followed years later by Batman and Robin (1949), an enjoyable 15-chapter serial. The one-a-week chapter play was running out of steam by 1949; the burgeoning medium of television was killing the market for such things. Moreover, Republic and Columbia, the leading producers of serials in the late-1940s, were cutting corners by recycling the same footage — cars sailing off cliffsides, planes crashing into mountains, dams bursting, etc. — over and over, and unimaginative, budget-conscious writing resulted in one serial’s script playing pretty much like any other. In standard movie serial plotting, the villain of the piece is The Wizard, a hooded criminal mastermind operating from the caverns of a remote island base. (As usual with such villains, he has a lot of all-purpose futuristic equipment stacked atop sturdy wood tables.) As usual for chapter plays, The Wizard’s identity is kept secret until the serial’s climax, though its writers surely want viewers to think it’s eccentric, paralyzed inventor (William Fawcett), who secretly sits at an electric chair-type device decked out in neon that enables him to walk around unaided.

The Wizard’s henchmen steal a fantastic new invention which allows the operator to control moving vehicles of any size from extreme distances. Gotham City’s Commissioner Gordon (Lyle Talbot) enlists the aid of crime-fighters Batman (Robert Lowery) and Robin (John Duncan), the secret alter-egos of wealthy — and, in this serial, outrageously lazy — playboys Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Also on the case is plucky photographer Vicki Vale (Jane Adams), who is unaware that Batman/Bruce and Robin/Dick are one and the same. According the IMDb, Vicki Vale’s popularity was boosted by the serial’s success, prompting Batman creator Bob Kane (who is credited in tiny print onscreen) to make the character more prominent in the comics. He reportedly based her design on Marilyn Monroe, though Jane Adams, a brunette, is rather matronly in Batman and Robin. Some will want to watch Batman and Robin solely to mock its now dated thrills and limited budget, others will be drawn to the DVD’s attractive cover art (see above) and perhaps mistake it for something else. (Columbia’s large font “1949” on the box art seems an effort to stave off lawsuits from Warner Bros. and Fox.) Batman and Robin is an easy target next to, say, Joel Schumacher’s over-produced Batman & Robin (1997), whose honeywagon budget alone probably eclipsed the entire cost of the serial.

It’s certainly easy to laugh at Bruce and Dick grabbing their superhero costumes out of a file cabinet drawer or, in one scene, Dick putting the top up on his late model Mercury convertible so that Bruce can change into Batman. Really, though, by serial standards of the day, Batman and Robin is above average: the two-heroes-for-the-price-of-one premise is a novelty, and it has a lot of energy in some of its action set pieces. There’s a long fight sequence atop a moving train that’s pretty elaborate for a serial, and there’s enough going on in each chapter — mysterious submarines, underground lairs, futuristic gadgetry — that only the most cynical audiences wouldn’t be entertained.

Lowery and Duncan are only okay as Batman and Robin. As Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, the script forces them to behave like sloths around Vicki, and though physically right (at least by late-1940s standards), neither is exactly bursting with charisma. Lowery’s fleshy features suggest Johnny Weissmuller, while Duncan’s Robin/Dick doesn’t so much resemble a Boy Wonder as he does Michael Rooker’s Henry the Serial Killer. Character veteran Talbot is no match for Neil Hamilton’s earnest Commissioner Gordon on the TV show, while Eric Wilton’s Alfred the Butler is all but invisible.