Batman vs Two-Face
Batman vs Two-Face 2017
One of the most difficult things about falling behind over the past year is the continued break-neck pace that DC puts out their animated direct-to-home-video movies. There’s 3-4 in their regular animated line, 2-3 Lego versions, a couple Superhero Girl movies, and occasionally a few others like this one. This is the sequel to the previous year’s Return of the Caped Crusaders, an animated continuation of the Adam West Batman series from the 60’s with Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar returning to voice their characters. This time around they also add William Shatner as the voice of Two-Face and the Batman movie’s Catwoman Lee Meriwether. This also happens to the be the last film of Adam West before he passed away. Similar to the previous film, this was a lot of fun. It also took a slightly different direction to not overly homage previous incarnations and simply tell a new story in a similarly comedic fashion to the 60’s series with a more modern sensibility.
Just like the Return of the Caped Crusaders, it was fun to hear the return of Adam West and Burt Ward again, and like last time they sound great while Newmar’s voice sounds much more grandmotherly than Catwoman sexy. William Shatner fits easily into the mix and does a great job differentiating the more soft-spoken Harvey Dent with the gruff evil half Two-Face. The rest of the cast do a great job recreating the tone and flavor of the original. The animation feels a little more off than it did in the previous feature, a little bit cheaper than usual though that could just be a failure of memory.
While the feature is called Batman vs. Two-Face, there are still plenty of other Batman villains in the fold. Several are just brief cameos like Joker and Penguin, but there’s also a couple scenes with King Tut and Bookworm who are two villains who haven’t made much of an impact past the classic series and the movie had a lot of fun with them. King Tut has a condition that whenever he gets hit in the head, he switches personalities from a mild-mannered Egyptology professor to an Egypt themed supervillain. He seemed like a good inclusion to play off of Two-Faces dual personalities. It also included an incredibly silly police interrogation and trial.
One other interesting choice with this is the entire choice of including Two-Face to begin with. He was one of Batman’s rogue’s gallery that never actually made it into the television series though there was a script written back in the day by Harlan Ellison. The story doesn’t actually follow that script in any way, shape, or form and the design of the character is actually quite similar to his design in the 90’s animated series just with a different color palette while Harvey Dent’s design is drawn upon how William Shatner himself looked in the 60’s.
The plot itself is simple enough, though surprisingly the movie covers Two-Face’s origin, initial crime spree, capture, and rehabilitation within the first few minutes. The rest of the film deals with the reformed Harvey Dent trying to make his way back up the ladder within the District Attorney’s office while Two-Face has made a return, either as a copycat or Dent himself. Ultimately, the caped crusader discovers that it is Dent himself, taken over the by concentrated evil that created him in the first place.
It’s difficult to discuss the rest of the movie as it follows a very similar formula to recreate the feeling of the original series. There’s plenty of fight scenes filled with visual onomatopoeias, plenty of sign gags with overtly labelled items and places such as “abandoned factory” and the hospital “Sisters of Perpetual Irony”. Batman still makes inexplicably correct leaps in logic and make flimsy excuses for why he and Dick have to leave when duty calls. The entire movie was a lot of fun as I keep mentioning, Shatner fit in perfectly with the tone of the show. Robin felt a little different with several moments where he stood against Batman in his initial suspicions of Dent though it was still played up in the same playful spirit as everything else. There was nothing too deep or serious, but it was all about the comedy and it delivered that where it counts. It felt like a fitting tribute and follow up to the previous movie and a lovely send off to the Bright Knight as Adam West preferred to call this version of Batman. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.