Batman (1966) is the first theatrically released film in the live-action Batman film franchise and is a direct continuation of the television series of the same name.
The film was released in theaters two months after the finale of the show’s first season and features most of the original cast members with the exception of Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman in the first two seasons. For the movie, she was replaced by Lee Meriwether.
This review is the first in a series of articles that will examine every theatrically released Batman movie from Batman (1966) to The Dark Knight Rises in honor of The Batman’s release on March 4th.
Batman (1966) Is Still A Fun Movie
You can’t go into this movie expecting a dark and gritty version of the character like the Dark Knight and DCEU versions of the character. If you go into this film expecting a cheesy 60s action-comedy you are really going to enjoy this film.
There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this film solely because of the sheer ridiculousness of some of the dialogue and themes. I mean, come on, the Shark Repellant Bat Spray? That is hilarious!
This is a movie where the four villain’s evil plan is to turn the world leaders into the colorful vials of dust by sucking the water out of their bodies and the Riddler sends riddles to Batman in the sky like he’s the Wicked Witch of the West. This film is just a fun ride all around and is great to have on in the background and watch to ease the tension of everyday life.
Batman’s First Feature Film Features His Greatest Villains
This film features The Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman taking on Batman and Robin to pursue their plan to not just take over Gotham or the country, but the whole world.
All four villains a great in this film and have something to do with the plot which is something modern movies tend to struggle with when dealing with multiple villains. One villain that especially shined was Catwoman and her plan to trick Bruce Wayne into thinking that she was a Russian reporter named Kitka. The villains are then able to kidnap Bruce after he goes on a date with Kitka. Unfortunately for them, Bruce Wayne is, of course, Batman and he was able to escape. Batman then comes back to foil their evil plans once and for all.
Cesar Romero was also someone who stood out as Joker. The Joker is an incredibly hard character to portray and I think he pulls off the craziness fairly well in this film.
Final Thoughts on Batman (1966)
Overall, Batman (1966) isn’t going to be for everyone, however, if you are a fan of cheesy comedies this is without a doubt one of the greatest. There are even other films in the Batman series that will try and fail to replicate this film’s comedic success.
Adam West and Burt Ward are fairly decent in the roles of Batman and Robin. West will forever be an example for current and future Batman actors and is a classic interpretation of the character.
Although if you are only a fan of the dark and serious aspects of the Batman character then this film will definitely not be for you. However, the Batman character has always been known for his wacky gadgets and characters so I feel it is a necessary part of the character. Sometimes it’s just great to be able to make fun of something that is supposed to be serious.
Batman (1966) is what started it all and is a fun film for those who are willing to give it a chance. For those that do not enjoy this film perhaps a darker interpretation such as Batman (1989) will be for them which will be the next film we discuss.
Batman (1966) stars Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Burt Ward as Dick Grayson / Robin, Lee Meriwether as The Catwoman, Cesar Romero as The Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, Alan Napier as Alfred, Neil Hamilton as Commissioner Gordon, and Stafford Repp as Chief O’Hara.
What are your thoughts on Batman (1966)? Do you think it holds up in 2022? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to come back to The Illuminerdi to be notified of more DC news and reviews like this in the future!