Monday, December 04, 2017
My Review of Batman 66: Batman Vs. Two Face (2017)
Written by Michael Jelenic & James Tucker
Directed by Rick Morales
Robin (re Two Face/Harvey Dent): "His friendship means a lot to you, doesn't it?"
Batman: "Yes, but not as much as yours does, Boy Wonder. I wouldn't want anyone else at my side in this never-ending fight against crime."
In the last fortnight, I purchased the complete Batman 66 series and am currently about three quarters into the show's second season, so I decided to put it on pause to catch up with Adam West's final outing as the Caped Crusader as this second animated movie decided to add a few characters not seen in the TV series but added into the comics in recent years as the main antagonist.
First of all, I have to admit that I do find William Shatner to be rather divisive as a person. The guy might be the original Captain Kirk but he can be a bit hit and miss as an actor and his Twitter handle at times is a mess but for the role of Bruce's friend, Harvey Dent and Batman's latest enemy, Two Face, his casting certainly helped to generate some hype here.
Dent's formation into Two Face has usually been at the hand of Sal Maroni, though Batman: The Animated Series had Rupert Thorne play his role in that transformation but here, it's mainly down to Hugo Strange (Jim Ward) coming up with a machine to extract the badness out of villains such as Joker (Jeff Bergman), Penguin (William Salyers), Riddler (Wally Wingert) as well as Egghead and Mr Freeze, only for the machine to backfire and cause Harvey to become Two Face and that's before the opening credits even rolled.
Then the movie takes a bit of a time jump where Two Face has committed some crimes, has been caught and Harvey has seemingly been cured of his dual personality (physically at least) while Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) were doing battles with both King Tut (Wingert) and Bookworm (Bergman), only to realise that Harvey wasn't cured after all.
The one thing I did like about this movie was the rivalry between Dick/Robin and Harvey Dent for Bruce/Batman's approval. Aside from using it as a means of developing Bruce's friendships with both Dick and Harvey, it also provided some reasonable conflict between the Caped Crusaders before Robin was temporarily infected with the same condition that Harvey as the latter then revealed that he planned to give Gotham the same dual personality he had.
Of course when Two Face wasn't bringing out the city's bad side, he also managed to capture the Caped Crusaders and planned to auction off their identities to the highest bidder, while also revealing that he knew who Batman and Robin really were himself. However in a bit of a twist (but not really), the Dynamic Duo had at least one villain on their side - Catwoman (Julie Newmar).
In the previous movie, she had been something of a grudging ally to the duo and in this one, when she wasn't receiving prison visits from Batman and escaping from the slammer, she actually bought the guys off Two Face before helping to beat up the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Shame, Clock King, Freeze and Egghead to boot. The end scene then when she won another Batman auction definitely proved this film was as accommodating for Bat/Cat shippers as the previous one was.
As for Two Face, I do think this movie did a good job of exploring the character's inner battle between embracing his criminal side and Harvey Dent fighting for his identity back. It was a bit convenient that once Dent had returned, Two Face's knowledge of the Dynamic Duo's identity would be gone but perhaps the comics could somewhat reverse this outcome if Harvey ever becomes his bad self again.
- Along with Hugo Strange and Two Face, this movie also gave us Dr Harleen Quinzel (Sirena Itwin), who was an assistant to the former while also breaking the Joker out of prison in a scene for the Blu Ray DVD.
- Lee Meriweather appeared in the movie as Lucille Diamond but also managed to get a scene dressed as Catwoman to boot.
- Early drafts for the movie were to include both Poison Ivy and Wonder Woman, but alas, neither character appeared here.
- There's elements of Two-Face Strikes Again and The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne in this movie along with the fact that this was an idea for a lost episode in the series itself.
- Adam West: 1928-2017. Rest Well, Bright Knight. Lovely tribute there.
Batman Vs. Two Face marks a poignant end to an era to a more playful version of the Caped Crusaders. While it's not quite as strong as last year's Return Of The Caped Crusaders, there's still plenty to enjoy with it's successful capturing of the TV series spirit and the animation itself being rather on point to boot.
Rating: 8 out of 10