BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE
Batman vs. Two-Face is a sequel. Given that it was recorded just before Adam Wests death in June 2017, it is likely to be the last of these Retro Batman films, although Rick Morales and co have made noises about next making a film based around Linda Carters Wonder Woman. West, Ward and Newmar are back, this time joined by Lee Meriwether who acted as Julie Newmar's replacement when she was unavailable to reprise Catwoman in Batman (1966), the theatrical spinoff of the Batman tv series. (In a cute touch, she plays a psychologist that Newmars Catwoman knocks out and leaves inside her cell in the catsuit whereupon she shrugs and decides she likes wearing it). The voice cast is filled out with the actors who played the same parts in Return of the Caped Crusaders.
The main villain this time is Two Face, a fixture of Batman comics since 1942 and variously played on the big screen by Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever (1995) and Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight (2008). Two Face has the distinction of being one villain who did not appear on the 1960s tv show, although apparently there was a script written by Harlan Ellison in which he did appear but this was never filmed. The film also introduces several other villains, including Hugo Strange and his assistant Dr Quinzel, who will of course become Harley Quinn, who never appeared in the 1960s tv series. On the other hand, the film does give time over to supporting villains such as King Tut and Bookworm that were created specifically for the 1960s tv series.
Batman vs. Two-Face is much in the same vein as Return of the Caped Crusaders was. There are all the campily ridiculous lines: Batmans challenge to King Tuts minions: Surrender, you poor deluded fools, and throw yourself upon the mercy of the court or Robins Holy, Amelia Earhart, where do you hide a biplane? Two Face with his motif based around Number 2 seems a natural for the 60s Batman milieu and William Shatner, who could easily have been cast as Two Face back in the original live-action show, has fun in the role. On the other hand, Two Faces origin is mangled he does get his coin but his disfigured face and split personality is merely caused by an accidental leak from Hugo Stranges Evil Extractor, which can also apparently be turned into a gas that gives Robin and a host of others split faces too, as opposed to the comic-book origin where Harvey Dents mind is split after he is scarred by acid thrown by a mob boss. The plot also confusingly starts with Two Faces origin story then jumps forward to after his crime spree as a super-villain to have Harvey Dent given an operation to restore his face and doubly confusingly then have another Two Face in operation around the city.
I enjoyed Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders but found Batman vs. Two-Face merely average. It seems more like watching a regular episode of the 1960s tv series rather than the slyly self-parodying asides that Caped Crusaders came with. There is not quite the same degree of cleverness this time. Indeed, I think it is more a case of a joke that was fresh and amusing the first time around that pales with the rehashing.