And Robin’s yellow cape sparkles!!!
Ha, that was just one of my many joys in watching this movie. Okay, spoilers ahead, my friends.
The plot’s overarching theme is how lonely Batman is, showing him coming home after a mission and heating up lobster Thermidor in the microwave that Alfred left for him and eating it alone, watching a movie alone, looking at the portrait of himself and his parents. Alfred urges Bruce to get out more and practically puts him in time-out as Bruce pouts and stamps his feet about going to Jim Gordon’s retirement party, ha, ha!
Bruce does go and plays up the playboy routine. He meets Dick Grayson, a lonely little orphan who wants to be adopted and Bruce consents to it absentmindedly while going ga-ga over Barbara Gordon, introduced as her father’s replacement. The romance is one-sided, though, as Barbara seems more interested in being a friend. She’s a highly competent woman who prefers to make Batman cooperate with keeping law and order in Gotham instead of going it alone.
Next Batman watches a TV interview with Superman, who discusses sending his archenemy Zod to the Phantom Zone using the projector guarded closely in the Fortress of Solitude. Batman decides to send the Joker there and takes along Robin, who picks out a costume in a hilarious sequence that involves tearing off the long pants to go with short pants. Yay for the original costume! And the yellow cape sparkles!!!
At the Fortress, Batman discovers the 57th JLA Anniversary Party (clever) and that he wasn’t invited. Considering that he’s probably condescended to his colleagues plenty of times and declared he doesn’t need anybody, no surprise. We see Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and more! Funny scene with the underlying moment of Batman being hurt, but he brought it on himself!
He and Robin successfully steal the projector, send the Joker to the Phantom Zone, and the Joker returns with a bunch of Zone baddies to take over Gotham. Needless to say, they don’t succeed, and there are appearances by just about every Bat-villain you can name let out of Arkham to help. Heck, this movie even makes the Joker cute!
We see a few quick flashes of Catwoman and the actor doing Bane’s voice is perfect. Also, one of the laugh-out-loud moments is the appearance of Condiment King, who squirts bottles of mustard and ketchup and the contents go plop! I’m sure there’s a story out there somewhere where he’s robbed fast food restaurants or stolen the payroll of the Heinz 57 ketchup factory, heh heh.
There are references to the comics, movies, and the TV show. Pretty much a jab at the comics when Batman is told that he does the same thing over and over, pushing people away. How many times have we seen Bruce learn the lesson that he needs people, but in the next retcon here or reboot there, he’s back to pushing them away? He does hurt Alfred, Dick and Barbara with his selfishness but when he realizes it, atones and this time makes it stick.
A good montage of the history of Batman in the movies and TV was cleverly sneaked in, narrated by Alfred.
The TV show’s references were priceless: the Bat Anti-Shark Repellent! Alfred wearing the Batman costume with his mustache showing and remarking, “I’m nostalgic for the Sixties” and the Bam! Pow! Zap! fight effects. Bat-villains showing up from the show like King Tut and Egghead. We even hear the theme song a few times.
Alfred is shown putting Bruce in time-out, exerting parental control over the Bat-computer, and being bad-ass during the fight scenes.
Barbara is highly competent as Police Commissioner and gets to wear the classic yellow-and-purple Batgirl costume in the final scenes.
And Dick Grayson? *happy sigh* He’s great! A little too naïve, as comics Dick never struck me as such even as a kid. He knew what Bruce was about from the get-go, but I’ll overlook that because it fits this movie. He has brown hair (probably as a nod to Burt Ward’s Robin) and for some reason wears glasses, but he’s Dick all the way. He’s a happy, bubbly, effervescent kid who adores Batman and has gymnastic skills. His circus background is never mentioned but his acrobatic energy is all there, sliding down the banister at Wayne Manor and across the long dining room table, tee hee.
When he calls Batman “Dad” and Alfred “Grandpa”, you’ll smile and smile. And he’s a plucky little hero, just as we expect. He is shown as the one who opens up the possibility of a bright new world for Bruce.
By the end of the movie Bruce is very happy to have his new Bat-Family, and we see him eating lobster Thermidor at the dining room table with the family, watching movies together, and putting up a photograph of his new family next to the one of him and his parents on the wall.
Everyone involved in this did a great job. You can bring your kids to this movie without any worries and adults will get a big kick out of it. The quick energy doesn't overwhelm you like a light show gone crazy, and plenty of in-jokes for people familiar with the comics, movies, and TV show. Most of all, it's FUN!
I highly recommend this movie to any comics fan, Bat-fan, and especially, to any Dick Grayson fans! :) I give it an A, maybe even an A+ because of how happy I felt leaving the theater, and still smiling when I think about certain scenes and lines.
So rev up the Batmobile and get yourself to a movie theater quick! You won’t regret it! :)
And Robin’s yellow cape sparkles!!! ;)