The Case Of The Dark Knight’s Returns

It was actually quite hard to connect the Poptimizer up to a DVD player, so instead we had to float one above it by a few feet (These images will convince no-one).

However to the case at hand. Which Batman is the Bestman. Is it day-glo a go go camp 1960’s Batman, is it Tim Burtons Box Officer swatting dark nonsense or Batman: The Animated Series with its art-deco cartoonery? I must admit from the comment level you either thought it was a foregone conclusion, or did not care. To which I saw fie and pish.

But let us let the Liberal Democrats of this three way battle concede first. For all the box office power of the Tim Burton Batman films, they really are pretty poor. Michael Keaton does a game job, but both films are not sure what to do with him. Fair enough, Batman is not a very realistic character. But he was not meant to be a humourless haunted rubber suit upstaged by his baddies.

Which leaves us with two: and the animated series, for all its overly serious art design, is actually quite good fun. It ran long enough for it to gain a loose limbed momentum and supporting cast of its own. It invented probably the best new villain in years in Harley Quinn, who was easily more interesting than her Joker beau. It even managed to do the whole Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing transition without turning Batman into a dick – something even the comics could not do. But it was only twenty minute cartoons on during Scratchy & Co.

And then Adam West and Burt Ward. Climbing up the side of buildings, meeting stars of the day and battling camp villains with a straight face. Apparently works on two levels, though it does work better for the kids. It invented the bombastic self aware narrator, justified the existence of colour television in one fell swoop and was fun. The comments money was on this due to it being the most POP. But never second guess the Poptimizer…

Nothing more pop than the three minute pop song. Short, self-contained and sweet is the order of the day, and lovely production design is always icing on the cake. The 1960’s series gets silly and repetitive too quickly. The most fun is in coming across a nicely self contained, episode of Batman: The Animated Series. And the Poptimizer fancies Kevin Conroy’s voice too.