Post Traumatic Super Hero Movie Syndrome #1: Batman 1966

ptshms_batman1966

Greetings minions! Welcome to the first issue of Post Traumatic Super Hero Movie Syndrome. This is part of a large project I am working on watching every super hero movie I can find. I am starting with all the Batman movies beginning with the 1966 edition of Batman.

Right off the bat in this movie there is a note thanking all police officers for their service to us all. This leads into a theme throughout the movie of being very pro police. This movie features the likes of Adam West and Burt Ward of course. It also features Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Cesar Romero as the Joker, and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler.

In the first moments of the movie Batman and Robin are saving a Yacht from an unknown party. Of course they drive the Batmobile to the local airport and pick up the Batcopter. Literally, EVERYTHING they use has Bat before it even minor things like ladders. The airport must really like Batman because they let him leave his car there free of charge. They fly in the Batcopter to some lake or ocean (or bathtub) to where the yacht is. The Batladder is dropped from the Batcopter and Batman climbs down only to be attacked by what looks like a shark. Robin climbs down with the shark repellent bat spray to counter the shark leaving no one at the controls.

Again, as with several other Batman movies there is a press conference in costume. Unlike the other movies Batman works very closely with the police closer to how he works in the comics. During the press conference Batman is asked by a female Russian reporter to reveal his identity. Of course any decent masked vigilante knows not to do that so he refuses. Everything in this movie is very well explained perhaps too explained almost to the point that it was made specifically to be played on a podcast. Alas what else do you do when you don’t know which super criminal you are going after? You check which super criminals are at large of course! It is revealed that the penguin, joker, catwoman, and riddler are at large and seem to be working together. Now this is where it starts getting really stupid (or should I say camp). For example the line by Robin, “They were at sea! C! C for Catwoman” and by the commissioner “A riddle…Riddler!” and “A sinister joke… the Joker!”.

From there they move to a scene of the Russian woman visiting the Benbow Tavern and it is revealed to the audience in fact that she is Catwoman. This leads into a meeting of the super criminals on the upper level. What stood out to me is that I saw a shelf that said Private Jokes and Private Riddles on it. The fact that the riddles the Riddler uses are private makes it sadder when you hear the riddles later on in the movie. As Catwoman usually does she frequently uses cat puns like purrfectly. It is now revealed that the commodore of the Yacht mentioned earlier has been kidnapped and never realizes that he’s been kidnapped. A close up of the Joker’s face revealed the fact that he has a mustache during this movie. Seriously? At some point you realize they were now underwater in a submarine.

With a little research Batman and Robin discover a discrepancy with what they’ve been seeing. A ride on the bat boat leads them to a buoy. Robin discovers the net that was used to keep the “poor shark” contained. Using a screwdriver from his belt, Batman removes a panel realizing that the location of the villains had been disguised. Without realizing it, Batman and Robin have been trapped by the buoy which is now a magnet.

Meanwhile the Joker is looking through the periscope and sees Bats and Robin have been trapped by the magnet. After an order from the Penguin, the Joker fires several missiles at the dynamic duo. Batman manages to pull a device out of his belt which reverses the polarization of the missiles causing them to explode. After the third one is sent in their direction the device fails and the missile appears to hit but the duo manages to get away just in time.

What shocks me a bit (maybe more than it should) is that everyone knows who Batman, and aren’t surprised when someone by that name calls their phone. He calls someone and discovers that missiles have been sold to a P.N. Gwen with no address. Finally comes the dumb, ridiculous riddles that come shooting into the sky via missile. The first one answered by “it gobbles up” makes a little sense but the second one is bizarre. What sits in a tree and is very dangerous? A sparrow with a machine gun of course!

Later, another pair of riddles answered by Robin as “Banana” and “Russian” reveals to the dynamic duo that the Russian woman may be in trouble. So as Bruce Wayne always does, he takes the lady out for dancing and takes her back to her house while being watched by Robin and Alfred sitting outside in the Batmobile. Meanwhile, every one of the super villains flies on umbrellas above. Due to the fact that Robin and Alfred think it is improper to watch Bruce Wayne do his thing, they are not watching until it is too late. All of the villains have broken in and kidnapped both Bruce and the Russian woman now known as Miss Kitka.

When Bruce comes to, he demands what they have done to Miss Kitka. Due to his belief that they have killed her, he threatens to kill them. Someone should have been fired for that. That’s Batman’s one rule. To prove that Miss Kitka is still alive, Penguin lets Bruce see her under close watch. Unbeknownst to Bruce Wayne, Miss Kitka is actually Catwoman. When he tries to get Kitka to help him escape the three watching, all bust in and a fight scene starts. Of course Batman takes out all of them but not before saving the tenbow tavern from a bomb with a fuse that does not explode for at least 3 minutes just enough to get it out of harms way.

Another brilliant plan from the Penguin is to use a machine called the total dehydrator (that does exactly that) to sneak 5 pirates into the Bat cave. He dehydrates the pirates with the total dehydrator and sticks the dust remaining of the 5 into separate vials. By the time Batman finally gets the bomb into the water the Penguin appears disguised as a different commodore but for some reason left on his monocle making it clear that he is still the Penguin. Despite that fact, the dynamic duo decide to take him to the Bat cave but not before they give him bat knock out gas.

When they get to the bat cave, Robin sprays bat wake up on the Penguin. The Penguin of course asks for some water and is directed to the water dispenser. While Bats and Robin are distracted Penguin fills up the vials but not before knocking the switch to heavy. The vials reform into the pirates but a punch reveals something went terribly wrong with penguins plan. The water was too heavy and the pirates were turned into anti matter thus not being able to exist with matter.

For some reason after this point the dynamic duo thinks that this commodore is not in fact the Penguin so they decide to return him to where he was. During a short ride in the bat mobile, Batman tells Robin to take a pill that Bats gives him. Shortly after the car breaks down and Penguin gasses the dynamic duo. Having taken the pill earlier they were immune to the gas but Penguin still takes the Bat mobile anyways.

Somewhere along the line the penguin gets the idea to kidnap the nine members of the United World security council which seems to be this movie’s version of the United Nations. He plans to use the dehydrator to store them all in vials. The plan goes pretty flawlessly as every security guard gets knocked out by penguin gas. Due to the fact that the security council is busy arguing no one notices that there’s people disappearing. By the time Batman and Robin get there its too late and everyone is gone.

Back in the submarine, the penguin orders the Riddler to shoot a message demanding one million for each of the villains. Meanwhile, the dynamic duo are flying in the bat boat through the bathtub where the submarine is. They circle around the boat forcing it to surface. When they board the boat another fight scene and finally word sounds appear. Everybody falls in the water except for Catwoman. Batman chases after her and finally realizes that Catwoman is Miss Kitka. The commodore drunkenly stumbles into frame confused whats going on and has still not figured out he was kidnapped. He carelessly picks up the vials and all of them shatter.

With one of Batman’s machines in the Batcave, Robin and he managed to separate all of the vials based on ethnicity. They are both wearing aprons. Batman appears to have his tucked through his belt while Robin has his apron over his belt. Before they finish before Robin makes a comment about wanting to make them better and not hate each other. Batman tells him that’s a terrible idea.

Back in the United World building, all of the members are seated in their collective seats connected with tubes to a container of water. Batman turns on the water and all of the members reform to their original state still arguing with each other. The dynamic duo escape through the window and no one seems to notice.

While very silly this movie is still fun to watch. From the everything bat named to the riddles it really gets ridiculous at times. The only real problem I take issue with other than minor inconsistencies is the fact that Bruce Wayne threatens to kill Catwoman. Also Cesar Romero’s mustache really threw me off for a second. I would not encourage anyone who isn’t a fan of Batman to watch this movie but any true Batman fan should see it.

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