Once a day, since Dec. 1, we highlighted a specific small, good thing that happened in popular culture this year.
An odd choice for the Pop Culture Advent Calendar's final day, you say?
Well, look: You're you, I'm me.
My love for the old Adam West/Burt Ward TV series Batman of the 1960s goes bone-deep; why, one could write a book about how very deep it goes. So when word came down that West, Ward and Julie Frickin' Newmar would be returning to voice Batman, Robin and Catwoman in a new animated film set in the original series' trippy, kitchy, Pop-Art universe, it was, to me, a pop culture earthquake.
If, you know, earthquakes were good things.
The film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, delivers on its considerable promise. It nails the all-important tone (gravid absurdism) and the stylistic flourishes (Batman's space-helmet's got itty-bitty bat-ears!) and the fondness for alliteration ("I call it Batnip – one scratch, and that mass of muscles will be mine to manipulate!") and — crucially — the series' bizarre predilection for slapping an explanatory label on every damn thing.
It's got everything you (okay: me) could possibly want, and more — including a sly wink at the homoerotic overtones that are as much a part of the Batman/Robin partnership as Robin's li'l green pixie boots.
And — given that an animated film's special-effects budget is limitless — it goes to places the 1960s series never could, like staging a fight atop a giant penguin-shaped getaway blimp.
"Giant penguin-shaped getaway blimp."
Say it soft, and it's almost like praying.
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