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Review: Batman The Movie and 25 to Life

April 8, 2011

Since there’s nothing really exciting to talk about in my life, I’ll just get to the review. Batman: The Movie and 25 to Life.

In one of the first shots of the movie, the filmmakers have taken time to dedicate Batman The Movie to, among others, “lovers of the ridiculous and bizarre”. And on this, it does not disappoint. It stars Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. I-I have to point this out early. In the opening of the film, as they’re sliding down the Batpoles, there is a conveniently placed “instant costume change lever”. One of the finest examples of lampshade hanging I’ve ever seen, and a little message to the audience that says, “We’re here to have fun, and we hope you do too.”

At the start of the movie, Batman and Robin get called on to save an invention that is traveling by yacht. They fly the Batcopter out, only to find that the yacht is an elaborate trick. Batman is attacked by a shark which, after letting go and falling to the sea, explodes. Just-just stay with me here, the movie doesn’t get any less silly from here. There’s Burgess Meredith in a tuxedo and purple tophat, Frank Gorshin in a green suit with black question marks all over it, Cesar Romero in white face paint, green hair, and a purple and green suit, and Lee Meriwether in a quite literal catsuit.

The four main villains of the show have joined forces to take over the United World Security Council by dehydrating the members and kidnapping them. And by “dehydrate”, I mean “turn to dust”. They are, naturally, foiled by Batman and Robin, with the unintended side-effect that the world leaders no longer speak their own native languages.

I…really, I have no real problem with this movie. The effects are awful, the sound is mediocre at best, all of the actors (yes, all of them) are completely over the top, the story is ridiculous, and there’s nothing collectively good about the movie, but that’s what the 60’s Batman series was all about. There is a big difference between accidentally giving a huge performance, and intentionally giving a huge performance because you know that’s why the audience is there. The show was all about being campy and over the top and just plain fun to the point that no one really minded the writing or the technical flaws. Sure, the movie is crap, but it’s a very specific, very enjoyable type of crap, and goddammit, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I swear to God, 25 to Life rips off every police and crime movie EVER MADE. Let’s take a look at the list.

  • Drug deal gone bad.
  • Young gangsta trying to go legit.
  • He has a strong connection with his son.
  • And pulls a daring daylight bank raid out of necessity.
  • And is set up by…
  • A corrupt cop…
  • …being investigated by a black Internal Affairs officer…
  • …who the corrupt cop kills in the aftermath of  a firefight.
  • And the dealer they were chasing escapes to Mexico…
  • Where he wages war on the established cartel…
  • And takes over after killing the head.
  • The young gangsta escapes from prison…
  • …kills the corrupt officer…
  • …makes his way to Mexico…
  • …in order to get revenge on his former partner,
  • Reunites with his son,
  • And points his gun at the amassed police officers.

The whole game feels like the plot came out of a book of Mad Libs. The graphics are sub-par (the character’s mouths don’t even move during the in-engine cutscenes), there is absolutely no replay value, the extra objectives only earn you things to use in multiplayer, and short barrel weapons are somehow more accurate than sniper rifles, even at long ranges (I was able to pick off enemies on a roof with a semi-auto pistol from across a courtyard). Hyper Magazine called this game “unadulterated bullshit”, Game Informer called it a “freshly baked crapcake”, but I prefer the term “bland shit”. The game has no flavor at all. There isn’t any real difficulty to speak of beyond throwing wave after wave of anonymous enemies at you, and when it’s not frustratingly difficult, it’s just dull. I wound up skipping most of the cutscenes because, really, who gives a flying fuck. I’ve been a gamer for most of my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever been less emotionally invested in a character, and that includes the late 90s PC games where your character is never really defined.

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