Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recap: Batman: The Movie Part 2: Zap!

In the last Bat-recap, we saw a mysterious disappearing yacht!

A shark biting off more than it can chew!
A feline felon with a new face, feigning the form of a femme fatale!
An alliance of evil?
And the final end of Batman and Robin?
 But wait! The worst is yet to come!

Presented in color.
The Penguin-Sub surfaces and the fiends quickly discover that both Batman and the buoy are intact. But only the buoy is still there; Batman beat a hasty retreat with Robin in the Bat-Boat against all odds.

Robin: "Gosh, Batman. The nobility of the almost-human porpoise."

You make it sound like some sort of Dr. Moreau abomination when you put it like that, Robin.

Batman: "True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours."

"You're welcome, Bats."
The Dynamic Duo returns to shore and calls up the Navy department in the Pentagon, where Admiral Fangschleister is playing tiddlywinks with his secretary, if you know what I mean.

By which I mean they're actually playing tiddlywinks. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Batman: "Hello. Batman speaking."
Secretary: "Oh, hello!"
Admiral: "Who is it?"
Secretary: "Batman."
Admiral: "Oh, Batman!"

I think this scene speaks volumes as to what the whole world is like in this universe. Batman calls up a Navy Admiral and he's all like "Oh, cool, Batman!" instead of "What? The nut from Gotham?"

The world of Adam West's Batman is the world as seen through the eyes of the children reading the comics, which is why it works on multiple levels. For kids, it works on a serious level, because it fits with their understanding of the world. And to adults, it's frickin' hilarious. Which was entirely the point; the show was designed to appeal to both kids and adults this way. The film, and by extension the show, presents its simplified world so seriously, with plenty of self-awareness, but no trace of shame. And I love it for that.

Anyway, Batman wants to know if the Navy recently sold any war surplus submarines. You might laugh at the absurdity of the U.S. Navy selling a submarine... but you could actually go out and by a decommissioned tank right now.

The Admiral looks it up real quick, and discovers that they did indeed sell a pre-atomic submarine to a Mr. P.N. Gwynne, which is clearly an alias for the Bookworm.

Batman: "Did this P.N. Gwynne leave an address?"
Admiral: "No, just a post office box number. Would you like it?"

Do you have any state secrets you're willing to give away while you're at it, dude? Even Batman's aghast at this guys.

Batman: "Disposing of pre-atomic submarines to persons who don't even leave their full addresses?"

"Admiral, let me assure you that were my lips as loose as yours, they'd be overflowing with colorful metaphors."
Other than the fact that Penguin does indeed own a submarine, the Dynamic Duo is no closer to stopping whatever his plan is. Luckily for them, the Riddler is involved. Revealing evil plans is his entire gimmick. And he does just that by launching some stock footage of a missile from Penguin's submarine and using it to skywrite a couple of riddles.

I guess there was a little extra fuel in the missile, so he made some extra question marks.
Robin: "A riddle... in the form of a joke!"

...What? If anything, it's a joke in the form of a riddle. If these riddles are in the form of a joke... then what constitutes a plain ol' riddle in Robin's book?

The two heroes speed off back to see Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara. They have some important pacing to do as they attempt to figure out the objective of the three villains involved.

Chief O'Hara: "'What does a turkey do when he flies upside down?'"
Robin: "He gobbles up."
Chief O'Hara: "Of course."
Batman: "And number two."
Commissioner Gordon: "'What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous?'"
Robin: "A sparrow with a machine gun."
Commissioner Gordon: "Yes, of course."

I don't know what's funnier; the absurd answers, or the fact that they're absolutely right.

Batman: "Now combine both answers. What kind of a creature would gobble up a bird in a tree?"

Well, there are certain kinds of spiders that actually eat small birds, and I'm certain that there are many predators....

Chief O'Hara/Commissioner Gordon: "A cat!"

...Yeah, sure, we'll go with the obvious answer.

Batman: "Yes, gentlemen! The criminal catalyst in this entire affair, our old archenemy... Cyat-Woummin."

Leaving aside Batman's odd pronunciation of "Catwoman"... the Riddler left this riddle for the sole purpose of letting Batman know that Catwoman was in on this scheme too?

Batman: "We've been given the plainest warning. They're working together to take over..."
Chief O'Hara: "To take over what, Batman?"

Geez, let him finish.

Chief O'Hara: "Gotham City?"
Batman: "Any two of them might try that."
Commissioner Gordon: "The whole country?"
Batman: "If it were three of them, I would say 'yes.' But four? Their minimum objective must be... the entire world."

"Minimum objective"? So if Mr. Freeze decided to join them, what would they be taking over beyond the whole world? The moon?

But at this very moment, the four villains discuss their evil plan, centering around the United World Building in Gotham. Because the U.N. doesn't get enough done to justify plotting something around them. Ooohh! Sick political burn!

Catwoman: "Our objective: The Security Council. Sitting like fat birds in a tree, just waiting to be snatched."

Which is why they won't make a move until the last second.

Catwoman: "And you've bungled it again!"

It seems as though the four of them want to ensure Batman's death before they move forward with their plan. Fair enough. Except that Batman is uncannily unkillable.

Penguin: "Faugh! Passing porpoises which intercept torpedoes!"

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go save Superman from drowning."
Penguin: "There ought to be a piscatorial statute."
Riddler: "Time is getting short. We've got to get Batman before he gets us."
Penguin: "Mm. Perhaps I could lure him into the fatal embrace of a giant exploding octopus."

"Sorry, the cephalopods are on my side."
Joker: "They've just survived through one of your fishy explosions and they're still in once piece!"

But before the discussion can devolve into more in-fighting, Riddler has an idea that might work. Teamwork.

Step 1: Joker's jack-in-the-box shoots Batman and Robin through the window of their headquarters.
Step 2: Batman and Robin land in the clutches of Penguin's exploding octopus.
Step 3: Boom.

Riddler: "The trigger? One of my riddles, of course. And the bait? Eah! You, Catwoman."

But not as herself; she'll be disguised as Kitka.

Riddler: "And as Kitka, she shall lure some millionaire into a kidnap trap...."
Penguin: "Of course! With a clever clue pointing here!"
Joker: "Oooh! Which will make Batman race to the rescue!"

And really, there's only one choice of millionaire to kidnap.

Riddler: "Bruce Wayne. The millionaire head of that disgusting, do-gooding Wayne Foundation."

...There seems to be a rather major flaw in this plan. Not that they have any idea.

Joker: "Just the sort of square citizen Batman will dash to rescue."

With the plan sorted, Catwoman practices her Kitka voice before we cut to her meeting Bruce Wayne in the parlor of STATELY WAYNE MANOR.

Bruce Wayne: "Kitka. Kitka. A charming acronym."

And it certainly is easier for me to type than either "Russian Woman" or Katanya... um... Irene... ska... Romanoff? Anyway, she claims that the Wayne Foundation is known all across Russia, even through the Iron Curtain.

Kitka: "Why, your own picture has appeared countless times in the Moscow Bugle."

Because if there's anything Soviet Russia loves, it's immensely rich capitalists. Now modern Russia on the other hand.... Dang it, I'm trying to go a month without referencing the latest Trump antics.

Kitka claims to have stopped by because she received strange riddles written on Wayne Foundation stationery. She thought it was a joke at first, but then she remembered something.

Kitka: "Is there not a bourgeois criminal cad in this country called, uh, the Riddler? Who preys upon the workers of America?"

"Well, I think there's actually two of them. One looks like Gomez Addams. Then there's the Puzzler...."
Kitka: "Well, what do we do now? Report these riddles to your police? Or... or perhaps to that masked cossack, Batman?"
Bruce Wayne: "Well, that's hardly necessary at the moment. Doubtless, it's the work of some harmless crank."

Welcome to the 1960s, where harassment and possible stalking could be called "harmless."

Bruce Wayne: "Nevertheless, shall we give this matter further consideration over dinner tonight?"
Kitka: "Oh, what a purr-fectly lovely idea."

So he excuses himself to go cancel a previous engagement, and tells her that Alfred will see her to the door.

Bruce Wayne: "Do vecera."

Bruce heads off to the Batcave, telling Alfred to meet him there once Kitka's gone. Once Batman's down there, he recites the new riddles to Robin.

Batman: "One: What has yellow skin and writes?"

Please don't be a racist riddle, please don't be a racist riddle....

Robin: "A ball-point banana."

Oh, thank goodness.

Batman: "Right. Two: What people are always in a hurry?"
Robin: "Rushing people... Russians!"

That's the one you had to think about for a second?

Batman: "Now what would you say they mean?"
Robin: "Banana. Russian. I've got it! Someone Russian is gonna slip on a banana peel and break their neck."
Batman: "Precisely, Robin. The only possible reason."

To be fair... I can't come up with an alternative that's less ridiculous.

Batman: "A clear threat to Miss Kitka's life."

Batman deduces that she might have unknowingly uncovered what the four criminals are planning, so when Alfred arrives, Batman outlines the plan. He, as Bruce Wayne, will have a nice evening with Miss Kitka while Robin and Alfred spy on them from the Batmobile.

Alfred: "A not-displeasing chore, sir."
Batman: "Indeed, Alfred. I've rarely met a girl who's such a potent argument in favor of... international relations."

Oh, yeah. Cold War gonna get hot.

And if the Riddler attempts to make his move against Kitka...

Batman: "I'll bash him brutally."

You know, go all Dark Knight Returns on his green butt.

Batman heads off to simultaneously prepare for his date and explain exactly how he and Robin get back to STATELY WAYNE MANOR with the Batpoles.

You know, Alfred uses an elevator. Just saying, there's nothing wrong with that option.
The date with Kitka begins with a romantic dinner for two under electric candlelight, with two pirates playing a little night music.

Milk in a brandy snifter. Because he doesn't trust orange juice after the go-go club incident.
The evening continues with a romantic horse-drawn carriage through the city streets, with the Batmobile literally fifteen feet behind them. And not a single person in Gotham finds this odd.

Bruce and Kitka end up in some kind of swanky nightclub for a quick slow dance before returning to the horse-drawn carriage to talk... politics.

Bruce: "This... curtain which separates our countries is so foolish. If we could just contrive... some way of getting more deeply involved."
Kitka: "Oh, da. Da. We must search for such a method."

And as Robin watches events unfold on the Batmobile's bat-scanner, I'm pretty sure she whispers some interesting ideas into Bruce's ear.

"Skintight vinyl and a whip? You naughty girl...."
Robin: "I don't think it's right for us to listen in to this, Alfred. I mean, some things have to be private. Even for a crimefighter."

Uh huh. NSA joke/Snowden reference here.

Like Alfred's secret identity, apparently. He's got it cleverly concealed so that nobody will recognize Bruce Wayne's butler behind the wheel.

"No, it's just that they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."
Alfred suggests that Robin should use this moment to report to Commissioner Gordon on the Bat-Phone, and he gives an update on the carriage's current location.

Robin: "Gotham Central Park, proceeding South on West Drive, about to pass Benedict Arnold monument."

A Benedict Arnold monument. I.. just... I have no words.

Commissioner Gordon: "Great Scott! Still in the park? It's been almost an hour! What the devil are they doing?"
Robin: "...No comment, Commissioner. Let's just say no sign of criminal activity."
Commissioner Gordon: "Uh... yes, I... understand."

But as Gordon tries to stop imagining Bruce Wayne and Kitka forming a human hammer and sickle, Robin gets an idea, and tells Gordon to have Chief O'Hara activate the Batsignal. That way, the villains will assume that Batman and Robin are busy elsewhere and take the bait.

Commissioner Gordon: "Chief O'Hara, dash to the roof. Flash the Batsignal."

"Oi don't see what nudity will achieve, but Oi'll do it just the same, sir."
To Kitka's "amazement," the Batsignal shines into the night sky. Bruce figures out what's up and mutters "How clever," confusing Kitka.

Bruce Wayne: "I mean, clever device, Miss Kitka. It's the famous Batsignal flashed from the roof of police headquarters. Batman and Robin must be racing there now in response to it."

Kitka assumes that this means that Bruce called in Batman and Robin to help with her case, and she snuggles up against him.

Kitka: "I close my eyes, and I dream of those savage cossacks racing over the Steppes on their brutal mission."
Bruce Wayne: "How strange. I close my eyes, and dream of something quite astonishingly different."

So now that she's gotten Bruce to close his eyes and imagine smut, she whips out a small, cat-shaped transmitter and Morse-codes out a signal back to the other villains back at base.

Bruce Wayne: "The dream continues... it approaches a climax."
Kitka: "Nyet, not so fast. Be more slow."

Ah, I see the writers took classes at the James Bond school of screenwriting. Lesson 1: Vaguely sexual double meanings. Lesson 2, of course, is women with blatantly sexual names. And Lesson 3 is all about killing people and making puns afterward.

Bruce Wayne: "Miss Kitka. May I see you home to that borrowed penthouse apartment?"

Kitka discretely radios this in, and the villains prepare to make their move while the Batmobile monitors Kitka's penthouse from the outside. I'm not sure how they're getting camera footage, so I'm just going to assume that they're using the same setup that G.I. Joe and Cobra have to spy on each other.

Bruce Wayne stands in the corner of the room like a nervous virgin while Kitka excuses herself.

Or maybe he's saying his prayers...?
Kitka: "I'll go slip into something more comfortable while your cocoa is warming."

But before she does, the two share a long, passionate kiss. Hot cocoa and some making out? Sounds like a good night to me. It sounds like a good night to Alfred, too, who watches the screen intently before Robin turns it off.

Alfred: "Is that prudent, Master Robin?"

"Because it's certainly prud-ish."
Robin: "I don't know about prudent, Alfred, but it's sure-as-heck the only decent thing to do."

"I'm a minor, Alfred. Seriously, I shouldn't be watching this. I haven't even had the talk yet."
Alfred: "Perhaps... Yes."

But as luck would have it, this is the moment that the villains make their move from the air on Penguin's rocket umbrellas. As they descend to Kitka's address, she emerges from the bedroom in her pinkest nightgown, as Bruce Wayne... um...

Cowers in fear?
Bruce Wayne: "'And all my days are trances. And all my nightly dreams are where thy dark eye glances. And where thy footstep gleams.'"

Having finished quoting Edgar Allen Poe, Kitka decides to bring up that little dream he had in the carriage.

Bruce Wayne: "Do we dare?"
Kitka: "Why not?"
Bruce Wayne: "Yes, of course, why not. Of what use is a dream if not a blueprint to courageous action?"

I had a dream once where I built a statue of Orville Redenbacher out of caramel corn. Should I turn that into courageous action?

Kitka: "Oh, into action, comrade!"

"Okay, you be 'Action.'"
But before things can get too hot for TV, the Penguin, Joker, and Riddler break in to kidnap them. At least, I think it's them. I can't tell with those masks.

I guess they are terribly comfortable.
Bruce Wayne: "You filthy criminals."

"You wanna get nuts? Come on. Let's get nuts!"
A fight ensues, and there's a surprising amount of damage done to each other, despite the fact that it's very clear that none of the punches are landing. Bruce Wayne ends up overpowered by the villains and henchman combining forces, and gets knocked unconscious.

As Alfred convinces Robin to turn on the bat-scanner for a second to be on the safe side, they discover an empty room full of knocked over furniture.

Robin: "Holy demolition!"
Alfred: "Bless my dustpan!"

"They must have certainly gotten wild, didn't they, sir?"
Robin prepares to race to the rescue, but can only watch helplessly as the villains zoom off with Bruce Wayne in tow. And since he's unconscious, Catwoman gets to make odd noises in celebration. And they sound a lot like the noises my cats made before I got them spayed. Even the henchman seems to be vaguely alarmed by them.

"You, uh... you okay?"
The next day, the news is quick to report on the shocking news.

They're putting in a zoo!
But as the day goes on, the villains can only wonder why Batman and Robin haven't arrived to save the day.

Riddler: "Perhaps you didn't leave a clear enough clue in your apartment."
Catwoman: "Of course I did!"

"I left them the exact latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of our secret hideout!"
"They'll never figure that out!
I told you to write 'What do you get when you cross an olive with an envelope?' on the wall!
That would have led them right here!"
But at least one part of the plan has gone to plan; the Joker just finished setting up a jack-in-the-box meant to catapult Batman at Penguin's exploding octopus.

Riddler: "And nothing to link us with the crime!"

Except for means, motive, and opportunity.

But Bruce Wayne finally wakes up on their lair's couch and demands to know what they did with Kitka.

Bruce Wayne: "I swear by heaven, if you've harmed that girl, I'll kill you all."

Ah. Batman doesn't kill... but Bruce Wayne does.

Bruce attempts to attack them, but his tied-up hands make that difficult. Catowman tells them to blindfold him and lead him down "the labyrinthine path" to where they're keeping their Russian captive. And soon enough, Catwoman is changed and tied-up, ready to play her part as Bruce is brought in.

Riddler: "Two minutes. No more."

They leave to listen in secret through the hidden microphone while Bruce apologizes and blames himself for what has happened to them.

Bruce Wayne: "There are some things I cannot disclose, Miss Kitka."

Bruce tells her that they're probably just waiting for death at this point, but she's confident that Batman and Robin are already on their way to mount a rescue.

Bruce Wayne: "A slender hope, Miss Kitka. More slender than you can know."

But Bruce changes the subject, wondering if Kitka heard anything about a third prisoner. Kitka claims she knows nothing while Commodore Schmidlapp rings for his tea once again. So Bruce gets down to business and asks Kitka to see if she can reach the emergency transmitter strapped to his left elbow.

Kitka: "What a currrious device to carry."
Bruce Wayne: "Not at all, Miss Kitka. Capitalists like myself who carry large sums of money often have such safety contrivances."

The villains enter the room to take Bruce away about thirty seconds later than they said they would, but they were probably too interested in Bruce's little gadget. So interested that the Joker begins untying Bruce's bonds to find the transmitter around his elbow.

As it turns out, Bruce guessed that the villains were listening in, and lied about a transmitter so they would untie him. And now that he's untied, he starts another brawl. This time, he gets the upper hand on the villains, and even manages to prematurely activate their trap by pushing a henchman onto it. And amusingly, the spring sound used seems to be the one they use when the Enterprise fires a photon torpedo.

Well, he's dead. Who ever said that this Batman doesn't kill?
The fight continues as Bruce Wayne runs into the next room (demonstrating that the "labyrinthine corridor" was a ruse to give Catwoman time to change), but can't find Miss Kitka. But with time running out, he has no time to look for her before he's forced to make his escape through the very window that Batman was to be launched through and dives into the very same water that Batman was to be killed in.

Sometime later, Bruce arrives back at STATELY WAYNE MANOR, where Dick Grayson and Commissioner Gordon await.

Bruce Wayne: "C'mon, Dick, we're late for that important demonstration at the fish hatchery."

What? No, of course Bruce Wayne isn't making an excuse to get away. No, you're being suspicious.

Commissioner Gordon wants to know exactly how millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne escaped, but he rushes back to the station when Bruce claims that Batman did it, and adds that Batman will probably want to call the commissioner on the Batphone.

So Dick and Bruce head down into the cave to speed away in the Batmobile. Meaning that Gordon will probably be standing by his phone waiting for the foreseeable future.

Will our heroes put an end to the as-of-yet unknown plot of the Penguin and his pals?

Will the vile villains vex the Dynamic Duo?

Will the alliance of evil actually carry out their scheme before the movie ends?

Find out in Part 3! Same Newt-time, same Newt-blog!

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