Batman vs. Two-Face (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 18-Oct-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Featurette-The Wonderful World of Burt Ward
Featurette-Adam West Tribute Panel, 2017 Comic-Con International 2017
Featurette-Burt Ward on Being Starstruck
Featurette-Burt Ward on Ambition
Featurette-Julie Newmar on Inspiration
Featurette-A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1
Featurette-A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2
Trailer-x4
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 72:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rick Morales
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Adam West
Burt Ward
William Shatner
Julie Newmar
Steven Weber
Jim Ward
Thomas Lennon
Lynne Marie Stewart
Jeff Bergman
Wally Wingert
William Salyers
Sirena Irwin
Lee Meriwether
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Kristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† To say the least, 2016ís Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders was a pleasant departure from the dour, gritty depiction of the Caped Crusader introduced by Christopher Nolan. A throwback to the light-hearted 1960s Batman television show, Return of the Caped Crusaders was a well-received success, and now less than a year later we have the equally enjoyable sequel, Batman vs. Two-Face. Overseen by the same creative team, itís another funny, action-packed Batman adventure thatís faithful to the source, with hilariously convoluted Batman one-liners, situation-specific Robin exclamations and goofy action scenes. Much like its predecessor, Batman vs. Two-Face does threaten to run out of steam at times, and itís not as great as it had the potential to be, but itís nevertheless an enjoyable sit.

††† When a laboratory accident goes awry, District Attorney Harvey Dent (William Shatner) is left with a horribly scarred face and a menacing alter ego, re-christening himself as Two-Face as he terrorises Gotham City with a string of crime. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Adam West) and Dick Grayson/Robin (Burt Ward) are thankfully able to thwart the dastardly foe, however, and Dent is given treatment to reconstruct his face and hopefully restore his sanity. But before long, the likes of King Tut (Wally Wingert) and Bookworm (Jeff Bergman) begin a spree of crime, and a theme of duality runs through said criminal activities, leading the Dynamic Duo to suspect that Two-Face has returned.

††† Although Two-Face never featured in the television show, science fiction author Harlan Ellison did pen a treatment for an episode that was ultimately never produced, serving as the inspiration for Batman vs. Two-Face. Written by returning scribes James Tucker and Michael Jelenic, the movie provides an appropriate new origin story for Two-Face, and is surprisingly focused on its titular villain while the likes of The Penguin (William Salyers), The Riddler (Wingert) and The Joker (Bergman) are pushed into the background. The movie even brings in additional characters such as Hugo Strange (Jim Ward) and Mr. Freeze, among others, while Batmanís relationship with Catwoman (Julie Newmar) is further developed. Wisely, there is something of a detective element to the story, with Dent maintaining his innocence upon Two-Faceís return. (Admittedly, it is a tad odd that Bruce and Dent do discuss having a longstanding friendship, but he was never mentioned in the original series or movie.) Batman vs. Two-Face is actually a bit more dramatic than what has come before, which certainly makes for a more interesting flick, but it does lack some of the wit of its immediate predecessor. Nevertheless, it still delivers some big laughs and enjoys basking in the spirit of í60s Batman, even if pacing is not always sure-footed.

††† There are ample visual gags throughout Batman vs. Two-Face, including the hilarious image of the Dynamic Duo walking down a building, and itís fun to see big action scenes that could never have occurred on the original series due to budgetary constraints. Much like Return of the Caped Crusaders, the animation is elementary and rough around the edges owing to the low budget, crying out for more personality and style. Itís suitably colourful, but detail is exceedingly basic and movement lacks fluidity, sadly reflecting the straight-to-video nature of the endeavour. Plus, beyond the fun recreation of the chintzy Batcave and Bruceís mansion, the movie makes heavy use of unremarkable animation backgrounds. For a project of such significance, itís unfortunate that the animation is unable to fully serve the actors involved. With that said, though, there is appreciable style to the visual depiction of Two-Face, whose face is often obscured by shadows. Meanwhile, the music (credited to Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion and Lolita Ritmanis) does sound cheap at times, but the recreation of the original theme is still top-notch, adding another layer of flavour. Indeed, itís hard to avoid smirking like a child when the theme starts to play.

††† How fitting it is that Batman vs. Two-Face denotes Westís final motion picture performance before his tragic passing, and we must be thankful that he was given the opportunity to play this iconic role again. Westís performance may not be anything grand, but he still slips back into the proverbial Batsuit with ease, nailing the comedic delivery and demonstrating once again that heís note-perfect for this ďcampyĒ interpretation of the Caped Crusader. Nobody can straight-face absurd one-liners quite like West. Meanwhile, Ward is reliably energetic and still sounds remarkably youthful, but itís Shatner who steals the show, proving himself to be a genuinely excellent voice actor and a perfect pick for the role beyond his obvious ties to 1960s television. Shatner is able to carve out two distinct voices, playing Dent straight while Two-Face is mean, growly and intimidating. Less successful, however, is Newmar - her age is still reflected in her voice to a distracting degree, lacking the spark of seductive sexiness associated with the role. Again, sheís a fun novelty, but her performance is stiff. The movie makes another fun call-back to the television show by bringing in Lee Meriwether for a minor role, and the resulting in-joke is incredibly clever. For those unaware, Meriwether replaced Newmar as Catwoman for 1966ís Batman: The Movie.

††† There has been discussion about whether or not this animated series will continue without West, but the notion of replacing him is a terrible idea. Granted, impressionists were hired to recreate the voices of deceased actors from the television show, but it simply wouldnít be the same without West himself. It is evident that this was not intended to be the end, as Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Sirena Irwin) - soon to become Harley Quinn - is given a minor introduction.

††† Batman vs. Two-Face is unfortunately burdened with the baggage of being Westís final movie, and those expecting something more substantial may feel disappointed since the movie was not designed to be anything more than a fun action-adventure. Thankfully, it delivers as such, and itís an endearing if imperfect send-off to our beloved Bright Knight. The end credits actually conclude with a tribute to West, reading ďRest Well, Bright Knight.Ē Itís a poignant gut-punch to footnote the movie, and certainly left this reviewer shedding a tear. We are fortunate to have been given Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and its sequel before West passed away, and his death even sadder knowing that further instalments were in the works, and that possibilities were endless. In spite of their shortcomings, these feature-length tributes to í60s Batman remain both funny and entertaining.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Wow, I haven't seen this much banding on a Blu-ray disc in some time. Animated Warner Bros. movies are infamous for their rampant banding, but Batman vs. Two-Face is worse than usual. From the very outset, banding is apparent, and it plagues most every shot if you look hard enough, proving to be an enormous distraction. Other compression artefacts do crop up as well, including macroblocking, which I guess is to be expected on a title from Warner Bros./Roadshow. Placed on a single-layered BD-25 (like the Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders release), the disc maintains an expectedly low bitrate throughout (averaging around the 17-18 Mbps mark), and unfortunately the AVC-encoded 1080p presentation is burdened with too many encoding anomalies to ignore. Frankly, we deserve better from a 2017 release from a major studio, especially for a movie with such historical significance.

††† The Blu-ray presentation maintains the movie's original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, meaning that it fills an entire widescreen television and exhibits no black bars. On a positive note, the transfer is certainly bright and colourful, in keeping with the intended aesthetic. The bold colours are the best part of the transfer, and luckily there's nothing in the way of black crush. Detailing is strictly average due to the source - there's nothing in the way of fine detail at all. However, the presentation thankfully never looks smeary, and it's sharp thanks to the benefits of high definition, boasting strong object delineation. Certain shots look soft - as do many of the stock backgrounds - which is most likely source-related, and I also noticed some light aliasing, but for the most part the transfer looks impressive enough.

††† Warner Bros. animation titles have actually started seeing 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases - Batman and Harley Quinn was released on UHD in the United States - and it's unfortunate that Batman vs. Two-Face is not getting the same treatment. Reviews of the Batman and Harley Quinn 4K disc have pointed out that although it's not a night-and-day upgrade considering the cheap animation, compression artefacts are essentially eliminated, implying that the banding comes from the encode rather than the animation itself. With this in mind, there is no doubt that Batman vs. Two-Face could look better on disc. It could probably look superior in 1080p too, as the presentation doesn't even take up the entire 25GB disc.

††† English, French and Spanish subtitles are available. The English track is crisp, well-formatted and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Batman vs. Two-Face arrives on Blu-ray with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that's more than sufficient, given its overly basic sound mixing. Thanks to the lossless encode, the audio is crisp and clear at all times, never sounding muffled and never suffering from any encoding issues like drop-outs or crackling. The dialogue is consistently well-prioritised, never becoming overwhelmed by music or sound effects. The track is not especially aggressive, but decent subwoofer activity is evident whenever there's punching or kicking, giving the action scenes some impact. However, don't expect much in the way of surround activity beyond music filling the rear channels - there isn't much ambience, nor is there any panning. This isn't a reference-quality mix, but it's a perfectly sufficient presentation of the source, and I can't imagine the movie would have needed a 7.1 or an Atmos mix.

††† For those interested, there are also lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish. I only sampled the English track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† A handful of featurettes are included, which feels too light on the whole given the project's significance. There isn't much here that's actually about the movie or the production - I would like to have heard from the filmmakers via a commentary or a documentary. West passed away before the special features were assembled, hence he is not interviewed.

The Wonderful World of Burt Ward (HD; 14:34)

††† In this interview with Ward, he talks about starting with acting, getting cast as Robin, working on the show, and his thoughts on the show and its legacy. In addition, Ward talks about his life outside of show business, and about returning to duty for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. The featurette concludes with a minor tribute to West, as well.

Adam West Tribute Panel, 2017 Comic-Con International 2017 (HD; 39:27)

† † Here we have the Comic-Con panel tribute to West, featuring Ralph Garman, Kevin Smith, Lee Meriwether and James Tucker. This is a wonderful, good-natured piece that's full of sweet anecdotes about the late great Bright Knight, including stories about certain big celebrities meeting West and being absolutely starstruck. The extra ends with a brief interview segment featuring West himself, which is enormously poignant. This is an excellent addition to the disc that's well worth watching.

Burt Ward on Being Starstruck (HD; 2:03)

††† A brief interview with Ward about working with big actors on the TV show, and other things. Of limited interest.

Burt Ward on Ambition (HD; 00:59)

††† The last Ward-centric featurette is very short, and doesn't contain much of interest.

Julie Newmar on Inspiration (HD; 1:53)

††† The only extra on the disc to contain Newmar, she runs through a variety of topics but doesn't touch upon Batman vs. Two-Face, making this feel a bit worthless.

A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (HD; 12:36)

††† Wow, these archival featurettes are getting more and more erroneous. Here's a sneak peak at 2012's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1. If you haven't seen the movie, you might find some value in this. Otherwise, skip it.

A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (HD; 6:52)

††† And a sneak peak at 2013's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2. Again, only worth watching if you haven't seen the movie.

Trailers (HD)

††† Trailers for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, as well as advertisements for "Experience 4K UHD" and "Experience the Next Generation of Digital Movies."

Harley Quinn (HD; 00:31)

††† This segment actually carries no name in the "Special Features" submenu; it's just an icon. Anyway, this was evidently intended to be a post-credits tease; it features Harley Quinn busting The Joker out of prison and introducing herself.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † As usual, it appears that this disc is a direct port of its American counterpart, right down to ratings screens endorsed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Buy local.

Summary

††† Batman vs. Two-Face is good-natured and fun, elevated by a game voice cast. It's fitting that West's final motion picture performance was as Batman. Those who enjoyed last year's Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders should definitely check out this sequel.

††† Roadshow's Blu-ray is merely acceptable. The video transfer is littered with compression artefacts and special features are far too light, but the lossless audio is well-encoded. This one gets a light recommendation, but give the movie a watch before buying.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Monday, November 06, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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