Watching the Adam West/Burt Ward Batman series with my daughter (currently being shown on IFC), I’m reminded of my own childhood experience of the Dynamic Duo. Blissfully ignorant of irony, my 6-year-old self took these shows at face value, shark repellent and all. I was mesmerized, electrified, occasionally terrified. It was my introduction to the world of super heroes. My mind crackled with possibility. It was love at first sight.
As I grew, like many fans, I dismissed the 1960’s version as a too-campy distortion of what Batman was supposed to be. I preferred my Dark Knight serious, gritty, “realistic,” as God and Frank Miller intended.
Years later, having been exposed to the unremittingly bleak visions of Nolan and Goyer, and having endured the utterly soulless spectacles of Zack Snyder, it occurs that asking imaginary costumed men to reflect our base reality is a task ill-suited to them. And reductive besides. They are better used to inspire, to fire the imagination, to fuel the stuff of dreams.
And so I think perhaps my 6-year-old self had it right.