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Western Animation / Batman vs. Two-Face

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Batman vs. Two-Face is a 2017 Direct to Video animated movie in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line. It is a sequel to 2016's Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, and pays homage to the 1960s Batman series once again, with some of its cast returning. Adam West voices Batman, Burt Ward voices Robin, Julie Newmar voices Catwoman, and William Shatner voices Two-Face. It is the last time Adam West portrayed Batman in any media; he completed his voiceover work prior to his passing on June 9th 2017.

Scientist Hugo Strange has invented a machine that can drain all the evil out of a person. He tries it out on some Batman's most dastardly rogues, while Batman, Robin, and District Attorney Harvey Dent witness the experiment. Unfortunately, Batman's rogues prove too evil and the machine overloads, disfiguring Dent in the process. Dent—now calling himself Two-Face—goes on a crime spree where all his decisions are determined by the flip of a scarred silver dollar.

The trailer can be seen here.

Batman vs. Two-Face provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Lee Merriweather provides the voice of the attorney Ms. Diamond; she had previously portrayed Catwoman instead of Julie Newmar in the 1966 film. In the animated film, Diamond is knocked unconscious so Catwoman can switch places with her. When Diamond wakes up, she is wearing Catwoman's costume and realizes she likes it, even purring. This creates the implication that the Catwoman in the movie might actually be a different individual.
    • Shatner's portayal of Dent/Two-Face isn't the first time he played good and evil sides of the same character, a faintly similar incident occurring in Star Trek: The Original Series with Kirk. Seemingly underscoring the point, Dent is an Adaptational Wimp, virtually spineless after the split, much like Kirk's good half.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the comics, Hugo Strange has no role in creating Two-Face; traditionally Dent is disfigured by some mobster he seeks to bring to justice. Similarly, Harley has nothing to do with Two-Face.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: While the Batman '66 comic book tie-in went with Two-Face's traditional origin of being disfigured from acid being thrown in his face in the "Lost Episode" one-shot, this animated film instead goes with Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face when an evil-extracting machine Professor Hugo Strange and Dr. Harleen Quinzel used to try and suck out the evil from the Joker, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler and Egghead ended up overloading, the explosion causing Harvey Dent to mutate into a partially deformed supervillain.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite once again getting her original voice-actress and a spot on the cover alongside the dynamic duo and Two-Face, Catwoman's entire role in the movie can be summed up with her escaping from jail, showing up at the 'Unmask Batman auction' and helping him in the ensuing brawl.
  • Ascended Extra: King Tut and the Bookworm get more involvement with the plot, compared to the last film, where they only made voiceless appearances.
  • Bat Deduction: Present and accounted for. Batman pulls several throughout the movie.
    • Also averted. Batman is wrong about the new Two-Face being an impostor. Robin even calls him out on how obvious this is, and Batman sends Robin to his room in retaliation.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played with. Two-Face blasts away for quite a while with a pair of pistols, but does finally run out of ammo, upon which Batman of course comments he'd been counting the shots and knew Two-Face was dry.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Two-Face captures Batman and Robin for his auction and remarks that the punctual Bruce Wayne, invited by Harvey Dent to this very same auction, did not show up. Two-Face concludes that Bruce Wayne must be tied up at this moment, and confirms the suspicion by unmasking Batman.
  • Buried Alive: King Tut attempts to do this to the dynamic duo after capturing them by encasing them in cement.
  • Cardboard Prison: Catwoman is able to exchange clothes with a drugged visitor and waltz out.
  • Canon Immigrant: Some characters were never featured in the 1960s show: Hugo Strange, Harley Quinn (or at least Dr. Harleen Quinzel — she was created in 1992 anyway), and Two-Face, who originally was supposed to appear before those plans were scrapped.
  • Chewing the Scenery: William Shatner's Two-Face steals the show, though not quite in his usual way. You might expect Shatner playing a character with a split personality in the tone of the 1960s Batman to be one of his hammiest roles ever. As mentioned below, however, his Two-Face manages to be rather menacing, especially by the standards of the 1960s series, and his Harvey Dent often comes across as very sincere. Even Two-Face's laugh resembles older Mark Hamill's Joker than it does the giggling of the other 1960's villains.
  • Cold Ham: The West-era Batman may be a World of Ham, but Two-Face is legitimately cruel and evil compared to the other villains.
  • Dance Party Ending: During the credits, some of the main characters cut a rug, a homage to the "Bat-tuzi" dance of the original series.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie is much darker than Return of the Caped Crusaders. Two-Face alone is scarier and more serious than the villains of the previous movie. With that said, it's still family friendly like its predecessor.
  • Dedication: Naturally dedicated to Mr. West. Sleep well, Bright Knight.
  • Evil Former Friend: Harvey Dent to Bruce Wayne as usual. Robin also accuses Batman of letting his friendship with Harvey cloud his mind in regards to accepting the fact that he might not be as reformed as a appears.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Dr. Hugo Strange, left embittered by his disgrace from the Evil Extractor's failure joins Two-Face and helps him create the Evil Extract Formula.
  • Face Palm: Bookworm smacks his forehead in exasperation as he watches Batman and Robin mop the floor with his henchmen.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Evil Extract Formula affected Robin. Harvey Dent eventually starts doing it, too.
  • Flipping the Bird: Two-Face Robin is at one point implied to flip Batman off, though we don't actually see the gesture due to Batman's body obscuring Robin's hand.
  • Foreshadowing: There is a good amount of foreshadowing to show Harvey was still Two Face. Before the reveal, any time Harvey and Two Face talk either happens when the latter is offscreen, or when one of his halves is obscured.
  • Funny Background Event: Two of the tanks in the background of the climatic scene have signs that read "No Seriously!" and "Could Blow At Any Moment!"
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Strange's machine was meant to extract evil. Instead it has the opposite effect, since Batman's rogues prove too evil for the machine to work.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: It's Adam West versus William Shatner. Let the piling on of ham commence!
  • Herr Doktor: Hugo Strange is portrayed as having a German accent.
  • Hit Flash: Wouldn't be an Adam West Batman story without it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Two-Face's unscarred side resembles Star Trek: The Original Series-era William Shatner and it is spot-on with how they captured both Shatner's face and his hair style from the show.
  • Karma Houdini: Hugo Strange is not shown to be arrested and likely got away with his recent actions.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: During the auction scene, the Joker and the Penguin exchange an eye-roll at the Ridder's "doing his bidding" quip.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Catwoman, when she promised Batman that she'll turn herself in.
  • Mood Whiplash: Even when voiced by a Large Ham like William Shatner, Two-Face feels quite out-of-place in the light-hearted tone of the Adam West Batman series. Holy Knight of Cerebus, Batman!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Catwoman as always as she has an Impossible Hour Glass Figure and skintight catsuit. Ms. Diamond doesn't look half bad in those duds either. Little wonder; she's voiced by Lee Meriweather, The Other Catwoman.
  • Mad Scientist: Hugo Strange invents a machine meant to "extract evil" from criminals, which proves ineffective. He is later seen to be in cahoots with Two-Face.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Batman believes in Harvey Dent.
    • The Joker winks at Dr. Quinzel, who winks back shortly afterward. This escalates in the Blu-Ray version of the movie, where Quinzel, now Harley Quinn, breaks Joker out of prison, recreating the scene from Mad Love.
    • The opening features a recreation of the cover of Detective Comics #319 with Two-Face/Harvey Dent replacing the villain Dr. No-Face who stole the identity of Dr. Paul Dent.
    • One of the victims of the Two-Face gas looks suspiciously like Billy Dee Williams (Harvey Dent in the Tim Burton original).
    • Two-Face ties Batman and Robin to a giant coin as he did in Batman #81's Two-Face Strikes Again!
    • Also counts as Meme Acknowledgment. During their fight, Batman slaps Robin while the latter is under Two-Face's influences, recreating the infamous comic panel.
    • The mystery of Two-Face's return is a two-fer. Batman refers to this new Two-Face as an impostor, when a classic comic story had a fake Two-Face eventually called The Impostor. The second? The Impostor's signature difference from Two-Face is that his opposite side appeared scarred. If the viewer knows this, it's a big clue that Robin's correct about Dent being Two-Face again.
    • Batman's identity gets auctioned off to a group of villains who pool their money to make a wining bid with Hugo Strange involved in the background and Joker, Penguin, and Two-Face playing prominent roles. The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne anyone?
    • At one point in the opening, Batman and Robin get caught in a huge spotlight, recreating the famous cover to Batman (vol. 1) #9.
  • Names To Run Away From Very Fast: A rare case of this being an object, rather than a person: Hugo Strange's cerebral defibrillator is a bad, bad idea.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Commissioner Gordon telling Harvey after his surgery that he's allowed to return to work ... as the assistant to the Assistant District Attorney, inadvertently triggers his relapse into Two-Face; since Harvey was formerly the DA himself, his pride can't stand the demotion.
    • A Stealth Pun Dent couldn't take being the number two man in Gotham law.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Strange's evil-extracting device overloads and explodes when used on five villains at once.
  • Police Are Useless: So useless that when called to testify at the stand and asked some very basic questions, all Chief O'Hara can say is "you'll have to ask Batman". Gordan himself admits this when discussing the King Tut case with O'Hara.
  • Police Brutality: Played for laughs with the attempt to interrogate Professor McElroy/King Tut. Chief O'Hara, trying to get the Tut personality to surface, lightly hits McElroy on the head with his baton, causing Tut to emerge. Tut, trying to keep from being interrogated, insults the Chief, grabs the baton, and hits himself on the head to revert back to McElroy. The poor professor is left wondering why his head hurts.
  • Psycho Serum: Hugo Strange's 'Evil Extractor' produces one of these called 'Evil Extract Formula'. Two-Face was original created when the machine exploded and doused him in a large amount of it. He later uses it on Robin as well, with the same effect and then sprays it over the whole city.
  • Put on a Prison Bus: King Tut and Bookworm aren't seen again after being arrested and (in King Tut's case) sent to prison despite his mental condition. Although, assuming Artistic License – Law isn't at play, Tut's conviction might be overturned due to to how the man prosecuting him was involved in his crime and was still suffering from mental instability as Two-Face.
  • Serious Business: Batman gets so angry with Robin that he sends Robin to his room.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "The game is afoot, Mr Dent."
    • Lorenzo's Oil Refinery, which is a two-for, both the film Lorenzo's Oil, and for Lorenzo Semple Jr., who was a producer and writer for the original series.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Lampshaded by Catwoman in the climax. She has accepted the fact that Batman’s first love will always be crime-fighting, a statement made true in the original show, the comics and other Batman media.
  • Starter Villain: King Tut, who spends the first 20 min of the movie opposing Batman before Two-Face shows up.
  • The Stinger: The Blu-Ray version of the movie has a bonus after-credits scene where Dr. Quinzel, now dressed as Harley Quinn, breaks The Joker out of prison.
  • Time Skip: The opening, which shows Two-Face's origin and eventual capture, which takes place 6 months prior to the main movie. A period which Two-Face had fought Batman multiple times, had his face fixed and reformed back into Harvey Dent.
  • Two-Faced: Two-Face, naturally.
  • Versus Title: Batman vs. Two-Face.
  • Vocal Dissonance: While Two-Face was modeled on William Shatner when he was in his mid-thirties, eighty-six-year old William Shatner sounds different than he did in his Captain Kirk days. That being said Shatner actually does a pretty effective job at sounding like a significantly younger man, it's just different sounding than his naturally was at that age.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? Did they ever find Ms. Diamond and let her out of Catwoman's cell?
    • Hugo Strange vanishes after the auction scene.
    • Harleen only appears in the intro, and isn't seen after the explosion in the regular version of the movie.
  • Your Mom: Two-Face Robin uses the old "Your mother wears army boots" line on Batman.