Adam West (Adam West) sits alone one evening enjoying the old television show he used to star in, little knowing that a shadowy, giggling figure has left an envelope on the doorstep of his mansion. It turns out that this envelope contains an invitation to a charity event for local orphans, and Adam decides to accept. Assisted by his butler, who he calls Alfred but is in fact Jerry (Curtis Armstrong), Adam gets dressed and heads over to the event, there meeting Burt Ward (Burt Ward) his old co-star who has also been invited. Now the Batman and Robin team have been reformed, can they solve the mystery of the theft of the prized Batmobile?
During the nineties and after there was a minor craze to cash in on the nostalgia market by television executives, so you could see a miniseries or TV movie about the trials and tribulations of the Monkees or the Partridge Family, with not entirely convincing lookalikes playing the stars. Return to the Batcave is a variation on that theme, as it has lengthy flashbacks to the making of the popular nineteen-sixties comedy superhero epic featuring Jack Brewer as Adam (who doesn't look anything like him) and Jason Marsden as Burt (who has a closer resemblance but even Burt wasn't that short). However there's a light-hearted twist to all this pop culture history.
Written by Duane Poole, here we are treated to the now rather older Adam and Burt stepping back into their crimefighting guises, although they stop short of getting back into costume (Burt certainly wouldn't fit his anymore). So there's a framing device that threatens to take over the action as the dynamic duo pretty much act the way they did on TV way back when, and in a winningly good-natured fashion to boot. So pleasing are they that you wish they were given less groan-inducing material and the reminiscences were shorter overall.
Adam speaks his lines in that halting manner and Burt exclaims "Holy" this and that, and they even get a fight scene where they beat up the villain's goons in a diner, complete with "BIFF!" visual effects. Meanwhile, we get to find out more than we wanted about the making of Batman, with the sixties divorces of the two actors looming large and generally bringing down the goofy tone. We also have the problems of making the show to the fore, with uncomfortable costumes, gay rumours and absent stuntmen being compensated for by the Bat-groupies.
Actors are brought in to play the cast of villains too, and while the Julie Newmar is fair enough, Burgess Meredith sounds like Katharine Hepburn, Cesar Romero can't get his laugh right and Vincent Price looks more like Yul Brynner. The surviving bad guys, Newmar, Frank Gorshin and Lee Meriwether (Catwoman from the film) are awarded roles, with the no-surprise-to-anyone revelation that Newmar and Gorshin are the behind the Batmobile theft, for reasons of professional jealousy. Return to the Batcave means well, but having the famed theme song turned into a rap, and the more adult concerns (like what's in Robin's shorts) result in a product that doesn't work on the levels that the original did. There are a few chuckles, nevertheless, and it's nice to see the guys back together. Music by Douglas J. Cuomo.