Batman Returns (1992)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Still great visuals, Catwoman, Penguin's design

Design and acting don't equal substance, not much story, too many characters

 

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Batman Returns

Studio:  PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 19, 1992

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

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I’m Batman…I’m the star of the movie?

The Penguin (Danny DeVito) is hitting Gotham hard.  Teaming with industrialist Max Schreck (Christopher Walken), he’s out to get Gotham eating out of his hand (or flipper).  Gotham’s protector Batman (Michael Keaton) is bent on stopping Oswald Cobblepot as he seeks revenge for the way he has been treated for years.  The Bat isn’t the only one patrolling Gotham’s alleys as the Cat begins her reign.  Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) finds herself reborn as Catwoman and roped into the Penguin’s evil plans as she seeks revenge against her killer Schreck.  Can Batman expose the Penguin for the villain he really is or will the Penguin gain control of Gotham?

Directed by Tim Burton, Batman Begins is Burton’s follow-up to the immensely popular Batman film of 1989.  The movie was well received by critics and a massive financial success.  The movie received two Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup.

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I’m predicting that there are too many storylines in this film

I loved the first Batman.  It was moody, dark, and a comic book film that was actually good…something that was extremely lacking in the ’80s.  With Batman Returns, we had more characters and a bit of a story overload.

The movie has too much going on without ever really creating a sense of danger for Batman.  I felt that the Joker was a good match in the first film, but Catwoman, Max Shreck, and Penguin really weren’t very threatening.  The movie almost crossed over into my least favorite genre (by framing Batman), but Batman even solved that problem with ease.

Michael Keaton feels hardly there in the movie.  Both he and Tim Burton I have heard didn’t want to really do a sequel, but money talks.  Keaton feels like he’s so sidelined by the other characters.  I still think he’s weird casting, but since he just isn’t a major part in the film, I can’t say if he’s good or bad.

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Go back to the sewer!

With so many characters, I don’t think ever got the treatment that they deserved.  Michelle Pheiffer’s Catwoman was great and supposed to have its own spin-off movie (unfortunately we got Halle Berry’s Catwoman instead).  She was originally portrayed by Annette Bening who was forced to drop out due to her pregnancy, and Raquel Welch, Ellen Barkin, Cher, Bridget Fonda, Susan Sarandon,Madonna, and Jennifer Jason Leigh were all considered.  I loved Penguin’s design but I’ve never liked the character (and Burgess Meredith’s “classic” Penguin is much more fun).  Walken is good as Max Schreck (who borrows his name from the vampire classic Nosferatu), but he would have been better served in a solo Catwoman film.  Burton invites Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure actors Paul Rubins and Diane Salinger to play the Penguin’s neglectful parents in the opening.  Other actors appearing in the movie include Michael Gough and Pat Hingle who return as Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon, and there is  also a cameo by Batman’s co-creator Bob Kane.

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Kitty’s here to play!

Visually, the movie is still Burton and mostly made up of elaborate sets.  The animatronic penguins look pretty weak, but fortunately, they do mix in real penguins.  The movie is darker both in the physical appearance and story and you could almost forget that it is a Christmas setting.

Batman Returns is a bit of a mess at points but still fun.  There was some controversy by groups who felt that Penguin’s quest to eliminate the first born children of Gotham and his appearance played on Jewish stereotypes like a Shylock character…I don’t think it is that big of an issue and most of the audience probably wouldn’t pick up on it if it wasn’t pointed out.  Batman Returns shows a decline in the series quality but is still better than the follow-up film Batman Forever which was released in 1995.

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Related Links:

Batman (1989)

Batman Forever (1995)

Batman & Robin (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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