Batman Returns
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Batman Returns can be found here.

In an attempt to become the mayor of Gotham City, the nefarious Penguin (Danny DeVito), tossed by his parents into the sewers shortly after his birth, teems up with megalomaniac businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) and the slinky, mysterious Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) to plot the downfall of Batman (Michael Keaton)...until Catwoman spurns Penguin's romantic advances and sets out with her own agenda.

The movie is based on characters created by American comic book artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger for DC Comics, first appearing in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939. The screenplay was written by American screenwriters Sam Hamm and Daniel Waters. It is a sequel to the first movie in Warner Bros.' Batman film series, Batman (1989) and is followed by Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997). The film series was rebooted in 2005 with Batman Begins.

Not until the very end of the film. Shreck sees Bruce Wayne only as a possible investor in his power plant, and Penguin doesn't interact much at all with Bruce, so neither of them connect him with Batman. Catwoman sees Bruce Wayne as a rich, eligible bachelor for whom she has romantic feelings. She doesn't learn that he is Batman until Schreck's party when Bruce says back to her word-for-word an exchange they had when in their guises as Batman and Catwoman. 'Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it...A kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.'

Yes. Selina Kyle was working as a meek secretary for Max Shreck and living alone with only her cat for company. When she discovered Max's real plan for a power plant he was intending to build, he pushed her out of a window to keep her quiet. She survived the fall but her personality changed, becoming more aggressive and vindictive. She cut up a leather coat, fashioned for herself a cat costume, donned a bullwhip, and Catwoman was born.

Yes. The movie opens with a scene showing how Esther (Diane Salinger) Cobblepot gave birth to Oswald, who was born deformed with Penguin-like features. They keep him locked in a cage and after seeing him kill their cat, they decided to throw the infant Oswald into a river. Oswald then drifts down the river, into the sewer and is brought ashore and raised by penguins. Thirty-three years later, Oswald is shown as a deformed man with flippers for fingers and still living in the sewer with a flock of penguins under The Gotham Zoo's Arctic World.

The character of Max Shreck was created specifically for this film, without having ever appeared in any prior Batman stories. His name is likely a reference to the German actor Max Schreck, who played the vampire in the famous German re-inerpretation of Dracula, titled Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922). On the DVD commentary, director Tim Burton reveals the character was originally going to be Harvey Dent, played once again by Billy Dee Williams from the first film. Williams signed up for the first with the intention that he would eventually play the character in future installments. The explosion at the end was meant to scar his face, transforming him into Two-Face for a third film. The movie was eventually reworked and Dent became Shreck.

Gotham City is a fictional U.S. port city located on the north-eastern Atlantic coast. It was originally a stand-in for New York City, but has also resembled other crime-ridden urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit. Some sources, including Mayfair Games' authorized (but now out-of-print) Atlas of the DC Universe, have placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey. Christopher Nolan's (director for Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) Gotham City is located in the middle of the estuary of the Liberty River, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates most of Gotham from the mainland. The River Merchant divides Uptown from Midtown, while Midtown is separated from Downtown by the Gotham River. The Narrows is a small island in the Gotham River. A creek divides the district of South Hinkley from the rest of Gotham City. Gotham International Airport is in Pettsburg, to the north of the Liberty River estuary. The current DC Universe version of Gotham City is separated from the mainland by the Gotham River, bridged by a series of bridges and tunnels. The east and south sides of Gotham face the Atlantic Ocean. The city is further divided by the Sprang River (named for Dick Sprang) on the northern end and the Finger River (for Bill Finger) to the south. Tiny Blackgate Isle to the south-east is home to Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. (Blackgate is replaced by Stonegate Penitentiary in the animated series Batman: The Animated Series (1992) and its spin-offs.)

Yes. The reason however is not stated, but it is likely due to the fact that Max is an evil character/businessman in the movie and, as such, having someone killed goes along with that. Fred disappearing would surely have helped Max financially by allowing him to gain complete control over their businesses.

Tim Burton reportedly doesn't like making sequels, so although Batman Returns is a sequel, he made it unlike a sequel with a new love interest for Bruce Wayne. However, Vicki is mentioned twice, and she hasn't died according to the film. When Selina asks Bruce whether he has a girlfriend, Bruce tells her that he did but that it just didn't work for Vicki and himself. Later in the movie, Bruce mentions to Alfred (Michael Gough) how Vicki once found her way into the Batcave.

They were real penguins, on loan from a bird sanctuary in England. Some of the larger penguins were actually people in suits.

How does the movie end?

Batman follows Penguin into his sewer lair under Arctic World where Catwoman has Shreck cornered. He stops her from killing Shreck and suggests that they take him to the police, after which they can go home together. Even though Shreck is watching, Batman pulls off his mask, revealing his identity as Bruce Wayne. Catwoman almost agrees but suddenly refuses on grounds that she couldn't live with herself. She pulls off her mask, too, revealing to Shreck her identity as Selina Kyle. Shreck immediately fires her, shoots Bruce, and turns the gun on Selina. She challenges him, saying, '[i]You killed me, the Penguin killed me, and Batman killed me. That's three lives. You got enough (bullets) in there to finish me off[i]?' Shreck fires and keeps firing four times until he is out of bullets, but Selina keeps advancing. Figuring she still has two lives left, she uses one of them to electrocute him with power cables and a taser, causing the lair to burst with explosions. She then disappears. Penguin suddenly rises out of the toxic water, bleeding from his mouth. He complains that the heat is getting to him and that he needs a drink of ice water but collapses and dies, his penguins sliding him into his watery grave. Later, as Bruce and Alfred are driving down the street, Bruce notices what looks like Catwoman's shadow against a wall. He jumps out of the car but she is nowhere to be seen. In the final scene, the bat signal emblazons the night sky, and Catwoman's head looks up at it, suggesting that she still has one life left.

In the special features section of various DVD releases, it is mentioned that the final shot showing that Catwoman had survived was added at the last minute at the studio's insistence. The film was originally to have ended more ambiguously. Following Batman Returns, there were plans to have Catwoman subsequently featured in a film of her own, but the project was stuck in "development hell" for a whole decade. By the time a Catwoman film was finally made in 2004, all of the originally-slated participants had dropped out or been let go, and the character was no longer even Selina Kyle or related to the Batman universe. The most likely in-universe answer is that not seeing Catwoman in any of the Batman sequels could simply mean that Selina Kyle has given up her life of crime or simply moved away from Gotham City. However, there were ideas for Michelle Pfeiffer to return as Catwoman in Batman Forever.

To put it simply, the UK DVD versions of this movie are all cut. First of all, there's the old BBFC-15 DVD that is missing two scenes: the nunchaku-swinging clown, and the infamous aerosol/microwave scene. A detailed comparison between the old DVD and the uncut version can be found here. A couple of years later a Special Edition was released with a BBFC-12 rating. The nunchaku scene has been reinserted but the microwave scene is still missing. Again, a comparison can be found here. The Blu Ray version, rated 15 in the UK has both the above mentioned scenes restored.

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