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Out of all the Bat-films, Batman Returns is my favorite. This beautiful, dark, and funny film is one of Tim Burton's best work. Although it is much violent and darker, this is the Batman that creator Bob Kane envisioned many years ago. Michael Keaton reprises his role as the avenger of Gotham City. This time he's up against two deadly foes, Danny Devito's Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. With a great cast and film score by Danny Elfman, the movie takes us on an adventure as Batman battles the evil forces that are trying to take over Gotham City. Christopher Walken makes a great appearance as Max Shrek, a shrewd businessman who has an evil scheme up his sleeve. But of course, Michelle Pfeiffer is the one that steals the show. With all of these components, you have a film that will blow you away. This is the reason why you go to the movies. It's got everything. It's really a shame that Tim Burton didn't get to direct the other sequels. If so I think the franchise would still be going strong today. Batman Returns is an awesome experience for fans that like cool movies.
As a life-long mega Bat-fan, I thought that Batman Returns did the best job (of all four films) of portraying the Dark Knight. Sure, the 1989's Batman was great, but it was lopsided; it might as well have been called "Joker" considering the focus of the film. Batman Returns allowed us a better look at Batman/Bruce Wayne himself, who was little more than an imposing supporting cast member in the first film; I loved Jack Nicholson's over-the-top performance, but THIS fanboy wanted more of the Caped Crusader in the film. Batman Returns gave us that and more...we got Batman/Bruce character development, the AWESOME give-and-take between Batman and Catwoman (one of the strangest courtships in comics), and Burton even tossed us a little bit of fun, dark humor with Shreck and the Penguin. Everyone's performances maintained consistent characterizations that came across beautifully as both mad and tragic; Keaton was subtly psychotic, Pfeiffer was fatally seductive, Walken was deliciously megalomaniacal, and DeVito was unwaveringly grotesque. Everyone pulled off their characters with gusto and memorable appeal. Though not as dark and gritty as the first film, "Returns" captured the subtle madness that permeates Gotham City. When you compare "Returns" to the other Batman films, it is easy to see that it gives Batman's world the touch of underlying insanity (as only Burton can capture) that the first film lacked (where was the Joker's twisted sense of humor?) and the last two increasingly turned into the Three Stooges ("Chicks dig the car"!?!). Batman Returns excelled in that it was a dark, disturbingly insane portrait of Batman and Gotham City; a film that carefully balances on the fine line where and darkness and madness meet. For those movie lovers brave enough to try walking that line, I recommend this film.
Batman Returns is a perfect film to watch during the holiday season as
the winter/Xmas atmosphere that Burton creates for Gotham City is
wonderful. It's weird that Warner decided to release this as a summer
film. It doesn't fit.
But what's even weirder, when you consider the content of this film, is that it was aimed at families. An upper-class family throws their mutant baby down the sewer, a socio-phobic billionaire dresses up in leather as a flying rodent, a lonely secretary has a mental breakdown and dresses up in leather as a feline, and said grown-up mutant baby freak runs for political office. Not to mention the S&M subtext that Tim Burton somehow managed to get away with. His eccentric visual style fits this film best, and is the height of his career, IMO.
This and the Dark Knight are the only true live-action incarnations of the comic-book character. True, Batman Returns is not as grown-up and serious as the Dark Knight, but it's a helluva lot atmospheric, and I just prefer the oddball character development here than in TDK. I rate them both equally, but scoring points on different levels.
Darker and more violent than the first movie, the sense of Gothic pathos reaches a new high. I was quite keen on Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (don't even get me started on George Clooney!), he displayed the right balance of weirdo loner and cool crime fighter. Michelle Pfieffer is great as Catwoman (much sexier and more 'realisticly' cat-like), she wears that leather outfit better than Halle Berry. And Danny DeVito was so convincing as the Penguin that his scenes become disturbing to watch. Special mention must be made of Christopher Walken, who is brilliant as the spooky Max Shreck (if you think you recognise Chip Shrek it's none other than a very young Leatherface/Butterfinger).
Danny Elfman's score is also even better than it was first time round. His powerful and engaging themes are way better than the dross that followed in the later Schumacher movies. This movie is the Batman phenomenon at its Zenith. Forget the following sequels and stick to the animated series after this. Christopher Nolan brought integrity back to the series, but before Schumacher destroyed it, Burton gave the original series integrity too.
A great Xmas film, and my favorite Batman adventure.
Ah, Batman Returns, is it possible to have a sequel to be almost as
good as the original? With Batman Returns, it came pretty close! We
have terrific actors and a great plot with the dark knight and two new
villains, Catwoman and The Penguin. We have Michael Keaton back as
Batman and he's still awesome than ever. Michelle Pfieffer, the perfect
choice for Catwoman and was perfectly cast into place. As much as I
love and is such an incredible actress Annette Benning, she couldn't
have been Catwoman, she doesn't really have the look. Danny DeVito, who
could have imagined him as The Penguin? He was just great and
Batman returns with a more loving community of Gotham City, they are celebrating Christmas time with, Max Shrek played by a creepy Christopher Walken. The perfect villain who mistreats his lovely secretary, Selina who happens to hear too much at his office causing him to push her out the window in hopes that she dies and will never reveal the information of knowing the Penguin and the attempt to make him loved in Gotham. When she survives and is awakened by cats, she wants revenge and is ready to go at it with her cats! But there is also another active villain, The Penguin who is in search of his parents that abandoned him and now he is looking to be the new mayor of Gotham City! Can Batman be able to stop both super villains from creating their hanous acts and stop the mayor from destroying the city as well?
You'll have to see! Batman Returns is just as good as the original Batman, despite the first one remaining the true classic, this one still takes you for a ride. And come on, I mean we've got Michelle in leather! Her classic moment of just meeting Batman and The Penguin "Meow" is classic! There are memorable characters, lines, and sets! You'll have a blast! Trust me!
Many of us find art agreeable only when the masterpiece itself touches something deep inside us. That is, the completed creation can only be accepted and appreciated if we can somehow personally relate to it. It was winter, here in Australia 1992 when I had seen Batman Returns at the cinemas and it blew me away. Both "me's". I was supposed to belong to an ideal, a standard, but at the same time I was living another life. Tim Burton was the first film maker to say its OK for a comic movie to be dark and to confess that darkness can happen to us all. After Tim Burton's Batman interpretations, many other dark comic book heroes and anti-heroes flooded the cinemas. Comic book folklore for decades had told of friendly, likable heroes with dashingly handsome smiles and magical superpowers who fly in the sky, and spun powerful webs from their wrists and wore red boots and had the strength of a locomotive. But what happens when you are only ten years old and you see your parents coldly executed in front of your very eyes? You snap. Somewhere in your psyche,your young tender psychological make up breaks apart. The only way such pain and hurt can be managed is to create an alternate persona.You make a promise. Your other self will be stronger, harness all the anger all the rage to use whatever means available to avenge the innocence of your parents onto that criminal, those criminals, any criminal. This is life seen through Bruce Wayne's eyes. Both pairs. The world he sees is dark, gloomy, and cold. Although he patrols the streets and people hear him cruise by, they don't rush out to get his autograph. He is their Saviour, not the winner of a personality contest. Batman Returns is about losers. Batman, for yet another Christmas, remains "the only lonely man beast in town". Bruce Wayne never gets to lawfully arrest the vile Max Shreck. The Penguin never gets to unleash his pain of being discarded by his parents onto the citizens of Gotham, and Selina Kyle is forever lost to being mentally fragmented and traumatized. And the hero doesn't get the girl- or cat.This movie delves into the desire in all of us to want so desperately to belong, to have a home, as expressed by Bruce Wayne and Oswald Cobblepot.The film brings out a need in all of us to be heard, respected and not ignored as desired by Selina Kyle , Oswald and of course Bruce Wayne. But sometimes we are all suppressed in one way or another, we are told to be an ideal, to behave to a certain standard. That is until we finally snap. Only hope remains at the end of the movie as we see Catwoman rise towards the night sky. But come what may we all must wish good will towards all men and women. As for me , I cant say that I will reach a point where I will believe my problem with duality will be reconciled. But thats OK. We all have a dark side. Batman Returns is not only the best of the Batman films ,it is truly a stand out exceptionally fine masterpiece of storytelling.
I don't know why critics cal it bizarre and macabre. I really don't.
Dark -yes, bizarre - no. It i s sad and with lots of emotions,
specially with the Pinguin's story. They say it has elements of S&M but
I really don't find anything of that sort except for Catwoman's whip.
This movie is deeper than its genre and villains aren't just some crazy freaks dressed like on a masquerade. They have strong motives with strong feelings involved. Catwoman (a great performance by Michelle Pfeifer!) isn't just a sexy chick who likes steeling jewels - she's on her personal crusade and Pinguin... well, by the end of the movie you really feel sorry for him (strong performance by Danny DeVito). Again, I think Michael Keaton is the best Batman and he carries his costume well.
You can totally see that it is a Tim Burton movie, because he has an unusual style and is a very talented guy. But also the music is fantastic and fits the emotions.
Tim Burton the man behind the original Batman film and Beetlejuice,
brings the world the sequel to Batman, that exceeds the original in
more ways than one. Firstly Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny De Vito are a
great mix of Batmans enemies. The dark, deadly and sexy Catwoman works
well to rattle some heads within the story and penguin works in the
same way that the joker worked in the original. The sets are stunning
and immaculate. Gotham city has so many dark alleyways that you could
never know what's happening at one time or another. The only thing that
gives it a bad name is its script, which at times seems to lapse and
then not recover for while. Tim Burtons direction bring superhero films
into a new realm. Beats all the superman films and the other Batman
films by a mile. Though in terms of realisation the new Batman begins
has a bite where this one lacks, but Burton is a more original director
*First review written by me at 16. Re-written at 21*
Tim Burton has an interesting history in film, between the surreal Pee Wee's Big Adventure and mis-interpreted Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton's career has gone from an artistic darkly comic director, to unimaginative copy-cat of his own work. I still stand by my original review in that this film is very cleverly directed, beautifully shot, with stunning towering set pieces, but a script that goes from cheesy melodrama, to cheap and nasty humour.
Though with some terribly written scenes there are some, incredible ones. Mainly those concerning antagonists Catwoman and Penguin. One scene in particular concerning the two concocting a frivolous ploy to destroy batman is one that springs to mind. The acting is first class, Danny DeVito is deliciously theatrical and sinister, Michelle Pfeiffer relentlessly sexy and smooth.
Since my original review Dark Knight was released. Unfortunately for Burton I retract my youthful statement of his originality over Nolan. Dark Knight surpasses Batman Returns and almost eclipses its existence, but this instalment still has great merit and will stand out as one of the greatest superhero films, not to mention cementing Batman as the greatest superhero franchise ever.
I've enjoyed this movie ever since I was a kid and I still do. I also
liked Batman forever back then but the real difference is that THIS
movie didn't date when I grew up. I did notice a few scenes in this
film that didn't make any sense like: 'Hhmm... the crowd is angry. Hey!
Where did they get those tomatoes from?' Then I thought: 'who cares?
This movie is not 100% serious anyway!'
The original Tim Burton Batman was great as well but it was a bit cheesy at some parts and I didn't like all the actors. This movie improved on almost every aspect with a wonderful cast, a more Gothic style and no involvement of Prince.
Nowadays, many fans of the Christopher Nolan movies dislike Burton claiming that the Nolan movies are more serious and therefore more loyal to the comics. I don't think this is entirely true: -There has never been an adaptation of the original concept of Batman which was a vengeful criminal killer with a gun. -Batman has taken many forms over the years peeking its silliness in the 60's (and a bit with Batman & Robin). A director is free to choose what kind of Batman he's going to portray as long if it's good.
My opinion: Batman doesn't necessarily have to be serious. It's about a man in a rubber suit with pointy ears. Burton managed to create a perfect balance between the silliness and the darkness surrounding the whole idea.
I just recently watched the Nolan movies and I love those ones as well (especially The Dark Knight). There's simply something about this movie that interests me more. Nolan's goal was to give the character much more depth and in doing so, he looked for an explanation of nearly every aspect of Batman. That's a bit too much for me, I'm a bigger fan of the more abstract version of Batman. The Burton movies are more theatrical and centered around the atmosphere.
My conclusion is that you shouldn't compare the Nolan with the Burton movies. They're just different and it's up to you to decide which one you like better. My respect is for both directors.
I really wanted to be able to give this film a 10. I've long thought it
was my favorite of the four modern live-action Batman films to date
(and maybe it still will be--I have yet to watch the Schumacher films
again). I'm also starting to become concerned about whether I'm somehow
subconsciously being contrarian. You see, I always liked the Schumacher
films. As far as I can remember, they were either 9s or 10s to me. But
the conventional wisdom is that the two Tim Burton directed films are
far superior. I had serious problems with the first Burton Batman this
time around--I ended up giving it a 7--and apologize as I might, I just
couldn't help feel that Batman Returns just has too many small
direction, plot and script problems scattered throughout to justify a
But Burton _almost_ trumps the problems with sheer force of style, and even though there are a lot of small flaws, Batman Returns is still a great film, especially if you're a Burton fan, as Batman Returns has just as much in common with The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Edward Scissorhands (1990) as it does with anything else in the Batman universe.
The film begins strongly, with the Cobblepots having a baby. We see their dismay--people walk out of the birthing room with horror on their faces, ready to vomit. Later, they have the baby in a small cage. Finally they take it out for an evening stroll and dump it in the Gotham City River. The baby ends up becoming Batman villain The Penguin (Danny DeVito).
Meanwhile, Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) is the film's "evil capitalist", comparable to Grissom (Jack Palance) in Batman. He is planning on duping Gotham City in various ways, and we see him emotionally abusing his secretary, the timid Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer). When Kyle discovers one of the nefarious plots, Grissom tries to get rid of her, but she is rescued by cats, becoming Catwoman.
While all of this is going on, The Penguin, who has long been only rumored to exist and who is thought to be dangerous, begins a scheme to be presented to the public as a good guy, despite having less than benevolent, ulterior motives.
Before re-watching Burton's Batman films this time, I didn't remember just how little the films are about Batman (Michael Keaton). It's almost as if Burton didn't feel the character was interesting enough to focus on. The focus here is much more on the villains, especially The Penguin. Batman doesn't appear very often, especially in the beginning of the film, and surprisingly often, we're watching him watching The Penguin.
Although some viewers necessarily count the above as a flaw, I can't say that I do, even if I'd like to know more about Batman and follow his story more. The villains' stories are interesting, too, and as an "origin story" for two major Batman villains, Batman Returns is already more than complex in terms of plot.
However, there are some character problems that I do count as a flaw. The Penguin has a cadre of circus performers who do his bidding, but even though they're frequently on screen, we never get to learn anything about them. Burton has a core of characters as intriguing as those in Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) available, with actors as interesting as Vincent Schiavelli, but he just doesn't have the space to use them.
For that matter, he hardly has space to explore Catwoman. The film plays as if Catwoman may have been as developed and featured in as many scenes as The Penguin, but that cut of the film would have been 4 hours long. So the bulk of the Catwoman scenes had to be excised. Of course, all of this barely leaves any room for Batman. Burton has Batman turn very dark in the public's eye in this film, and unusually, he never bothers to resolve this. As far as we know, at the end, Gothamites still think that Batman is a murdering lunatic. That's an interesting development, but unfortunately it ended up being dropped between this film and the next.
As for the script, although there are minor problems including some non-sequiturs and bizarre decisions (in terms of logic) made by characters, it's clear that Burton and writers Sam Hamm and Daniel Waters are not exactly trying to tell a traditional story. A lot of the dialogue is pun-oriented, but often this is fairly subtle and/or complex (of course, sometimes it is very blatant or transparent, too). It helps to look at Batman Returns as a more "poetic" film, as I believe was the intention. This also carries over into more general plot and directorial decisions--plenty of odd character actions, including from minor characters, are done in service of a general mood or style, and that style works very well.
"Dark" is the easiest way to sum up Batman Returns in a word, and whether that's a positive or negative depends on your disposition. Anyone who knows me knows that I love dark. So for me, Burton's style largely transcends the flaws in the plot and the script. In many ways, Batman Returns is like an insane, campy horror film, with beautifully eerie production design. Like Batman, Burton is still making many references to other films, but instead of Vertigo (1958) and Star Wars (1977) (well, there's still a slight Star Wars reference), he invokes films like Nosferatu (1922) (including that "Max Schreck" was the name of the actor who played the Dracula-like character there), Motel Hell (1980), the aforementioned Freaks, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) (which has a surreal, dark edge to it) and zombie films--made most explicit in The Penguin's final scene.
In terms of visuals and general atmosphere--and that includes the general "feel" of the story, the characters and so on--this couldn't be a stronger 10.
Very rarely do movie sequels ever match the grandeur of the originals. BATMAN RETURNS however, does so with gusto. The sequel to 1989's BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS neither milks the success of the first movie nor totally disregards it; it's a wonderful sequel and a spectacular movie in its own right. There's something for everyone in this movie - humor, high drama, plenty of action, and lots of cool things to look at. Of course, viewers have to get around Tim Burton's morbid and sometimes offensive sense of humor, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem in this era of SOUTH PARK and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. While the movie has many great moments, it also has its flaws. The plot seems rushed, stitched together. Danny DeVito tries his best as the Penguin but doesn't quite pull it off. Christopher Walken appears as a secondary bad guy, but his performance is lackluster compared to the others. And many of the action sequences, though breathtaking, seemed forced and are occasionally absurd. All that aside, there's all kinds of surprises in this movie - smart humor and dialogue, characters you can't help but love, lots of satire (Homer's Iliad, CITIZEN KANE, and the American political scene are all lampooned), and many memorable scenes that only serve as a testament to Burton's colorful imagination. I hope to get this movie on DVD, where I can enjoy it on my big screen TV in all its glory. Not exactly the best Batman film ever, but still a fascinating movie to watch over and over again.
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