Batman Returns is the sequel to Batman and is the second, and last, Batman movie directed by Tim Burton. Michael Keaton reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as do Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth and Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. Danny DeVito plays the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer is Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Christopher Walken plays the character of Max Shreck, which was created for this movie.
Burton took some convincing to return for the sequel, in the end agreeing to direct in return for much more creative control. It shows, as this has more of a Burton feel to it than the previous movie. Again it was criticised for being too dark, getting more mixed reviews than the first movie. It’s PG-13 rating was even criticised as there remained violence and sexual references. The movie is pretty tame by today’s standards though.
The plot sees The Penguin teaming up to run for Mayor of Gotham, while at the same time another new villain, Catwoman, shows up, the alter ego of Selina Kyle, who starts dating Bruce Wayne. To make things more complicated, as Catwoman she agrees to team up with Penguin to ruin Batman’s reputation. In the end it is Penguins reputation that ends up being ruined, which leads to a confrontation between the main players at the films finale.
There are some pretty big fan criticisms of this movie, more so than the last one, with this movie being argued about among them since it was made. Batman is pretty murderous in this movie. At one point he even burns a guy alive. The Penguin’s story is also a mishmash of bits from different parts of the comics and TV series and as such it doesn’t really feel like any version we know. I agree with all of that, but I still think this is a great movie that actually improves on the original and here’s why:
Firstly, Keaton again gives a great performance but this time seems much more settled in the role. He is supported by fantastic actors again. Danny DeVito is great and does his best with the muddled version of the Penguin. He gives just the right balance of creepy and pathetic. Walken is great too as Shreck, but the standout performance for me is Pfeiffer as Catwoman. This is my favourite film version of Catwoman.
The story may be muddled, but there is much more of it this time. The action scenes are not overly impressive, but again we get to see a couple of new vehicles (the Batmissile, which is part of the Batmobile, and the Batskiboat) along with the others, which still look super-cool. The Batsuit is hardly changed, which is good because it is one of the best.
It was criticised for being too dark, but I think the balance is better here than in Batman. The score is once again another highlight of the movie, and if you like Burton films, which I do, then as I mentioned this is more his style than the first.
Overall this movie keeps everything that was great about the first one but makes slight improvements to other areas. Yes it does once again take liberties with the source material, and the action sequences don’t really compare to nowadays, but if you can forget about the changes, then this is an entertaining movie, and probably the best of the original four.
Movie info from Wikipedia:
|Directed by||Tim Burton|
|Screenplay by||Daniel Waters|
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$266.8 million|