Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Batman returned, alright.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
A lot of people have different opinions about what Batman franchise this is – and what Batman franchise that is. I pretty much split it into – the new series, and the old series. Batman 1-4 in the old, and the Dark Knight Trilogy in the new. Yeah yeah, half of the old was Tim Burton, and then it changed – blah. It’s Batman. Get over it. I mention that in order to say Batman Returns should probably be your go-to Batman movie in the old series. I can’t say that for certain, but I’m pretty sure this is the best of the old series by far.
To clue you in a bit on what’s been going on in the movie – our villain(s) this time around are The Penguin and Catwoman. The Penguin is your main baddy while Catwoman is more of a sideshow – a very good sideshow, though. When the Penguin emerges, he claims his entire existence is all about cleaning up the city and finding his parents that abandoned him thirty years ago, but Bruce Wayne knows something else is up. Thing is, Batman is going to have a lot of trouble stopping the Penguin when the mysterious and seductive Catwoman makes herself, and her intentions, known to the big…black…bat.
I love this movie for so many reasons. It’s still not perfect, but it’s a huge improvement from the first film. First of all, my main concern about the first movie was the comedic stylings of Jack Nicholson. In all his iconic nature, he just doesn’t fit the role anymore. The movie needed to get more dark all around, and darkness is what we got in our sequel. It was bigger and better this time around, as both our villains are just dark and demented enough to color this film extra epic. You got Danny DeVito as the Penguin, and he fits the role really well. Then we have Michelle Pheiffer as Catwoman. Man, her origin is not only iconic, but it is shot beautifully surrounded by an unbelievably effective musical score. I love these villains, don’t get me wrong, but I do have a bone to pick with both of them.
First of all, DeVito as the Penguin…I’m still impressed to this day, over twenty years later – the makeup still looks really creepy and mutated – but the direction of his character I wasn’t the biggest fan of. Just like the Joker in the first movie, Tim Burton made our main villain likable. People were voting for this guy to be mayor in the movie, I mean come on, have you even seen the guy? I’m sorry to throw a bombshell on you, but american citizens are actually pretty shallow, especially when it comes to politics, and that has been proven. But seriously, a Batman villain badly needs to make a depressing city worse. People need to fear them. Get it through your head, Burton. As for Catwoman, I loved everything about her, except for one thing – I would have been okay with the cats bringing her back from the dead if they explained how that even happened. But instead, you’re just supposed to accept that random street cats can perform miracles. – I guess that’s more explained in Catwoman, but for this film…it kind of pisses me off that that went unexplained.
As for the plot, the first movie had a better one. It was a simple man vs. man plot with a plain story about a villain trying to kill people. Easy peasy, this time I got pretty confused with what was going on with Penguin. Why he was really running for mayor, what Selina’s boss really did for a living. Problem is, the only goal I understood and could follow was Selina wanting revenge for her boss trying to kill her earlier. However, whatever confusion existed, it doesn’t matter too much because Batman really did return, and his whole existence in this film is a lot cooler with a lot more gadgets and more screen time action and what not. Overall, it’s a better movie.
This should probably be your go-to Batman movie of the ‘90s, it’s got everything you could possibly ask for. Good villains, great performances, amazing music, beatiful camerawork – all of it – stitched together with near perfect in Batman Returns.
If I had to pick something, I’d say the plot wasn’t completely understandable, nor logical. The Penguin should be a monster that people fear, not love and vote for in politics, also – I would have really liked an explanation as to why random street cats have the ability to bring a person back from the dead.
Catwoman: I don’t know about you, Miss Kitty, but I feel so much yummier.