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Batman Returns

The 1992 movie directed by Tim Burton

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It Might Be Visually Stunning, But.....

  • Apr 8, 2004
Rating:
+3
"Batman Returns" has plenty of atmosphere about it. There's no denying that. However, this sequel pales in comparison to its predecessor. The scenery is dark and moody, but the character of the "Penguin" is just atrocious. How did a rich, greedy, power-hungry villain in the comics become a mutated, flipper-handed freak? Keaton does a fine job as the "Dark Knight," but his performance isn't enough to save this divebomb. Michelle Pfeiffer is good as the "Catwoman," but her squabble with Max Shreck(Christopher Walken) was weightless in this movie. Her story seems too rushed in order to cram "Batman's" struggles with her and "Penguin" in an acceptable movie time length.

The special effects are okay, but the heavily armed penguins are just silly looking. "Batman" has a couple of new toys, but his "Batboat," much like the "Batwing" in the first flick, makes a quick entrance and exit.

It's obvious that Tim Burton was given a lot more creative freedom on this project. That's too bad, because he takes too many liberties with the characters involved on this project. The whole film has this "Edward Scissorhands" feel in it. I usually enjoy Burton's projects, but this one goes too far with its brooding yet goofy atmosphere.

In this movie we are introduced to the idea that all of "Batman's" villains have to team up in order to beat him. This one has three: "Penguin," "Catwoman," and "Max Shreck." Although "Catwoman" is only "sort of" a villain, the flick still has to spend time describing her origin. Following sequels have "Riddler" and "Two-Face" teaming up and "Poison Ivy" and "Mr. Freeze"(and an underused "Bane"). The result is a story crammed with the origins of all the villains, the introduction and explanation of allies("Robin" and "Batgirl")and a twisting, turning plot that falls into quick boredom. Sure, all of these sequels may be visually satisfying, but the stories are clunkers. Perhaps the next movie(if there ever is one) will return to the original idea of having one meanie take on "Batman." Give these villains credit, they can give "Batman" a time on their own.

In closing, this is an okay picture. It is very atmospheric, but atmosphere and a nickel won't even buy you a cup of coffee anymore. "Batman Forever" is a slightly better movie. The tone of the film leans more toward the silly antics of the old TV show, but the brighter colors and lighter humor are a welcome change from "Batman Returns." Don't get me wrong, it's nowhere near the original, but it is a decent vision of the "Batman" comics. The action is better than in "Batman Returns," and Val Kilmer does a fine job filling Michael Keaton's shoes. He keeps the integrity of the character alive despite a lightweight story. The "Riddler" is a good villain(though not "Joker"), but "Two-Face" just doesn't belong. Don't even bother with "Batman & Robin." It takes the cheese-factor to an all-time low.

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More Batman Returns reviews
review by . September 26, 2010
Batman Returns is such a weird movie.  It sort of holds the opposite distinction than the first Batman for me because whereas I was the perfect age for the first film, when this came out in theaters I was 15, sort of jaded and ended up pretty disappointed in the movie.  In fact this is one of the first flicks that I should have loved but didn't which has only gotten worse and worse as I've gotten older.  Tim Burton has provided a lot of firsts for me I guess.      …
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Too dark for it's own good still has some beautiful sets and interesting characters for Batman to battle. The lighter tone of Schumacher was welcome in my opinion after this one.
Quick Tip by . May 10, 2010
Black as an onyx Batman story that while stylish is off the deep end on the hurt meter with it's characters and subjects.
review by . June 15, 2009
Michael Keaton returns as Batman
Tim Burton can say whatever he wants about how he felt that Batman should be a loner and not have so much attention on him, that may be true but if your going to have Batman in the movies title, you better have some Batman.      Tim Burton didn't have any reason to really come back for another Batman.  He said what he wanted with the first one but with a promise of some more money and lots of creative control he came back and got Michael Keaton to come back with him.  …
Quick Tip by . September 29, 2009
Stylish and very dark follow up to the 89 film. Nicely cast characters, but the brooding and dark touches are black as an onyx.
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #30
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Wiki


The first Batman sequel takes a wicked turn with the villainous exploits of the freakish and mean-spirited Penguin (Danny DeVito), whose criminal collaboration with evil tycoon Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) threatens to drain Gotham City of its energy supply. As if that weren't enough, Batman (Michael Keaton) has his hands full with the vengeful Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), who turns out to be a lot more dangerous than a kitten with a whip. As with the first Batman feature, director Tim Burton brings his distinct visual style to the frantic action, but this time there's a darker malevolence lurking beneath all that extraordinary production design.--Jeff Shannon
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