The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

BATMAN RETURNS (1992) *** ½

Where Batman actually returns FROM I have no idea (maybe he was on vacation or something), but he comes back to star in this uneven but satisfying sequel.  This time Batman (Michael Keaton) fights the ugly, disgusting Penguin (Danny DeVito) who lives in the sewer and the sexy Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).  Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) is the real villain however.  He secretly wants to drain Gotham City of all it’s power and rides on the coattails of the Penguin as he ascends his way to becoming the mayor.  Meanwhile Schreck’s lowly secretary Selina Kyle falls for Bruce Wayne, which complicates their relationship when they have to dress up in black rubber and fight each other.  

It’s darker than the first movie and parents complained about the grotesque Penguin biting people’s noses off.  The Penguin is grosser and uglier than he was in the comics and (like the Joker) gets more screen time than Batman.  He also wears out his welcome pretty fast.  Pfeiffer and Keaton are great in their scenes together (in and out of costume) and Pfeiffer is good at balancing Kyle’s fragmented, broken persona with Catwoman’s sexy, slinky side.  Walken steals the movie though and easily outshines the other two villains.  The art direction and the Impressionistic sets (by Bo Welsh) are impressive but they don’t exactly jibe with the look of the first movie.    

It’s nowhere near as good as the first film and is clearly more of a Tim Burton flick than an honest to God Batman movie.  It also suffers from not having one character as remotely as interesting as the Joker, but the movie actually gets better upon repeated viewings and is a heck of a lot better than the Joel Schumacher directed sequels.  Burton and Keaton bolted after this flick, but returning co-stars Michael Gough and Pat Hingle stuck it out for two more movies.  Michael Murphy, Christy Conway, Paul Reubens and Vincent Schiavelli also co-star.  The popularity of Catwoman led to Burton leaving her alive at the end of the film for a possible spin-off, which took twelve years to finally rear its ugly head.

Tags: action, b, batman movies, burton, comic book movie

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