Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Tim Burton once again came back to direct the sequel which came out in 1992. The first movie was a box office success, so he had free range to do whatever he wanted. And while Batman Returns has some good elements and good acting, it’s not nearly as good as the first installment and it comes across as a Tim Burton movie, not a Batman movie. It becomes inconsistent with the Batman lore and everything is whimsical, weird and way too dark and depressing. Batman kills people in this movie, which completely derails from the comics. It feels way too much like a circus and it takes place at Christmas time for some reason, which I always thought was an odd choice.
But there are some good things about this movie. The casting for the villains was perfect. Danny DeVito as the Penguin was perhaps the best choice they could have gotten in the 90’s. (Let’s face it, he kind of looks like a Penguin). His makeup was fantastic. He looks disgusting and the scene where he eats the guy’s nose is so revolting. His backstory is interesting and you understand his motivation. He wants to find his parents and discover his roots. He also blackmails Max Shreck (portrayed by Christopher Walken) in helping him become mayor of Gotham.
Catwoman is also in this film and she is portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer and she’s is great as Selina Kyle. Her origin story is also really awesome. She finds out that her boss Max Shreck is planning to steal Gotham’s electricity with the new power plant he plans to build. He pushes her out the window and she falls to her death and is resurrected by cats. She returns home, has a nervous breakdown and makes her Catwoman outfit and goes out to steal banks. She also has nine lives! That’s insane!
Her chemistry between Michael Keaton isn’t bad as well. But as you watch the movie you realize that she’s a bit of a whore too, since she chases down any man and throws herself at him. The two are good together, but there a bit too many scenes with them together that are drawn out and nothing really happens.
The Penguin successfully turns Gotham city against Batman and that’s the main aspect of the movie that is interesting and it should have been more present. He teams up with Catwoman and that’s where it started with the multiple villains and the movie actually balences this storyline rather well, unlike movies like Spider-Man 3 (and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for that matter) which we’re a mess. There’s a scene where Catwoman starts to lick herself like a cat and it is over the but it is nice to look at.
There’s also a scene where the Penguin controls the Batmobile like in an arcade game and it’s really dumb. It doesn’t make sense and it feels like it actually belongs in Batman and Robin rather than this movie.
The ending of the movie with all the penguins is a bit absurd and over the top. And the Penguin is out of his mind in this movie. He wants to murder all the first-born child’s of every family in Gotham. You don’t get much more evil than that.
The Penguin dies after one final showdown with Batman. Catwoman electrocutes Shreck as they kiss and they both die together. However, Batman doesn’t find her in the burning wreckage. He leaves the sewers and sees her shadows in a dark alley while Alfred drives him back home. He goes out, finds a cat and brings it back with him while Catwoman watches in the moonlight.
Overall, Batman Returns is certainly not a bad movie, it’s just more of a Tim Burton movie than a Batman movie, which clearly shows. Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer are fantastic additions to the cast and there are some exciting scenes throughout even though it is a bit campy at times.