Batman Returns is the second Tim Burton vision of the cape crusader. Headlined by Michael Keaton for the second straight film, his lousy guy acquaintances are superstars in their own right. Catwoman is played by Michelle Pfeiffer, The Penguin is Danny DeVito, and a corrupt business executive Max Shreck is Christopher Walken!
You would have to wonder how this film wouldn’t be a masterpiece, but you have to remember Burton was behind the camera. Since I am not a massive fan of the director, I am not afraid to bring the rain and say that he tried to jam pack everything into Batman Returns, and it suffered drastically for it.
The Penguin was a great character, but his entrance into the franchise was rather odd. Then he runs for mayor, and you have to wonder if this was just a comedy disguised as an action movie. Catwoman, when allowed to do leather cat things, is excellent. She is leaps and bounds ahead of Halle Barry, while Anne Hathaway gives the original one a run for her money.
Like the previous film, the whole thing is very cartoonish. The characters, toys, and fight sequences just look so fake. Walken sports a hairdo like he just came from the electric chair and makes it really hard to believe he is a serious bad guy. Devito is so convincing as the Penguin that you have to overlook how silly his whole situation is. When they all meet their demise, you almost want to look away; it’s that bad.
Keaton is on the ball again in this one. He’s brilliant as Bruce Wayne and as Batman. I like him in this role and wonder what he would have been capable of if he had a better script to work with.
We have to face facts and realize that Batman and Batman’s Returns were really the pinnacle of the Batman universe until Christopher Nolan took over the reins. Despite their age, this film and its origins will always have a special place in the hearts of the fans. 5/10