Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns (1992)

1992 PG-13 126 Minutes

Action | Crime | Fantasy | Science Fiction | Thriller

Having defeated the Joker, Batman now faces the Penguin - a warped and deformed individual who is intent on being accepted into Gotham society. Crooked businessman Max Schreck is coerced into helpi...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: Like its predecessor, 'Batman Returns,' has a pretty aimless (though slightly more linear) plot with no central question or drive, but what it does have that was lacking before is room for a bit of empathy. Burton has always been most interested in people who don't fit in, and here he gets a chance to paint both Batman (Michael Keaton), Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the film's villain Penguin (Danny DeVito) as just that. Batman spends most of the movie secluded in his cave or mansion, Catwoman struggles with her newfound alternate personality, whilst the Penguin gets a whole backstory about being abandoned as a child and left to live in the sewers because of his disfigured face. That, when paired with more Gothic world-building and intensely theatrical performances, music and camerawork, makes for a somewhat fascinating fairytale.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Once again, the plot simply consists of characters with differing and fairly thinly-drawn motivations doing what they want and occasionally coming to blows. The Penguin makes a run for mayor to fit in, but he tries to do so by taking down the Batman for no apparent reason. Similarly, Catwoman has some kind of hatred for Batman simply because she got kicked out of a window and bitten by some cats, and those two then team up to make a few stabs at taking the Batman down such that he has to spend the entirety of the film on the defence.

    That fails to engage you because it doesn't do anything to develop or test the characters or bring them to any meaningful conflicts, and when the film then misses the obvious opportunity for the three central folk to stop the aforementioned nonsense and recognise their shared isolation in favour of a more typical good vs evil affair, it's frankly a crushing disappointment.

    VERDICT: 'Batman Returns,' may present us with slightly more empathetic characters than its predecessor, but it still fails to do anything particularly engaging with them.