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Batman Returns

  • 1992
  • PG-13
  • 126min
  • 81%
  • 7 / 10

A deformed but notable crime boss named Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a Penguin uses incriminating evidence to force business mogul, Max Shreck, into becoming his partner in crime. The two then plot to topple the city’s caped crusader and silent guardian, Batman, in order to become Gotham’s city’s all-powerful figures. Meanwhile, Schreck’s assistant becomes a sly and seductive vigilante in order to exact revenge on the man that tried to kill her.

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Actress Michelle Pfeiffer was not Tim Burton’s first choice to play Catwoman in Batman Returns - it was American Beauty’s Annette Bening. However, Bening announced that she was pregnant thus giving the supporting role of Catwoman to Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer goes on to say, “As a young girl, I was completely obsessed with Catwoman. When I heard that Tim was making the film and Catwoman had already been cast, I was devastated . . . I remember telling Tim halfway through the script that I'd do the film, that's how excited I was.' Determined to make the most out of her role, she dedicated a lot of time to mastering the whip and kickbox training in order for her to perform all her own stunts.

Batman Returns movie review

The true purpose of Batman Returns is to portray Batman's damaged psyche through all three villains - Penguin, Catwoman and Max Schreck. It is the villains that play both the stars and Batman's character arc. They may reach far and wide, but in the end, they fail. All that's left is Batman's empty gestures and pitiful excuse for a crusade.

In the film's climax,  Penguin says to Batman, “You’re just jealous because I’m a genuine freak, and you have to wear a mask.”  then meets his demise - a death treated with greater value than Bruce Wayne's pitiful attempts at sympathy. But the film's crowning glory is Selina Kyle's expressionistic arc that rings with the 1990s feminist movement and beyond.

By the end of the film, a simplistic happy ending is achieved. Batman realizes that he and Catwoman are one and the same, he reveals that he is Bruce Wayne. Solidifying how she - as with Penguin and Shreck - is a mirror of his own turmoil. He pleads, 'We're the same, split right down the center,' begging her not to lose her life in order to get her revenge on Shreck. She retorts that Batman is a hypocrite and that he lost his own soul too - when he gave into his inner-self and put on the mask. To give in to Bruce's plea would be allowing another man to - once again - make her decisions. She murders Schreck in true psychosexual fashion - an electrifying kiss of death.

Batman Returns is a tragedy of operatic proportions partnered with Danny Elfman's eery and melancholic score. Batman's bittersweet victory is more of a loss as he is only fighting shadows of himself. The film, veiled by colourful costumes, campy props and groan-worthy puns, addresses the darker and more tragic side of Batman. It is a true noir ending where the hero not only fails to save others, but fails to save himself.

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about the movie

Batman Returns (1992) is an American superhero film based on the DC Comics Character, Batman.  This is the sequel to the 1989 film Batman and the second installment of the Warner Brothers Pictures initial Batman series. It is the last Batman film directed by Tim Burton as well as Michael Keaton’s last appearance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Other cast members include Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Michael Murphy. The film was a commercial success as it was the third highest-grossing film in America in 1992, and the sixth highest in worldwide totals. It also received numerous nominations from major award-winning bodies, namely the Academy Awards and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.

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