The Batman Films – Part 3 of 9: Batman Returns (1992)

After the runaway success of Batman it’s hardly a surprise that there’d be a sequel. So in 1992 Batman Returns was released to mixed reviews and slightly below expected box office.

Tim Burton returned as director. Danny Elfman returned to score. Michael Keaton returned as Bruce Wayne/Batman  – and Michael Gough and Pat Hingle came back as Alfred and Gordon.

In addition to the returnees Danny DeVito was cast as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Christopher Walken as Max Shreck – and Michelle Pfeiffer in a career making turn as Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

It begins with the wealthy Cobblepots throwing their deformed baby Oswald into a river. His basket floats upstream where eventually he’s found and raised by (I can’t believe I’m about to type this)… penguins. So he becomes… The Penguin.

When secretary Selina Kyle snoops around a bit too much and discovers something she shouldn’t – her boss Max Shreck attempts to murder her. She survives the attempt and is rescued by cats. She becomes… Catwoman.

The Penguin blackmails Max Shreck to make him a tabloid sensation. Eventually Shreck will try to make him Mayor of Gotham City. The Penguin secretly has his gang of circus freaks terrorise the city – while Shreck hides his involvement.

Catwoman roams the streets looking for ways to take revenge against Shreck for trying to kill her.

Batman enters this chaos. As Bruce Wayne he romances Selina Kyle by day and as Batman fights Catwoman at night. Neither of them aware of the other’s true identity.

Batman, Catwoman, The Penguin and Max Shreck will all find themselves in conflict with each other in the battle to save Gotham City’s soul. That’s as best as I can describe the movie’s “story”.

Batman is a bad film. Batman Returns is even worse.

Batman is hardly in it. Danny DeVito totally hams it up. Christopher Walken just looks embarrassed. Michelle Pfeiffer is a rare highlight – delivering a performance which has a killer combination of seductiveness and vulnerability.

I dislike this movie for pretty much the same reasons I dislike the first one. Violent, nihilistic and just unpleasant to watch. In this movie and the last one – Batman kills people and I just hate that. OK they’re bad guys… but he doesn’t even feel bad about it!!!

I’m used to reading about a Batman who DOESN’T kill his enemies. It goes against his moral code. So you’d think the least the filmmakers could do is add some weight to the story by showing some kind of internal conflict in Batman for doing it. But no. He just attaches bombs to people and grins whilst throwing them into open sewers – then nonchalantly walking away whilst the bomb goes off. Then there’s another charming bit where he uses the Batmobile’s booster to burn one of the bad guys alive.

This is supposed to be a superhero?

Yet again it’s not faithful to the comics. At thirty nine years of age I have read a LOT of Batman comic books over the years. There was nothing in any of them about Oswald Cobblepot being reared by penguins nor Selina Kyle being resurrected by cats. I mean what the fuck is this shit?!?! 

One gets the feeling that Tim Burton is trying to make this all feel like a weird fairy tale. Whilst there are some fantasy elements to the character’s general mythos it’s not the right approach. There’s no realism here. At least the first movie was set in a world we could almost recognise. This one seems to be set in a weird alternate reality where these strange occurrences are almost considered normal.

The biggest victim in all this is Michael Keaton. He’s a great actor and really could’ve been a great Batman. Yet these movies sideline him to make way for whichever superstar has been picked to play the villain. I don’t blame him for bailing out. After this the Batman villains became roles sought by all kinds of megastar celebrity actors. It’s painfully obvious with most of them that it wasn’t about the character – it was about the pay cheque.

However it must be said. Despite this film’s many shortcomings it does have one BRILLIANT scene.

Bruce Wayne has gone to Max Shreck’s fancy dress ball hoping to run into Selina. When she arrives the two dance together.

Earlier in the movie when Batman and Catwoman were fighting she overpowers him and kisses him under the mistletoe (this movie is set around Christmas). Batman tells her that mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it. She responds that a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.

So – they encounter each other at the ball. They’re the only two people who aren’t wearing masks. Yet they’re the only two people there who are REALLY in disguise.

Before Bruce and Selina dance, Bruce exchanges some terse words with Max Shreck. Whilst speaking Shreck removes his mask from his face. Therefore in this scene we only see the faces of people who’ve got something to hide.  Bruce and Selina their other identities, Shreck his villainy.

As Bruce and Selina dance they again kiss under the mistletoe. Selina repeats Batman’s line about mistletoe’s poisonous properties. To which Bruce responds with Catwoman’s reply about how dangerous a kiss can be.

It’s then that they simultaneously discover each other’s secret. All whilst Siousxie  And The Banshees sinister but beautiful song “Face To Face” plays in the background.

An apt song for such a scene. “The masks they slide to reveal a new disguise”.

It’s amazing that such an awful film can have one moment that is so undeniably great. It’s the best scene in the four movie series.

It illustrates the duality of a superhero. Which is the REAL persona?The masked face or the one without? How much of a conflict is there between two identities?

We never find out – it’s all fucking ruined by a huge explosion and the arrival of The Penguin in a large fucking duck.

The Man Who Saved Movies. Meow. 

 

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  • Haha you hate it for every reason I love it. It really does feel like it’s set in the same Universe as Edward Scissorhands. “There was nothing in any of them about Oswald Cobblepot being reared by penguins nor Selina Kyle being resurrected by cats. I mean what the fuck is this shit?!?!” Hilarious, and now that I’m older, I realize how fucking strange that was.

    • Just a bit!

    • I didn’t mind the liberties taken with the characters, same as I didn’t mind them on the first one. What I did mind was the world they gave them to inhabit. It made Gotham feel uglier, as though things had somehow gotten worse during Batman’s time on the clock instead of brighter and less grim.

      • KGrimes

        Interesting you say that about Gotham being gross. I haven’t seen this film since its release on VHS but I remember being thoroughly disgusted with The Penguin, and whatever that dark goo was he constantly had coming out of his mouth (I might be misremembering that a bit though). But as a 10-11 yr old kid who watched any and every rated R film he could get his hands on (easy going parents, yay!) DeVito just grossed me out.

        • Yes, that dark gunk constantly around his mouth made him look almost like a supernatural apparition or monster. I had previously seen Burgess Meredith’s version of the character, which I love still, and this roly-poly sickly toad was a shock. DeVito owned it, he never let up, but he suffered under the weight of poor direction.

          • Can’t follow you into this one Bro. I’ve just said in another reply above – The Penguin ain’t a cinematic villain. He should never be used again in a Batman film.

          • Too goofy? Again I must confess my lack of comics knowledge but he seems like an evil genius.

          • Nah. Not really. Oswald Cobblepot is a gangster. Short, stocky and likes to wear a top hat. He has a limp which makes him waddle – which is why he earns the name The Penguin. A nom de plum which he finds irritating.
            Forget anything in Batman Returns. The comic big Penguin is literally NOTHING like it…
            Oh man… seriously… FUCK this movie!!!

          • I’d like to see that version on screen, though! Sounds great! So he’s not a master of a thousand umbrellas?
            Can you recommend a comic I can read that is a good representation of his character, please?

          • Rather than a comic, I’d suggest Batman Arkham Knight on XBox ? One.
            Pretty good version of the Penguin there

          • Now you’re speaking my language! Another excuse to get me an XB1.

          • Yeah man, its good stuff! You’d dig the games.

          • Go check out “the other site.” All of a sudden there’s a review for an old movie seeing new life. The article seems hastily written, further making it look like they’re on to you and are playing catch up.

          • Really? You think that’s why?

          • It smells bad, at least to me. Plus Quint hasn’t done shit in the longest time, and now all of a sudden? I don’t usually believe in coincidence, either. Of course he has to add the necessary “cool” factor of “I did this and I interviewed that and I went to this set and blah blah”.

          • Wow. If your theory is right that sure would be something huh? Yowzers! Oh well – I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.
            Although I’ve got a bit of a naughty confession to make. I have done a review of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’ll be up when the Batman series is finished. Before I watched it, I read Bram Stoker’s original novel just so I could talk about how it compares.
            I did do that in a response to the retrospective review they wrote. But I won’t drop it until the middle of March cause otherwise it’ll be too obvious! 😉

          • Cool, looking forward to it! I’ve actually never read that one but I love the movie.
            Yeah man, just do what you do. I’m digging your opinions.

          • Glad to hear it man!

          • Yeah. For the XBox One you’ll need to get “Batman: Return To Arkham”. Now that there is the two old 360 games remastered and updated and on one disc. The games being “Batman Arkham Asylum” and “Batman Arkham City”. After that skip to the fourth game which is “Batman Arkham Knight”. Those games were all made by Rocksteady and are the closest you’ll get to an authentic Batman gaming experience.
            The third game “Batman Arkham Origins” wasn’t made by Rocksteady so I never played it. From what I’ve seen of it it looks jank.

          • Thanks for the advice!

          • Don’t pay full game price for Return To Arkham.

        • You aren’t remembering it wrong.

  • I_am_better

    My take – and the reason I love this film so much – is that while the first film was a “Batman” movie directed by Tim Burton, this one is a pure 100% Tim Burton-movie that just happens to have Batman IN it.

    • Yeah, I can see that.

    • That’s exactly the reason I disliked it so much. Too much of TB’s imagination was on display here.

      • I am mega SUPER banned on the site that shan’t be named! Just tried to create a sock puppet account and still no good! Bastards banned my IP!!!

        • What the hell?? Damn that’s next-level shit. Fuck them, we’re here having fun.

          • Could’ve at least told me why or some shit!

          • Dee-abolik

            Herc is a living warning of how you can end if you are too involved into internet bullshit.

          • I’m wondering if it was him…

          • That man definitely has an old USB mouse up his ass. He’s WAY too uptight. I’ve seen folks make fun of Muldoon and he plays along, which makes for even more comedy, which in turn is awesome. Herc is like the old lady sitting on her porch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’: “Don’t you say HEY to me, you ugly girl! You say Good Afternoon, Miss Dubose!”

          • President of what?

            You mean the clickbaiting faux liberal who puts out polerizing topics in order to maintain readership?

          • I’d never do that. I hate clickbait articles.

          • President of what?

            I just like going at it with some of the wingnutbags like Immortal Fish and his “Gosh”. Jeez, does he have aspergers syndrome or what?

          • Is he the guy with the Bill Bixby avatar?

          • President of what?

            Ayep!!

          • I found him OK

          • President of what?

            I heard that. He’s too much of a smartass and says absurd shit. When it comes to Comic based Movies and such, he seems legit but Politics? He really doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about and that “Gosh” schtick gets old real fast.
            I know Repubs on and offline and for the most part they don’t carry on with baseless assumptions of the opposition party.

          • The Magic Hunter

            THAT’S who that is — Thanks! I’ve been avoiding asking him.

          • Don’t make him angry… you wouldn’t…. (you know the rest)

          • Bop

            No, he means the jailboat loving loser that has a life-sized Buffy doll at home and would suck Whedon’s dick if he got the opportunity. The guy that cries like a child with a skinned knee as soon as someone calls him out on his bullshit. Someone should stuff that life-sized Buffy doll up his crybaby ass.

          • I like to think I’m doing that in a way just be having this site.

          • President of what?

            LMFAO Tell us how you really feel! (:’

          • Well I guess we know. You’re always polite and you would rarely post off-topic. But you were selling this dope on their street-corner and I guess they got territorial. “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”

          • Yeah well. They deserve to sleep with the fishes.

          • President of what?

            LMMFAO Godfather, great comparison!

          • I’m the Nice Guy of online movie critics.

          • President of what?

            You bring a modicum of class, mate!

          • I do try! Curse my indefatigable good form!

          • Thanks! 🙂

          • The Magic Hunter

            Ha — Who’s Omar Little in this analogy?

          • President of what?

            For the most part, i will boycott or at least call them out on their BS, the haters.

          • In a weird way I take the ban as a compliment though. Think about it – I’m hoovering up everyone they ban, constantly flooding this place with content and offering a unique perspective which people seem to be enjoying. I’m becoming not a rival, but an alternative. I guess they want to be the only fish in the pond. Shame really.

        • President of what?

          Oh, FUCK!!!! Those Cunts!!

          • Pretty much what I said!

          • President of what?

            I posted the link at herc’s piece so i expect a banning anytime soon. LOL

          • Brilliant! Sorry if you get banned man!

          • President of what?

            All for a good cause even if I disagree with your sentiment. 😛 Eventually, i’ll be back to call herc out on his bs if need be.

          • You’re too kind sir.

  • Dee-abolik

    That movie truly has an impeccable art design. Also, the FX hold up pretty well. Michelle Pfeiffer is great and De Vito has his moments. That’s about it. Otherwise it’s a rather tedious watch. I went back and forth about this movie a few times, but in the last years I settled with the opinion that it’s a bad movie. For a while I bought into the notion that it’s a “Subversive blockbuster”, but that’s not true at all in the end. I disagree with IAB a little that this is a Burton film with Batman in it- it feels more like Burton emulating himself, there is none of the heart and artistry he put into Scissorhands, Beetlejuice or Ed Wood on display. Batman is more cold-hearted than Roger Moore as Bond, but with worse puns.

    • Exactly!

      • Dee-abolik

        And the action is such a letdown again. The Batarang POV scene is cool, but what else does Batman do? Jumping from a few buildings and killing people in cold blood. The chase scene is so clumsy. The worst moment of the movie is when Penguin wants to abduct all first borns of the city with a fucking circus train and Batman solves it by pulling the driver out of the vehicle in one shot. Help me, doesn’t he even send a letter to Penguin?

        • Yep!

          • Dee-abolik

            ugh

          • Dee-abolik

            Penguin being horny all the time is pretty off-turning as well.

          • I’d like to fill her void! (Ewww…)

          • Dee-abolik

            The tone is all over the place again. On one hand it’s unbearably childish and then you have those silly double entendres and the completely unneeded violent bits.

          • It’s an utterly horrible movie.

          • Dee-abolik

            Catwoman scratching the mugger’s face is a perfect example of how reducing a violent scene to a glimpse can make it look rather more violent than less.

          • Yeah – also – doing something like that ain’t her MO.

          • President of what?

            I know i would. ROTF

          • That line is SO gross!

          • President of what?

            True, but she was hawt!

          • Yeah. She was pretty fit actually.

          • President of what?

            That’s relaistic. C’mon, Cobblepot is hideous and hasn’t had any pusc so his motivations are believable.

          • Yeah – but flippers? Doesn’t put a pleasant image in the mind sir.

          • President of what?

            LMMFAO@”I’d like to teach her my French flipper trick”!

          • I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

          • Dee-abolik

            I am talking about the artistic choice to portray him that way.

          • President of what?

            More credible than Burgess Meredith’s version, from where I stand.

          • Dee-abolik

            Meredith was, considering the campy angle of the series, not too far off.

          • You know – I don’t think The Penguin should ever be in a Batman movie again. He’s not a cinematic villain. The guy in Gotham is doing OK – but it should be left there.
            The character simply doesn’t work in a movie context. Burton saw that and drastically changed his origin to accommodate a movie. It STILL didn’t work.
            I could see MAYBE The Penguin being used in pre title sequence for a Batman film maybe. Or as a secondary villain. BIG MAYBE.
            As a main villain? NO WAY.

          • Dee-abolik

            Yeah he is not that spectacular, probably. In the end he is just a gangster.

          • Yeah exactly. Now if they wanted to put him in a Batman movie in that capacity – it becomes clear that there are BETTER gangster characters in the Batman universe to use. Like Carmine Falcone for example. Or Sal Maroni.

          • KGrimes

            Yeah, agreed. He really only fits a cartoon-verse, and I’ve long felt the same way about The Riddler. I remember people were pushing for the Riddler to show up in TDKR but that wouldn’t have worked either. In the Nolanverse he simply would’ve ended up a Joker rehash. Although… he proved me wrong about the Scarecrow being too goofy so who knows.

          • Yeah, we don’t need to see The Riddler again either.

    • President of what?

      “Batman is more cold-hearted than Roger Moore as Bond, but with worse puns.”
      Bzzzt! Batman is cold hearted and devoid of compassion because he’s “Two sammiches short of a picnic” not to mention that he has this personal albiet extreme vendetta towards criminals and to be honest, The Red Triangle gang were terrorists ergo Bats had to fight fire with fire (Pun intended.). while Bond is more like an operative who would get things done for the sake of Queen and Country.
      Batman is a disturbed individual, Bond is not. History has been kinder to Batman Returns especially after the two Joel Shmucker sequels and the over pretentious TDKR. (Yes, Stu i await those reviews as well!!)

      • Batman Forever in 48 hours. Batman & Robin in 96 (you might want to strap in for that one!)

      • Dee-abolik

        Great you can see this in this portrayal, but I don’t see a man who is driven by vendetta but just a simple sociopath who is no better than the villains he fights. Actually he seems to have no moral compass at all.

        • President of what?

          And that’s the beauty of it. Ironically speaking. (Compare: Punisher)

          • Yeah but the Punisher is supposed to be that kind of character from the outset. The same can’t really be said of Batman.

          • President of what?

            True, but once again, we’re going with Burton’s nihlistic version.

          • Dee-abolik

            Means Burton did what everyone criticizes about certain comic book adaptations: deleting the core appeal of the character.

          • President of what?

            Hey, I defended Snyder’s MOS and Watchmen as you well know. I had problems with BvS’ editing for the most part and liked Affleck’s portrayal of Bats who was very ruthless mind you.

          • Dee-abolik

            My point is that Burton assassinated the character’s appeal, it’s just about the costume here. I would not want to see a morally conscious Bond either, for example. By the way, Affleck’s portrayal makes perfect sense in the context of that particular movie, but I will save that argument till Stu’s review is up.

          • Yep, just said that above pretty much. That won’t be a traditional review though. It’s very personal. You’ll see why when it’s up.

          • Yeah but we’re given a reason for it with Affleck and BvS is somewhat of a tale of redemption for him. The scene where he looks at Robin’s costume in the cave tells us all we need to know.

          • Dee-abolik

            absolutely

          • Yeah and rode roughshod on the legacy to boot – simply by making poor creative decisions.

          • Dee-abolik

            Not at all. Even if you disagree with Batman’s stance, he does believe he is right. I don’t buy that from Keaton’s portrayal.

          • President of what?

            Well Stef, technically, Nolan’s Batman killed as well.
            Ras A Ghul, anyone? Sure it wasn’t intentional but left a Human being to die.

          • Dee-abolik

            Yes and he pointed that out. It also wasn’t in cold blood. Also, there is still a twisted sense of morality to it, while Keaton seems to have none.

          • To me it seemed more like he’d destroyed himself.

          • Dee-abolik

            He literally gave him a second chance when he saved him from death by fire the first time.

          • Also – he still liked him when he did that. Didn’t think he was evil, just more misguided.

          • Yeah.

        • I’m inclined to agree.

  • “There’s no realism here.” Bingo. Burton was given far too much leeway on this one and it suffered because of it. Some of the set design (anything Schreck) really works and some, like the zoo exteriors, are just distractingly bad. This is from my limited memory of this movie because I’ve seen it exactly once.

    Talk about disappointment. I was still riding high on a hit of Batman from the ’89 movie because I’d watched it over about 100 times on VHS. The tv spots for BR made it look like a TON of fun. When I got to the theater, there were lines around the building waiting for tickets. What?!! I missed the Star Wars excitement in 1977 so this kind of queue was unbelievable to me. The excitement was palpable. And then, after hours of waiting, I finally got tickets and a good seat inside. And this is what Burton delivered. Good in spots but overall such a letdown in comparison to the first one. DeVito’s performance was ok, as you say it was hammy, but he gets points for trying. Pfeiffer is BRILLIANT. She’s the best part of this mess. “Because he IS Batman, you MORON!” is a great line delivery.

    So, again…”There’s no realism here.” I struggle with this because I bitch about the Nolan trilogy being a bit TOO realistic, but I also don’t want the insanity of Batman Returns, Batman Forever, nor Batman and Robin. I cant make up my mind. Fuck it. I’m going to watch Batman The Movie again. 🙂 HOLY POLARIS!

    • Giving Burton free reign on this movie was a mistake. It’s utterly grotesque.

    • President of what?

      “DeVito’s performance was ok, as you say it was hammy, but he gets points for trying. Pfeiffer is BRILLIANT. She’s the best part of this mess. “Because he IS Batman, you MORON!” is a great line delivery.” It more than worked for me.
      I see BR as one of my favorite Christmas themed films. Some of you guys can choose Home Alone or Gremlins, but this is worthy of an X-mas Stocking stuffer! (:’

      • A Christmas Story
        Die Hard
        Home Alone
        Just Friends

        • Out of those I’d just agree with Die Hard.

        • President of what?

          Die Hard is the go-to-X-mans film.
          I can’t cosign on Home Alone or A Christmas Story. Maybe it’s the cynical bastid in me. (;’

          • Die Hard. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Scrooged. To me those are the holy trinity of xmas movies. But enough of this talk in February sir!

          • “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

          • Bop

            I must be a bigger cynical bastid than you. I fucking hate Home Alone.
            Lethal Weapon 1 is my going to X-Mas movie.

          • Yeah – I’m not a fan of Home Alone either. It’s just cynical. Kevin McCallister just doesn’t seem like a REAL kid in it. Just some mutant version of a kid created by misguided adults. Trying to work out what THEY think kids find funny and talking down to them whilst doing it.
            E.T. That’s an intelligent kid’s film right there. Same with Star Wars. There’s no message to Home Alone, no point to it. Kids can’t aspire to it. And if they could – would we want them too?
            Nah man, fuck that movie.

          • Dee-abolik

            Written by John Hughes, no less. Fits in my conviction that the man was a fraud.

          • Hit and miss. When he was trying to say something profound he was pretty good. The Breakfast Club is a great film…. and a lightbulb has just gone on above my head! 😉

          • President of what?

            Breakfast Club is my favorite one and only Hughes film. I didn’t care for Sixteen Candles or “Bueeelleer”.

          • No Weird Science?

          • President of what?

            Not really. Yeah Kelly Le Brock was hawt af, but I found the shower scene a tad bit unrealistic. C’mon, you won’t catch me wearing tighty whitties in the shower stall with her. I would lock my friend out of the bathroom and lose my virginity as she looked willing and able IMO. How defuck did Stevie get his hands on that?? Oh, wait…!
            http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/steven-seagal-ex-wife-kelly-lebrock-constantly-raped-abused-life-article-1.165957

          • Yikes!

          • The shower scene was unrealistic? What about the bit where they use bra magic to create a woman?

          • KGrimes

            Woah. Slow your roll, son. That man is responsible for some of my favourite childhood memories–not to mention favourite John Candy memories.

          • John Hughes had moments of true genius. Man… I’ve got to write something about him!

          • Dee-abolik

            Sorry. I will always give him a few movies. But don’t forget he is also the man who penned the Beethoven sequels. And I hate Ferris Bueller.

          • The Magic Hunter

            I watched the third one for the first time last year, and damned if it isn’t my favorite now. It’s got a completely new cast (including Scarlet Johannson as the teen sister), but that doesn’t matter. What matters is it’s got more HEART. (The McCulkin ones just seem to be about gleeful meanne). The boy is looking out for more than himself. He bonds with the cranky neighbor lady, his older siblings help him, etc. Plus, it’s got some awesome and creative RC car scenes.

            http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0119303/?ref=m_nv_sr_1

          • Maybe if my kids are watching it someday I’ll give it a look.

          • I think Home Alone, really, was written for adults. It’s a horror story for parents.

          • President of what?

            Ah, Lethal Weapon I forgot about that one. Good pick, Brother!
            https://cdn.meme.am/cache/instances/folder625/250×250/65729625.jpg

          • I ain’t watched those in years. I recall not caring much for the 3rd and 4th ones.

        • Coming to America – oft forgotten Xmas film.

      • I dunno man…

        • President of what?

          I do. (0=

    • That was what initially bothered me about it. I can see why it missed the mark with audiences. However, as you say, it does have its own voice as a film, which is ultimately why I like it. I like the gothic fairytale of it all, and if anything I think that brings it in line with the absurdity of the 60s show, especially when the villains collude. I just enjoy strong, bold statements in films, and this one makes one, together with a coherent story that gives a bit of character development yet doesn’t take away from the enigmatic nature of the piece, which is a hard trick.

      • “I like the gothic fairytale of it all”. This is EXACTLY what I was feeling but unable to articulate. It *does* play like a strange fairytale. Well done.

  • President of what?

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! 😛
    Now that I got that off my chest, I applaud your honesty and agree with some of the things you have mentioned lie the duality factor between Bruce and Selina as both due to traumatic circumstances are forced to wear masks. But the “masks” are actually without the costumes!
    Selina was meek and timid but due to her “resuurection” she found her true inner self that was begging to get out.
    Michelle delivered memorable lines that defined the feminist aspect of the Anti-heroine moreso than any of the previous Catwomen.
    “Men, always confusing your pistols with your privates”. “As I was saying, I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted. Life’s a bitch, now so am I.” then there’s this interesting jab toward corrupt CEO’s within the corporate enviornment who amanages to fuck over the little guy or girl in her case, yet walk away unscathed-“Now *don’t* give me a “Killing Max won’t solve anything” speech, because it will. Aren’t you tired of this sanctimonious robber baron always coming out on top, when he should be six feet under?”

    Phieffer exudes sexuality as Catwoman, seductive, yet dangerous and what’s sad, is how Kyle was a victim of circumstance and she’s a villainess one can feel empathy for.

    DeVito equally had stolen the show as Penguin thanks to his witty dialogue and again, a victim of circumstance now ruthless villain.
    His character IMO stood out more than Nichoson’s Joker. I couldn’t help but laugh my motherfucking ass off during this scene; “You’re coming with me, ya great white dope, to die way down in the sewer!” As for Batman killing, well remeber those Kane/Finger comics back during the late thirties to early forties?

    https://assets.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-60de2a51cc2a31c4d64caa086239c397-c

    http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11112/111125721/3257571-2066073-strangling.jpg

    http://comicsalliance.com/files/2011/04/killer02.jpg

    I respect what Burton has done with his “revisionist history” of Batman and to be fair, it’s his interpretation even if seen as Non-canon with the current mythos at the time. In true fashion, Batman is a vigilante but yes, in order to be a Superhero to the truest extent, killing would be deemed immoral. I enjoyed BR more than the othter Burton and especially Schumacher (Batman & Robin, I’m looking at YOU!) films.
    Sure it has it’s share of flaws, but overall, it was an underrated masterpiece that wasn’t afriad to push the envelope.

    Great retrospective and review, Stu! I still disagree, but I’m very impressed at what you have written here. If i still had a Twitter account, i would plug the hell out of this!

    • Touche’! Glad you enjoyed the read even if you didn’t agree with my assessment. For your impassioned and intelligent riposte’ you get your comment featured!

      • President of what?

        Thanks,Bro!
        Tis an honour!! I need to sneak this link into AICN with the risk of getting banhammered. X)

        • Do it man, that’d be hilarious! If they ban you – fuck ’em! You’re always welcome here! Regulars like you keep me on my game. This place is getting a lot of love. Just need to get the word out more.
          I started this place up to make the website that I wanted to see! I never knew it’d strike a nerve!
          Very pleased! 🙂

    • KGrimes

      I read a lot of the original Dick Tracy comics from around this time period and, similarly, he is quite violent and merciless with the villains, thugs, and even just suspects. A lot of phone-book interrogations in those things.

      • That sounds pretty interesting actually! I don’t know much about the history of Dick Tracy.

        • KGrimes

          They’re quite good, but also darker than you’d expect considering the ‘gosh-darn’ attitude each character seems to have. I collect the omnibuses though, and it gets pricey and repetitive. Plus they’re about twice the length of a regular hard-cover to make room for the layouts so storage is a bit of a pain.

          I loved, loved, loved Warren Beatty’s version as a kid (another retrospective someday, perhaps?), and that got me into reading them. As an adult with job and a bit’ve scratch, I was able to go all the way back to the beginning.

          • I can’t recall if I ever watched Warren Beatty’s version all the way through. But yeah – if I stumble across it I’ll do something. But worry not. I’ve got lots of cool stuff lined up for when this Batman retrospective finishes!

          • KGrimes

            Oh, don’t stress it. I am definitely looking forward to more Batman for the foreseeable future! 😀

          • I hope you aren’t disappointed. Make sure you’re sitting down when you read my Batman & Robin one. I read it out loud to my wife. She felt faint after.

            I don’t hold back.

          • KGrimes

            I’m excited! I got a feeling that it someday will go down as a so-bad-it’s-good movie, much like The Room or Troll 2. Just a party movie for college kids to laugh at.

          • I don’t want to spoil it. I will just say this: The gloves are OFF!

          • Even Arnold doesn’t get a pass for that one. Not. even. Arnold.

          • Oh no he certainly doesn’t!

          • President of what?

            Any chance you will cover the Spider-Man films from best to worst?

          • No imminent plans to do so?

          • President of what?

            I would love that but you have done more than enough with the Batman articles. IMO history will be kind to SM3 after the clusterfuck that was ASM2. X)

          • KGrimes

            I have a soft spot for SM3. I admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of Raimi’s efforts so far (I know, I know, I just don’t love them) so I had a lot of fun seeing that trainwreck. It was Raimi-cheese unleashed, and I had zero attachment to the character/franchise so I truly enjoyed the experience. But it’s definitely a so-bad-it’s-good perspective.

          • President of what?

            I was very harsh toward the 2nd sequel but after seeing it again recently on HBO or was it Starz? (Can’t remember) I enjoyed it for what it was and in Raimi’s defense, it was Sony that wanted to shoehorn venom although the “revelation” in regards to Ben’s death was silly as well as Harry’s Butler showing up out of nowhere. Funny shit!

          • His second one is a masterpiece.

          • KGrimes

            I always liked it, but never loved it. It definitely nailed the way Spidey moves.

          • Yeah. Totally. I thought the character stuff in it was pretty good too.

          • Hah! Doubtful! Dude, that is NOT a good movie!

          • President of what?

            No, but compared to ASM2, it’s servicable!!! (;’

          • Hmm… I dunno. Don’t remember much about the ASM movies.

          • President of what?

            Neither do I

          • Dick Tracy is one hell of a good movie! I need to see if it’s on Blu-ray.

          • I may check it out on your recommendation sir.

          • It’s a lot of fun; Pacino is a *blast*. And it IS on blu, and only 8.99 USD. Woo-hoo!

          • Hoo haa!

    • btw – that cartoon panel were Bats cracks the guy’s neck… is it wrong that I laughed?

  • KGrimes

    I’m enjoying this retrospective. I haven’t rewatched any of these early Batmans in about 20 yrs and this makes me want to marathon all of them (yes, ALL of them!).

    Interesting that Snyder gets so much flack for disrespecting the source material while Burton gets a pass on these films. Burton is a better filmmaker than Snyder–or at least more creative and interesting–but he has as much, if not more disdain for the source material as Snyder. Snyder might hate the fans more though.

    • Glad you’re enjoying the articles sir!

      To be fair though – Snyder’s movies are pretty faithful to the source material. Doesn’t mean they can’t be improved… of course they can!
      But he does have a fundamental understanding of the characters. The vision just needs refining.
      As for Tim Burton… yeah.

  • I love this film. It’s great fun.

    • Really? What is it you like about it?

      • I’m not really sure why I like it so much; maybe because it’s maybe the strongest flavour of Batman on screen. I like Pfeiffer in it, I love Walken, and I absolutely adore the demented touches like the duck mobile. I think I like it because it’s so defiantly out-there. People these days go for comic-book accurate; I like freakish interpretations like this. An army of tiny penguins? Burton’s film has the spirit of the 60’s Batman at heart; logic goes out the window and it really revels in its nuttiness – much like Keaton’s Bruce Wayne does. Keaton’s another plus; playing Wayne as the possibly less sane alter-ego of Batman is a nice touch.

  • The Magic Hunter

    “Semi-hard, I think” — Yowza!

    I gotta say, though, Selina comes across a little Joker-ish in that scene, a little too “Woman in the edge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Obviously, soon enough you’ll get to TDKR, but I’ll just say here that the very similar scene in that film with Bale and Hathaway is one of my favorite parts of the movie: the two have almost “Casablanca”-type chemistry and sangfroid.

    I’d forgotten that Siousie song was written for this film, kind of like the Prince score for the one before. I assume that when the studio switched directors that quirk got lost, along with a lot more.

    Finally, your synopsis about Schrek elevating the Penguin to be mayor via the tabloids made me think of Trump and Steve Bannon.

  • jackcolton

    I haven’t seen this in many years but I was disappointed in it. it wasn’t as good as Batman. the penguin was no match for Nicholsons Joker. the overall tone was much more otherworldly and fairy tale ish. it didn’t resonate with me nearly as much as the grittier more adult original.