Re-Watch: Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Daniel Waters
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Sequel to: Batman
Cast: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Seen on: 8.12.2017

The Penguin (Danny DeVito) was brought up in the sewers after his parents abandoned him because of his disability. Now he wants to rejoin society and he thinks that Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) is the person who can help him with this: Shreck is a popular business man who has successfully hidden the shady side of his business – but Penguin threatens to expose him. But even as Penguin’s plan seems to work, Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Michael Keaton) becomes suspicious. And he finds that his suspicions may align with the newly appeared Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), even if their methods and goals do not.

Batman Returns does have some weaknesses and some moments that made me want to headdesk, but with that incarnation of Catwoman, I can’t help but love the film. And I definitely liked it better than the first one.

Batman Returns is often very cheesy and definitely feels like it didn’t even try to be that serious anymore, making it a lot more consistent in tone compared to Burton’s first Batman film. Unfortunately that meant that the film is also more sexist than the first.

But there are two things that absolutely stand out about the movie: the first is Pfeiffer’s absolutely wonderful Catwoman. Her performance is electric and I really liked that take on Catwoman herself: her sense of humor (if at times as cheesy as the rest of the film), her confidence and her playing with Batman were all very well-handled. She could have been a little less sexualized, though. I also liked DeVito’s Penguin, but I didn’t feel like he was necessary in the film – I would have rather spent more time with Catwoman instead.

The second thing that was really mindblowingly good were the sets. They looked like if Leni Riefenstahl had made Metropolis, all dark angles and sharp lines (and without the Nazi part). The only drawback there was that they felt too small: not like Gotham City was a big, bustling city but rather like it was a village. The sets demanded a bigger scale.

It was great to see the film again and appreciate Catwoman and the sets much more than I ever did before (although I always loved Catwoman). The film certainly holds a big place in my heart.

Summarizing: very much worth it.

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