Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns (1992)

Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer

Batman faces the twin threats of both the Penguin and Catwoman.

I remember seeing this in theaters when it came out and finding it offputting. I hadn't seen it again until recently and it all became much clearer. While he's not the weirdest director out there, Tim Burton is pretty weird. He was fairly subdued in the previous film but here he's less restrained is his particular style and tastes. You can tell in such things as the choral swells in the music, the weirdness of the circus folk, etc. While Danny DeVito gives a memorable performance as the Penguin, I'm not a big fan of how crude and feral he is (though from a story standpoint, it makes sense). Speaking of crudity, there are a fair number of lowbrow comments and so on (particularly from the Penguin) that rather surprised me on my more recent viewing. It seemed like a bit of tonal dissonance to me. Christopher Walken is good as you'd expect as co-villain Max Schreck (a great villain name, by the way), but it's also amusing to see Andrew Bryniarski play Max's son Chip by doing a Christopher Walken impersonation. And let's not forget the third point of the triad. Michelle Pfeiffer is quite good as Catwoman and I liked the transformation of her character from mousy secretary to sultry cat burglar. Some people really like this movie, even go so far as to call this the best Batman movie ever. I can't say I'm on board with that, but if you really like Tim Burton's style and quirks, you should enjoy it. Otherwise, you might have more mixed feelings, possibly even dislike it outright. I can't give it an unqualified recommendation. It depends on your tastes, so take that into consideration before you decide whether or not to watch it.

As a side note, Batman straight-up murders a mook and smiles like a psychopath as he does it. It's one thing to have some casualties in action, but you don't have to look like you enjoy it so much, Bats.