Rakesh's movie talk
Batman Returns (1992)

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Directed by Tim Burton
Written by Sam Hamm and Daniel Waters (based on characters created by Bob Kane)
Starring Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeifer, Danny De Vito and Christopher Walken


To me Batman Returns is the highest point in any comic book movies. Many will beg to differ. I loved this movie to death. I take back what I have said about the 1966 Batman: The Movie and rank this movie alongside it. The former is fun at its peak and this will be the most raws and grittiest of the lot.

Michael Keaton returns as Batman/Bruce Wayne. This time, the bad guys (and gal) are the Penguin (Danny De Vito), the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeifer) and Max Schreck (Christopher Walken). The movie starts by exploring the origin of the Penguin. It is one of the most superb opening I had ever witnessed in any movie. It moves quickly, from the high class mansion in the bizarre city of Gotham City to the sewerage accompanied by Danny Elfman's breathtaking score. Only the theme music reminded us that this will be a Batman movie. But what an opening, what ...an...opening!

The deformed baby grows up to be the Penguin and vows to have his revenge on Gotham City and eventually Batman. On the other side, there is Max Shreck, a ruthless businessman, so greedy that he plans to suck all of Gotham's power supply and have it all for himself. His secretary is Selina Kyle. They have a tiff on one night as she learns his devious plans, and he pushes her off their highrise building. She falls and, instead of dying, she gets saved by thousands of cats. She vows revenge and becomes the Catwoman "I am Catwoman," she says, "hear me roar." Whoa!

This could be a movie about dysfunctional family, except that they are not a family. Some critics called this movie a 'Freak show'. He or she may have meant it in negative manner, but I see the same 'Freak show' with delight. Everyone, including Batman, has an ugly past. They all carry chip in their shoulder, but too bad. They are all at the wrong side of the fence.

Of them all, Penguin is probably the most tragic. He is abandoned by his parent due to his, well, inhuman physical appearance. He ends up in the sewerage under the care of penguin (don't ask how the penguins ended up there, it is Gotham City for god's sake). He is not easily likeable. He is disgusting (eats raw fish like an animal) and is generous with insults. But it is easy to pity him. His end is very moving, thanks to De Vito, Burton, and of course, Elfman.

Now, ze Catwoman. Played by Michelle Pfeifer, you will not be surprised to know that Batman fall for her. We all do. There is a spin-off coming up with Ashley Judd as Catwoman and she is going to have a tough time matching up to Pfeifer. I practically drooled over Catwoman. Maybe because I liked cats.

Walken is Walken. Like Nicholson, he has pretty limited range but is always good with it. He seemed to be always having fun playing creepy characters and here it is pretty evident.

In the meantime, Keaton gets to do more, both as Wayne and Batman. It is not a stretch for the talented Keaton, but it is indeed for the character. Never have seen a superhero more dark, vulnerable and emotional as he is. Too bad, Keaton didn't stick around longer.

Like the first Batman (1989), the art direction is superb. The set piece is to die for. This is easily the darkest of all Batman movies and I loved every minute of it. This movie has it all. Fantastic direction and art direction, brilliant score, perfect acting and you can't ask for more. You got all the right to have your own opinion, but let me be arrogant as to say that I am pretty right about this movie. Yeahhhhh!

Check out my comments on other Batman movies:

Batman: The movie (1966)
Batman (1989)
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997)