Some of you may disagree with me, but I have been watching the Batman movies and although back in 1992 the film was not as popular as the first Batman, I think I like Batman Returns more and I will tell you all what I like about it. While still a very huge Hollywood production, the film does not look as bloated as the 1989 film and while the late production designer Anton Furst did a beautiful job on the original, I think Batman Returns feels more like a Tim Burton film when he was in his developing prime. The screenplay by Heathers scribe Daniel Waters is in some ways smarter and actually darker as it tackles themes that are more serious with implications that suggest The Penguin was far more evil than The Joker. Early in the film, Bruce Wayne uncovers newspaper reels detailing that children disappeared from the circus The Penguin would later control, suggesting he was a child killer and when you combine that with his perverted behavior and his plan to kill the first born of Gotham's elite, I think one would agree, The Penguin has more than horrible. Perhaps the only character that comes close to his degree of evil is Christopher Walken as Max Shreck. At the time Batman Returns was released, the banks and corporations did not get the repeal of laws in the States that prevented monopolies, protected worker benefits and kept banks from investing in the stock market against their own patrons. The power plant that hoards power that Shreck wants to build in Batman Returns seemed like the stuff of fantasy in 1992, but it feels prophetic now. Plus the mental illness or duality both Batman and Catwoman display the conflict and angst within their respective characters as well as their oddness, including the scene where Batman is partially disrobed and calling Alfred on the phone after being clawed by Catwoman. It is a great odd looking scene. Finally we see more detecting from Batman than we ever saw in Batman as well as the Schumacher films that followed. For these reasons and more is why I think Batman Returns might be my favorite of the four films Warner Brothers produced and released between 1989 and 1997. Thank you.
(C) Copyright 2016 By Mark A. Rivera
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