Tim Burton’s 1992 masterpiece, Batman Returns, is a pitch black comic book film, as well as a Christmas film. Yes, despite what you may have heard, Batman Returns makes for perfect holiday viewing! The film unfolds within a snow-drenched, unrelentingly ominous atmosphere that only Burton can provide.
Michael Keaton returns as Bruce Wayne, the tormented, crime-fighting individual behind the Batman mask. This time, he is up against the Penguin, played by Danny DeVito in what is probably his greatest performance; the power hungry Max Schreck, played by an uber-slimy, silver-haired Christopher Walken; and, finally, Catwoman (aka, Selena Kyle), played by Michelle Pfeiffer, in an incredibly powerful, multi-layered, and sexy performance.
Batman Returns is darker than its predecessor – much darker – and definitely earns the PG-13 rating that it was given. I remember seeing the film when it first came to theatres, and knowing somehow that we were dealing with stronger material here. There are scenes in Batman Returns that are downright disturbing – but honestly, this is one of the many reasons why I love it so much. This is not your average superhero film, and that is a wonderful thing.
Tim Burton hits all of the right notes with this film, and Danny Elfman’s score is gorgeous. However, the main draw for me is the Christmas element. It just works so well – and it all ends on a deliciously mysterious note.
And parents: just because we’re dealing with Batman here doesn’t mean that Batman Returns is suitable for your children. I wasn’t kidding when I said that this film was dark.