Batman Returns Movie Review
Gotham was dark and so was the script. Darkly comic, darkly romantic, and darkly dramatic. This tale told of Michael Keaton as Batman in a love/hate relationship with Catwoman, of a freak raised by penguins, of a power hungry industry giant who sought to leave the legacy of a polluting power plant. The Penguin: a man raised by what became his namesake, seeks to discover the identity of his parents, and then exact vengeance upon the world. Selina Kyle was a lowly secretary who got pushed out of a window for opening her mouth: exhausting one of nine lives, and then becoming Catwoman. And Bruce Wayne was a man haunted by his past and compelled to fight crime at night as Batman.
Bruce Wayne's and Selina Kyle's lives intersect... twice, once as two normal people falling in love and again as Batman and Catwoman, trying to decide whether to sleep together or kill each other. The dark comedy that ensues by this is only the beginning. A smartly written script care of Daniel Waters (Demolition Man) also gives us such scenes as the Batmobile being driver from the campaign trailer of Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin... right into every civilian in sight.
On the action level, this film exceeds its sequels and matches its predecessor, having good old Batman go for the gut with every punch. On the plotline, the same occurs. The performances are the fine things we expect to see from Tim Burton. The directing: the same darkly satiric motif we have always known with him.
But what makes Batman Returns worth watching, aside from all of this, is the foreknowledge of what happened after. Joel Schumaker took over the Batman franchise and turned Gotham into a bright, sunny place. After Batman Returns, the franchise turned to crap. So, if you're a current Batman fan, see it for a glimpse of the better past, and, if you haven't seen it, see it for the opportunity to show why its so much better than the modern day sunny Jewel-on-the-soundtrack Batman.
The new Anthology DVD set includes the first four Batman films: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin. Each comes in a two-disc pack (that's eight discs total), with commentary tracks, making-of featurettes, music videos, and deleted scenes (for Forever and Robin). Extra points for an impressive box design.