Super Types

May 11, 2010

Film Fatale: Batman Returns

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Written by: The Movie Lady
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Batman Returns (1992) holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. First it’s directed by one of my favorite directors, Tim Burton. He also directed Michael Keaton in the starring role of another movie called Beetlejuice. There were times during the film where I thought I was hearing music and looking at scenery straight out of Beetlejuice. Danny Elfman wrote the music for both films. The story/characters/visuals of Batman Returns are of course dark and a little strange.  This leads to the second thing I like about this movie which is Danny Devito and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances which were also dark and, a little strange. Devito plays The Penguin, and a pretty creepy one at that. He also has great make-up, an awesome prosthetic beak nose, razor teeth, and a suit under his clothes that molds him into a more penguin-like shape. He’s disgusting, shrewd, and extremely crazy. Pfieffer plays Catwoman who is also shrewd and a little crazy, though definitely not disgusting. Two words – latex, catsuit. She completely transforms from the timid secretary into the smoldering sex kitten.

Begin spoilers-

While there are many things I like about this movie there are a few things I could live without. The first thing that comes to mind is Paul Reubens being cast as The Penguin’s father. He is and always will be Pee Wee Herman to me. He’ll also always be the guy who was arrested for playing with himself in an adult theater. Another thing that bothers me would be how there’s no explanation of why there are penguins in the sewer. I didn’t know it was common knowledge that there are, or could be, penguins in a sewer. I love Christopher Walken but his ridiculous hair and excess of makeup that makes him look slightly feminine, not so much. The minions’ costumes are also a little weird with guys wearing giant skull heads, sad clowns, guys on stilts and a fire breathing devil. There’s also a raggedy lady with a matching poodle. Another bothersome part is where The Penguin is walking up to his parents’ graves and nudges a tombstone as he goes by and you can see it noticeably move. Lastly, the part where Catwoman slashes a foe’s face with her claws in a tic tac toe formation looks incredibly fake and the guy doesn’t even flinch, which is weird.

Despite Burton’s eclectic style he didn’t completely reinvent the wheel, as the traditional campy humor is there right alongside the dark parts. I like it when Selina Kyle says cheesy lines like “Honey, I’m home! Oh, I forgot. I’m not married.” Though other times such as when she started rhyming can be a bit much. Pfeiffer does a great scene where she flips out after her boss “kills” her taking one of her nine lives. She jams stuffed animals into the garbage disposal and sews one very tight catsuit. She becomes Catwoman with a great first shot of her through the bedroom widow where she touches herself saying “I don’t know about you Miss Kitty but I feel so much yummier.” Selina Kyle changes as well shedding her shy, frumpy nature and taking on a blunt, sassy, sexual persona. One of my favorite scenes is the morning after becoming Catwoman when Selina Kyle goes to work, shocking her boss by coming back to life after he thought he’d killed her, and shocking Bruce Wayne with her hot new look. He stares at her with his jaw to the floor like a dog staring at a bone. It’s pretty hilarious to watch. Sexual innuendo abounds with Pfeiffer giving herself a bath and The Penguin saying “Just the pussy I’ve been lookin’ for.”

End spoilers-

On a side note, Bob Kane returns as creative consultant and is credited on IMDB as writing “Batman characters” which is interesting but a little vague.

A little rough around the edges though it may be, it’s an oldie but a goodie. If you like all things seedy, sexy, and strange then look no further.

The Movie Lady



  1. I liked seeing Batman translated through Tim Burton’s personal weird style. I’d love to see more of a Burton style Dark Knight. Maybe he’ll do comics one day…or I can keep dreaming.

  2. Okay I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought penguins in the sewer was a little off lol A good movie despite it’s oddities, too bad the ones that followed seemed to go downhill from there.

  3. Kristin

    The movie was…eh…. But Michael Keaton made a really good Batman. Maybe not totally perfect as Bruce Wayne, but as Batman he’s better than anyone else who has taken it on since.

  4. I f-ing love this movie. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman made me realize at the tender age of 8 that women are sexy!

  5. Billy

    I really didn’t care for any of the Batman movies before Batman Begins (and that was just OK). Jack was good in Batman but that’s about it.

    • Billy’s crazy!

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