Batman Returns

Batman Returns ★★★½

I have distinct recollection of watching the third act of Batman Returns as a child in the TV room at my Grandma's house while the rest of my family ate dinner and socialized like normal people. Can't say too much about seeing the rest of the film at any other point in my life even though, before popping in the blu-ray, I thought, "Surely, I must've sat through the whole thing at least once?" The answer to that was a resounding "nope" as I had absolutely zero memory of anything other than Michelle Pfeiffer being a bad bitch and Danny DeVito hamming it up harder than he ever has in his entire career.

It's a shame Burton never got a trilogy out of all this Batman jazz. If he were allowed a third film then, perhaps, we wouldn't have gotten the garbage fire that was Batman Forever and subsequently (and even more unfortunately) Batman and Robin. But then, taking Burton's entire filmography into account, we might've never gotten his masterpiece Ed Wood. I suppose that's just the cruel mistress of the studio system and Burton's eventual downfall into the absolute trash he pumps out now.

Batman Returns isn't entirely faultless however. Mostly thanks to Stefan Czapsky's cinematography and Bo Welch's lavish production design. A lot of thanks even go to the late, great Stan Winston for doing the penguin effects and makeup, which only serves to assist DeVito's wonderful performance if only just a tad. Danny Elfman's score, while not quite on par with his other collaborations with the director, is still just as lively and energetic as his compositions usually are (come on, that theme still gives me goosebumps). This review is quickly devolving into a bunch of name-dropping but, seriously, look at that crew. It's hard not to mention every person working behind the scenes doing some of their best work, especially in an era as awkward for superhero movies as it was for actors of such high caliber as Michael Keaton.

Sure, Catwoman's origin makes no sense. Yeah, some jokes go on for too long. And, fine, a lot of the writing is kinda cringey. But just look at it. What a fine, fine, fine example of 90s comic book insanity.

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