Batman Returns

Batman Returns ★★★★★



Ten reasons why Batman Returns is one of the great superhero films, and at the top of Batman's live-action oeuvre:

1. Its artifice deliberately tightens its grasp on the main players, forming a psychopathic bond made literal by their constant encounters. It's as if they live right next door, and Burton has no time for world-building beyond his characters.

2. Burton takes a trio of iconic characters and, simply, shows them as they are. An insecure man-bat, a deformed figure in pursuit of his own tragic narrative, a woman in sick, sensual control of her agency.

4. Their rebellion against type stops there, however, as Burton doesn't spare their respective roles in the genre they're confined within. They may be kooky sideshow performers, but the movie around them is an honest-to-god mega-budget blockbuster, with all the glam and auteurist confidence you'd expect from early 90s Burton.

5. Scrumptious coloring: the winter grey of the Christmas season only heightened by the green of sewer water and the artificiality of neon and holiday decor.

6. Catwoman.

7. Catwoman.

8. Catwoman.

9. Penguins wearing rocket jetpacks. A penguin funeral. Penguins sitting in The Penguin's lair; proto-Minions to their Gru. All the penguin stuff is a delight beyond description.

10. That this perverted discussion of disease of corporeal obsessions had a McDonald's toy-line.

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