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on 19 June 2005
In 1989 Tim Burton started something; Batman was a film that set the standard for all comic book adaptations to follow. His visually stunning Gotham city with its claustrophobic art-nouveau architecture, perfectly complimented some sickly twisted acting. Burton had established himself as one of cinemas slickest directors and Warner Brothers had little hesitation in giving him full creative control of 1992's Batman Returns.
He hired Michael Keaton once again to play the lead role (even though Keaton had originally been an unpopular choice with fans). In the first film he proved his acting ability by playing the socio-phobic megalomaniac so darkly yet subtly that it left you craving more and he duplicates this for the sequel - soaring like a majestic vampire bat (whilst later Batmen just sucked). But in Batman Returns Keaton's character was again overshadowed by two other larger than life characters straight out of the comics.
Burton continued his casting form by hiring Danny DeVito to play The Penguin; the characters villainous tendencies to bite the noses off anyone he dislikes, strap rockets onto penguins and drive a giant yellow duck may seem abnormal, but in a world where the hero thinks he's a bat, anything goes! And of course the film would not have been complete without a love interest. Indeed Batman spent most of the second film chasing Michelle Pfeiffer (Catwoman), who dropped out of nowhere to steal the show.
Batman Returns is a dark and wonderfully inventive modern fairytale.
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on 21 November 2015
A haunting dark superhero film, with wonderfully effective visuals and music. On Blu ray from the opening shot of the interior of the mansion, detail and clarity are extraordinary for a film that's quite old now. The credit sequence that follows sets the tone perfectly as we follow the Penguin through the sewers and away from the Gotham City.

Catwoman 's character is probably the best take on her we've seen in film. Her quest for revenge is just that which sets her apart from Batman whose motives center around justice. Kyle at the beginning of the film is a woman in a man's world, unhappy, not taken seriously and genuinely pitiable. Her alter ego represents the repressed side of her personality set loose without boundaries, this includes an explosion of sexuality after her transformation.

I really feel the film captures the sense of divide between the rich and poor in this world, the costumes and fashion seem heavily influenced by the depression era 1930s fur coats and top hats for the rich, old dull looking clothes for the rest.

For a film called Batman Returns it's interesting that Batman is hardly in it and there is basically no character development for him. Burton seems more interested in the villains, the Penguin and the morally ambiguous Catwoman the later of which sort of goes through quite an arc over the course of the film. In a way I might have preferred a story focused more on the battle between Batman and Catwoman and cut out all the silly baby murdering, circus show, giant rubber ducks and flying umbrellas.

My main complaint about the film is the use at the end of it of 'rocket strapped commando penguins', the dark gothic tone was ruined for me at that moment, it just came across as a bit wacky and goofy. De Vito as the penguin though was a great choice and he's clearly having a ball with the role. The film also lacks the strong emotional connection which Bruce Wayne and Alfred have in the Nolan version, in this version though Bruce Wayne is more mature than the Christina Bale version and seems to need less emotional support.

The film really succeeds in capturing the comic book feel of Batman with the set design, haunting visuals, great lines and Wonderful villains. In an age now where Batman drives a tank and even Scarecrow wears a smart suit I still enjoy these earlier films so much the more.

The Blu Ray version I have also contains a look behind the scenes at the making of the film. The resolution is 1080p, the aspect ratio is 1.78:1 (full screen) and the the audio is Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

Overall I really recommend buying this film, the casting, music, visuals and tone were all spot on in my opinion.
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on 18 August 2006
I didn't like a lot the first Batman by Burton and I have to admit that I didn't like at all Val Kilmer and Clooney films, but I loved this one. Batman Begins is ok also but this one is great. Batman is brilliant and Catwoman is a character which is ambiguous and interesting. Burton creates a nice nightmare before Xmas Batman movie with all the snow and the amazing sceneries.

Batman and Catwoman's scenes are the best part of the movie, specially the ball scene when they dance under the mistletoe. I think she was great in this film, playing her a neurotic hard-working girl who is treated like mud till she gets her chance to show how strong she can be. She was a bit crazy but at least she showed that girls can defend themselves and that we do not need a batman to rescue us all the time.

I love the end, I do not want to spoil it but I have to admit that it is a fantastic ending, not the usual cheesy nonsense.
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on 2 October 2015
Thirty three years later Batman is still the same age and Alfred Pennyworth has not caught one single wrinkle more. They are beyond time. That’s of course the very first axiom of a comic strip, hence of any comic strip super hero (look at Tintin for one). They do not age. Around them though people are getting old of course, but since very few are the same from one film to the next it does not matter. And of course Batman’s paramour of the first film has disappeared from the picture, or should I say pictures?

Then the plot has to be really renewed indeed. Tim Burton has decided to make it a lot more complex and complicated. Instead of one good one, Batman, and one bad one, here the Penguin, he gets two more, both on the evil side, though one is slightly insecure as for her profile between good and evil. Catwoman is a funny addition here because she is a super hero who is supposed to enhance Batman more than achieve anything. She is a simple secretary that her boss decides one day to kill by pushing her through a window. But she survives. There are miracles like that in life. And she becomes Catwoman out of her total insanity. Her only objective is to be a nuisance but on any side available though at the last minute she rejects Batman because it might be too confusing since Batman proposes to get into a love affair but under his real identity of Bruce Wayne. True enough a cat and a bat together in the same bed does not sound serious.

The second addition, and frankly only evil, is the industrialist Shreck who wants to build a power station that would produce a lot more than necessary. But the real problem his secretary, the future Catwoman, discovered is that the factory will be an environmental and ecological catastrophe (3that will be my legacy” says Mr. Shreck, showing how vain industrialists can and may be.). The film is very skimpy on this problem and Bruce Wayne, at the end, only tells him to stop speaking because anyway he is going to prison as soon as the film is finished.

The main character against Batman is the Penguin, a melodramatic orphan (self orphaned probably), a pathetic story teller, a miserable violent and criminal ambitious nincompoop, a lackluster entertainer who is just the addition of poop to nin, nothing, though it means “not of sound mind” in Latin. He lives with a whole flock of penguins in an Arctic kingdom of some sort in the sewers and he is surrounded by a band of social cases who are jugglers, acrobats, whizz kids, and plain clowns and criminals who are just there to entertain the crowd before shooting them down like useless dogs. Though it is a cliché to say that a social case or a serial killer is the result of the bad education given to a child by his parents, it is done effectively to make us believe that the poor chap has become a criminal by choice vastly teleguided by what society made him suffer, bear and endure, in this case because he has a certain physical malformation that becomes his total fixation. His orientation and fixation then is a bird that does not fly and eats salmon. I guess that would easily be considered by some as the eleventh gender orientation, because as for gender he is nothing but a bird of no feather at all.

The action is packed, the violence is brutal, which is expected, and the end is sadly unromantic, which is saluted by the audience as a good thing because if a cat meets a bat I do not know what kind of a chat they could have under their hats, and one cannot pat the other but scratch and when the other sat on the first one she felt like a rebellious mat. And imagine a rat in that couple. The two would be fighting to have a good bite into it.

An entertaining film with some obnoxious situations for obnoxious people, like the mayor of Gotham, or Mr. Shreck. You should get some kicks out of these human animal hybrids.

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on 26 October 2005
Tim Burtons second fray into the Batman mythos is an excellent company piece to his 1989 Batman film. This film however is alot darker than the original, which is not a bad thing. Batman is not a light character like Superman, his villans are always darker and more interesting and have a richer back story than Supermans Lex Luthor, which is why this film really works. People complained when the film came out in 1992 that batman wasn't in this film enough as they would have liked, which as a huge batman fan i think is untrue. In my opinion what Tim Butron has done with this film, like in his other batman film is not to over power the film with having Batman appear in every fame, because lets not forget Batman is a person who doesn't want to be seen, he is a character that stays in the shadows as much as possible and is only seen when he has to be seen, this is shown greatly in the ice princes scene half way through the film. But lets not forget that it is also bruce wayne's and the villans film as well, which Tim Burton does a fantastic job in creating the back story for the peguin and catwoman along with giving the audiecnce great visuals of Gotham City that match and even rival that of the original's. The extras on this special edition dvd are great, with a new digital transfer and an excellent sound mix make this the best presentation of the film since the theatrical release, the audio commentary by Burton is good and incitfull along with some great documentaries on the second disc make this a must for any Batman fan and any one who enjoyed the first Tim Burton Batman Film. But be warned this film keeps in the tradition of Tim Buton films like 'Edwood Siccor Hands' and 'Sleepy Hollow' which gives an interesting view point on the Dark Knights World.
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on 28 August 2000
this film turns out to be the best of all "superhero" films. it is not a mere action film with characters wearing masks and acting out some super crime fantasies (like the other batman sequels turn out to be). no, this film excels through its true form of tragic history-telling. tim burton managed to capture the single tragedies of each character. penguin (excellently played by danny devito) a freak rejected by his family is searching for affection and respect in society but unfortunately fails. catwoman, (marvellously portrayed by michelle pfeiffer) a character constantly torn in a duality between her ability to live out her life to the fullest as catwoman but on the other hand searching for a relationship with a man that sees more in her but a weak and obedient secretary. batman/bruce wayne also find his woman for life but tragically loses her just to find out that he is doomed to a lonely life of a rich man. this film is a complete must-see. its compelling and gripping script reaches the quality of a drama such as by william shakespeare.
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on 4 February 2015
1st off, title relevancy-Batman Returns? The film makes it clear that he's stuck around doing hero stuff between the 1st film and this. So he hasn't been anywhere, not even to the corner shop for some bat cigarettes! But then plenty of films have used return to refer to the character returning to the cinema itself.

This is dark like the 1st film but more of a fairy theme. Christmas never seems to happen in this film but then I think director Tim Burton has a fascination for the magical anticipation of the run up to Christmas that is such a part of childhood-witness Nightmare Before Christmas too! Burton blends a number of myths and famous stories into this film- e.g. a bit of pied piper, Moses (Oswald Cobblepot being abandoned as a bay and put in a basket in the water) . It's a good basis for his take on the hero.

Batman is established as a hero by now but true to its comic book roots, it doesn't take much for doubts to resurface. The Penguin-Oswald Cobblepot is up to nefarious activites under the guise of being a people's hero and sabotages the Batmobile causing the Gothamites to begin to turn on the dark knight again.
There are some interesting hints about Bruce Wayn'e psyche too, as Alfred observes he is eager to see the Penguin revealed to be a fraud!

Michael Keaton is as good as in the previous film and works particularly well at the possible romance with Catwoman Selina Kyle. Although the Bruce/Vicki Vale relationship worked in the 1st film, the Selina /Bruce one clearly shows 2 people who are apparently well matched.
I haven't seen anything of Annette Benning except Mars Attacks so I can't say how she would have worked, but it's hard to imagine a better Catwoman than Michelle Pfeiffer, sexy, dangerous, vulnerable and damaged. No wonder in the wake of the awful Halle Berry movie people thoght back nostalgically to her!

J Pat Hingle and Michael Gough get some good moments as Commisioner Gordon & Alfred (e.g. Alfred's joke about where to repair teh batmobile "We can hardly take it to Joe's Bodyshop!" but naturally a lot of the best stuff goes to the villians.

A wonderfully cast Danny Devito plays a much more beast man grotesque version of the Penguin than featured in comics etc. there's a degree of sympathy for how he became what he is but otherwise there's nothing good about him.

A villain stepping perhaps more out of reality than comics is Max Shreck (*1) the wicked business mogul and again pitch perfect casting in Christopher Walken.

Well directed in all aspects from the giant set pieces with penguins on the march to quieter moments such as Selina's horror film creepy rebirth as Catwoman following a murder attempt.

The film has a good sense of humour to ready to joke about the 1st film as Bruce reminds Alfred he let Vicki into the batcave oncc and Cobbelpot rejecting a traditional comic book Penguion look when running for office.

The batsuit and Batmobile have ben redesigned and are still cutting the mustard, and the same for Gotham itself.

hugely enjoyable and I liked it more than the 1st film.

Extras incude Shadows of the Bat delving closely into all apsects of the filmp; Burton's doubt about doing a sequel, having to recast the Catwoman when Annette Benning fell pregnant (ironically Dick Tracy's fault as Warren Beatty was the dad!), redesigning Gotham city with Germnan influences, whether Michael Keaton should have warned Danny & Michelle about heavy costumes (he didn't!), how the whip Catwoman has is to symbolise a cat's tail & how proficient Michelle got with it and the surprising offer from Burton to direct a 3rd one!
Batman beyond shorts all look at individual aspects of the production. as with Batman there are a mixture of archive and newer interviews with key players.
There's also a promotional documentary shot at the time.

Sadly the promised Burton commentary is not there, so I knocked a point off for that!

All in all though, a great package for a good film.

(*1) surely named by Burton for the Nosferatu actor
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on 10 January 2009
One of my favourite batman films, I like it as much as the first maybe a little bit more, and like the first, on bluray the pic quality is very good and sharp for an old film, in some places, with the snow, falling at night, or during the day where people are walking in it, it is stunning, and it places with building textures which are really detailed even at night, and of course Michelle Pfeiffer who looks hot and really good in high def whether shes in her sexy cat suit or not, keaton is good as the dark hero we all know and love, if your a batman fan, or like good superhero movies, this is a good one for you collection on bluray
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on 2 July 2016
I'm delighted with the ultra-clear quality of this blu-ray, and as a result I watch this movie much more frequently than I did with the older [reasonable quality] dvd. [to be honest, the format shown here is not quite as widescreen as I remember seeing at the cinema, but the more full-frame shape serves up even more lush picture detail so I am not bars---who needs 'em!!]

The Nolan trilogy is OK, but even better than the DARK KNIGHT: this is just Glorious Hokum, with endless invention and delightfully twisted visuals. The story and dialog is no great shakes, ---in fact, it's all basically a load of nonsense, to put it mildly------but as professional film-making and epically-eerie cinematic vision, this outing is superior stuff! The blu-ray offers so much delightful detail I never noticed before---and Elfmans' music is exquisite, to boot.

If BATMAN was the modern FRANKENSTEIN , then this follow-up was the equivalent BRIDE OF: vastly expanded and elaborated upon from the first [pretty good] movie. Outrageous costumes bordering on the kinky, all of which just adds to the warped delights on view, this movie was released just before overdone, bloated CGI reared it's ugly head ....although the flocks of bats might be computer-generated? If so, CGI has been used very sparingly, and the film looks more 'real' than most of todays' onscreen fantasies as a result.

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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2010
Batman Returns is a perfect film to watch during the holiday season as the winter/Xmas atmosphere that Burton creates for Gotham City is wonderful. It's weird that Warner decided to release this as a summer film. It doesn't fit.

But what's even weirder, when you consider the content of this film, is that it was aimed at families. An upper-class family throws their mutant baby down the sewer, a socio-phobic billionaire dresses up in leather as a flying rodent, a lonely secretary has a mental breakdown and dresses up in leather as a feline, and said grown-up mutant baby freak runs for political office. Not to mention the S&M subtext that Tim Burton somehow managed to get away with. His eccentric visual style fits this film best, and is the height of his career, IMO.

This and the Dark Knight are the only true live-action incarnations of the comic-book character. True, Batman Returns is not as grown-up and serious as the Dark Knight, but it's a helluva lot atmospheric, and I just prefer the oddball character development here than in TDK. I rate them both equally, but scoring points on different levels.

Darker and more violent than the first movie, the sense of Gothic pathos reaches a new high. I was quite keen on Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (don't even get me started on George Clooney!), he displayed the right balance of weirdo loner and cool crime fighter. Michelle Pfieffer is great as Catwoman (much sexier and more 'realistically' cat-like), she wears that leather outfit better than Halle Berry. And Danny DeVito was so convincing as the Penguin that his scenes become disturbing to watch. Special mention must be made of Christopher Walken, who is brilliant as the spooky Max Shreck (if you think you recognize Chip Shrek it's none other than a very young Leatherface/Butterfinger).

Danny Elfman's score is also even better than it was first time round. His powerful and engaging themes are way better than the dross that followed in the later Schumacher movies. This movie is the Batman phenomenon at its Zenith. Forget the following sequels and stick to the animated series after this. Christopher Nolan brought integrity back to the series, but before Schumacher destroyed it, Burton gave the original series integrity too.

A great Xmas film, and my favorite Batman adventure.

The Blu Ray looks amazing in 1080p 1.85:1 widescreen, with bold, deep blacks and near perfect colors. Plenty of extras too.
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