June 16, 2017

Celebrating 25 Years of Batman Returns

Being the obsessive Batfan that I am I thought tonight I would pay tribute to the Tim Burton classic Batman Returns which is 25 years old today.

At the time of release back in 1992 I think a lot of people didn’t quite know what to make of Batman Returns; it was a box office hit but some complained that Batman was more of a supporting character which admittedly is a valid criticism, it had a dark and somber tone which people may not have been ready for at the time but when the villains are The Penguin and Catwoman (played to perfection by Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer) then you just sit back and watch them eat up the screen. 

Michael Keaton was always a great Bruce Wayne/Batsy who was a man of few words and could actually say a lot by just looking distant and haunted… the way Bruce Wayne should. He may not have that much to do in terms of a story arc but he sure does punch lots of bad guys, oh and even kills some too. Did people whine like little bitches about it back then too?

I always liked how when Oswald Cobblepot first appears in the movie Bruce sympathizes with this poor creature who also grew up without his parents and he sees him almost as a kindred spirit. As the story progresses Wayne becomes more suspicious of Oswald’s motives and the games begin.

Michelle Pfeiffer remains the finest live action interpretation of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and is also my favourite version of the costume. She captures the timid nature of Kyle perfectly and her transformation into the sexy Catwoman is one of the many highlights. 

Sure, it may not all be “comic accurate” in terms of some story points but if you want that then go read the comics; it still feels like it takes place in an alternate universe and considering it was one of the first decent comic book movies it did a damn fine job of creating a bizarre world of eccentric characters and stunning set design. Tim Burton always had a fantastic visual style and I always thought it was perfect in the world of Batman Returns with crooked statues and Gothic architecture.

My favourite aspect of the film is Danny Elfman’s music score which remains my all-time favourite Batman soundtrack; the choral music featuring the main Batman theme in the opening credits, The Penguin’s tragic theme and Selina’s screeching violins capture each character’s battles with dual identities to a tee and I still listen to the score every few days after all these years.

It was never a kid’s film with its darker and weirder tone which is why Warners foolishly went in a lighter direction with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin which killed the character cinematically until Batman Begins in 2005. 

I know a lot of people to this day don’t really like the film and I can understand why; there isn’t all that much to the story and like I said it isn’t really like the comics and the surreal nature of the world Burton created is an acquired taste.

After 25 years Batman Returns is still one of the strangest comic book movies out there but it’s grown a real following over the years and I know a certain friend of mine who still claims it is her all-time favourite Bat-movie.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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  • Mucho Macho

    It’s a good movie, a movie I happen to like but it does have its things that work against.
    One of the things after the 89′ Batman was the euphoria or excitement about who was going to play villains in these movies and the problem the 90s Batman movies started to have is that they started to neglect the Batman character. Michael Keaton as both Bruce Wayne & Batman is in the first hour of this movie all together less than 10 minutes. Michael Keaton feels like a supporting character in his own movie.

    But is still a movie that’s part of my upbringing and despite some things is still much better than a lot of superhero movies that they have made today.

  • David Barber

    I saw it again a few years ago and thought it was a bit too weird for a Batman movie. He wasn’t even in it for a lot. I remember liking it when I was 15 but my older eyes found it just a little hard going despite some fine moments. And I thought Batman’s kills were just as cool as in the 1989 movie.