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Wick's Review

Created Nov 22, 2014 10:44AM PST • Edited Dec 29, 2018 09:01AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Batman 2 endures due to Tim Burton being very Tim Burton, more than Michael Keaton being Batman or Danny DeVito being Penguin, though not more than Michelle Pfeiffer being Catwoman. Me-ow!

    La magnifique Michelle purringly produced a psycho-sexual performance for the ages, a starburst that vaulted her to a higher quantum of superstardom and established her as the definitive Catwoman.

    Burton famously directed the mongo origin movie three years earlier, the one that redefined comic book movies and launched the present era of comic book movie domination. He reverted to type for the sequel, making it operatic and Felliniesque. Adam West could have worn the cowl if it was any more camp.

    From the ├╝ber Gothic opening to the circus-performer villains to the array of ids on screen, Burton’s Batman Returns channels Fellini’s flamboyant genius, albeit with a monster budget and heavy weaponry.

    Darkly fun? Brilliantly mounted? Masterfully performed? Yes, yes and YES. It’s worth watching every so often just to enjoy the voyeuristic tickle from Catwoman licking Batman’s head. Now that’s entertainment.

  3. Great 4.0

    Michelle Pfeiffer & Christopher Walken dominate the movie, notwithstanding Michael Keaton & Danny DeVito playing the superhero and supervillain respectively.

    Pfeiffer plays both sides of her dual role brilliantly, giving her frazzled everywoman a spark of intelligent character, while giving her Catwoman alter-ego a raging psycho-sexual panache that is a delight to behold. It’s never been done better by an actress, and only equaled by one of the countless male superhero actors – Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man. That’s some pretty super company.

    Christopher Walken – young and pompadoured – also delights as a publicity seeking crime lord. Walken can occaisionally chew the scenery, but deftly underplays the role, contrasting nicely with the even more outrageous performances and scenery around him in Tim Burton’s operatic movie.

    Danny DeVito doesn’t misplay a scene as the benighted Penguin. However he has the misfortune of playing a character inimitably defined for so many of us by Burgess Meredith.

    Michael Keaton doesn’t fail in his second and final outing as Bruce / Batman, but hardly carries the picture. Hell, he’s onscreen less than any of the three stars already discussed. And we don’t miss him. It’s as if the role’s a bit too big for him. Harsh for me to say about one of my favorite actors, but true. Interestingly, 22 years later Keaton would star in Birdman, a riveting takedown of Batman-like affectations.

    Supporters

    • Andrew Bryniarski as Christoperh Walken’s pretty-boy son, Chip.
    • Michael Murphy as Mayor of Gotham City
    • Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon: very underwhelming
    • Penguin’s Circus Performer Henchmen
      • Vincent Schiavelli as The Organ Grinder
      • Anna Katarina as The Poodle Lady
      • Cristi Conaway as The Ice Princess
      • John Strong as The Sword Swallower
      • Rick Zumwalt as The Tattooed Strongman
      • Gregory Scott Cummins as The Acrobatic Thug
    • Michael Gough as the Penguin’s father, before it all went to hell
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Batman Returns is a film more for Tim Burton fans than Bat-fans. The action is ridiculous, even by comic book movie standards, and the affect extremely arch. Yet the comical darkness, monumental set designs and acute psycho-sexual politics (courtesy of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman), make it a garden of Burtonian cinematic delights.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The set designs are monumental, especially Gotham City’s Soviet/Nazi inspired public spaces and the Gothic mansions.

    Amazingly, only 8 stuntmen were used in filming.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9

    Catwoman’s clever badinage titillates with sexy themes.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.9
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.9
  18. Supernatural 3.7
  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 3.7
  20. Biological Supernatural 4.0
  21. Physical Supernatural 3.4

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