Batman Returns


Tonight, a dear friend of mine and I decided to watch Batman Returns together. Ironically enough, this is the very first Batman movie I had ever watched since I became a fan. It's actually pretty funny because I believe I had seen a few of them growing up. I probably was just too young and had too little knowledge to really understand them. However, I felt like I could understand this movie due to the fact that I actually have more knowledge about Batman as a franchise.

Though I feel slightly dissatisfied with certain aspects of the movie, I definitely enjoyed watching it and do not regret it whatsoever!

The Penguin


Danny Devito made a truly convincing Penguin in this film. While I have never exactly been a fan of Penguin, I really came to appreciate his character after watching Batman Returns. The constant references to sewage, "number-two" jokes, and lewd language made him feel real. I felt like I could practically smell this man-sorry, penguin-through the screen! The Penguin was disgusting, but in the best way. Everything from his speech, appearance, and mannerisms had me convinced that he really had come from the sewers.

Penguin has been rejected by everybody since his first days for no other reason than for being born different. Of course he is evil and I disagree with how he went about handling this rejection, but I feel like this aspect of his backstory hit me close to home. I understand how it feels to be rejected for the way you are born. I faced a lot of rejection from my peers growing up for my "weirdness". I was born with a mental condition called autism which-for better or worse-comes with many strange quirks. I was never alienated or rejected to the point that The Penguin was, but I can somewhat sympathize with his point of view.

One of my favorite things about Devito's Penguin was the message his role served. As people, we should not be blindly trusting shady politicians and billionaires. Penguin's constant inappropriate remarks and behaviors almost perfectly align with many of the politicians we see today. Just like Penguin, they still have millions of people willing to love and support them. It's ridiculous. I commend Bruce for catching on to Penguin's shady antics. Genuine mistrust of politicians is a trait I love in somebody.

The Cat

"I am Catwoman... Hear me roar!"

This movie served as a spectacular introduction to Catwoman's character! Before watching Batman Returns, I had some basic knowledge of her character, but I had never really gotten to know her. Pfeiffer's Catwoman was utterly stunning; I was blown away by her acting. This particular version of Catwoman embodies one of my favorite types of female characters; rebellious, sexy, seductive, aggressive, and-of course-blonde... heh. I have a thing for fictional blonde "baddies". This particular Catwoman reminded me a lot of another long-time fictional crush of mine; that being La Signora from Genshin Impact. Both characters are the type of domineering "blonde baddies" that I always find myself head over heels for in fiction.

Selina Kyle's transformation into Catwoman was fascinating to watch. Since her boss had pushed her through the window, we witnesssed her mental state deteoriorate even more; Kyle destroyed her furiniture in a rage, spray-painted all of her clothes, and sewed together her new Catwoman suit. This scene was highly symbolic of Selina Kyle's breaking point-one that had been heavily hinted towards since the very beginning of the movie.

Bruce and Selina's dancing scene really took the cake as my favorite scene in the entire film. I cannot lie, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! My heart was pounding with anticipation while the tension between the two grew and finally reached its climax and then, finally, they revealed their true identities to each other. This was one of their many scenes that had me yelling "KISS ALREADY!!!" while sitting in my room!

The Bat

"You've got sort of a dark side, don't you?"

As much as I adore Batman, I wasn't fully satisfied with this specific incarnation of him. As to whether this is true or not I currently don't know, but I was under the impression that this movie took place in the earliest days his crime-fighting career. He seemed a lot younger and less-experienced than most carnations of Batman I have come to know. I strongly prefer the older, more experienced, and rougher Batman I know and love. I am likely just being picky, but it is my own preference.

Keaton did not make a very convincing Bruce Wayne. He didn't necessarily come off as the "billionaire playboy" Bruce is traditionally portrayed as. I guess it makes sense because, realistically, no actual man could shift between the dark, brooding Bat and the womanizing billionaire in the snap of a finger. Yet, even then, he lacked the charisma that Bruce Wayne has always had. He rubbed me off more as an introverted, nerdy type who just so happened to be rich at the same time. His awkwardness was so apparent that I was joking about him being on the autism spectrum! I don't necessarily dislike these traits in him, but that just isn't Bruce Wayne.

Though Batman was infatuated with Catwoman, I dislike that he seemed so hesitant to fight against her. I get it, he was falling in love, but I still would have felt more pleased watching him actually put up a fight against her. I like it so much more when The Bat stands his ground against his enemies. In a later scene, he does actually put up a fight against Catwoman, but it should have happened much sooner.

Despite my nitpicking, I really genuinely liked a lot of Batman's scenes. I thought that watching him plow through waves of Penguin's goons, swing around on his grappling hook, encounter Catwoman multiple times, and drive the Batmobile was epic! I was overwhelmed with excitement once I saw him appear on-screen! Though this Batman could have been characterized much better, I was still more than happy to see my one true love.

Overall Opinion

In conclusion, I liked this film quite a lot. Sadly, my disappointment with how my favorite fictional character is represented took away from some of my enjoyment. That aside, though, I liked the film. I love Tim Burton's aesthetic and style. Hopefully I can see more films directed by him in the future (and more Batman films, too)!

Written January 30, 2023.