Monday, December 19, 2016

25 Days of Christmas: BATMAN RETURNS

Welcome to day 19 of our 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS series, where we'll be taking a look at holiday classics each day in the lead up to Christmas. Today, we'll be reviewing the 1992 Superhero film, BATMAN RETURNS, which just so happens to be set at Christmas!

Batman Returns was directed by Tim Burton in his second and final turn as the director of the series before the dreaded Joel Schumacher took over, created Batman Forever and then almost destroyed the franchise. The film stars Michael Keaton (Batman), Michelle Pfeiffer (Selina Kyle), Danny Devito (Penguin), Christopher Walken (Max Shreck) and of course Michael Gough (Alfred).

I think I'm in the minority when I say I actually prefer Batman Returns over 1989s Batman. I think that Batman Returns is very underrated and I love the style of the movie, and although theres not much "Christmassy" about the film, I think having it set at Christmas adds to the atmosphere and all the snow just makes it feel that much better and suited to the main villain (Penguin). I wouldn't say its set at Christmas in the same way that Die Hard is, but I do think that it benefits the film.

I think that the performances are sometimes over the top, especially from Devito, but I really think the best performance comes from Pfeiffer. Her performance really is standout and you can see the conflict in her especially at the end when she kills Max Shreck. The story is not particularly new or innovative but it's a rare case that Superhero films back then managed to fit in two villains where you can understand where both of them are coming from, as Penguin was abandoned as a baby and Selina also has her own share of personal problems, both stemming from the darker and corrupt sides of Gotham. (I also love the cameo from Paul Reubens as Penguins father)

As expected from a Burton film, it is particularly stylistic and this means that I think it holds up better thanks to a lot of practical effects that are done well, and although you can tell the film is old, I don't think it effects the quality because even at the time the film wouldn't have been realistically filmed either. Of course, as in the other films in the 90s Batman film franchise, there are problems with the Batsuit and a lot of the script is a bit over the top, but it feels acceptable in this film, especially because the characters are dealt with as characters rather than pun-spurting voice boxes (although there are a few puns).

All in all, although perhaps not the film that will make you feel like it's Christmas, it is a film to enjoy especially if you are a fan of Batman, with the best Catwoman to date in my opinion, and I can't see Penguin being pulled off any time soon. It's definitely worth a watch and perhaps will give you a little bit of nostalgia too if you've seen it before, and I like to think that nostalgia gives you that warm Christmas feeling too.

Chris's Score: 8/10

Be sure to stay tuned throughout the rest of the month! We're posting a new Christmas review every day, both old and new! Check back to see what movie we'll have you singing carols next!

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