The Horror Advent Calender: 1. Batman Returns

It's your Horror Review Advent Calendar.
25 Christmas themed movies.
Ho, ho, ho.

Director: Tim Burton (1992)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer
Find it: IMDB

Following his (essentially) throwing The Joker off the side of a Cathedral, Batman returns to terrorise the criminals of Gotham City some more. This time he faces The Penguin (DeVito) and Catwoman (Pfeiffer) who join forces to discredit Batboob and turn Gotham against him. Love interests ensue when Bats' and Cats' secret identities fall for one another. Christopher Walken plays a man called Max Shreck (get it) who helps Penguin carry out his nefarious schemes.

Like many of Burton's films, Batman Returns feels very Christmassy. It makes for a better atmosphere than the first Batman, and allows Burton to get away with a lot of wintry Gothic scenes. It's an all around better piece than the first, freed from Jack Nicholson's scene stealing (although DeVito and Walken chew quite a lot of scenery) and the nonsense revelation that Joker shot dear old Thomas & Martha Wayne. It's more odd and stylized, still taking too many liberties with the source material, but feels more fluid and fun. Particularly enjoyable are The Penguin's Circus freak goons. Batman too gets more of a chance to flex his muscles.

Batman Returns was the first Batman movie this avid Batfan ever watched, so will always hold a very dear place in my heart. Sure, Batman straps a bomb to someone and throws him down a well, but how can one not love Michael Keaton's goofy charm? He's probably my favourite Batman (Adam West not withstanding). Regarde:

Compared with:

I rest my case. Images stolen from The Internets. I'm glad Michael Keaton had a second chance to shine before the more ridiculous Batmen took over. Meanwhile, Michelle Pfeiffer explains a lot. I'm pretty sure that Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman is singlehandedly responsible for my transformation from child to sexual being. I grew several pubes whilst watching Batman Returns (I then lost them all during Catwoman and have been impotent ever since).

The Dark Knight may be the best Batman movie ever made, but Batman Returns is my favourite.


  1. I've never felt the love for The Dark Knight. There will always be something goofy about someone dressing up as an animal and fighting crime. Burton handles this dichotomy brilliantly. There are moments of WTF and moments of how damaged these people are without dwelling on it.
    The scene with Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle at the ball with the mistletoe... Holy hot, Batman!

  2. I love The Dark Knight, but yeah, you're right - there's a goofiness that never quite gels with Nolan's style.

    Like yourself, I think Burton handles it better. Keaton remains my favourite Batman - and the scene you mention is one of the best in the movie