11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Even darker than the first, and far better visually,
This review is from: Batman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Batman Returns features the best film dipiction of Gotham City to date. The city is grim, always dark, even during the day, old gothic spires stab at the sky. This is Gotham the way it was intended: a dark pseudo 1800's looking city with a flare for 1940's decor. In this film, Burton once again weaves Batman's story into the lives of his villians, shown through Bruce/Batman's relationship with Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Burton did something most writers simply do not do: develop the villains. We witness both Selina's tragic transformation to Catwoman, and the origins of the deformed Penguin. In the comics, these characters were barely ever fleshed out, save for Frank Miller's Batman Year One, where he showed the beginnings of Catwoman as a dominatrix for hire, something to this day that DC would like to keep under the rug. In this film, Batman and Catwoman have a tremendously complex relationship. Batman this time around is far more in control of things, has a more streamlined and expanded batcave, and barely speaks while in the suit, all showing a more dead on version of Batman, the efficient strong, silent type hero. A lot of people critiqued this film as "not a kids movie" but I always wonder, who says Batman is a kids character in the first place besides Adam West? The comics of Batman nowadays are no where near kid friendly, his villians are darker, more twisted, he's had side kicks brutally murdered, tortured to death, and crippled. Not to mention that the whole story starts off with an eight year old boy's parents getting brutally murdered before his very eyes. yeah, shame on Burton for not making that all kid friendly... anyway, this film is an artistic masterpiece and set the tone for the aminated series which tried very hard to model itself after the Burton films, even going so far as to get the films composer, Danny Elfman, to do the cartoons theme. Burton realized that Batman's villains should be just as messed up psychologically as he is, and as such, should be given equal screen time and character development, something they didn't really start doing in the comics until about eight years ago, in the late 90's. Before that, they were just cardboard cut outs save for a few stories from Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Batman Returns has a constant theme of wearing masks socially, persoanlly, and in all other aspects of life, Burton shows what happens when those masks are torn away and people are forced to face their own dark secrets.