Batman Returns is a 1992 action film based on the popular DC comic superhero, and is the second Batman film adaptation directed by Tim Burton. Like the previous film, Batman (1989), Batman Returns focuses on a caped vigilante who prevents his hometown of Gotham City from falling prey to criminal masterminds. This film sees the return of Michael Keaton in the lead role of Batman/Bruce Wayne, facing off against the pudgy and short villain, the Penguin (Danny DeVito). However, in this story, Batman isn’t the only mysterious figure roaming Gotham City, as the film also introduces the cunning thief extraordinaire, Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).
By infusing the moody and dark atmosphere of Batman (1989) with a celebratory setting in the Christmas season, Batman Returns offers an interesting adventure with quirky superhero action and style.
How to Stream or Download Batman Returns (1992) Full Movie Online
To stream or to download Batman Returns from a digital store of your choice, click on the Download button that you will find located at the end of this review. Check out also another film by Tim Burton that we have reviewed: The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Movie Review
The holidays have come to Gotham City in Batman Returns, but unfortunately, the night is neither silent nor holy. After dealing with the madness of the villainous Joker in the previous film, Batman tries his best to enjoy the festivities and kick back. In downtown, Gotham’s mayor (Michael Murphy) and businessman Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) celebrate with an annual tree-lighting ceremony. As expected, things go horribly wrong when a ragtag group of clown gangsters begin to wreak havoc, even kidnapping Max Schreck and taking him into the sewers.
There, the rotund and disfigured villain named the Penguin tries to strike a deal. Discarded into the sewers as a baby due to his physical disabilities, the Penguin seeks revenge on the city and its elite class. Looking to potentially make a buck while saving his own skin, Max Schreck begins to orchestrate a wild political plan.
In addition to the business surrounding the Penguin and Schreck, Batman Returns also introduces a new anti-hero to the scene. A dejected secretary of Max Schreck, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) endures a terrible head injury and takes on the alter-ego of the Catwoman.
Thirsty for her own revenge, Catwoman will have to deal with not only Penguin and Schreck, but Batman too. With so many sub-plots running at once, Batman Returns has a habit of feeling crowded. While the core narrative of Batman versus Gotham’s worst villains remains interesting, the excess of additional story arcs weighs the movie down.
Most characters are effective and acted well, with a great performance from Danny DeVito as the Penguin. Unfortunately, Batman Returns spends way too much time on the extra stuff, leaving Batman himself on the sidelines.
In comparison to Batman (1989), Batman Returns feels far more identifiable as a Tim Burton film. The sets and costuming are colorful and wacky, there’s a more whimsical tone to the story, and everything else is appropriately dark and gloomy. Occasionally, the more comedic tone can become overbearing, but for the most part, it works. Despite the sillier tone, the action scenes are more explosive than before, with hard-hitting fight scenes and some impressive practical effects.
The movie also does a great job showcasing Batman’s various gadgets, including his homing batarang, zip-line, and of course, the Batmobile. Generally speaking, Batman Return’s action scenes are satisfying and provide the perfect mix of comic-book style exaggeration and realistic consequence.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Batman Returns is a bit of a mixed bag, succeeding in plenty of places while falling short in others. The Christmas setting, whimsical tone, and fun action scenes all work wonders, but the plot itself is a bit hard-to-track. With an abundance of characters and sub-plots, the movie forgets to focus on the eponymous hero, becoming sidetracked with less interesting ideas. The Penguin remains one of the best Batman villains and Danny DeVito definitely does the character justice. While the second act of the movie feels sluggish and some sequences could’ve been left on the cutting room floor, a solid opening and unpredictable action keep things engaging. If you enjoyed Tim Burton’s style in Batman (1989), you’ll definitely appreciate Batman Returns.
- Festive holiday settings
- Great use of practical effects
- Confident in tone
- Too many subplots
- Some goofy and out-of-touch dialogue
- Shoehorned romance