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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Batman Returns

This is a horrifically bad film. The only good thing about it is the music score.

Catwoman's origin makes no sense and an explanation is only barely handwaved as "Umm, cat's ate her so she has the soul of a cat" or some bullcrap along those lines. When we're first introduced to Selina Kyle she's almost a parody of a sexist interpretation of women. She's clumsy, says the wrong things, has a bad memory,  is left by a man and opines not having a man in her life. Even if you look past the clear negative portrayal of the only woman of any real note in this film then there's the fact that her initial attitude is more like Peter Parker than it is Catwoman. Catwoman is strong, sexy and independant, like a cat. Selinea Kyle in this film is none of those things.

The Penguin is hilariously bad, being more like the Moriarty to Batman's Sherlock Holmes than he is a shrewd and corrupt rich man. Going for the whole distorted mirror thing is a great way to create a nemesis for a hero but penguins? Seriously? Penguins are eaten by shark food. They are not in anyway intimidating. The Penguin being a penguin man is grotesque and horrifying sure but the film never tries to use that to its advantage.

Christopher Walken as Shreck is given some horrendous material but he plays the part so hammily that the film almost becomes so bad it's good.

Michael Keaton's return as Batman is as excellent as it was in the last film and it's nice to see Batman be the straight man but why on earth was this film called Batman Returns and not something like Batman II The Catwoman, The Penguin and Christopher Walken. The film is not about him and he never left so why Batman Returns. Again I lament the lack of exposition regarding his gadgets though an explanation is shown if not told.

This feels like much more of a Tim Burton film, far more gothic and far worse because of it. Batman is a dude who dresses up in a techno suit, Catwoman is a cat burglar and the Penguin is a fraudster. It looks stupid when you ramp up the melodrama and turn things gothic. Batman Returns is not frankenstein. It is not a film about mobs armed with pitchforks and flaming torches chasing down monsters. Nor is it a film about ghosts and horrifying monsters we cannot hope to understand. This is a film about a penguin man. It is shit.