Fridge / Batman Returns

Fridge Brilliance
  • The change of the Batsuit from the organic look of Batman to the armoured look of Batman Returns? Mere stylistic choice? Not so fast! In the first movie Batman is feared as being a giant bat, a literal supernatural monster. It's only when crooks get a good look at him and realize it's body armour do they realize that he's human. What helps with the illusion? The sculpted muscles on the suit. They hide nothing, the armour aspect completely in favour of getting that extra fear value. But at the end of the movie Batman is publicly declared a hero and the illusion is lost. So what does he do? He scraps the "giant bat" look and dons a more mechanical and armoured looking suit, and it can be assumed with the larger plates that it offers a lot more protection.
  • This one is fairly obvious, but still deserves a mention. Toward the end of the film, Shreck begins shooting Catwoman after she taunts him to "finish her off", having already been killed three times (by him, the Penguin and Batman, respectively). He empties the gun on her, ending Lives #4, 5, 6 and 7, but not actually killing her. She gives him a Kiss of Death with a taser and an electric generator, frying them both. That's eight lives. At the end of the movie, we see that Catwoman is still alive. She still has one life left.
    • What part is supposed to be Brilliance? She outright said that right before she zaps him "Two lives left, I think I'll save one for next Christmas."
    • I think because it could reasonably be assumed by the audience that she died along with Shrek (and in the official comic book adaptation you see Selina's charred body along with his). But the end of the movie proves that assumption false, and it adds up perfectly to the "nine lives" scenario.
    • Also note that the Penguin makes a big deal about the dramatic irony of killing Shreck in his own toxic waste, but the way that he actually dies is to be electrocuted, a subtle callback to the reason that Selina was killed — she discovered that his plant was designed to suck electricity out of Gotham.
  • In the famous "Bruce and Selina dance" scene, just before Bruce Wayne sees Selina at the party, the music — an orchestrated version of "Super Freak" — is very much reminiscent of "Partyman" and/or "Batdance" from the previous movie. When she appears the music turns suddenly sinister and melancholic — Souxsie and the Banshees' "Face to Face", the unofficial theme song of Returns — emphasizing the difference in tone between the two movies.
  • I used to question why Batman wantonly kills criminals throughout the movie, but tries to stop Catwoman from doing in Schreck. Then I payed closer attention to Bruce's speech in the next movie. There, he describes the hypothetical future for Dick Grayson as killing Two-Face for revenge, but not being satisfied and killing and killing anyone to make the pain go away. Suddenly, this movie makes more sense. Batman has already played a role in killing his parents' killer (of course, this isn't getting into the theory that Jack Napier was just another victim of Bruce's projection) and can't stop because he continues to see each and every criminal as his parents' murderer. When he realizes that Catwoman is actually the woman he's been romancing, he can no longer see criminals as a faceless other onto which he can project his own issues. The real problem here is that Batman is so sidelined that you can barely see his character arc.
    • Each movie in the Burton/Schumacherverse features the creation of a vigilante- Batman, Catwoman, Robin, and Batgirl, and Batman's attitude towards preserving his archenemies is deconstructed differently each time. We can see Batman's philosophy towards killing change over the course of 3 movies.
      • In Batman, he confronts his own demon- the Joker, Jack Napier, who killed his own parents. Understandably, he goes nuts, outright declares "I'm going to kill you"- and he does.
      • Returns is his first glimpse of the vigilante life being forced on another person, Selina Kyle- and he realizes just how broken that split down the middle makes both of them. After spending most of the movie as a sadistic killer, he finally changes his outlook and pleads for her to let Schreck live- but she doesn't.
      • In Forever, Bruce witnesses (and is partially the cause of) the Graysons' death, and he attempts to dissuade Dick from joining the vigilante lifestyle, asking him whether killing Two-Face will really take away the pain (because, clearly, it didn't work for Batman). Compared to Bruce and Selina, Dick Grayson is young, impressionable, and bounces back from his trauma- he maintains his anger at Two-Face, but doesn't fly into a psychotic killing rage. In fact, when he has a chance to finish off Two-Face, he chooses to help him back up per Batman's moral code- "I'd rather see you in jail." The movie immediately subverts Robin's heroism by showing Two-Face take him hostage, and Batman ends up killing Two-Face out of necessity anyways.
  • How did Penguin get the plans for the Batmobile? Surely that's the big plot-hole of the movie. But, hasn't it already been established that he has a knack for getting secret documents when they've been flushed into the sewer? Another possibility is that Batman had the plans hidden in public records and the Penguin found them.
  • The Red Triangle Gang itself is brilliant when you think about it. Who would have more reason to be afraid of clowns than the people of Gotham City?
  • Batman wantonly kills the Penguin's henchmen. Out of character? Not necessarily. His parents were murdered by a man who took on a clown visage. Batman's psychosis is so deep it caused him to fly into a murderous rage whenever confronted by clowns and circus performers. He seems to have regained control by the time Batman Forever happens, probably due to the passage of time, lack of circus-themed villains and the introduction of a love interest he could actually settle down with.
  • Metajoke: two of the actors in this movie previously played asylum inmates in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and both play villains: Danny De Vito and Vincent Schiavelli. Batman has the most well-known insane rogues' gallery in comics.

Fridge Horror
  • While researching the Red Triangle Gang, Bruce learns that at the same time their freakshow included an "aquatic birdy boy" in their lineup, numerous reports of missing children would show up in whatever town the circus was visiting, implying that the Penguin has been murdering children all his life.
    • And then there's the novelization (which in some ways is even bleaker than the film itself) that makes an implication that Penguin not only knew who his parents were but was also responsible for their deaths to begin with!
      • Of course, the Horror there would be mitigated somewhat due to the Asshole Victim factor (you can't say they didn't have it coming after how they treated him in the prologue, after all).

Fridge Logic
  • So no one has ever noticed that by setting off the Bat-Signal, a second one is activated that shines right into Wayne Manor?
    • That's an in-manor system he has in place to alert him of the real Bat Signal.
  • The one piece of clothing that Penguin consistently wears throughout the film? It's basically an adult-size version of the onesie he was wearing when his parents abandoned him.