Batman Returns is a very odd film to review. On the one hand, it has the same music and is even more of a visual treat than Burton's first Batman movie. The winter motif is gorgeous, and the movie can be recommended for that reason alone. On the other hand, it takes everything that was wrong with the first movie and dials those factors up to eleven. I'll styart with one improvement. This time Bruce is socially active and not a complete recluse. That alone goes a long way towards making the character more like Bruce Wayne than just a guy saying he's Bruce Wayne. But his alter ego, Batman, is even more of a sociopath this time around. He burns people alive and even smiles at a man he has just strapped a bomb to. Then he has the hypocritical nerve to tell Catwoman that the law applies to people like them so she shouldn't kill Shrek. When you see him say that to her, remember that bomb scene. But for some reason he can feel guilt about hitting women, even one whose only actions in front of him were blowing up a store and trying to beat him up. This isn't a matter of a 'connection' between them stopping him. She's blowing stuff up! Don't apologize to her right after that! Not if you're going around setting other criminals on fire. Again, the villains' backstories either don't give them proper motivation or are just too wierd. Why does Shrek want to suck the energy from Gotham? I don't know. What does the Penguin want? I don't know. He lied about not knowing who his parents were and running for mayor was not his idea. Catwoman is the only character with any real motivation for anything she does; you just have to suspend your disbelief that going nuts gives a timid secretary acrobatic skills to fight with Batman. It didn't work with the Joker in the last movie, but I'll admit that's nitpicking. So with Catwoman being the only person with any motivation, and Batman being wildly inconsistent, there is again no plot, only a sequence of events that make little sense when put together. While I have largely criticized both Burton Batman movies, I do not think that they are bad. They are great Burton movies. But as Batman movies they fall pretty flat.
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