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The Greatest Batman Film
I consider Batman Returns, directed brilliantly by Tim Burton, to be the best Batman film ever made. It achieved outstandingly in style and atmosphere, but most importantly was, and remains, the darkest Batman adaptation ever. Although the recent Dark Knight film comes tediously close, it fails to reach the importance and satisfication of Batman Returns.

The story concerns Batman taking on the evil Penguin, who is working with the equally evil mayor Shreck, and forming a bizarre relationship with Catwoman/Selina Kyle who seeks to ruin Shreck, in doing so working with Penguin to kill the mayor and Batman. It Makes Sense In Context.

The narrative is gripping and surprisingly bleak. The twists and turns are remarkably well-wrritten and well performed, making the plot fast-paced and unpredicatble right until the very end. Even the final shot was an unexpected twist.

The film touches upon unprecedented themes which even the recent Christopher Nolan series has not. A lot of these are groundbreaking, and even influenced the comic canon.

But by far my favourite thing about this film is it's reimagining of the characters. Unlike all other Batman films, Burton isn't tempted to make a film solely about Batman wangsting or the villians he faces. Instead he forms a suspensful web between them all, making the film feel much more complete than other Batman attempts.

Penguin is perhaps the best reimagining in the film. No longer an archetype millionaire villian, he is now a ruthless disgusting creature reduced to an animal after he was rejected by the millionaire society that rules Gotham, posing an interesting issue which means that despite his grotesque acts of evil, we always feel slightly sorry for poor Oswald Cobblepots.

Catwoman is also well-done. Her character has been refined and made realistic in a surprisingly dark way.

Batman himself is done perfectly. Burton has no time for the unrealistic, silly ideal of Batman not killing even the most vile criminals. He is a more believable, tortured character whose belief in good and evil is blurred considerably. So is the audiences.

Overall this film is what I consider to be the perfect Batman film. It is dark, fun and beautiful. 10/10
"but most importantly was, and remains, the darkest Batman adaptation ever"

I continue to wonder why "darker" equals better for so many people. Granted, in this case we're talking about Batman, which by definition ought to be dark (what with the crime, the night, the cave, and all), Adam West notwithstanding. However, this is still a superhero movie, and in my opinion must have moral clarity to be worthwhile.
comment #3517 71.34.16.163 23rd Jul 10
YMMV, but I don't think Batman Returns was darker or better than The Dark Knight. The Penguin at times did seem rather cartoony, like that scene with the missile-equipped penguins. And I didn't like Catwoman either; instead of a cat thief, she seemed more of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, and her alley-cat ressurrection bends the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief.
comment #3521 shiro_okami 23rd Jul 10 (edited by: shiro_okami)
Well, it's good to have you back, I have missed you.

Now, onto the review, I disagree on one point, while this was indeed my favorite Batman film, I wouldn't say its the best, Dark Knight has excellent cinematography, has more of a connection to real world issues, and the Joker is one of the most horrifying villains on film.

Still, this review is a great list of all of the qualities that make this film so awesome, but you forgot one, the incredibly unique style and taste of Tim Burton.
comment #3524 Phrederic 24th Jul 10
Also, nitpicky, but Shrek wasn't actually the mayor, he was just a stupidly wealthy businessman with a lot of influence.

I do like this movie, it's probably my favourite non-Nolan/non-animated bat-film. However, I think that's because it manages to combine the darker elements of Batman (Penguin's tragic back-story, Catwoman's mental breakdown, the horrifying child-kidnap plot) with the campier elements (the red-triangle circus gang are both creepy and goofy, and, well... rocket penguins), much like in Grant Morrison's run on the Batman comcis.

I don't think you could call it the darkest Batman movie though due to this combination of elements- but as has been said, being dark doesn't automatically eqaute to being good.
comment #15721 Nemo 9th Aug 12
I liked the video game for genesis :p
comment #15735 son 9th Aug 12
I'm not sure if I like the review. It feels more like a very personal Take That and I think it harms it overall. It works as an honest and very individual opinion but not if you apply it as a whole.

'the darkest Batman adaptation ever' far from dark being good, the general consensus amongst a lot of people is that dark by itself is actually silly, campy and immature, a person who feel like pastel paintings reflect reality and so dumps a load black paint over a piece of paper and claims it's more adult. Watchmen wasn't good because it was dark, but because it was complex. As evidenced by this, we have The Dark Age Of Comic Books, Cerberus Syndrome etc. In the end Dark is easy. I could create a Batman where his repressed sexuality makes him GTA prostitutes and his parentage makes him murder orphans. In the end on a 1-10 scale of interesting, Dark is pillow.

The next stuff is cool, I'm interested to know what the themes were that became canon (I don't have very deep Bat knowledge) but its fair enough with the word count.

I'm not really sure what the web thing means it's not about heroes or villains but about how the two are connected? But again that's a space issue probably

The Penguin thing, well taking a clever sophisticated villain and replacing him with a standard ugly-rejected-monster is again more of a lateral movement. It's been done billions of times before both good and bad which is what TV Tropes is about really :D

I'm sorry, I think I've been a bit aggressive here, considering that once I've gone through it a lot of it is fine, but this is the line that annoyed me and brought it on 'Burton has no time for the unrealistic, silly ideal of Batman not killing even the most vile criminals'

My problem isn't that you're right or wrong, it's that you've taken a really complex idea and pretended the other side doesn't exist. In the UK we don't kill criminals. Our police don't carry guns, they subdue non-lethally, we have no death penalty. In fact the only countries in the world that killed someone last year were Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Afgahnistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Egypt, Malaysia, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen and the USA. 18/194

So if you're talking ethically, its a much debated subject.

If you're taking practically, the way Batman kills people in Returns isn't really that more practical. And he's Batman, he's supposed to be able to do this. And he's taking out mooks. If a bog-standard police officer can take out mooks non lethally, why the heck is it silly for a billionaire ninja to do it?

So I'm not arguing for or against death, but to dismiss the notion that Batman takes out his opponents non-lethally as ludicrous so off-handedly is a silly thing to say and doesn't really belong in a review. And it kind of misses the point of Batman, if Batman has appointed himself devine judge and arbiter of humanity, killing as he sees fit, then the line between him and the other murderous psychopaths disappears, he's not a hero any more, the sides are arbitary and his character is weak.
comment #15736 Tomwithnonumbers 9th Aug 12
I just realised that I've been very hypocritical in that last paragraph
comment #15737 Tomwithnonumbers 9th Aug 12
Returns misused Christopher Walken (I thought that was Beyond The Impossible until I saw this film),forgot Billy Dee Williams,and tried too hard to be dark at times,rather than using it intelligently (seriously we didn't need that end,we didn't need De Vito to bite someone's nose off)

It would've been the best though,...but until someone time travels and reminds the screenwriter,Keaton,and Burton to fix those problems,...Batman 89 will have to remain the best,...with Batman Begins in a very,very close second.
comment #15742 terlwyth 9th Aug 12
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