Director: Tim Burton
Before I begin to write down my thoughts, I want to make one thing clear: I haven't seen Batman (1989) and maybe I should have started with that. So if you see anything that can be explained using the first movie, refer to the first sentence of this review. It's hard to enjoy the previous Batman films if you've seen Nolan's versions...well, at least for me. I found it difficult to not compare the previous versions to the recently released ones, but I am going to try to make this as objective as possible.
Batman Returns brings us back to Gotham City, as new enemies, in the form of The Penguin and Catwoman arise, both with backgrounds of their own. The Penguin's story is practically narrated at the opening credits, while we see the creation of Catwoman within the first 20-30 minutes of the movie. Basically, they create havoc in the city of Gotham, not without the aid of one Max Schrek, whom ideally plays a puppeteer. Batman stops them and Gotham has peace once more.
The Penguin was the star of the movie. Living underneath the sewers of Gotham, he has created his own army of penguins, and a family of freak shows. After being shunned by the world, he wanted to be respected and fight for his birth right, but a run in with Batman has eluded that. He was a man who loved his umbrellas. Danny DeVito portrayed him very well. He stole all the scenes he was in, making the character his own. It also helped that his character was well-written. Although there were some plot holes in his story, the way he was built up suggested that he was the one to look out for, although in performance, he could be battling it against Catwoman.
The puppeteer and the weak link of the plot, was played coldly and manipulatively by Christopher Walken. In truth, there was no purpose for his character except to be the enabler of the events. He butts heads with Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle and the Penguin. If it weren't for him, almost none of the events would transpire. I liked how throughout there wasn't a change of character, that he was always going to be manipulative and cunning. His debacle with Bruce Wayne was the weakest, as it was there to make some sort of connection between his character and Bruce's persona.
All in all, I'd say this was a pretty good installment of Batman. Despite it being decades ago, it carries actors that make the characters their own. There were some plot holes, but the movie was still enjoyable. This should be on people's Christmas watch list. It's set during the holidays and you get well played villains. What's not to like? Now I'm going to go watch the first one.