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boring! that's what i thought of this movie when i first saw it. surprisingly i never saw it in theatres (and for the life of me i cannot find a reason why) so my first and only viewing, up until today, had been on television. and it bored me stiff,;it's like they took all the fun out of the first film and left you with all the boring parts.
well i just watched it again and i was wrong. very wrong. so wrong in fact, that i now think this film, batman returns, is a better film than it's predecessor, batman. it's a better acted movie, it's a better scripted movie (sort of), it's a better shot movie, it's got better music (elfman's score is just as good but it doesn't have dated 80's prince tunes that come out of nowhere), it's a better edited movie, it's a better directed movie, it's a better action movie and most of all it's a better looking (effects and make-up) movie.
sure things don't make sense or are kind of dumb. like the penguin being raised by penguins or cat-woman working for a place that has cats as it's logo. why? for no reason that's why. and sure the penguin and his clown posse and penguin brigade and his rubber duck car is a little too over the top. and sure there is not enough batman (he nor bruce wayne appear for very long in the first 40 minutes) and batman himself never left so how does he return? and finally, how come wayne manor has it's own bat signal that is activated when the cities one is used? doesn't that give away who batman is?
besides these points batman returns is still a blast from start to finish. it's an action thrill ride that looks amazing and has plenty of comedy and great performances to keep you enthralled. michelle pfeiffer is ridiculously sexy as cat-woman, like too sexy. michael murphy as the mayor (does this guy play anything but politicians?).christopher walken is evil and fun and sympathetic as shreck and the guy who plays his son plays it with a a christopher walken accent. brilliant! keaton is great as wayne/batman and the interplay and chemistry between him and pfeiffer is electric. danny devito though rules this film with his awesome performance.
even though he comes off as too over the top most times his performance is so good that you can forgive the cartoony-ness of the character. there are also little moments that help alleviate that over the top feel. for example when the penguin is booed at a a speech people start throwing tomatoes and lettuce and eggs. now why would people have this to throw when they are attending a political speech, it makes no sense and you ask yourself that very question but just as you ask it the penguin says 'why do people always come to a speech with eggs and tomatoes?'. not only does it make you forget the question, it makes you laugh and it brings you into the weird world that is created.
in the end i can't believe that this is a better movei than batman. all these years and i thought the oppisite. but i was wrong. this movie has lots to love and looks great and really hasn't dated much at all. it's very well done and it's well worth watching.
one thing i will say is that nolan took a bunch of stuff from this film for his sequel to batman begins. the batmobile breaking up into a smaller vehicle, a woman tied up to a chair and all alone in a warehouse which is really just a ruse to make batman fail and some other stuff that's just slipped my mind. just saying...
production design: 9 out of 10
cinematography: 9 out of 10
re-playability: 8 out of 10
originality: 8 out of 10
costumes: 9 out of 10
directing: 8 out of 10
editing: 7 out of 10
acting: 8 out of 10
music: 9 out of 10
script: 7 out of 10
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