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Batman Returns

Year: 1992
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Tim Burton
Producer: Jon Peters/Peter Guber/Denise DiNovi
Writer: Daniel Waters/Sam Hamm
Cast: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Vincent Schiavelli, Doug Jones, Paul Ruebens

The film that got Tim Burton sacked from the Batman franchise for being 'too dark'. How audiences expected anything else is a surprise after he established the Batman world as a dark, scary place peopled by circus freak criminals - being Tim Burton he was bound to go darker, deeper and more menacing.

Where the original was a gothic rendition of the Chicago mob boss era, this disappointing follow-up is a haunted castle covered in wrought iron and gargoyles. Altogether too serious with an almost incomprehensible plot and at times confusing dialogue. The story is simply of Batman facing new threats - a mutated orphan (DeVito) bought up by a colony of subterranean Gotham City penguins (a ridiculous premise even with The Penguin's being synonymous with the Batman legend) and potential lover Selena Kyle, running the streets at night as ultra-feminist criminal beauty Catwoman.

Keaton just looks lost and confused this time, DeVito gives too many sociological speeches, the Max Shrek (Walken) subplot is too incidental to the story, and the whole thing is a letdown. Sadly, the rest of the franchise went to the opposite extreme of being too loud, bright, garish and devoid of substance under the direction of Joel Schumacher.

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