Batman’s Past is Filled with Flimsy Rubber
While shopping for groceries at BJ’s tonight I spotted a deal on a DVD box set I’ve had my eye on for a bit: The Batman Motion Picture Anthology. I thought the set had gone out of print and I was waiting for the inevitable re-release when I saw this for just $14.99. I snagged one immediately.
When I got home, Monica asked if I wanted to watch one of them. I suggested Batman Returns as it takes place during Christmas. We sat down to watch it which was the first time I’ve done so in I can’t remember how long. The movie came out in 1992 when I was 8 years old. I have a soft spot for comic book movies of all kinds and this one was extra special because it came out when I was all about comics as a kid. (Yes Mom, I know that I still have a bunch that are sitting over the garage that I have to get rid of.)
About halfway through the film, it struck me how this particular story of the Caped Crusader hasn’t aged well…at all. The suit is bulky and far too rubbery, Batman doesn’t seem to have many gadgets at his disposal and what he does use seems pretty unnecessary (elaborate bat signal signal in Wayne Manor?) and please don’t get me started on the Batmobile. At one point in time, this was held as not only a fantastic Batman and super hero film, but perhaps the best Batman film. The sequels certainly helped cement that status.
Maybe my tastes have changed over the years, but I think that now that we live in a world where things like The Dark Knight, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and numerous fantastic Batman comics that have come out in the last 10 years alone, there is barely a place for something like Batman Returns. I’m sure there is in the history books and stuff, but when compared to something like Batman Begins it’s almost no contest.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still several aspects of Returns that I love. The top of the list is Danny De Vito’s performance as The Penguin. While it wasn’t my favorite portrayal of the character (I’ve always been partial to the more recent misunderstood businessman and night club owner), De Vito was definitely the best part of the film. He was somehow despicable, charming, and pathetic all at the same time. I wanted to hate him, shake his hand and then wash it right away.
I’m sure that I’ll check out all of the features on this new 2 disc DVD as well as the commentary by director Tim Burton, but I guess Batman Returns is one of those movies that just can’t live up to the mantel I placed it on when I was a kid. Fortunately this is not the case for films like Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Those will always be awesome. Cowabunga.
And another thing, are all of the scores to Tim Burton movies exactly the same or is it just me?