Following my review of Batman, where I said director Tim Burton understands the characters more than anyone else, Batman Returns is his “can-he-keep-it-up?” test And, honestly… no. Which is Batman Returns‘ biggest let-down – it’s increased the Burtonesque conventions that made Batman so popular, but so much that the story distorts around it.
Whereas the narrative of Batman was the perfectly seamless marrying of story and atmosphere, Batman Returns definitely has more of the latter. But the characters suffer because of it. It’s clearly of a much more artistic nature, but this can often be a criticism of Burton, who here goes beyond what’s necessary to give goth. Instead, genre leads everything else, so the players of the piece feel more like wind-up dolls than the ballet dancers of before.
We have Oswald Copplepot, who’s the most Burtonesque Burton character if ever there was one, a freak who’s abandoned by his parents and grows-up in a sewer resenting Humanity. Then there’s Selina Kyle, who’s reborn in the ruin of her own art and becomes what can only be described as, well, a bit of a tramp.
These characters are so lead by their own artistic resonance that anything they are as people disappears behind the product of Tim Burton’s unique, but inconsistent mind. Making a sequel to Batman, Batman Returns looks as if he thought “it needs to be artier and scarier and more gothic”, but that wasn’t necessary. All he had to do was to make it as good as Batman, even if that meant editing himself.
Batman Returns: proving that less is more. 7/10