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"BATMAN RETURNS"
(1992) (Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Heavy Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Moderate None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Minor Mild *Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: Batman must battle both the Penguin and Catwoman to maintain peace in Gotham City.
PLOT:
A disfigured baby is discarded into the Gotham City sewer system and grows up to be the Penguin (DANNY DEVITO), a subterranean menace who, along with his circus people followers, plays havoc with the denizens of Gotham. This attracts the attention of Max Shreck (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN), a powerful businessman who's upset that the city doesn't want to go along with his plans for a new power plant. He figures he can use the Penguin, whose real name is Oswald Cobblepot, against both Bruce Wayne and Batman (MICHAEL KEATON) -- not knowing they're one in the same -- since "they" oppose his plans. He doesn't realize, however, that he has an even greater foe, Catwoman. Formerly his meek secretary, Selina Kyle (MICHELLE PFEIFFER), she's now a vengeful character who seeks revenge against him for abusing her in the past and trying to kill her. She also decides to battle Batman and joins forces with the Penguin to set him up. While Batman deals with these problems with some help from his butler and trusted aide, Alfred (MICHAEL GOUGH), as Bruce Wayne he must deal with his new found attraction for Selina that conflicts with his adversarial relationship with her alter-ego, Catwoman.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Batman (the comic, TV series, or other films), they will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
The MPAA reason was not available, but we'd guess it was for comic book style violence and sexual innuendos.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MICHAEL KEATON plays the philanthropic crime fighter with no bad traits other than his deep brooding.
  • MICHELLE PFEIFFER plays both a meek secretary and the sexy catwoman who's out to set things straight (at least in her mind) and plans to kill her former abusive boss.
  • DANNY DEVITO plays a disfigured subterranean crime lord who is a bad role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 3.5 out of 10
    This is the darkest and probably least successful of the first three Batman films. Director Tim Burton (who helmed the first film and others such as "Edward Scissorhands") decided to create an even more depressing and macabre setting that undermines this film's efforts. It was bad enough with the Batman/Bruce Wayne character coming across as a brooding, troubled person, but adding in even more darkness only engulfs this film and drags it down. With even less screen time than in the original "Batman," Keaton is upstaged this time by two actors, Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer, and barely appears in the first forty-five minutes. That's an awfully long time for exposition and plot set-up, and the movie never fully recovers from this. With some subtle and not so subtle sexual tension between Keaton and Pfeiffer added to the film's darkness, many parents found this film to be a little too much for their younger children (even with its PG-13 rating). More comic bookish in tone than the original, this sequel just doesn't stand up to the first. While Catwoman proves to be an interesting foe for Batman, the Penguin doesn't and the many long scenes revolving around this character seem to be a waste of time for us and the film. Walken delivers a modified version of his now trademark lunatic character, and his role as the third villain dilutes the plot even more. Without a single antagonist to defeat, the movie flip flops back and forth between whom Batman should be dealing with next. While the Penguin and Catwoman do team up to undermine our hero, it's not enough of a visual joint effort to consolidate the story. With several scenes making this film even goofier than those in the original, this comes across a failed production. We give it just a 3.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Darker and containing more sexual innuendos than the original, this film sparked some debate when it first came out over how appropriate it was for younger aged children. While much of the deadly violence is still comic book in style (most of it's not gory), the level of it is increased and there are a few bloody moments. While nothing sexual is seen (unless you consider Pfeiffer in her skintight leather outfit), there are a good many sexual innuendos. The worst of the profanity is limited to one incomplete and quiet "s" word and a slang term for female genitals, and the overall feeling of the film is much darker and more disturbing than the other Batman films. Since many kids will want to see this film, you should examine its content before doing allowing them to do so.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Mr. and Mrs. Cobblepot (the Penguin's parents) drink martinis.
  • The Penguin and Catwoman drink champagne.
  • People drink wine at a dance.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • The Penguin pulls out a severed hand from his bag.
  • After crashing through a window and falling to her presumed death, Selina has just a little bit of blood on her head and a few bloody fingers.
  • Catwoman scratches a man across his face, leaving bloody trails as she goes.
  • The Penguin bites a man on the nose and blood squirts out and then runs down the man's face. The Penguin's mouth is also bloody from this.
  • The side of Batman's suit is a little bloody after Catwoman has scratched him there.
  • Black, bile-like blood runs from the Penguin's nose and mouth, and later as he sinks in the water, more blood disperses through the water.
  • A blackened, charred man is seen after he's been severely electrocuted.
  • Bruce has slightly blood scratches on his face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Unable to deal with their child, the Cobblepots throw him (in his baby carriage) over a bridge, into a stream, and out of their lives.
  • Max isn't nice to Selina and says that she isn't "housebroken" after she offers her help at a meeting. He blames her for his problems and eventually pushes her from a window trying to kill her. He also wants to steal all of Gotham's power for himself and thus is a ruthless, uncaring character.
  • A man comments that there must not have been many reflective surfaces down in the sewer a stab at the Penguin's appearance.
  • Two cops see Catwoman and one of them says, "I don't know whether to arrest her or fall in love with her."
  • The Penguin's plan is to steal all of the first born males in Gotham City, and there's a scene showing them abducting infants and young children. Beyond that, he and his followers generally disrupt life in Gotham.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as also being tense.
  • We hear screams coming from another room and the sounds of a baby crying (the sounds of Oswald being born). Moments (but months) later, we see a cage with something (the Penguin) inside it. A family cat moves close to the cage and is grabbed inside and we hear sounds of the cat fighting and then nothing, indicating that the Penguin has killed the cat.
  • Several of the Penguin's men ride around with huge, exaggerated skull masks on their heads (that may be scary to very young viewers).
  • The Penguin's appearance (short, disfigured, and mean-looking with bad teeth) may be unsettling to very young viewers.
  • Max pushes Selina out the window where she falls several stories to her presumed death. She lies on the street for a moment and then begins twitching, which ends with her eyes rolling up into her head, just revealing the whites of her eyes.
  • A circus man kidnaps the mayor's infant and then cartwheels away.
  • The Penguin's plan is to steal all of the first born males in Gotham City, and there's a scene showing them abducting infants and young children and putting them in cages. This may be scary to some kids.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Guns/Machine guns: Fired toward people and used by Max to shoot both Batman and Catwoman.
  • Bombs/Missiles: Used to blow up buildings and to blow up one person (not seen).
  • Various modified umbrellas (with guns or knives): Used by the Penguin to threaten others.
  • Whip: Used by Catwoman as her weapon.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I was their number one child and they treated me like number two (meaning the "s" word)," "Life is a bitch and now so am I," "Bastard," "Shut up," and "Moron."
  • Unable to deal with their child, the Cobblepots throw him (in his baby carriage) over a bridge into a stream, and out of their lives.
  • After being resurrected by cats, Selina drinks milk straight from the carton and lets it run down her face and neck.
  • Selina throws a milk carton at the phone, smashes her answering machine and furniture, grinds up stuffed animals in the garbage disposal, and spray paints her walls and clothes.
  • Catwoman places several spray paint cans in a microwave, breaks a natural gas line, and waits for the cans to explode, causing the building to explode.
  • Catwoman puts the Penguin's pet bird into her mouth.
  • Catwoman has nine lives, so she isn't too concerned about the first few times she's killed or about being shot by Max (This might give kids the wrong idea about mortality).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is a moderate amount of scary and suspenseful music in this movie.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 incomplete "s" word, 1 slang term for female genitals ("poontang"), 3 hells, 1 S.O.B., 1 damn, and 1 use each of "God," "My God," and "Oh my God" used as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Catwoman's skintight leather outfit, mask and whip have certain S&M characteristics to them, and her behavior is downright sultry at times. In one scene she sensuously runs her hand along Batman's rippled suit, and later straddles him on the ground and licks his face (like a cat would).
  • When Selina's cat returns to her apartment, she asks if she's back to share her "sexual escapades" (the cat's).
  • Catwoman tells a man she's about to fight with, "Be gentle. It's my first time."
  • The Penguin sees a woman sitting on a desk and responds to Max's statement (about filling the mayor's office), "I'd like to fill her void" and "I'd teach her my French flipper trick." He then further fantasizes what women would say to him such as, "I need you, Oswald. I need you now." Max finally tells the Penguin what he thinks is the ultimate benefit of being mayor: "Unlimited poontang."
  • Catwoman comments about how men are always confusing their pistols with their private parts.
  • The Penguin returns a comment to a young attractive woman, "You're the hottest young person a role model could have." He then slowly puts a pin on the woman's chest, taking time to linger at her clothed breast.
  • As the Penguin sees Catwoman seductively stretched out on his bed he says, "Just the pussy I've been looking for," a feline comment and double entendre. She then comments about the cold temperatures and he replies, "I'll warm you." When she comments that they have something in common, he says, "Naked sexual charisma."
  • There's a brief scene where Selina lies on top of Bruce on his sofa and they passionately kiss, but nothing else happens.
  • As Bruce and Selina slow dance he says, "No hard feelings then?" She replies, "Actually, semi-hard." Later she comments about "a big comfy California king over in bedding" to him, but nothing happens.
  • SMOKING
  • Mr. Cobblepot smokes a cigarette using a holder.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Unable to deal with their child, the Cobblepots throw him (in his baby carriage) over a bridge into a stream, and out of their lives.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • People with deformities. Unable to deal with their child, the Cobblepots throw him (in his baby carriage) over a bridge into a stream, and out of their lives. Others then make comments about the Penguin's looks.
  • The Penguin's plan is to steal all of the first born males in Gotham City, and there's a scene showing them abducting infants and young children and putting them in cages. This may be scary to some kids.
  • VIOLENCE
  • As an infant, Oswald is hidden in a cage and grabs a cat that's passing by and kills it.
  • The Penguin's circus people use machine guns to open fire at a holiday festival. One of the men hits a Santa with a sleigh and then tosses it onto a police car. Another punches the mayor, and another man is seen on fire. A fire eater kicks open a door and breathes fire into a store, setting the contents on fire.
  • The batmobile knocks down several men on stilts, and others off their motorcycles. The bad guys shoot at the batmobile that then turns around, and using its large jet motor, blows flames onto the fire eater and catches him on fire.
  • A man holds a stun gun to Selina while Batman punches others to get to her. He then knocks the guy out with a large concrete chunk torn from a building. Selina then kicks the guy and moments later uses the stun gun on him.
  • Max pushes Selina out the window where she falls several stories to her presumed death. She lies on the street for a moment and then begins twitching, which ends with her eyes rolling up into her head, just revealing the whites of her eyes.
  • Selina throws a milk carton at the phone, smashes her answering machine and furniture, grinds up stuffed animals in the garbage disposal, and spray paints her walls and clothes.
  • A thug pulls a woman into an alley to rob her only to be confronted by Catwoman, who kicks the man several times and then scratches him across his face.
  • The Penguin bites a man's face and blood squirts out and runs down his face.
  • A circus dog carries a hand grenade into a building and then runs out before it explodes. Circus people then fire missiles into other buildings, blowing them up. Batman fights with these people, knocking many of them out and throws a bat boomerang that knocks out more people. Batman punches a large man without any effect, but has placed a bomb in the man's belt and then tosses him into an open grate where he then explodes (not seen, but heard).
  • Catwoman uses her whip to knock the heads off mannequins. Then, after two security guards pull their guns on her, she knocks them from their hands with her whip. She then blows up the building.
  • Catwoman and Batman fight with punches, kicks, and whip thrashings.
  • Catwoman puts the Penguin's pet bird in her mouth, so he holds a sharpened umbrella end at her cat until both give in.
  • The Penguin throws the bat boomerang and knocks out and abducts a woman.
  • Catwoman and Batman fight again, with head butts and knees to the gut thrown in. She then hits Batman with a chair and wraps her whip around a hostage's neck and leaves.
  • That hostage falls to her death from the top of a building. The police, thinking Batman's responsible, shoot him, knocking him to the roof.
  • Catwoman falls from a great height and crashes through a greenhouse, killing one of her nine cat lives.
  • The Penguin has remote control of Batman's car and uses it to run over several people and crash through many other cars. Batman then punches a video display in the car showing the Penguin's face. After that, several police cars crash into one another.
  • People throw vegetables at the Penguin after he's revealed to be a fraud and he returns machine gun fire at them from his umbrella. The police then shoot at him as they chase him through the zoo, and he backhands a follower who makes a snide remark. Later, the Penguin shoots another follower dead for questioning his plan.
  • Selina pulls out a gun saying that she's going to use it on Max, but before she can an explosion rips through the center of the dance floor, throwing many people through the air.
  • Penguins, equipped with missiles, fire several of them at Batman in a tunnel but miss.
  • The Penguin tries to strangle Batman with an umbrella and then threatens him with the sharpened end of it.
  • Missiles fired by the Penguins land back in the Penguin's headquarters, blowing it up.
  • Max shoots Batman (he's not hurt) and Catwoman (she's still got several cat lives left). He then repeatedly shoots her, but runs out of bullets before she does lives. She then grabs him and a large electric cable and electrocutes both of them.



  • Reviewed June 15, 1997

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Darkest Hour] [Just Getting Started] [The Shape of Water]

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