I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Batman Returns and yet somehow, after 28 years of watching it, I missed a vital piece of this infamous scene. It’s the one where Batman comes face-to-face (lol) with a member of the Red Triangle Gang—a bald giant of a man who goads Batman into hitting him. The Caped Crusader uncharacteristically takes the bait but it’s all a ruse, for he’s slipped a bomb into the circus performer’s pants. The bald giant looks down, realises his fate, Batman hits him properly this time into a hole, and BOOM!
That’s right—Batman killed a guy.
But back to my point of missing a key element from the scene. I used to think the bomb was already in the guy’s pants/belt area and he was some kind of kamikaze clown that planned to take Batman with him into the afterlife. I clearly wasn’t watching properly as Batman was always carrying the bomb in his hand. It’s very clear and it’s on me for missing it for nearly 30 years but perhaps the ethos of Batman refusing to kill people for no real reason clouded my judgment. He didn’t have to do that!
Acclaimed composer Danny Elfman was a guest on the Premier Guitar podcast where he opened up about the Batman (1989) score and his displeasure at how it turned out.
“I was terribly unhappy with the dub in Batman,” Elfman said. “They did it in the old-school way where you do the score and turn it into the ‘professionals’ who turn the nobs and dub it in. And dubbing had gotten really wonky in those years. We recorded [multi-channel recording on] three channels — right, center, left, — and basically, they took the center channel out of the music completely.”
Nothing worse than people fiddling with your work when you had it just so. Now I’d love to hear Elfman’s original.
In the meantime, check out this suite of the Batman soundtrack, conducted by Shirley Walker and performed by the Sinfonia Of London.
As I got older, I started wondering “what period was Batman Returns set in?”. Its predecessor, Batman, seemed modern for the time (1989) but Returns felt a lot older. People wore clothes from the early 20th century, maybe 20s-30s and the architecture was very Art Deco.
It’s hard to tell. The architecture suggests that, but the technology suggests what was then the present day.
That was 1989, meaning that Thomas and Martha Wayne were probably killed around 1969 or so. So why, in the flashback to that scene, were they and little Bruce dressed like it’s the 1940s? Did somebody mess with the timestream? Does the Keaton Batmobile have a flux capacitor?
Batman Returns has a similar issue. It almost feels like the main characters are stuck in a period they aren’t from, as they appear modern and the rest of Gotham is still in a weird 20th century time warp. But let’s look at this logically. In the film, we start with Oswald Cobblepot’s birth and early days as a baby 33 years before what we believe is 1992, taking us to 1959. Are you telling me 33 years pass and people haven’t updated their clothes? And there are other suggestions about the time, as a commenter on this blog post mentions:
Some more timewarp craziness, this time form (sic) Batman Returns:
Ted Bundy exists and is a known serial killer. (Bruce Wayne dialogue to Selina)
And yet, only about 30-40 years earlier (whatever Penguin’s age is), Gotham was something out of circa early 1900s (judging by Penguin’s parents’ dress and house furnishings, Pee Wee and Simone)
Bundy was alive between 1946–1989 and he admitted to murders committed between 1974 and 1978 so it definitely wasn’t set in the 20s or 30s. So maybe, like Batman, it was set in an alternate universe’s 1992 where Art Deco and German expressionism never died. Did I mention Tim Burton was the director and the film was criticised for being too dark?
So, to answer the question “what year was Batman Returns set in?”, my answer is: probably 1992 but not our 1992.
No one has come close to Michael Keaton’s live-action portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman (emphasis on ‘live-action’ as Kevin Conroy goes toe-to-toe in the animated series). In the above video, iamthatroby explained why he loved Keaton’s Batman so much.
I have a hot, hot take for all of you: I believe that every single component of Batman the general audience loves is as a result of Michael Keaton’s performances in Batman and Batman Returns. The mannerisms, the sound, the look, the Batcave, the Batsuit. The two Burton films established this language for Batman that has been replicated time and time again.
I completely agree. Keaton set the standard that ever other Batman actor has followed.
When you think of cold soup, your mind immediately goes to gazpacho, a Spanish soup comprised of stale bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, tomato, and cucumber. But fans of Batman Returns will think of another kind: vichyssoise.
In the famous scene with Bruce and Alfred, the butler hands Bruce the bowl of creamy soup to which he spits it out—”it’s cold!” And the immortal line:
It’s vichyssoise, sir. It’s supposed to be cold.
I didn’t understand the concept of cold soup as a kid and I still wouldn’t try it but the backstory of vichyssoise gives an indication of why it’s a thing.
Vichyssoise is a potato and leek soup created in 1917 by French chef Louis Diat of the Ritz-Carlton. He made it cold for restaurant guests to keep cool during the summer (which is ironic as the winter of 1917 in New York produced the temperature recorded in the city: 2°F or −17°C on 30 December 1917 at Central Park).
Given the fact that Batman Returns has a 1920s/1930s vibe to it and Bruce is a billionaire who you wouldn’t expect to get a drive-thru burger (which is funny because Michael Keaton later played former McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc in The Founder), vichyssoise seems like a logical choice.
Tl;dr: yes, Danny DeVito ate a real fish in that scene from Batman Returns.
I like to look at what kind of things people search for to find the site or what Cultrface comes up for in general. One of the most interesting search queries was “did danny devito eat a real fish in batman returns” and it was something I’d wondered over the years. So I looked it up myself. And he did.
The Penguin eats fish, quite grotesquely, in that movie. What were you actually eating?
Oh yeah, that was real fish. Bluefish. Fresh, of course. Movie stars only eat fresh fish. Don’t try to pawn two-day-old fish on us. You bring that right from the market.
DeVito chowed down on raw fish as the Penguin in Batman Returns. Yum.
Surely that didn’t taste good after a while, though.
Well, in the middle of the action, I would squeeze a mixture of mouthwash and spirulina into my mouth — but that was because I needed to ooze this green, kind of black thickish liquid out of the corners.
(Sidenote: bluefish, known as tailor in Oceania, and elf or shad in South Africa, is a popular food fish but it is also a vulnerable species due to widespread overfishing)
So there you have it—The Penguin really did eat raw fish when Max Shreck announced he would help him run for mayor of Gotham City. Is it weird that, as a kid, it made me hungry? Is it also weird that, as an adult, it still makes me hungry?
I’m writing this in bed in the middle of the night rather than sleeping on my parents sofa bed like I was last year. I couldn’t see them because of the virus and this Christmas period has been my least favourite in living memory.
As Dom said, it’s messed up and the raunchiest Batman outing to date (Joel Schumacher’s renditions were more playfully camp before you say anything) but it works so well on all levels: cinematically, in character development, thematically, and with set designs. The fact that Batman didn’t need to be front and centre throughout the movie proves how good it was.
Anyway, let me not wax lyrical about it as Dom does a much better job in 5 minutes.
Stream his review below and subscribe, damnit! Oh, and Merry Christmas!
A year before Joel Schumacher passed away, Patrick Willems made a video retrospective on his movies and why we should learn to appreciate them for their attention to campness.
For 20 years, Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies have been considered cinematic travesties—”abominations” in the words of George Clooney—the movies that killed the Batman franchise. But what if I told you that they’re not actually that bad, that they’ve gotten better with time? What if I told you that it’s time to give them another shot?
I’ll admit, I enjoyed Batman Forever when I was a kid (I went to see it at the cinema and even owned the sticker book which I loved). I also loved Batman & Robin as a 7 year old. But then I grew up and found out everyone hated it and seemed to join in with it?
Patrick Willems reminded me why I enjoyed Forever and & Robin so much. They were fun, camp, and unlocked another piece of the Batman lore I adored as a child: Adam West’s Batman. I watched it religiously and Schumacher’s Batman movies were the stylistic bridge between that series and the darker version of the Caped Crusader that Tim Burton gave us with his two adaptations.
Anyway, stream the video below and make up your own mind.
Of all the Black superheroes I asked for on Twitter, one that caught my eye was Batman. When was Batman Black? Once, 19 years ago.
In September 2001, Stan Lee and Joe Kubert created Just Imagine Stan Lee with Joe Kubert Creating Batman with Bruce Wayne replaced with Wayne Williams, an African-American man.
Like the original Batman/Bruce Wayne, he had no superpowers, was an expert detective, skilled fighter, and super-rich. But Wayne Williams’s backstory differed from Bruce Wayne’s. Williams’ father, a cop, was killed in an ambush and he was then framed for a crime by a gang leader called “Handz”. While in prison, he made friends with a scientist called Frederick Grant and started bodybuilding. He got a full pardon after rescuing the warden during a prison riot and sought revenge on Handz who had also killed Williams’s mother while he was incarcerated.
To earn money, Williams becomes a wrestler, under the name of Batman, and became a wealthy celebrity. He found Grant and they became partners and turn to fighting crime. Batman finally found Handz and fought him which lead to Handz’s accidental death from a fall. He then vowed to protect innocent people.
However, not everyone enjoyed the story arc.
Stan’s Batman operates out in the open, and his goal is only to get payback. But the major crime is how Stan basically just repurposed old ideas into something that came off like a polished turd. It’s kinda like if you submitted old homework to fulfill (sic) a new assignment, and still only managed to get a C.
And this from Tim Webber of CBR.com, who ranked it #12 (last) in his ‘Just Imagine…’ Stories list:
While other Elseworlds tales have twisted and stretched the concept of Batman into fantastic new shapes, Lee delivers a perfunctory take on Batman that doesn’t feel compellingly different from anything that’s been done before. His attempts to write street-level dialogue come across as clumsy and dated, and do little to define one-note characters. Kubert’s art looks fine, but Lee’s script just feels disappointing. A lot of the hype for the “Just Imagine…” project rested on this first book, and the squandered potential here casts a shadow over the rest of the line.
If those reviews don’t deter you, you can buy the full novel on Amazon or stream the video below where someone has kindly displayed every page to read.
Slow news day? Perhaps it was in February when Gizmodo published its Cinematic Batman Lips list but this kind of absurd piece fits right in with the omnishambles that is 2020.
Writer James Whitbrook felt inspired to write the piece after the reveal of Robert Pattinson’s Batman. There were 2 rules for the list:
No TV-only Batmen.
Lips were only rated as part of the whole Batman outfit (so no Bruce Wayne lips, if that makes sense)
This left 8 in total. I won’t spoil the list but I will reveal one part: Robert Pattinson’s Batman—the one who inspired the list—came in last. Ouch. The rest follows what I’d expect, although I would have swapped 2nd and 3rd.
Val Kilmer’s lips were my personal favourites.
Anyway, stream the most famous Batman lips scenes in Batman lipstory (from Batman Returns) below.
The most interesting part of the trailer is the revelation that Batman was only in the film for 31 minutes. I’ve watched Returns a million times and never noticed how little screen time he got. That served as inspiration for making the trailer about a film starring Catwoman and politics. Now I’m wondering if this was the Catwoman film we wanted all along (the Halle Berry version got a mention, don’t worry).
In fact, it’s my favourite movie ever. My introduction to it was unorthodox. My estranged father bought me a double VHS Batman/Batman Returns box set for my 3rd birthday. I was too young to remember whether I expressed a love for the Caped Crusader or he assumed, being a child, I loved superheroes but that’s what I got. And I still have it over a quarter of a decade later. It still works (just about).
I loved the first movie but the Batman Returns caught me more. It was darker in tone, grimey and paradoxically shinier and more polished (although I might be thinking about Catwoman’s PVC suit). Tim Burton took a risk with his approach and it effectively cost him the franchise, although he was asked back for Forever and co-produced the film. There were plenty of quotable moments from the movie but in this list, I will be picking some of the more obscure scenes from Batman Returns I loved as a kid. They weren’t all pivotal to the plot but they evoked a reaction in me. Let’s begin!
When Selina Kyle pours Max Shreck some coffee
I’m gonna start off super boring. It’s a lowly secretary assistant pouring her boss some coffee. Nothing to see here, right? Yes, absolutely right. The only reason I liked this was because as a young child, I was fascinated by the idea of coffee and how it would taste. This brown drink that adults loved to drink so much. I was used to tea and hot chocolate but coffee seemed almost exotic. But Batman Returns wasn’t about white people drinking coffee. No, it was much darker than that. I’m older and wiser now and only drink decaf for the taste (the regular stuff increases my anxiety) and I only drink it in the form of mochas. I’m sure Max Shreck would look at me in the same way he side eyed Selina Kyle in the above image.
Bruce Wayne waiting for the Bat Signal in the dark
This is one of my favourite scenes in the whole film. I was a happy child but this intrigued me. Why was he sat in the dark, with only the moonlight to keep him company? What was he thinking about? The fact he had the signal wired up to an automatic lighting system that shone directly into the room was amazing to me. I still don’t know why he was there in dark solitude but I understand it now. I do it myself sometimes. It helps me clear my mind. Perhaps this was his idea of meditation. A lot better than Bruce Wayne’s weird gravity boots from the first movie.
When Batman fought fire with fire. Literally.
One of the major criticisms Tim Burton received for his second Batman movie was the darker approach compared to Batman. As a kid, I thought it was cool. And that was the problem for parents. After all, the film was rated 15 in the UK and PG-13 in the US. It was more difficult to market for younger children in terms of merchandising (although I still have the Duck car and Batmobile from those movies and I used to have the trading cards with awful chewing gum I wasn’t allowed to have – thanks, mum!)
Here, a firebreather tried his luck with Batman’s car, forgetting 1) he’s Batman and 2) he has an armed Batmobile (although the security of that was in question, which I’ll get into later). Batman turned around using a rotating platform embedded in the bottom of the Batmobile and blasted fire from his exhaust. But Batman isn’t supposed to kill people! I guess he did in this one.
Selina Kyle tasing an unconscious clown
While on her way home, Selina was held hostage by a clown from the Red Triangle Gang and his Omega Stun Gun. I assumed this was just a prop for the film but Omega Stun Guns are real. 150,000 volts for $85. Anyway, Batman takes the time to get out of his Batmobile, have a staring contest with the clown, and knock him out using his grapple gun and some of the concrete wall behind him. Yet more public property damage from the man in black.
Max Shreck falling through a trap door
What are the chances Max Shreck would escape to an empty alleyway and stand on a trapdoor leading to the Penguin’s underground lair? Anything is possible in Batman Returns. The sudden drop had me in stitches as a kid and it still makes me laugh today.
The Penguin flaps the dismembered hand of Max’s former partner in his face
There are ways to hold someone to ransom. They often involve money. But not for The Penguin, the rich kid formerly known as Oswald Cobblepot. Batman Returns is set during Christmas (which makes it a Christmas film and I will not hear any debate on the matter) so The Penguin opens up his Santa bag for Max. Has he been a good boy? Hell no.
The first “present” is a Thermos filled with toxic waste. Don’t ask how that didn’t burn through the plastic. The second gift was a bunch of illegal documents taped back together after being shredded. “A lot of tape and a little patience make all the difference”, he said. The third and final present was the best/worst, depending on your point of view. Fred Atkins was Max’s old partner who was “on vacation”, until Penguin revealed that vacation was indefinite via his severed hand. Brilliant sadistic humour from Danny DeVito.
I always thought I misheard this line but it turns out I didn’t. Selina finally got home after her circus ordeal and we find out she took the stun gun home. Good call. She sits down to listen to her messages and finds one she sent herself. She forgot to sort out the papers for Max’s meeting with Bruce Wayne. And that’s when she uttered the famous(?) line. Why did she call herself a corndog? I’ve yet to hear anyone use this as an insult. Selina was a kooky one. Until she went way over the edge.
Cats nibbling on Selina Kyle’s fingers
I haven’t heard a good explanation for this. Why were the cats nibbling her fingers? Did they transfer some kind of supernatural cat spirit into her? Why did they swarm her in the first place? I remain confused but it happened and it somehow gave her “nine lives”. Tim Burton must have been high as hell when he put this together.
“I’m not really one for speeches so I’ll just say thanks.”
I used this quote to announced I was leaving my last job. Nobody got it but I’d been waiting to use it for AGES. In the context of the film, Penguin had devised a plan to have the Mayor’s baby stolen by one of the clown hoodlums responsible for the terror a few nights before. Once the clown flipped into the man cover, the Penguin ascended as the “saviour”. How the Gothamites bought it is anyone’s guess. But they seem comfortable with a man dressed as a giant bat fighting their battles for them so anything goes I guess.
Bruce didn’t realise his soup was “supposed to be cold”
Bruce has a butler for a reason: his parents had him first. Other than a heavy inheritance, he also got Alfred Pennyworth and the Briton was the closest thing to a Robin that Bruce had in the first two movies. In this scene, Bruce doesn’t trust the Penguin and reckons the Red Triangle Gang are linked to him somehow. Alfred brings him his dinner as he works. To Bruce’s surprise, it’s cold. Alfred replies matter-of-factish, “it’s vichyssoise. It’s supposed to be cold.” Bruce returns to eating it once the intended temperature was established. I always thought he said fishyssoise and had no idea what it was. But I wanted it. Now I don’t because cold fish soup sounds horrible. And it looks like İşkembe Çorbası.
When Bruce “mistook himself” for someone else
For years I thought he misspoke. Until I realised he hadn’t. Bruce went to that meeting with Max. The one Selina nearly died over. Bruce questions Max’s agenda with his power plant. Max gets defensive and tells Bruce he’d have his assistant throw him out if she was there. And guess who walks in just as he says it. Selina is back with new hair, a less dowdy outfit, and a Band-Aid on her head. Bruce is mesmerised and suddenly forgets who he is and where he is. When Max introduces him to her, Bruce replies “we’ve met.” They have. But he was in his crime-fighting suit and Selina didn’t have 8 extra lives. Selina doesn’t think they’ve met before and Bruce says “I mistook me for somebody else.” He did but Selina thought he misspoke as did I for over 20 years.
Penguins like raw fish, who knew?
I thought this was appetising as a kid. What was I thinking? Probably the same as Oswald as he now wanted to be called. Max popped by his new abode and told him to come downstairs for a surprise. Oswald claimed he was busy. Max tempted him with a raw fish. Oswald didn’t need telling twice. He hobbled down the stairs with his fish to a room full of people: his Mayoral campaign team. Max had the idea to replace the current mayor with Oswald in a dynamic power structure. Or something. Would you vote for a dirty man who ate raw fish?
That time Batman let a man blow himself up… and enjoyed it
Burning a fire breather to death wasn’t enough so Batman let a circus performer blow himself up. While Batman was cleaning up the mess the Red Triangle Gang was leaving (again), one of its members gets in his way. Batman punches him and it does nothing (I don’t even know if it landed). Then he looks down at the GIANT BOMB STRAPPED TO THE CIRCUS DUDE’S WAIST, smiles, punches him into a hole, and the bomb goes off. Batman just killed another guy. What the hell?!
When Batman pulled a “claw” out of his Batsuit
Batman and Catwoman had a fight on top of some houses. She stabbed him in the stomach with her makeshift claws. He bitch slapped her from at least 10 stories high and she conveniently fell into an open top truck filled with kitty litter. How did that get there? Hold on… how could Batman have just back-handed a woman off a tall building without thinking of where she’d land? And how can his armour – which was bulletproof in the previous movie – not withstand a small needle? Yet more unanswered questions. But the bit I enjoyed the most was seeing him pull it out. Why? It showed he was vulnerable and still just a regular guy. With millions of dollars. And major homicidal tendencies.
Bruce and Selina go straight to dessert
Bruce is a lonely dude. He wears a heavy rubber suit and cape every night saving the useless lives of Gotham – not the best icebreaker. He has Alfred but they’re not as close as they became in later films. His last relationship with Vicky Vale ended, it seemed, due to her not being able to date two men at the same time. That’s understandable. But Bruce now had his eyes set on Selina Kyle. A dark mysterious woman who said things straight. I have a crush on Michelle Pfeiffer and this role is exactly why.
In this scene, Bruce sits by the fire with Selina and they talk about his past. He drops a smooth one-liner and she goes dark and non-sequitur again before pouncing on him. They uncover each other’s wounds from the previous night and realise they can’t succumb to their carnal desires. Then Commissioner Gordon appears on the television as the perfect buzzkill and they both have to leave to put on their respective costumes. It’s hard being fucked up.
My all-time favourite scene in Batman Returns
A lot happened between the previous scene and this one. Here’s a breakdown:
The Ice Princess was captured
Batman and Catwoman fought again
Catwoman took her away
Batman finds her tied to a fire escape ladder
The Penguin throws an umbrella filled with bats at her, she flails and falls to her death, and more bats fly out of the Christmas she subsequently lit after falling on the giant switch (she was meant to do this without dying)
The police shoot at him and he falls off a roof
Catwoman says some stuff and tried to poke her claw into his neck but misses
Batman “flies” to his Batmobile which has now been hacked by the Red Triangle Gang
Catwoman celebrates with The Penguin who thinks he has a chance with her
She tells him to do one. He wraps a helicopter umbrella to her neck and she falls into a glasshouse, managing to live again.
Batman tries to drive home but his vehicle is under the control of The Penguin
Batman finds the device that’s causing the issue and regains control, before punching the Batmobile mini-TV screen
So to this scene. As Batman faces a very thin gap between two buildings, he needs his Bat-torpedo (why didn’t they just join them? It’s not even big enough for someone to walk through. Also, when did he get a Bat-torpedo?). The button to activate it didn’t work. He tries again. And again. He is inching closer to the gap. He has nowhere to go as the police are chasing him. And then he utters the immortal phrase,
“Alright, now I’m a little worried.”
He swipes across all the buttons and switches and finally, it works. He slides through the gap and the police cars chasing him crash into each other. Batman escapes to live another day and find out how the hell he let security get so slack.
Another reference to the first film and a cool hidden switch
Oswald was at the height of his campaign. Bruce – as Batman – was seen as even more of a pariah. But he had a plan. Before he punched his TV, he inserted a CD into the Batmobile to record everything Oswald said about Gotham and its citizens. Very un-mayoral things. (By the way, CD recorders cost about $10,000 in 1992 when this was filmed. Rich bastard). On his way down to his “recording studio”, Alfred mentions security to which Bruce scoffs and reminds him of the time he let Vicky Vale into the Batcave without Bruce’s permission. Alfred didn’t like that. Bruce then plunges his hand into his fish tank and flicks a hidden switch which opens a sarcophagus filled with spikes. Because of course, he does.
Bruce scratches a CD unnecessarily
I thought this was awesome back in the day. Until I realised it was superfluous. Bruce gave Oswald a taste of his own medicine by hacking into his press conference and playing the unsavoury comments he made about Gotham through the speakers. Everyone started throwing vegetables and eggs at him (where the hell did they come from?) and he fleed via his gun umbrella. Max Shreck, who was with him, bounced with a shrug. The CD scratching only seemed to matter to Bruce who never pursued a career in DJing after that.
WHY COULDN’T THEY HAVE ESCAPED AND HAD SEX?
Max hosted his annual Masquerade Ball. Bruce had an invitation which he initially rejected before realising Selina might be there too. He turned up without a mask, made a brief “I care about Gotham speech” to Max and he said “yawn” in response. He actually said the words. What an asshole.
Amongst the crowd, Selina appears and they dance. After some horny words, Selina reveals her intentions for being there – she’s gonna kill Maxie Boy. Despite having killed at least two people we know so far in this movie, Bruce questions Selina’s morals. They kiss under the mistletoe and repeats the words Bruce said to her as Batman, when she was dressed as Catwoman. He then says the same words she said to him back to her. Then it clicks. They realise each other’s secret identities. As if their distinctive eyes weren’t a giveaway (I thought this guy was a genius?) She asks him if this means they have to start fighting. He says they should go outside. But they never make it and I REALLY WISH THEY COULD HAVE. What about that big California King over in bedding?
The Penguin sending out his “kinfolk” to kill kids
After Batman foiled his Rameses-style plan of snatching all of Gotham’s first-born sons, The Penguin resorted to Plan B. He rigged missiles to a colony of penguins and sent them out to blow shit up. He gave a resounding speech which involved blowing “erogenous zones sky high” (eww) before they were sent off to their deaths. The music accompanying this was brilliant and is transitioned into the Batman theme which was sublime. It got me hyped, regardless of the impending doom of a hundred penguins.
Selina finally talks back to her boss, in PVC
Selina had given up on maintaining her outfit. She’d been “killed” enough times and she was fed up. The man she loved was also her sworn enemy and she still needed to kill Max. Batman had already sorted out The Penguin – by killing him – and now was the time to sort out Max and his feelings for Selina. He suggests they give up the fight and just go home together. Selina loves the idea but rejects it saying she “just couldn’t live with herself”. She wasn’t a house cat.
By this time, Bruce ripped off his cowl and revealed himself to her in a symbolic loving gesture. Max was shocked by this revelation and said, “Bruce Wayne, why are you dressed up like Batman?” Selina, sick of his shit, replied, “because he is Batman, you moron.” Then Max shoots him, shoots Selina a few times but she doesn’t die. Left with two lives, she uses that Omega Stun Gun and they share a “kiss” with it. Sparks fly, but not in that sense. And she’s nowhere to be found. Max, however, is turned into a fried mummy. There goes that power plant!
No Brucey Bonus this Christmas
We’re at the final Batman Returns scene! If you’ve lasted this long, thank you for reading. This made me sad as a kid because I really wanted Bruce and Selina to get together. But it was never gonna work. They were too different. That didn’t stop him from pursuing her for one last time when he saw her silhouette in an alleyway. He got out of his car and went to investigate but only found a stray black cat. He brought it back in and Alfred lightened the mood by wishing him a Merry Christmas. Bruce returned the greeting, wishing goodwill to all men. And women. The film ends with the Batman Returns theme, the Batsignal shining in the sky, and Catwoman rising to it. She lived but we never saw her in that timeline ever again. Never mind.
I remember going to see it at the cinema back in 1995. I even collected the sticker book that came with it. But Batman Forever has not aged well. In my twentysomething wisdom, I started spotting inaccuracies and considered writing them down… until I found someone on YouTube who’d got there first.
Jeremy Scott is a writer and entertainer from Nashville and his CinemaSins series on YouTube is hilarious. For this episode, he flicked through a host of plot holes in Batman Forever in “18 minutes or less”. There’s also a mistake from Jeremy amongst his own corrections but you’ll have to watch to find out what it was.
In defence of Batman Forever, there were some good elements. Val Kilmer was actually a decent Batman/Bruce Wayne. Not as dark and monosyllabic as the GOAT Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns, but not as George Clooney-y as George Clooney in Batman and Robin. Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler was pretty good too. As camp as you’d expect from a Joel Schumacher movie and a stylistic nod to the 60s TV series (which I also loved as a kid).
Stream Everything Wrong With Batman Forever via the YouTube player below.
My dad bought me a double VHS set of Batman and Batman Returns as a present (which was questionable given the 15 certificates, but I was grateful). From there, I discovered the animated series. The portrayal of Gotham as a quintessential American city from the 20s was superb. The Art Deco style of illustration remains iconic, finding its way into the Superman animated series and refreshed in Batman Beyond. Abraham Riesman spoke to those involved in their genre-defining work for Vulture, including Bruce Timm, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin.
The Caped Crusader has fallen down the reboot rabbit hole since the disastrous Batman and Robin with two new film series since 1997. Christopher Nolan apparently took notes from the animated series and Frank Miller’s Dark Knight novels, bringing the story’s darkness into a near-pitch black territory. Ben Affleck has yet to show similar promise. His further darkness borders on bleak despair, but enough about the quality of the movies…
In case you weren’t aware of the horror that is Batman & Robin, CinemaSins has it covered with a 20-minute video detailing all the mistakes and continuity errors. I’ll admit to enjoying this film when I was seven, not least for the inclusions of Alicia Silverstone and Uma Thurman. I know better now.
Acting in the pre-Nolan Batman movies was never stellar. It pretty much peaked at the start with Michael Keaton’s brilliant performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson as The Joker, and Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale.