Merry Christmas, Batman Returns!

Screened at The Alamo Drafthouse • ?? Viewing

Mofos would really use an entire city as their own personal playground to cope with their identity crises at the cost of innocent lives before going to therapy.  

This is the kind of Christmas movie that loners watch, hence uhh… not me watching this in a theater alone hehe… What I’m saying though is that I never realized how sad Batman Returns really is until now, and how it’s kind of a miracle that a “superhero” film like this exists in general, one that feels more interested in its unbiased tragedy than its procedural save-the-day sort of fairytale. Arguably, everybody loses in some way shape or form after constantly failing to cooperate with their alliances, either dying in the process or going back to being miserably isolated again by the film’s conclusion in their permanent struggle of living with duality. They all embody similar social restrictions and face similar internal challenges, yet they fail to let their possibly fruitful connections interfere with or combat the toxic desires that have stemmed from trauma: a founder of introversion. 

Where Tim Burton was often criticized for his lack of accuracy to the comics, to me, it becomes exchanged for finally stripping down the absurd material of who Batman really is through blissful cheese and pandemonium, portraying him as almost an equal among the other attractions in this freak-show who also seek heedless self-discovery in their reigns to stir up over-the-top trouble in the city that paved their insecurities to begin with. When Danny DeVito’s Penguin makes way into the political media of Gotham, he ends up alternating his identity back and forth, acting in front of cameras only as the vengeful Penguin whenever the world doesn’t want the “changed” Oswald Cobblepot, socially pressured between idolizing and going after the human life he missed out on or the sewer he was raised to be defined comfortably in. Through Penguin, as well as respected businessman Shreck, Burton additionally posies two capitalist leaders as they compete with one another to see who can give more to the people than the other but lethally at the aim of their own internal needs.

The newcomer to the cuckoos though is Michelle Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Selina Kyle, who uses the Catwoman persona as a self-deprecating vessel to count down the number of times she can seek approval from or maintain loyalty to someone but only so that she can be betrayed by whomever like she was by Shreck, the one socially “normal” and respectable link in her life that tipped her to this point of devastating voyage. These are sensitive, meek characters who may act all powerful and mighty, but underneath the facades they feel easily cheated by anyone because of what happened to them in either their long ago or immediate pasts, and it’s kind of depressing seeing it consume them to re-seclusion or even death.

So again, I must reiterate, how does this movie even exist lol? 

On a positive note though, I do like to interpret the final scene, where Bruce Wayne picks up a stray cat in the alleyway as sweet and optimistic in a very Christmas-spirited sort of way. Despite coming to understand that he might have to live alone in this fight for the rest of his career, he at least finds comfort in knowing that he isn’t the only one in Gotham City dealing with a difficultly odd life such as his. That’s why I like to say that Batman Returns is for loners, because it may not be the family holiday movie that often comes about, but it certainly is for the ones who must reckon the festive day alone with some peace of mind.

Verdict Change: B- —> B

Tim Burton Ranked

“Batman Returns” is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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