Batman Returns

Movie review by
Ed Grant, Common Sense Media
Batman Returns Movie Poster Image
A darkly violent take on the comic-book hero.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 126 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 64 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Batman is brave and tries to do the right thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Batman doesn't just catch but kills his opponents.

Violence

Lots of gunfire and carnage. Selena is pushed out a window to her death (but is reborn shortly after hitting the pavement). The Penguin shoots a henchmen at close range. Batman sets an opponent on fire. The Penguin nearly bites off a publicist's nose.

Sex

Batman and Catwoman have two knockdown fights, one of which ends with Catwoman straddling the Caped Crusader; the scene is played as if the two were engaging in foreplay. Later, Selena makes a joke about the "semi-hard" nature of their apologies to each other.

Language

Mild obscenity and various double entendres. Most blatantly, the Penguin uses the word "pussy" to refer to Catwoman.

Consumerism

Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Batman Returns is darker and more kill-happy than the previous installment, the 1989 original film. Crooks wearing giant skull-head masks run amok at a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony. Selena suffers a breakdown, during which she destroys her apartment. The Penguin threatens Schreck by producing his ex-partner's severed hand. Schreck is electrocuted, leaving a charred, pop-eyed corpse. And the movie deals with mature themes, such as death, abandonment of a child, and corruption in big business.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 14 and 14 year old Written byxmasterxofxmyxd... November 10, 2008

immensely enjoyed this batman movie

acting- 4/5 art direction- 4/5 cinematography- 4/5 great villains great heroes great movie danny devito and michelle pfeiffer are excellent in their roles and g... Continue reading
Adult Written bygreen_goblin May 10, 2009
Dark, violent, dull, grotesque and brutal.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008

NOT FOR KIDS

I did not like this movie. While it is well-made and has a fascinating villian, Catwoman, it feels like it just stepped out of a Halloween costume catalog. The... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 29, 2009

not bad

really good

What's the story?

In BATMAN RETURNS, it's time for Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) to change into his Batman suit when evil villain The Penguin teams up with diabolical businessman Max Schreck (Christopher Walken). The Penguin sets his sights on becoming mayor and turn Gotham City into a metropolis of crime. Meanwhile, Schreck's beleaguered assistant Selena (Michelle Pfeiffer) transforms into an outlaw Catwoman, who dresses like a male fantasy but is as agile and clever as Batman and the Penguin. Catwoman joins Schreck and The Penguin in their mission to destroy Batman, but they'd better look out because this villainess is as secretive and sneaky as a cat.

Is it any good?

The villains are, once again, more interesting than the hero in this colorful, less brooding sequel to the 1989 hit. This time, director Tim Burton lets his imagination run wild with strikingly whimsical, sometimes quite gruesome images, and the indelibly enticing Selena Kyle, a/k/a Catwoman. Batman Returns has a strong sexual undertone and a large number of fatalities (Batman even kills some of his opponents).

Danny DeVito's over-the-top performance as The Penguin is a nice contrast to Keaton's low-key, wisecracking Bruce Wayne. Though not as catatonic as he was in the first movie, Keaton still proves to be miscast here. The movie's central attraction for both adults and kids is Pfeiffer's Catwoman, who is at once slinky, sensual, and feminist.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Catwoman character in Batman Returns. Is she a positive role model for women -- or a familiar stereotype?

  • Can you think of a female superhero who doesn't wear a slinky costume? How does Catwoman gain power outside her normal life?

  • How does this depiction of Batman compare to other versions?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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