A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: June 16, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: October 22, 1997
- Cast: Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer
- Director: Tim Burton
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 126 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brooding, dark violence.
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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