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Every one-star review for every number one box-office movie of the 1990s

Batman Returns

Directed byTim Burton
Produced byDenise Di Novi, Tim Burton
Screenplay byDaniel Waters
Story byDaniel Waters, Sam Hamm
Based onCharacters appearing in magazines published
by DC ComicsBatman characters
by Bob Kane
StarringMichael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Michael Murphy
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyStefan Czapsky
Edited byChris Lebenzon
ProductioncompanyWarner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release dateJune 16, 1992 (Mann’s Chinese Theatre), June 19, 1992 (United States)
Running time126 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65–80 million
Box office$266.8 million

Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Denise Di Novi and Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. The sequel to the 1989 film Batman, it is the second installment of Warner Bros. initial Batman film series, and stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman, alongside Danny DeVitoMichelle PfeifferChristopher WalkenMichael GoughPat Hingle and Michael Murphy. In Batman Returns, Batman faces the Penguin, who plots to kill all of Gotham City‘s firstborn sons, while dealing with Catwoman, who seeks vengeance against Max Shreck, a corrupt tycoon who allies with the Penguin to bring Gotham City under his control.

Burton originally did not want to direct another Batman film. Warner Bros. developed a script with Sam Hamm which had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure. Burton agreed to return after they granted him more creative control and replaced Hamm with Daniel WatersWesley Strick was later chosen to do an uncredited rewrite shortly before filming. This included normalizing dialogue, fleshing out the Penguin’s motivations and master plan, and removing scenes due to budget concerns. Strick continued working as the on-set writer through filming. Annette Bening was originally cast as Catwoman, but became pregnant and was replaced with Pfeiffer.

Batman Returns was released on June 19, 1992. It grossed $266.8 million worldwide on a total budget of $80 million and received positive reviews. Critics praised its action sequences, performances, Danny Elfman‘s score, effects and villains, although its dark tone and high level of violence for a PG-13 film, was criticized. The film was nominated for two Academy AwardsBest Visual Effects and Best Makeup, as well as two BAFTA awards. A stand-alone sequel, Batman Forever, was released in 1995, with Val Kilmer replacing Keaton as Batman. An alternate comic book continuation, which ignores the events of the subsequent films, will be published by DC Comics starting in July 2021. Keaton is also set to reprise the role of Batman in the DC Extended Universe beginning with The Flash (2022).

Batman Returns’ one-star reviews from IMDb over the last decade

The First is a Masterpiece and this second not

Microwave-26267 4 July 2020

The first Batman Movie was so great (a Masterpiece!), and this second was a bad Movie! Sad, the Joker is not in this Movie again and that was a mistake from Tim Burton. The Pinguin was boring and disgusting! But Michael Keaton is the best Batman Actor of all Time!

85 out of 143 found this helpful.

What Happened?

Eightiesjunkie 23 March 2014

That’s the question I kept asking myself after I finished watching this film. I know I’ll be stepping on many peoples’ toes by writing this review. I know a lot of people loved this film when it was released in ’92, and I know a lot of people still love the film to this day. However, I’d like to ask all those people to keep an open mind, and to try to see this from my perspective. I never liked this movie! Not even after I first saw it. I wanna put all of you in my shoes: Your eight years old, Batman comes out, you go see it, and afterwords, you’re blown away by its sheer greatness. Shortly after, a sequel is announced, and you’re ecstatic! You can’t wait for it, you expect it to be all that the previous film was and more, then, a few years pass, the film comes out, you see it, and its a complete dud! That’s exactly how I felt when I saw Batman Returns. Batman Returns didn’t even feel like it was in the same series as Batman! Where as Batman was exciting and fun, Batman Returns was dreary and depressing. None of the villains were charismatic, or fun to watch like Nicholson’s Joker, they were all one dimensional and had no motivations! Keaton still plays Batman fairly well, but nothing at all is done with his Bruce Wayne persona. Which in and of itself, presents a huge problem when a semi love interest is interjected into the film. As with Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale, Michelle Pfeiffer does a decent job with what she’s given, but that’s the problem with her character. You don’t know what kind of person Selina Kyle really is, and we have no idea what her agenda is as Catwoman. Why does she want Penguin to frame Batman? We don’t know and we never find out. The Biggest problem of the film however, is Danny Devito as The Penguin. Aside from the fact that he rides around in a motorized rubber duck, and that the image of his army of rocket pack penguins is the most unintentionally hilarious thing I’ve ever seen, The Penguin has to be one of the most poorly done comic book villains ever! The problem is, that The Penguin is done in such an inconsistent way. One minute Tim Burton wants us all to feel sorry for him, and then the next, he wants us all to detest him as the evil villain. As for my experience with the film: It didn’t leave me in a good mood or hungry for more, as the first film did. It left me feeling dreary, sick, and empty. For me, going from Batman to Batman Returns felt like chasing Champagne with sewer water. The first drink was great, but the second just left a bad taste in my mouth.

187 out of 341 found this helpful.

Utter crap

Donstamegna 30 March 2010

This movie is by far one of the worst super hero films ever, it’s on par with Superman 4. Bruce Wayne just sits in his study waiting for the Bat Signal to call him (and what the heck is up with all those reflectors mounted on Wayne Manor? I guess the next time the house needs a roof repair the secrets out). Tim Burton has a way of making humanity look disgusting and he want way over the top in this stink fest. Here are some of the major issues. Batman punches through the floorboards of the almost indestructible Batmobile. He easily rips through his bullet proof outfit to, yet again, reveal his secret identity (and notice the lack of black eye makeup). I don’t know what to say about the penguins other than WTF?!?! And a secretary who gets thrown out of a window, gets bitten by cats, and suddenly has the ability to perform acrobatics, is a great fighter, and is a master with a bull whip. This movie was supposed to come out at Christmas time, but in need of serious reediting in order to make it look like something beyond the level of a 3rd grader with a camcorder it was pushed to the following summer. They should have worked a little harder.

This movie was not a Batman movie. It was Tim Burton fixing something that was never broken. Thank God Batman Begins came out to show the world how Batman should be done. Realistically and serious.

253 out of 474 found this helpful.