Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
After the massive success that Batman 1989 was, it was only natural that a sequel was going to be greenlit, with Tim Burton still behind the wheel. Although, no one could predict how off the wall Burton would get for the next film, and would be kind of amusingly called “going full Burton” for years to come. Batman Returns came 3 years later in 1992 and people were knocked back into their seats with a return to Gotham City, now even zanier than anything the Joker could have thought up as Burton gleefully swept the landscape with his trademark slapstick humor and gothic look. The backdrops of Gotham are a bit less Neo Noir this time around, and the plot is a step down from the 89 film, but Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer breathe life into an otherwise mediocre script to bring two of the most iconic Batman villains to life.
Businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) and the evil Penguin (Danny DeVito) team up to rid Gotham city of the nuisance known as Batman (Michael Keaton) once and for all. However, their criminal mastery is semi thwarted when Shreck’s diminutive secretary Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) discovers their plans and is shot as her punishment. Reborn through the power of a few stray felines, Selina dubs herself Catwoman, and has her OWN plans for the Batman. Batman himself is beguiled by the anti-hero/soft criminal that is Catwoman, and even though Penguin believes that he’s using her to get to Bats, it’s actually she who’s using HIM for her own plans.
I personally think that the success of Edward Scissorhand (which was made between Batman and Batman Returns) had some influence on how Burton handled Returns. Edward Scissorhands is a bizarre fantasy that gained a cult following rather quickly, and I think Burton thought audiences would be more receptive of that sort of twisted fantasy in the Batman franchise. In some ways he was right, but he also may have misjudged the film’s potential success as Batman Returns still is one of the most divisive films in the original Batman film anthology. It’s darker, gorier, more sexually driven, and generally “weirder” than the rest. That being said, I really like Batman Returns. Keaton, Pfeiffer, DeVito and Walken are on top of their game, and their complete and utter absorption into their roles is what sells the movie past the Burton craziness. The sensual temptress/temptee relationship that Batman has traditionally had with Catwoman is sooooooooo much more believable than the Nolan take, and Pfeiffer just dominates the screen in a way that no other iteration of Catwoman on screen has (I’m not going to recognize that the Halle Berry Catwoman even exists, so don’t ask). There’s some flaws to the film, but it’s an overall fun flick that is almost as good as the original.
Rated PG-13 for brooding, dark violence
4K Video: Video:
Some scenes show a dramatic tonal shift with the color saturation levels, but overall it’s still the same film, and still the same look, just with a DRASTIC increase in color tone and depth thanks to the use of HDR. The blues and reds of the party near the beginning is amazing, while the blacks still show that inky and silky look that just feels like you could get lost in them. Facial details are incredibly nuanced, and the backdrops of Gotham City show off nuanced textures along stone walls, and of course some of the practical effects show up a little TOO well sometimes. The source resolution of the master really shines here, as you can see EVERYTHING more clearly. Things that were a little soft and smooth on the old Blu-ray are razor sharp (look at the detonator button. it’s dull and glossy in the VC-1 encoded Blu-ray, but on the 4K it’s bright red, sharp and you can see the crinkles in the plastic). Overall this is an amazing jump in quality and well worth watching if you’re a fan.
Naturally the Blu-ray is also a large leap over the VC-1 disc of old, although it is not as sharp or showing the benefits of the HDR that the UHD disc enjoys. Still, if you don’t have 4K yet, or don’t plan to get it, the package is worth it for the Blu-ray alone and would still be considered a healthy upgrade over the old Blu-ray.
• The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin
• Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Pt. 4 - Dark Side of the Knight
• Batman Returns: The Heroes
• Batman Returns: The Villains
• Beyond Batman
• Music Video: "Face to Face" by Siouxsie and the Banshees.
• Theatrical Trailer
Batman Returns is not AS good as Batman, but I think it gets maligned a little bit TOO much. Tim Burton goes all out crazy in this one, but still maintains the feel and tone of the original, while amping up the insanity that Penguin brings. A lot of people complained back in the day that Batman Returns was a bit too sexual with the tension between Batman, Penguin and Catwoman, but it really does work in a sleazy Neo Noir sort of way. The lunacy is a fun change of pace, and no matter how much of a drop that it is from the first movie, it will be light years ahead of the next two films. The 4K UHD disc is once again a massive upgrade in both audio and video over the old Blu-ray set, and the extras are copied over from that set as well. Highly recommended.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Michael Murphy, Cristi Conaway
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Sam Hamm, Daniel Waters
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, French DD 5.1, French (Canadian), Spanish, Chinese, Czech, Thai DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 126 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack on June 4. Own the Four Film Collection on September 17.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended