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Batman Returns 4K UHD Review

Batman

“Batman Returns” improves with age.

Batman does indeed return, but this time around he faces off against a host of problems in the form of a corrupt businessman who wants to build a power plant by any means necessary (Max Shreck), a secretary turned vigilante who is out for revenge against Max, a duplicitous deformed crime boss running for Mayor (Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin) and plotting Gotham’s destruction, and the Penguin’s circus minions and his penguin army. To make matters more complicated, Batman begins to fall for Catwoman/Selina Kyle and is also framed for murder. Can Batman clear his name and put a stop to the chaos engulfing Gotham City?

Up until this viewing, I never really connected with “Batman Returns.” I had always found it to be a dark, twisted, gross and out there sequel that didn’t feature Batman nearly enough. This time around, however, I was struck by how some of the subjects really resonated (especially today). The script by Daniel Walters has much more going on than its predecessor as it deals with a power hungry corporations, political corruption, duality, and the public embracing a political monster that is duping the public. Tim Burton also once again brings his unique style and vision to the world of Batman which is appreciated. Again, I like seeing a director making the material his own. It’s not something we see too much of in this shared universe era (despite how good the quality can be).

The one element that has always stuck with me, however, is Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer has and always will be the MVP of this movie. From her mousy and awkward Selina Kyle to her empowered, bad-ass, conflicted, and tortured Catwoman, Pfeiffer gives one of the all-time great performances in a comic book (even if the Catwoman’s origins in this movie make zero sense).

The rest of the cast (namely Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken and Michael Gough) is also on point. I particularly like the dynamic between Batman/Bruce and Alfred in this movie. You get more scenes between them and see them working together to stop the Penguin’s reign of terror. As for Walken, he seems to revel in playing a real bad guy with the slimy Max Shreck.

While certainly more ambitious than the first film, the sequel is not without its problems. The character of The Penguin (and his minions) still doesn’t quite click. The nose biting, the Batmobile kiddie ride, the army of penguins with jetpacks, the giant duck mobile, it’s all very odd and often goofy to say the least. It also deviates greatly from the Penguin’s comic origins and I think the character suffers as a result (especially since this is basically his movie). It’s no slight on Danny DeVito who is completely embracing The Penguin with every ounce of his acting ability. It’s just an odd fit for the franchise.

Another glaring issue I had was the lack of scope. The first film felt bigger. There were more characters, more locals, more of a sense of Gotham City’s scale. In this one, much of the action takes place in a small Gotham Square and Penguin’s sewer lair.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? Another stunning transfer. The colorful Christmas lights, the murky waters of the sewer, the darkness of the Bat cave, it all has never looked better on home video.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? From Danny Elfman’s exquisite score to the numerous explosions, this Atmos track delivers the goods.

Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Another insightful solo commentary by Tim Burton.
* A music video for the Siouxsie and the Banshees song “Face To Face.”
* “Batman Returns: The Heroes”- A spotlight on Batman and Alfred.
* “Batman Returns: The Villains”- Profiles on The Penguin, Catwoman and Max Shreck.
* “Beyond Batman”- A 6 part extra that covers the production design, the costumes, make-up, penguin army, effects and music.
* “Shadows Of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga Of The Dark Knight Part 4- Dark Side of the Knight”- A vintage half-hour featurette that dives into the pre-production process, things that didn’t make the cut, the new characters, the production and more.
* “The Bat, The Cat And The Penguin”- Another vintage extra with film clips, interviews, set footage and more.

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June 4, 2019 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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