Director: Tim Burton
Screenplay By: Daniel Waters
Release Date: June 19, 2014
Run Time: 126 minutes
This is a vastly superior film compared to it’s predecessor, but looking at this from the perspective of a comic book fan I can also say this isn’t exactly great Batman movie. The changes made to The Penguin made for an interesting film but is something of a bitch slap to comic fans. I think the biggest issue here is Tim Burton. When this was being made Burton had very little restrictions placed on him. Because of this, every Burton-ism you know is amplified to an almost annoying degree. While watching the film I felt like this was more of a vanity project for Burton than a film about Batman. So, what went wrong? What went right? Lets find out.
The film opens up with a child birth. The father waits out in the waiting room when we hear a woman scream. He goes to see what happened when the nurse runs out of the room, fallowed shortly by the Doctor, who simply looks at the father and shakes his head. The next scene is the father and the mother looking at there son…WHO THEY LOCKED IN A CAGE. Gee Tim Burton, it’s almost like you have father issues. Who Knew? Then the next scene is them pulling a Moses with there son and sending him down into the sewers. Again, it’s almost as if Tim Burton’s home life wasn’t great as a child. We then cut to 33 years latter.
We’re back into the way to cartoonish looking Gotham city. It’s late December and Gotham is gathering around for the annual lighting of the city Christmas tree. However, the party is soon crashed by a group of Circus themed villains, and the Batsignal goes up to the air. This leads to kind of a nick-pick issue for me, but this still bothers me. At Wayne manner there are reflector panels that end up shining the Batsignal right into his living room. There is no way he could have this and have no one know that he is Batman. I mean, yeah this Bruce Wayne is more of a recluse instead of having his alter-ego be this flamboyant playboy but still, how would no one ever notice this?
Getting on with the review: Batman shows up, kicks ass and saves the day. And here we come across both an upgrade from the last movie, yet one of the same issues is still present. The fight scenes here are better shot and more fun to watch. That’s the upgrade. The issue? It’s kind of odd, but it’s part of what made the fights in the first movie so dull: the Batsuit is clearly too hard too move in. Because of that it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief in order to make the fight scenes tolerable. Watching the fights between Batman and multiple goons is jarring because you know with how hard it is too move in he should be getting his ass handed too him. It’s all obvious staged, but it’s all staged well.
It turns out that the attack was plotted by The Penguin (Danny DeVito), who’s goal was to kidnap Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). The Penguin’s big plan is too have Steel help him resurface on the topside world from the sewers. Once he does, Shreck decides he could use the Penguin to replace the major of Gotham city, who has denied him his request to create a new power plant.
All seems to be going well until Bruce learns that the Penguin is the head of the circus gang we saw earlier. For a while then the main plot becomes about stopping the Penguin from gaining political power. After that there is this odd story change. The Penguin, after being outed and losing the ability to gain a place of power, decides that he is going to kill the first born sons of Gotham the way his parents tried to kill him. What makes this so odd? Apparently he was planing this the whole time. But it was something he couldn’t have accounted for that sent him into the rage that made him act out the plot.
The entire arch feels like padding. So why have it? Stopping the Penguin from becoming the most powerful man in Gotham could have been it’s own story and a damn good one. So why add this last plot point? Why set this up from the beginning if it was going to be shoehorned into the movie at the end? While all of this does make the movie drag a bit, it doesn’t make it bad, it just doesn’t help the move much either,
And then there is Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She does so, so good in the role that you never really notice that she does nothing in the film. Her entire role could have been written out of the film and nothing would have been any different. , But god, does she kill in the role. When Pfeiffer needed to be the introverted, overworked dork she was in the beginning of the film, she pulls it off. And when she needed to be sexy…well, lets say there are parts of this movie that will rocket your kids into puberty. And she kicks ass when she needed too as well. She is, hands down, one of the best parts of the film. But she had no reason to be in the movie. Maybe that was the point. Put here in so people (or should I say, peoples labeto’s) would get too distracted to notice the other flaws in the film.
All in all, yes, I liked this a hell of a lot more than I did the first one. It kept my attention all the way through the film, but it’s still far way from perfect. I can totally understand people who don’t like it but I found it enjoyable.
Join me tomorrow as I take a look at Superman 3.