Merry Christmas! Reminiscing on the alternative Christmas classic: Batman Returns

MerryChristmas

It’s December 25 and I thought I’d take the time to wish you all a wonderful Christmas… wherever you are. It’s not quite a White Christmas here in Minnesota. The snow that’s supposed to hit us today seems to have shift to Friday, which is a bummer as for once I don’t mind having a snowy Christmas day as I don’t have to travel anywhere. It’s been a while since we actually have a truly mellow Christmas where we get to relax at home, eat home-cooked meal and watch movies in the comfort of our own home.

After church on Christmas eve, we wanted to see a Christmas-themed movie. At first we’re going to see Bill Murray’s Scrooged, but ended up rewatching Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns, as this TOR.com blog cleverly dubbed …‘Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas...

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Hey, even Alfred’s getting into the Christmas spirit putting up the Christmas tree in the Wayne Mansion whilst Bruce snuggles up by the fire. It’s the calm before the storm, as it were. The real action begins as soon as miss Selina Kyle enters the picture…

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(although a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it…)

I had seen it ages ago but I couldn’t remember much of the details other than Michelle Pfeiffer‘s stunning and iconic portrayal as Catwoman. She still is one of the best things about this film, and I don’t think anyone’s topped her performance yet in that role [sorry Anne Hathaway, you’re good but not THAT good].

The Christmas setting in Gotham City is gorgeous to look at and definitely got me a bit nostalgic of spending time in New York City last year.

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The festive Christmas lighting ceremony in Gotham Plaza is basically modeled after the giant tree in Rockeffeler Center, and there’s even that lavish holiday masked ball where Bruce Wayne gets to slow dance with Selina Kyle and discovering who their real identities are.

Keaton and Pfeiffer had quite a scorching chemistry, more so than Christian Bale did with any of his female co-stars. It’s a complicated and ultimately doomed relationship that’s beguiling and surprisingly emotional.

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“Does this mean we have to start fighting?”

Tons of great performances too, Danny Devito is effectively creepy yet funny as Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin, and Christopher Walken is always fun to watch as the slimy businessman Max Shreck. Danny Elfman‘s score is absolutely terrific, too, I should feature it in the next Music Break 😉

Though I’ve come to love Nolan’s Batman’s trilogy that’s more solemn and realistic, I have to admit I enjoyed Burton’s decidedly more circus-y and theatrical approach. Glad I rewatched this tonight, Batman Returns is definitely a fun albeit bizarre alternative Christmas flick if you’re not in the mood to watch It’s A Wonderful Life for the zillionth time. Though the story may be dark and even tragic, I wouldn’t call it an anti-Christmas movie. In fact, the finale ends on a hopeful note, with a subtle hint that the Christmas spirit isn’t entirely lost on them …

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Good will toward men… and women.


So folks, once again I wish you a MERRY & BLESSED CHRISTMAS.
What’ll you be watching this Christmas break?

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28 thoughts on “Merry Christmas! Reminiscing on the alternative Christmas classic: Batman Returns

  1. Merry Christmas, Ruth! Batman Returns is one of my favorite superhero and Christmas movies. The cast is great, and the chemistry with Keaton/Pfeiffer is off the charts. 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas Katy! I saw that you watched Batman Returns too last night, very cool! Yeah, I really like the Pfeiffer/Keaton pairing, wish she had been Catwoman in the first Burton Batman’s film too.

  2. Ted S.

    Merry Christmas Ruth! This used to be my favorite comic book and Batman film until Nolan’s Dark Knight came out. I used to watch it on Christmas time every year, haven’t seen it in a couple of years though, might have to watch it tonight. The first time I saw it was during the holiday season back in 1992, didn’t get to see it in a theater. I love the darker tone, it’s less campy than the first one. I fell in love with Michelle Pfifer after seeing her in that sexy Catwoman outfit. Also, Walken and Devito were great villains, it’s funny that most of the marketing only focused on The Penquin and Catwoman but the main villain in the film was Max Shrek, Walken was perfect as sort of Scrooge of Gotham.

    I watched the documentary and Tim Burton said Warner gave him all the money he needed to make this sequel since the first Batman was a gigantic hit. But they were pissed at him after they saw the film, they thought it’s way too dark and many of their sponsors pulled out of supporting the film. He wanted to do a third one but he knew Warner would put restrictions on what he can and can’t do. So he opted out and unfortunately we got the awful two Batman films by Joel Schumacher.

    1. Merry Christmas Ted! Yeah I kind of have a feeling Burton wouldn’t be allowed to have his way again after this one. I could see why they didn’t like how dark this film was but I thought it was still a good film, certainly far more engaging and creative than anything that Schumacher did in the following two Batman movies.

  3. Merry Xmas Ruth. I think this is an underrated film and certainly deserves to get more love. The scenes with Keaton and Pfeiffer are great. They do have chemistry and I love Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman as I still think she’s the best. Especially when she says… meow!

    1. Thanks Steven, Merry Christmas to you too. Yeah I think Pfeiffer and Keaton are both great here, but after seeing this I was surprised how good Devito and Walken were too.

        1. Yeah it was definitely more style than substance. The most fun segment was Chris Pine n his on-screen’s brother’s rendition of Agony. Ironically that’s the least agonizing musical numbers of the whole movie!

  4. Ruth you have no idea how happy this post has made me. Batman Returns is one of my favourite Pfeiffer pfilms, and having Michelle, Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken and Danny DeVito in the same film is almost to good to be true.
    I enjoyed the approach to Batman, loved Burton’s exaggerations, Pfeiffer’s whip, Elfman’s operatic score and the dumb blonde falling into the gift box to unleash the colonies of bats. And the scene at the costume ball. Wow, that moment when Bruce and Selina realise each other’s identities never fails to give me chills.

    Enjoy a blessed Christmas!

    1. Hi there Paul! I’m glad you enjoyed this mini review of sort. I knew you’d be happy with me praising miss Pfeiffer but she really is phenomenal here. She definitely was the scene stealer here, even more so than Keaton himself.

      Hope you had a blessed Christmas too!

    1. Glad to hear Abbi, though I do like Nolan’s version too for different reasons. Ahah, Jingle All The Way is goofy fun, but at times it does get way too silly.

    1. Hey Eric, I really like Pfeiffer as Catwoman so she definitely is a big factor why the film works so well. It’s perhaps too scary for the kiddies though.

  5. Merry (belated) Christmas Ruth! Hope you had an awesome holiday. I always forget that this film is tied to Christmas. I need to rewatch it some time.

  6. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your Christmas with this Batman movie. Like you said, there hasn’t been anyone who can compare to the Catwoman that Michelle Pfeiffer delivers here. In the same way that Keaton had a comeback role in Birdman, I’d love to see her have that kind of role too. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    1. Hello Raul! Oh yeah it’d be awesome to see Michelle getting a prominent leading role, too. We saw her peers Renee Russo, Sela Ward getting bit parts in major films but I’d love to see them in a leading or at least co-leading role.

  7. If I’ve seen Batman Returns, I don’t remember, because it’s been such a long time since I have! It looks like a lot of fun – I’ll have to check it out one of these days. Glad to hear you had a relaxing Christmas, Ruth! I can’t really say the same, but then again, I guess that’s what happens when you first get married and two families are vying for your time around the holidays :).

    1. It has been a while since I saw it too, Kris, but I think I actually appreciate it more this time around.

      I figure that this being your first Christmas as a married couple it’d be a busy one. I’m sure it’s fun though right? We ended up spending the Christmas weekend w/ friends since we all have time off, but on Christmas day itself we didn’t even get out of our jammies 😛

      1. I get that!

        It was definitely fun! Although I have to admit I’m excited about a little more chill Christmas’s in our future, haha. That sounds like a great time! All day in your jammies sounds amazing 🙂

  8. Pingback: » Movie Review – These Amazing Shadows Fernby Films

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