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Batman — From the comic to the chthonic

Wayne's World
By NICK JOHNSTON  |  July 20, 2012

BATMAN RETURNS (1992)

Director: Tim Burton

Real World Events: Ross Perot. Bush pukes on the Japanese Prime Minister. Automatic for the People. The Los Angeles Riots. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Bill Clinton blows on Arsenio, wins election. The Reagan Library opens. Sinead O'Connor rips up a picture of the Pope on SNL.

Comic World Events: Superman dies; the height of the dark age.

Gotham City Style: The same as the previous one, but in winter.

Under The Cowl: Michael Keaton again, who this time kills people. Yes, that's right, Batman kills people.

Sidekick/Love Interest: Selina Kyle, the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Robin, played by Marlon Wayans, ends up on cutting room floor.

Bat-Gadgets: The Bat-Ski-Boat, making its first, and last appearance.

Bat-bad guys: The Penguin (Danny DeVito); a leather-clad, whip-wielding, S&M Catwoman; and neo-Nosferatu Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). The Penguin might be the only sympathetic character in the whole movie.

Bad/Bat-line: "Just the pussy I've been looking for."

Cowl rating/Phoenix Crix Pix: Two cowls. "A menagerie of superficial and contrived characters."

Cowl rating/Nick's Pix: Two cowls. More schizophrenic and tonally inconsistent than the first. It looks great and has some sublime touches, but Burton really never understood the character.

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