In director Tim Burton's sequel to his successful BATMAN (1989), the Caped Crusador (Michael Keaton) is pitted against the demented, ravenous Penguin (Danny DeVito), a pitiful, orphaned psychopathic freak who once went on a baby-killing spree, and a "power" hungry capitalist villain Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). As the two criminals plot to gain domination over Gotham City, BATMAN must plot to stop them.
In the highly stylized BATMAN RETURNS--complete with dark, Gothic architecture and moody lighting--Batman (and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne) is thrown a third enemy, a terrible distraction: Cat Woman (fearlessly and fabulously played by Michelle Pfeiffer). She is the slinky, sharp-clawed alter-ego of Shreck's secretary Selina. Batman must overcome his own dark past, and his present love entanglements, to rid Gotham of it's evil enemies, this time with even more intricately designed sets and tongue-in-cheek humor, making BATMAN RETURNS an action-packed, but darkly fun adventure.
Both BATMAN films were based on the popular comic book characters created by Bob Kane for DC Comics, but also on the Batman Dark Knight graphic comic books created by Frank Miller.
Estimated budget: $70 million.
BATMAN RETURNS grossed more than $265 million worldwide.
Christopher Walken's character Max Shreck was named after the actor (Max Schreck, with an "sch") who played the vampire in NOSFERATU (1922).
Annette Bening was originally slated for the role of Catwoman. But, due to her pregnancy, she was replaced by Michelle Pfeiffer.
BATMAN'S Academy Award-winning production designer Anton Furst committed suicide before work began on the sequel. Bo Welch replaced him and based his designs on Furst's.
"...Sprightly....Burton creates a wicked world of misfits..." (New York Times)
"...As Catwoman, terrific Michelle Pfeiffer goes from mousy secretary to liberated lionness. As flipper-fingered Penguin, Danny DeVito is an orchestra of evil intentions..." (USA Today)
"...The runaway star here is Pfeiffer, whose performance is a sexy, comic triumph..." (Entertainment Weekly)
"...[Burton's] dark, melancholy vision is undeniably something to see....[An] always visually inventive film..." (Los Angeles Times)
"...A most intriguing movie, great to look at, fun to talk about..." (Chicago Sun-Times)