Tim Burton’s hotly anticipated follow up to his epic Batman (Batman Returns) film was to be something of a very Gothic affair. He even had a character called Max Shrek, a direct link to the ultimate Gothic horror Nosferatu the Vampyre, and played by Christopher Walken. Micheal Keaton returned as Batman but Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale was discarded in favour of a much more interesting love interest, and from a better actress too, in the shape of Catwomen and Michelle Pfeiffe. To top it all off, another outstanding character actor was brought into play the bad guy. As if he was born for the role, in came Danny Devito as the Penguin, a far cry from the portrayal of the character by Burgess Meredith in the 1960’s version.
Although it was very dark and quite monochrome in its palette the campiness of the 60’s version was well on show. Burton ramps up the quirkiness and the characters are wildly over the top even more so than Jack Nicolsons overblown and phoned in Joker (which was just Jack Nicolson with white makeup on and a bit of Jack Torrance and Randall P McMurphy for good measure).
One of the maddest elements was the Penguins’ use of his fellow birds as walking bombs. They discover the young Oswald Cobblepot (the Penguins real name) after he is abandoned and raise him as their own. If the Gotham authorities had used CCTV Drainage Surveys they’d have spotted them in minutes and sent Batman in earlier. Perhaps a hot line to CCTV Drainage Surveys though Wilkinson Environmental should be added to the Batcave?