Often, what you see on a screen when it comes to Hollywood blockbusters is not at all what the initial footage looked like. Whether it’s CGI, practical effects, models, costumes, make-up or any of the other numerous tactics employed to create movie magic, the finished product is almost always enhanced in some manner, especially when it comes to big budget films.
Thankfully, nearly every major blockbuster has its production recorded and documented by photographers and over the years, some truly incredible, exciting and often hilarious behind the scenes photos have made their way online. And so, on that note, join us today as we settle into another edition of our weekly column, where we’ll be exploring Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.
While the film was praised for its all-star cast, action sequences, and gorgeous design – and rightfully so – the dark and gloomy tone ultimately resulted in Warner Bros. changing things up for 1995’s Batman Forever. And, as we all know, it went to pot right around then.
Looking back at Returns now though, it’s easy to see why it was ahead of its time and not many people understood what it was trying to achieve. Burton refused to see these characters and stories as childish or purely for pushing toy sales, choosing instead to create something far more compelling that explored the psyches and motivations of each character. Even 25 years later, the visual narrative still holds up and you can enjoy it much like you did the first time you watched it.
That being said, Batman Returns still splits fans right down the middle. Some love its gothic tone and psychologically-layered characters, while others bemoan the lack of a strong plot or the fact that the Dark Knight himself is sidelined. If there’s one thing you can’t deny though, it’s that it’s the most gorgeous-looking Batman film ever.
Set in a wintry Gotham, Tim Burton fills the screen with his usual eye-popping imagery. With its freakish manchild version of the Penguin and a Catwoman supernaturally granted nine lives, it’s not exactly faithful to the comics, but it is a brave and unique take on the Bat-mythos. Plus, Michelle Pfieffer’s psychotic/sultry Catwoman is one of the best female characters in all of superhero cinema.
In our opinion, Batman Returns was, and still is, a phenomenal motion picture, and one of the greatest comic book movies of all-time.