Wow...my parents really did not care what I watched as a child. I just finished watching this and I should not have been allowed to watch this when I was seven. This movie really did not like women or children and god it's creepy at times and filled with plot holes. Holy Plot Holes Batman!!! Now this isn't a bad movie, I think if I had just shut my mind off and watched it just for fun I would have loved this like I was seven again. But, I was watching it to review it so I was thinking about it and that's what was bugging me.
So after Batman made a crap ton of money, Warner Brothers wanted to strike while the iron was still hot and in 1990 they started planning a sequel. However, trouble started right off the bat when Burton wasn't sure if he wanted to come back and went to direct Edward Scissorhands. He only agreed to come back if the script was good and was granted more creative freedom. After several re-writes that included-Robin, Catwoman and Penguin hunting for hidden treasure or Penguin freezing Gotham (that sound familiar to anyone) Burton came back and filming started in 1991.
The movie also went through several issues of cast changes. Keaton only came back after a pay increase. (He made $10 million dollars) and it went through several ladies wanting to play Catwoman. Annette Bening was originally picked, but than she caught a case of getting knocked up and had to drop out. Madonna, Cher, and Susan Sarandon were just a few of the names that tried out for the role. Thankfully we got Michelle Pfeiffer. Marlon Waynes was also supposed to be in the movie playing a street punk who fixed cars and was supposed to be our Robin in the series and even went in for a fitting, but was shelved until the next film.
So this movie starts off with what would happen if Paul Rubens and Diana Salinger had a baby. Now even when I was kid this movie scared me a little and just reinforces that my parents didn't care what I watched...they put a baby in a cage and it eats a cat in front of a Christmas tree and his parents don't even blink. Oh the numbing effects of booze on parents in the 1960's. So they opt for the most humane way of killing their child, tossing it off a bridge, into freezing cold water and locked in a baby carriage. Really....I'm not for baby death, but this seems really complex and un-needed. Somehow like Moses our little bad guy floats around the sewer and ends up at the zoo. Who made this sewer system by the way? He never ends up at a waste water plant?
So our movie cuts to 1992 and the newspaper crier....oh by the way don't you love the fact that Gotham still has newspaper criers shouting about the 'Penguin-man' in the sewers? With all the press activity in this film it does suck that we don't get Knox back. ^_^ Our camera than pans up a billion stories to where a late night business meeting is going on between our newest mayor and Max Shreck (Christoper Walken) He's a business man, who looks to own a chain of department type stories and he's pushing some sort of power plant in Gotham. It really makes no sense why he wants this power plant, but he's willing to do anything to have it including threatening to impeach the mayor to have his power plant. That's not the best way to go about getting what you want is it...threatening the guy who has the power to give you what you want?
We're also introduced to Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), Shreck's personal assistant. Now in the animated series and comic, Selina is just a cat burglar stealing for the fun of it or to help others in need. This Selina is someone we can relate to, the broken down office lady. She's a sadder version of Milton from Office Space and is clearly mistreated by everyone in her life: from her boss to people leaving messages on her her machine.
Shreck and The Mayor go to light a Christmas tree and we are treated to some great acting by Walken. I mean this guy is giving a speech about Christmas and how he wishes he could do more for the people of Gotham and he is just a treat to watch with how monotone he is. I'm pretty sure I've had more emotion ordering cake, but it's Walken so it's fun times! In fact I really don't even see a character I see Walken. Than we get a giant wrapped box from nowhere!!! Really where the hell did that come from? With the Joker it made sense where he got his stuff he was a mob guy with connections. The Penguin has the Insane Clown Posse doing his bidding and I don't see where they get their money.
So the last movie didn't feel like a Burton film...this feels like a Burton film here. Really the only thing missing is Johnny D. So the Insane Clown Posse comes out and starts killing folks, wanting to kidnap Walken and giving me nightmares for years to come. Oh and the guy who plays his son Chip is just as wooden as the father, but no where near the fun level of Walken. So Walken runs away and no one goes after him. (Weren't they there for him?) Gordon decides it's time to turn on the Bat Signal and we get one of the coolest shots in the movie. The Bat Signal lights up Wayne Manor and there sits Keaton looking like a bad ass! Yeah!!!!! This movie is a lot darker than the first one and if you had any doubts about that it's confirmed when Batman shows up and sets a man on fire. Batman flat out killed somebody. He didn't drop him or kill him in a fight defending himself, he turned his car around and set a dude on fire. Damn that was cold Batman...
In the chaos poor Selina is taken hostage, but saved by Batman. Oh she is so cute and awkward to watch and he just gives her this whatever look and walks away. This poor lady is shit on by everyone in life, even the dude who saves her. But she does get an awesome stun gun out of it. Meanwhile Batman and Gordon are talking about how the Red Triangle Gang is back in town and Batman promises to get to the bottom of it and than the Mayor realizes that the blackmailing Walken is gone and ponders where he is. Despite just walking away from his kidnappers they seem to know where he is and kidnap him.
He wakes up surrounded by carnival people, penguins and Danny DeVito. This is where I've heard a great deal of complaining when people talk about this movie. In the 1960's TV version and most comics pre-dating this movie The Penguin is a smooth crime lord who is short, fat, likes birds and carries spiffy umbrellas around. This version of Penguin is just gross looking and you want to cringe watching him on screen. DeVito doesn't give a bad performance, the problem is he is just so out there and freaky looking you don't want to watch him. But this performance and look has been the one to stick with people the most and has influenced how animators have drawn The Penguin in the animated series and comic books since. You actually feel a little for Penguin in this scene when he's asking Walken for help finding his parents and getting back to the normal world. For a brief moment he seems like someone you can feel sorry for, unlike the Joker who was just crazy. When Walken says no that second of feeling sorry for him goes away and he reveals himself to be a very smart man bird person who has a shit ton of dirt on him, including a chopped up former business partner. After that lovely Christmas present Walken agrees to help. (Wow my parents really didn't care what I was watching when I was a kid.)
Meanwhile we cut back to poor Seline who has gone back to work to help prep for a very important meeting that Walken has with Bruce Wayne about his power plant project and Oh No someone found the hidden files about how the power plant really isn't a power plant. Whatever could this mean for her? The scene between her and Walken is actually really good. "How can you be so mean to someone so meaningless?" is really sad. She really thinks of herself as a meaningless person and she actually seems scared of Walken. Than we get a scene that breaks the laws of physics and gives us another plot hole. Walken pushes her out of a window that is we're going to say is at least twenty stories up and she lands in an alley with a light dusting snow. Now I know this is movie and surviving at fall from that height is not an issue, despite the fact a normal person would have been pancake batter in the alley. That's not it at all...the issue is Walken leaves her 'body' there. It was already set up that this is a man who leaves nothing out to be found, from shredding documents to chopping up old business partners this is a guy who ties up all loose ends. He simply looks down at her, the broken window and shrugs...someone has to fix that window. Plus I know Gotham is a dirty and crime ridden city, but someone is bound to notice said dead lady in the alley unless dead ladies are just an everyday thing in Gotham. After living through that she somehow manages to get home and this scene is epic, the trashing of her over the top cute apartment...those poor stuffed animals and creating her Catwoman outfit. So aren't neighbors in Gotham the worst, Vicki Vale had gun shots going off in her apartment and Seline is in her apartment screaming and trashing shit and no one seems to call the police or even check up on her. I don't know my neighbors, but if I heard them screaming I would call the cops at least.
So the next morning the Mayor is trying to fix this mess in a PR stunt in front of the big Christmas tree with his wife and baby sitting next to him. Oh cute baby...wait what is that clown doing...no not the baby!!!! Oh god you can't do flips with a baby. God this movie hates children they are always ending up in sewers. So this is another PR stunt created by Walken and Penguin where the Penguin is waiting with a giant rubber duck to come up to the surface. Really where does he get this stuff? So after the baby is returned Penguin becomes a local celebrity and asks to have access to City Hall's birth records so he can find his parents and talk with them. Really how would that chat go?
"Hey remember me? I'm the kid you tossed in a sewer and left to die..." Seriously how do you go talking to these people. Bruce is watching this press conference from home and hey Batman is in this movie. This is something that people also complain about, the lack of Batman in a Batman movie. They tend to focus more on the bad guys and less on Batman. Batman is not buying the 'I don't know who my family is' story and starts trying to find a link between the carnival people and Penguin. Which he does manage to find and starts stalking his new villain. While Batman is doing this Catwoman is off killing mugger/rapist people and doing back flips. So psychotic breaks cause people to not only be crazy, but you suddenly learn how to kick ass and do backflips. Note to suffer psychotic break so I can learn how to use whips and look hot in black leather.
Seemingly the next morning Penguin has found his parents grave, he forgives them and his local celebrity status reaches new heights and the city loves him. Oh hey Bruce is back to have a meeting with Walken about the power plant thing. So Keaton doesn't want to invest and informs Walken that Penguin is creepy and Walken gets offended I guess and he tells Bruce to leave and hey look who lived through her twenty foot fall and Walken's face is priceless. He is surprised to see her...so he clearly didn't even call anyone to pick up her body. Selina takes Bruce out and Walken confesses to son that should she black mail him he will drop her out a higher window. Did he just confess to his son that he tried to murder his personal assistant?
Bruce and Selina have a brief talk and it's clear that she is out there and Bruce seems to like them crazy. Seriously I could see why Bruce was attracted to Vicki she seemed normal at first. Selina is off her rocker the second you meet her and Bruce wants to ask her out. Bruce really likes them crazy...
So Walken decides to use Penguin as part of his plan to impeach the mayor and place Penguin in the chair of power to get what he wants. This part of the movie was to show not all bad guys have to wear a mask or have to be crazy. This whole scene with Walken setting up Penguin is so bizarre and disturbing. Penguin hits on the female PR lady and than tries to eat the nose off the male PR guy in a room full of people. How do you work for this guy after seeing that? So Walken and Penguin make a plan to whip the town into a frenzy and want to impeach the mayor using the carnival people.
So they come back to destroy stuff and beat people up and Batman shows up to save the town and blow up bad guys up. Really he takes a bomb, puts it on a bad guy and blows up a bad guy. Bad guy bits everywhere. All the while Catwoman is having fun blowing up the store part of her 'former' boss's store. Batman meets up with Penguin and they have a exchange, but the real shiny moment is when Catwoman comes out of the store doing backflips, up to Batman and Penguin and they have the same WTF looks on their faces looking at her. Building goes boom, bad guys flee and Batman goes after the hot bad guy because even when he's Batman he likes his bitches crazy.
We get a really good scene between Catwoman and Batman fighting on the roof and I love how Catwoman throws in Batman's face that he hit a girl and he actually goes to help her up. Mind you this is a guy who just blew someone up and he goes to help up the chick who just blew up a building. Oh Batman, who says chivalry is dead? So their fight ends and we cut to the next morning where Penguin is using last nights craziness for his campaign and when he goes back upstairs who should be waiting for other than Catwoman. Now this movie gets credited for the trend of 'super villain team ups' and it works in this movie because it's not what the whole movie is focused on. Catwoman's plan is to frame Batman and Penguin is about trying to kill Batman with his own Batmobile when they are done. Yeah!!!!!
Selina is now having second thoughts about wanting to kill Batman, after all he is hot and she runs into Bruce who clearly has his crazy lady beacon on and finds her. After meeting her once and not even talking to her for twenty minutes and really not having anything in common they agree to go out on a date. Too bad it's on the same night as she is supposed to be helping Penguin kidnap a hussy and help kill Batman. Oh those zany kids it's almost like a 90's sitcom gone wrong.
So Penguin kidnaps a hussy and manages to kill her by knocking her off a building with bats. Now she only fell about ten stories but somehow this fall kills her. Physics will pick and choose when they want to behave in this world. Clearly bats means that Batman killed her and the people hate him for it. They were totally ok with him blowing up bad guys, but killing hot girls is not allowed. Batman is forced to flee from the cops who just open fire on him. But, oh no his car has been tampered with and Penguin goes back to his trailer that has a little Batmobile in it that controls the real thing. Seriously were did he get that?! Batman manages to punch a hole in the floor of the car and rip out the controller and record what Penguin says about the citizens of Gotham.
The Batmobile needs repaired and we get this really fun little scene between Alfred about security and Bruce looks at him and reminds him that Alfred broke security when he let Vicki into the Batcave. "I was just sitting there working and it's like oh hey Vicki come on in!" We never get another Bruce and Alfred scenes in these movies.
So after this Penguin and Walken call a press conference and Batman plays the recording and just as quickly as he rose he falls and they start throwing veggies at him and even Penguin questions where the hell the veggies came from an opens fire on the crowd and runs away. The Gotham police follow and try shooting at him. The Gotham PD will open fire on anybody won't they? The Penguin jumps back into the sewer and goes back to where he started from. So the grand master plan is relieved and Penguin plans to kill all the 1st born sons of Gotham by drowning them in toxic water. This movie really hated women and children and they even hated Fat Clowns. RIP Fat Clown...
We get another Bruce/Alfred moment when Bruce is working on the car and Alfred asks Bruce if he wants to attend Walken's X-mas party and he says no. Alfred rips up the invite and than Bruce is like...oh hey maybe hot chick is at the party. The look of brief annoyance on Alfred's face is just great. So we're treated a Christmas Costume party where Super Freak is being played by a band. Oh Tim Burton you funny man. So Selina is there and this scene between them when she tells Bruce that she plans to kill Walken and the kiss is really good and even though these two people really haven't known each other that long they do have some chemistry right here and when they figure out who they really are the looks they give each other and Selina asking if they should start fighting is really good and simple.
Of course this awesomeness can't last long as Penguin blast through the floor riding his rubber ducky of doom, tells the rich folks he's going to murder their children and kidnaps Walken. Now the Insane Clown Posse is kidnapping children and this does not look like the good part of town. Plus these are the rich people so these children must have nannies so what happened to the poor nannies? Batman saves the children and than sends Penguin a cute little note on Batman stationary...I really need some of that. So Penguin sends out his rocket penguins and a rather anti climatic fight scene happens with penguins shooting off little rockets and bats flying out of the Bat Plane and knocking Penguin into the toxic water...that the penguins had just swam in...wait huh.
Walken manages to get out of his bird cage and he falls into the toxic water and instead of drowning him Catwoman pulls him up and he pleads for his life and she's about to kill him when Batman stops her. Walken gives some great WTF faces here when Selina and Bruce are revealing themselves and his line delivery is just great. "You're fired!" Walken tells her....I assumed that she was fired when you pushed out the window, but maybe he needs to make it official with HR. So Walken pulls out a gun that he got off the the dead Fat Clown and shoot Batman and than shoots Catwoman like five times and she still manages to get up and zap Walken with the stun gun of death. Batman gets up and tries to find the bodies only finding Crispy Walken. Sorry I couldn't it. Oh hey there is Penguin and he's spitting up black blood from being in the toxic water and falling a few feet and well his death was lame and gross and he gets put back into the water by large penguins.
Our movie wraps up with Alfred picking up Bruce and Bruce looks so bummed after winning and he sees what he thinks is Catwoman and he makes Alfred stop the car and he only finds a small black cat. Bruce picks up the kitty and plans to head home and we see the Bat Signal and the shadow of Catwoman.
So I know I poked a lot of fun at this movie, but it is a good movie and all the actors gave great performances. It was a bummer that we don't get Keaton and Burton back after this movie because what is coming up next is just makes me sad on the inside. Plus I have to give props to the people who handled the animals on this set. The make up and costuming in this movie still hold up really well. This movie is a good watch if you shut your brain off and don't over think it the way I was for review purposes.
Come back next time, same Bat Blog for Batman Forever!!!!