Contested sequels: Batman Returns

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This film came out three years after Tim Burton’s first Batman movie.  It was nowhere near as successful, which usually happens with a sequel.  It is debated about whether it is darker than its predecessor or lighter than it, and whether it is a better film. The differing views are due to the completely different focus

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This movie is far from a rehash.  The most notable change is Batman’s increased role.  In the first film Batman is in the shadows, as Joker and Vicki Vale both take center stage over him, as it is told from the point of view of most Gothamites. This film gives Batman center focus along with the hidden motives of Penguin, Shrek, and Catwoman.  Only Batman, Alfred, and Gordon remain from the first film.  While this makes it not stick out like Batman does, it gives it a different feel as a more traditional non-origin superhero film, as Batman now dominate the screentime for the non villainous people of Gotham.

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Batman Returns is known for its dark tone best exlempified by Penguin’s parents throwing their newborn into the sewers on Christmas, however its tone is best shown by the opening action scene.  The villains are from a circus and look the part. One immediately pulls out a doll house, and then a machine gun barrel comes out and fires.  It is very cheesy and dark, and that is the best way to describe this film, dark cheese.  In the first film this is mostly limited to a few of Joker’s actions like killing his girlfriend off screen.  In the sequel Penguin put missiles on penguins to make them into kamikazes.  Many viewers find this dark, but others find it funny.

Batman Returns along with Batman are among the films I annually watch.  it depends on the year witch one I prefer partly, because they each give something different while still feeling like they are portraying the same Batman and Gotham.  One focuses on Batman and feels like he fights goofy  yet killer clowns, and the other focuses on normal people and have Batman face off against killer yet goofy clowns.

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