Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Batman Returns is the second Batman movie starring Michael Keaton as Batman. This time Batman has to stop Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Max Shreck, played by Christopher Walken, and The Penguin, played by Danny DeVito. It was released in theaters on June 19, 1992, and directed by Tim Burton. The score by Danny Elfman creates Gothic atmosphere by combining strings and children's choruses.
In 1992, as part of the publicity campaign to promote the movie, Warner Bros. produced the animated series Batman: The Animated Series. This movie, as its predecessor, was a huge success, although some fans complained it was "too weird". Film critic Leonard Maltin accused Batman Returns of being a "nasty, nihilistic, nightmare movie" with a dark, mean-spirited, and often incoherent screenplay.
It is Christmas in Gotham City. A twisted penguin-man, the heir of the aristocratic Cobblepot family, abandoned to the sewers by his parents shortly after birth, is determined to regain his birthright.
- "I was their number one son, but they treated me like number two." -The Penguin, after visiting his parents' graves
Max Shreck, a corrupt self-made millionaire, wants to build a giant energy-stockpiling capacitor (disguised as a new power plant) for Gotham City as a legacy for his son to inherit, but is stymied in his goals by Bruce Wayne and the Mayor of Gotham City.
Abducted by the Penguin's Red Triangle Circus gang, Shreck agrees to help the Penguin re-enter normal society and ease his acceptance by the surface world. Once the Penguin's tragic story wins over Gotham City, Shreck encourages him to run for Mayor, confident that he can be more easily manipulated than the current Mayor to approve his "power plant".
In order to replace the current Mayor, the people of Gotham must lose faith in his ability to keep order. The Penguin's Red Triangle Circus provides the necessary emergency, with the help of Selina Kyle, Schreck's harassed secretary - nearly killed by her boss when she uncovered his plans for the capacitor and revived as Catwoman, a sexy vinyl-costumed criminal, she also has a love/hate relationship with Bruce Wayne as Selina and the Batman as Catwoman. It is left up to the Batman to stop the riots, expose Schreck's schemes, and save Selina from herself. He must also contend with the Penguin's horrific true motivations for returning to the surface world.
In an earlier version of the script, Harvey Dent was set to appear in the movie, played by the same actor as in the first movie, Billy Dee Williams. He was going to be used in the Max Shreck role, and the scarring of his face (which would turn him into the villain Two-Face) was set to happen during the finale when Catwoman kisses him while holding onto the Penguin's generator. (This would then, in turn, set up the third movie, in which Two-Face was going to appear as the main villain.)
This is the second time Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito were in the move together. Their first movie was Johnny Dangerously .
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