Before I talk about the plot of the movie, YES, this counts as a Christmas movie! It takes place on Christmas; there's a giant Christmas tree; there's snow everywhere; the villain is a Penguin; and the film itself has dark twisted Christmas look and feel. So yeah, it's technically a Christmas movie. This movie is something that people either really love, really hate, or have mixed reactions. It seems pretty obvious that I'm probably going to give this film, the love or hate rating, but what are my thoughts on this movie? What do I think are the films hits, and misses? Well, keep in my mind, this is all opinion, and believe me, I'm sure half of you out there are not going to agree with me. Enough, wasting time on this introduction; An evil business man named Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) helps The Penguin (Danny Devito) become Mayor of Gotham so he can make it into a criminals paradise, along with the help of Catwoman (Michele Phiffer). It is now up to Batman (Michael Keaton) to foil the criminals’scheme, and save Gotham.
Before I talk about Batman, the villains, and the action, I'm going to talk about the films look. While the film does look cool, dark, twisted, and Gothic, mixed all together with the films Christmas look and feel, it for the most part looks extremely different to Gotham City in the previous film. Don't get me wrong, the original film looked very Burtonish as well, but it also managed to look like a comic-book at the same time. This film's look is way too Burtonish looking, than it does carry a comic-book look and feel like the previous film. I personally don't mind it, because as I said earlier, it looks really cool and dark, but with that said, it does at times feel very out of place and even at times distracting, especially when comparing it to the first movie. The Score by Danny Elfman, is just as big and epic as the first film, and since this is a Christmas movie, he creates a dark and twisted, yet whimsical Christmas feel.
One of the many complaints that I hear about this movie is Batman is barley in it, and that the film focus's more on the villains, than it does Batman. In all honesty, I strongly disagree with that! I think Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne have a decent amount of screen-time. In fact, I think both identities get the same amount of screen-time as they did in the first movie. When you really think about it, in the first movie, we spend most of the time with The Joker, than we do with Batman, we actually see more of him as Bruce Wayne. Personally I didn't mind that all, because we get to sympathize with Bruce Wayne; we get to have fun with the villain; and when Bruce dresses up as Batman and starts fighting crime, we get an overly large amount of kickass action, from a very badass performance. For me, the less that these films show Batman, the more kickass and intimidating he is, and when you have great supporting characters, villains, and a secret identity to work with, it can be plausible. Getting to Keaton's performance, he's just as cool, smart, and intimidating as Batman as he was in the first film; and as Bruce Wayne he's just interesting, subtle, and tragic, as we saw him in the last movie as well.
The action sequences in this movie are just as awesome as it was in the first movie. The editing, choreography, and sound effects are all kickass! Most of the fights that take place in the movie are the fights between him and Catwoman, and the Penguins circus henchman, and man are they cool. While Batman has confrontations with The Penguin, he doesn't really fight him; he mostly just uses his brains and technical equipment to foil his plans, which is highly amusing. The gadgets that Batman carries in this film are really cool; the BatCave looks twice as amazing as it did in the first film; and the BatMobile is still just awesome as it was in the first film, as well as carrying new features. In fact, there's a sequence when The Penguin controls the BatMobile, and while being campy and goofy at times from Devito's performance, and the fact that he's controlling it from a Kiddie Ride of the BatMobile (where the hell did he get that from), its still a cool sequence and suspenseful sequence, and in all honesty, the campyness of the scene personally didn't bother me at all, because it has a good balance of camp, humor, suspense and action, much like the scenes with The Joker in the first film. Another thing people complain about is Batman kills people, when in most comics, films, and TV Shows he doesn't. I can see why people would get offended by that, but I personally don't mind it. None of the two films gave him a rule or established for him not to kill criminals, especially when considering that these two films are a different series and look on Batman. Also, he doesn't kill every criminal he encounters; he usually does that as a last resort. Hell, he even killed people in the original comics, so why are people complaining about it now, especially for the fact that his not to kill people code was never developed in these two films. People, especially parents hate the use of gore in the film, and I don't blame them! It doesn't bother me as much like the many people and critics who attack this film, but at times it doesn't feel needed, and is a bit out of place, not only for a Batman film, but the fact that there wasn't as much blood and gore in the previous film.
Finally, there's Christophere Walken as the scheming businessman Max Schreck, who of course is named after the actor who played "Nosferatu". First off, it’s Christopher Walken, who always does any entertaining job in any film he's in, and seeing him play a Batman villain that was made specifically for the film is great. He's dark, he's greedy, he's classy, he's funny, and carries the Walken trademarks that we know and love. When you really think about it, he's the films main villain. He creates Catwoman; uses The Penguin for his selfish needs; murders people that get in his way; and even tries to murder Batman. However, I do like that there's a bit of a carrying side to his character. He'll give up his own life for his son, and when he hears about The Penguins plan of killing babies, he seems concerned that his plan might succeed. But there are a few issues I have with this character. He has a scheme of sucking the energy from Gotham with a new Power Plant, but sadly that's ignored half-way through the movie. Also if you’re wondering where Harvey Dent is, who had a big supporting role in the last film, he was ignored and replaced by Walken's character.
While, I really enjoy this film despite the issues I have with it, I still don't think it's a masterpiece or as great as the first film. It’s definitely not as bad as the Schumacher films, but it does indeed have many things that people will either love or hate.
OVERALL ON TIM BURTON'S BATMAN MOVIES
The first film (In my opinion) is a comic-book film masterpiece, while the second film is full of things good and bad. Michael Keaton as Batman and Bruce Wayne, is perfect for the roles with the emotional subtlety and intimidating approach in both films. His love interests Vicki Vale, and Catwoman are very interesting characters, and do have an engaging relationship with our main hero. Jack Nicholson as The Joker is fun and sadistic, and while DeVito as The Penguin is that too, his character and behaviors are exaggerated to the point where it’s gross and at times unnecessary. The films look and styles may not completely match both films, but it's still dark, creative, edgy, and surreal enough to suck you in, as well as being the first dark film take on Batman which inspired filmmakers and animators to go further with it. The action scenes are all great, and do bring a lot of thrill and excitement. Aside from Alfred, most of the supporting characters are sadly forgettable, downplayed, or forgotten in the two films, not to say that I don't remember most of them, they just don't leave a big impact on you (especially Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent). While it is my second favorite Batman series of all time, I simply can't give it a 5/5 because of the many mixed reactions that many people including myself have with these films, especially the second movie. However, I still think the Burton films are great enough to get my second best rating.
RATING FOR THE BURTON FILMS 4/5