Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

What is that title supposed to be referring to within the story?

After all those good intentions last time to make the caped crusader serious again, by the time this sequel got off the ground, it seemed like everyone had realised that Batman works better when it's funny.

(everyone except McDonald's that is, who famously recalled their own Batman Happy Meals for being too dark)

Consequently, this costumed pantomime aims straight for the laughs again, as a cast of truly bizarre loonies take the stage for two hours of over-acting and caricature.

Having been a bit upstaged by Jack Nicholson last time, in this one Michael Keaton gets his rightful top billing, but still graciously accepts his place as part of an ensemble cast.

Joining the human mammal (umm, whatever) is Michelle Pfeiffer as a clutzy Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the squawking Penguin. Talking penguins always mean comedy.

Watching this for the first time tonight, I got the impression that director Tim Burton had really found his ideal angle on this world, mining the characters and set-up not just for their comedy-value, but also their mileage as grotesques.

One minor fumble would have to be Bruce Wayne's well-intentioned line acknowledging Alfred's over-trusting attitude toward Vicki Vale in the last Batman film. This might have been helpful, had it not been accompanied in the same conversation by a new gaff concerning the difficulty of finding a mechanic to repair the Batmobile. If only they knew of someone who had built it in the first place.

'The world's greatest detective' doesn't investigate any circuses for leads on the evil acrobatic clowns. Alright I'm getting picky.

The final panto-moment would have to be the actors in penguin outfits who are playing actual penguins.

Although Prince did not return to produce any more sounds for this outing, I have to wonder whether a suitable successor might have been Mike Batt.

Underground, overground, penguining free...

Tomorrow: Batman Forever!

(available here)
(with thanks to Herschel)

Related reviews:
Batman (1989)
Batman Forever
Batman & Robin

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