My top 20 Comic Book films-9-Batman Returns

I did my top 20 horror and SF films last year, and found doing the lists to be more fun than expected, so in a massive bit of logic here’s my top 20 films adapted or inspired from comics. I need to point out I mean comics, not ‘superhero comics’ which is a lazy, and incorrect way to describe a wonderfully varied medium and it’d also cut out some bloody good films!

Previously, in this list at #20, X Men19The Crow18Heavy Metal, 17, Spider Man ,16The Avengers, 15Danger: Diabolik, 14The Dark Knight Trilogy , 13A History of Violence12Kick Ass , 11,Spider Man 2 and 10, Barbarella.

At #9 it’s a film from when Tim Burton made good and interesting films, it’s Batman Returns.


This is the sequel to Burton’s first Batman film (more of which later on this list) and it’s also the film which showed that violence, sexual deviance and penguins can make a summer blockbuster.  It’s also only nominally a Batman film, as it’s really the story of The Penguin and Catwoman, with Batman popping up every now and then to justify it being a Batman film, though it does spend a lot of time concentrating on Michelle Pfeiffer in a skintight suit, which can’t all be bad.

Batman Returns is also one of the few times either in the comics or in the mainstream that the bizarre sexuality of people dressing in rubber to fight, or commit crime, then there’s Danny De Vito’s grotesque Penguin which is still one of the sickest villains in a summer blockbuster made for all the family you’ll see.

It’s not a perfect Batman film, that’s still waiting to be made, but it’s a great Batman film with Michael Keaton again showing that he’s a perfect bit of casting as Bruce Wayne/Batman, except he’s underused as Burton concentrates on the villains, which includes a great panto turn from Christopher Walken as well as the previously mentioned two baddies. It doesn’t manage to capture the lightening of the first Burton film, but then again, few films over the last 25 years have, but again, I’ll get back to the first Burton Batman film soon enough….

So, Batman Returns. Great fun, some dodgy penguins, rubber suits, and mentally scarring violence. A great kids film all round!

Next time, more mutant fun and games…