BATMAN RETURNS: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (@BATMANONFILM)
Date: June 20, 2017
It’s been 25 years since BATMAN RETURNS graced, or disgraced, the silver screen representing Batman, but what is RETURNS's legacy?
For one, it’s certainly the most divisive BATMAN film to date. Yeah, there’s BATMAN v SUPERMAN, but it’s not a “Batman Film,” if you will (though it really is). So we’ll ovoid that debate and tangent into Hell for the sake of this op-ed.
Secondly, it’s truly Tim Burton’s take on Batman and frankly, more of a “Tim Burton film” than it is a “Batman Film.” Burton’s version of Batman was not remotely reflected in BATMAN ’89, so he totally made up for that with BATMAN RETURNS.
Lastly, in regards to legacy and history, BATMAN RETURNS began the domino effect that would eventually lead to BATMAN BEGINS.
My personal relationship with BATMAN RETURNS is, well, complicated. Taking myself back to the early 1990s, my anticipation level for this movie was on par with that for all three of THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY films – except for BATMAN BEGINS. (That’s a WHOLE other story and has a lot to do with me and my BOF.) ANYWAY…
Thinking back to June 19, 1992, what a F’ed up day it was!
I had been anxiously waiting – to say the least – for this movie since BATMAN ’89 hit theaters three years prior. Unfortunately, I was informed the morning of the film’s release (there were no “midnight screenings” back then – you had to wait until 7PM the actual day of release to see a movie), that I had to travel 2 and a half hours out of town.
I was not happy.
(And I shall not reveal the reason for my unexpected trip to Northeast Texas on that day, other than to say that men sometimes make very poor decisions.)
Moving on, I proceeded to bust my rear to get to my destination and try to get back in time for that 7PM screening of BATMAN RETURNS in a Port Arthur Texas theater.
And I made it. Hurrah!
Then I saw BATMAN RETURNS.
No. More like WTF?!
Really? I hauled my ass from Groves Texas up to Nacogdoches and back for this?!
I knew the moment that BATMAN RETURNS opened with a flashback featuring The Cobblepots that I probably wasn’t going to like this film.
After Batman stuck a bomb down that strongman’s pants and blew him to bits – which was after he set a clown on stilts on fire – I was ready to walk the hell OUT.
But I didn’t.
Why? Because I was a “Batman Fan” and Batman fans don’t walk out of a Batman movie dammit!
So, I sat there and endured it through the end – and that’s when I started BS’ing myself and everyone who asked me about BATMAN RETURNS.
“Y’all, it’s awesome, go see it!” I would tell folks as I lied through my teeth…and to myself.
During that Summer of 1992, I wore my BATMAN RETURNS gear (which I believe I had purchased at Wal-Mart) “proudly” and tried to convince myself that it was a good Batman movie.
And then it was released on VHS (that means it was on tape for all you young folk) in October-ish of 1992.
I watched it. I watched it again. In fact, I watched it several times. All those viewings confirmed for me that I was indeed right: BATMAN RETURNS did indeed…suck.
I know that it didn’t suck for all fans. In fact, I know that a lot of kids – adults now – LOVE it. Not only do they love it, but they identified with it on a personal level. Thus, while I don’t like BATMAN RETURNS – and I often give it grief (because it’s fun) – I’ve come to respect the love many people have for it.
BATMAN RETURNS’s place in Batman history is secure…as BATMAN BEGINS’s great-grandfather!
For all of you who love BATMAN RETURNS, happy anniversary!
Now, no more talking about this film for another 25 years. - Bill "Jett" Ramey