in 1989 , tim burton took the legendary comic book figure of batman and turned him into a huge box office hit with an atmospheric little film that created an utterly distinct feeling somewhere between film noir and the godfather .
was it " deep " ?
however it was a perfect entertainment and the audience ate it up .
it was natural that roger ebert trashed it writing that it was " without the comic book uplift " of the indiana jones and superman pictures .
which was true .
if what you were looking for was the tale of a heroic man's escadapes and adventures you were looking in the wrong place .
if those films were tom sawyer , then batman was huckleberry finn .
some critics ( glenn lovell of the san jose mercury news and peter travers of rolling stone ) realized that it was something special ; mr . lovell gave it * * * 1/2 and wrote that " this is batman as batman should be . " ;
mr . travers called it one of the ten best films of the year .
the praise was deserved - from start to finish the film was enthralling , exciting , and superb in every respect .
there was no doubt that there would be a sequel directed by burton .
the result was batman returns which forgets that it wants to be fun within the first five minutes .
the villains ( the hideous penguin and seductive catwoman ) take over , and our epectations are always left unfulfilled - when we wanted the penguin to bite off batman's nose he simply gets mad , and when we want catwoman to slither over batman's body she gets pushed off a building .
i admire mr . burton for trying to do more then entertain , but the result is a mess .
nothing works out as planned - it fails both to entertain and to enlighten .
hints are made to the audience that this film could be a blast .
alas , these are only hints .
there are , don't misunderstand me , several moments of cinematic genuis contained ; catwoman and batman understand eachother perfectly without a word on the subject being said ; christopher lloyd is trapped , by the penguin , within a giant cage ; a small basket is dropped into a large river ; but nothing is drawn together and burton is unable to make the film work on any regular basis .
a weak followup , both career and sequel wise , batman returns is sometimes dazzling , but to often dissapointing .