mike@projection-booth.com mike@projection-booth.com

December 30, 2014

Episode 199: Batman Returns (1992)

Special Guests: Daniel Waters, Sam Hamm, Mark Reinhart
Guest Co-Host: Mark Gledhill

In this special year-end episode, we're looking at Batman, focusing especially on Tim Burton's Batman Returns. We're joined by Mark Gledhill of Comic Book Consideration to discuss The Bat (Michael Keaton), The Cat (Michelle Pfeiffer), and The Penguin (Danny DeVito).

Our special guests include screenwriters Sam Hamm (Batman, The Watchmen, Never Cry Wolf, Monkeybone) and Daniel Waters (Batman Returns, Heathers, Vampire Academy) along with writer Mark Reinhart (The Batman Filmography).

Listen/Download Now:

Buy Batman Return on Blu-Ray
Buy Batman: Blind Justice by Sam Hamm
Buy The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
Buy Batman: Year One by Frank Miller
Buy The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
Buy The Batman Filmography by Mark S. Reinhart
Visit Comic Book Consideration
Read about Cultural Allusions in Batman Returns
Is Batman Returns an Anti-Semitic Allegory?
Read about The 7 best unproduced Batman screenplays (and what happened)
Listen to Mike talk about Tim Burton on Geek Juice Media
Listen to Daniel Waters on our Adventures of Ford Fairlane episode

"Batman (Main Title)" - Danny Elfman
"Birth of a Penguin" - Danny Elfman
"Face to Face" - Siouxsie & The Banshees
"I'm Bane" - Auralnauts
"Bat Dance" - Prince


The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.


  1. Just now catching up on this - as a big Batman fan I was really happy it was such a mega-episode (4 hours!) and it was terrific as always. A couple things I'd like to add; I was surprised there wasn't more overt praise from you all for Michelle Pfeiffer - she's simply transcendent and easily matches (and bests to my mind) Danny Devito's masterful work (not to mention Walken and Keaton's fine work).

    Secondly, to the point of Batman killing people - again, as a big Batman fan I just find it intellectually and philosophically dishonest. It seems to me when a character whose entire psychological makeup and direction of his life is blamed on the casually cruel and unnecessary killing of his parents is presented as being quite cavalier about killing people himself without at least some guilt/hesitation/regret you've got a disconnect that feels cheap. I'm not against Batman being disturbed enough to be that person but I don't feel like that's the Batman we're given in Burton's films; we're supposed to know that he's basically a troubled but good guy. I just think that guy would have to wonder if the henchmen he killed had children of their own who might be just as damaged as he was. I realize that I'm very possibly over-thinking this but I do feel like they want to have their psychologically damaged cake and eat it, too.

    Regardless, I loved the episode and find much to enjoy about all the Batman films (yes, even Schumacher's - if you have any affection for the 60's TV series, how can you not?)...keep up the great work!

  2. I agree with EJ re: Batman's killing. Yes, characters change over time - but yall said it in the pod: They *evolve* over time. Randomly and joyously killing a thug is NOT an evolution of character for Batman. It's one thing to take liberties with a character as you translate and interpret, but you can't change a fundamental core of his emotional makeup. (Imagine if Lin-Manuel Miranda did a production of "Lincoln" that included him whipping slaves while whistling Dixie...)

    One thing you missed in the pod is how totally awesome (like 13 on a scale of 1 to 10) the introductory shots are of Keaton, as he sees and responds to the Batsignal in the opening.

    And even in 92, I saw a lot of Donald Trump in how Walken played Shreck - his final line ("Selina - you're fired!") is now classic.

    Lastly - I don't know who the kid from Toronto was on your podcast, but I hope you never let him talk about anything ever again. He was useless. His opinions were barely formed, his facts were either missing or just wrong.

  3. Daniel Waters is a good writer but doesn't come off as a nice guy, the way he talks about the first movie or Sam Hamm's work. He's not right when he talks the way "he" wrote the first scene of his draft with the whole batmania going in Gotham, since this scene was already in Sam Hamm's draft of Batman 2!

    1. Sam Hamm, Warren Skkaren, Daniel Waters, Wesley Strick, Lee and Janet Scott Batchler, and Akiva Goldsman were the greatest writers that worked on the four original Batman films directed by Tim Burton and his friend Joel Schumacher.