Batman Returns (1992)
“I was their number 1 son, and they treated me like number 2.”
— The Penguin (Danny De Vito) recalls his tragic childhood.
Tim Burton and Michael Keaton returned to the franchise with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny De Vito as a deformed, bile-spewing Penguin. Burton gets biblical: The Penguin, rejected in his infancy by his wealthy parents, wants to revenge himself on Gotham City by claiming every first-born child, even as he runs for political office. Meanwhile, Michelle Pfeiffer’s punkish Catwoman pings kinky as she trades blows and provocative glances with Batman. The sequel was so excessive in style and tone, Burton didn’t have anywhere else to take the hero, which unfortunately led to the franchise being placed in unworthy hands ... Arnold Schwarzenegger was top-billed as Mr. Freeze, burbling one horrible pun after another (“Ice to meet you”) while the velvet-voiced George Clooney seemed completely at a loss as he was squeezed into his fetishistic rubbernippled batsuit. If Robin was an unwelcome addition in the previous film, the addition of Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) was positively groan-inducing. The best thing that can be said for it is that it gave Clooney a wealth of selfmocking comedy material for years to come.