Film and Plot Synopsis
In Batman Returns, Batman is back, but this time he has double the amount of chaos. A power mad millionaire tries to take political control of Gotham City by any means necessary. When the mysterious Penguin rises from the depths of the sewers to join him, they maybe too much for the caped crusader. Things change when the dangerous, but alluring Catwoman joins the fray and appears to be on no one’s side. Will Batman be able to stop three villains at once?
‘Batman Returns’ Movie Summary
Thirty-three years later, millionaire Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) seeks to build a power plant to supply Gotham with energy for years to come. Shreck’s plan is opposed by the mayor of Gotham (Michael Murphy) who insists that Gotham has a power surplus. The two men recess from their negotiations to give a speech at the lighting of the Christmas tree in Gotham Square. During Shreck’s speech, the Red Triangle Gang attacks the crowd and cause mayhem and destruction. Shreck is kidnapped by the gang during the attack. Batman (Michael Keaton) arrives and stops the Red Triangle Gang and saves many Gotham citizens, including Shreck’s meek secretary Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Shreck is taken deep into the sewer where he meets the leader of the Red Triangle Gang, an adult Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito). Cobblepot is still highly deformed and goes by the name of Penguin. Penguin wants to reemerge into Gotham society and blackmails Shreck into helping him ascend to his rightful place as a Cobblepot.
Meanwhile, Selina discovers that Shreck’s proposed power plant is designed to drain Gotham of its energy which would bring the city under his control. Shreck pushes Selina out a window after learning of Selina’s discovery. Selina survives the fall, but her personality has been altered. She vows revenge against those who harmed her and makes a leather costume for herself, calling herself Catwoman.
A few days later, the Red Triangle Gang kidnaps the mayor’s baby at a press conference, and in a ruse, Penguin saves the baby, reemerging to the surface world as a hero. Penguin requests to be able to access the Hall of Records to find out who his birth parents are. Batman is suspicious of Penguin and does not believe that he is actually looking for his birth parents, although he is not sure what he is doing. He investigates the history of the Red Triangle Gang and learns that they all used to work in the same circus together before it was shut down due to allegations of missing children. The reports also indicate that one of the acts was an aquatic bird boy.
Batman meets with Shreck as Bruce Wayne. Bruce and Shreck take opposing positions on the power plane proposal, but before the two men’s tempers get the better of them, Selina interrupts the meeting and distracts both men. Shreck’s wonders why she is alive and Bruce wonders what her number is. Selina escorts Bruce out of the office, and the two express interest in each other.
Shreck wishes to push his power plant through and needs to remove his political enemies to do so. Hoping to trade on Penguin’s popularity, Shreck convinces Penguin to run for mayor. Shreck and Penguin send the Red Triangle Gang out to wreak havoc on the city to create a lack of confidence from the public in the current mayor. Batman intervenes and stops much of the chaos. He encounters Selina as Catwoman as she destroys one of Shreck’s businesses. She fights Batman but escapes after Batman drops her off the side of a building. Shortly thereafter, she approaches Penguin in order to join forces to discredit Batman.
A few days later, Selina and Bruce enjoy a date at Wayne Manor. However, the date is interrupted when Penguin kidnaps Gotham’s Christmas Ice Princess and frames Batman for the crime. Both Batman and Catwoman respond to Gotham City. Batman tries to save the Ice Princess, but Catwoman interferes. Penguin kills the Ice Princess by frightening her off a high roof top, once again framing Batman for the crime. Batman tries to escape Gotham City in his car, but Penguin takes remote control of the batmobile and causes massive damage throughout the city before Batman regains control. Batman records Penguin the entire time he has control of the batmobile.
Penguin retreats to his lair to celebrate with Catwoman. When she rejects his sexual advances, Penguin tries to kill Catwoman, but once again, she survives. The next day, Penguin goes to give a campaign speech, but Batman plays the recording of Penguin from the previous night over the audio system. The recording turns the crowd against Penguin and he once again retreats to the sewer.
Once in the sewer, Penguin renounces his humanity and reveals his true plan to abduct and kill all of Gotham’s firstborn sons as revenge for what his parents did to him. Bruce and Selina accidentally discover each other’s secret identities at Shreck’s charity ball, but they are interrupted by an attack by Penguin before they can figure out what to do. Penguin kidnaps Shreck once again and takes him back down into the sewers.
Batman stops the Red Triangle Gang from kidnapping all the kids, and then goes into the sewer system with his batboat. Penguin uses his army of radio-controlled penguins and threatens to have them launch missiles throughout Gotham; however, Batman and Alfred (Michael Gough) interrupt the signal and send the penguins back into the sewers. Penguin and Batman fight in the now abandoned zoo, and Penguin falls through a window into the penguin enclosure.
Shreck escapes his cell in Penguin’s lair and he is confronted by Catwoman. Shreck recovers a gun from one of Penguin’s dead henchmen and shoots Batman who is trying to stop Catwoman from killing Shreck. Catwoman approaches Shreck who shoots her several times. However, she gets close enough to give him a kiss and electrocutes both Shreck and herself. The sudden jolt of electricity causing an explosion in Penguin’s lair.
Batman desperately sifts through the wreckage looking for Catwoman. He finds Shreck’s dead body, but he does not find Selina. Penguin rises from the water, near death. He sneaks up on Batman and tries to use one of his umbrella weapons to kill the dark knight but grabs the wrong one and dies before he can get another.
The film ends as Bruce and Alfred drive through Gotham shortly before Christmas. Bruce thinks he sees Catwoman in an alley and has Alfred stop. He finds a cat which he picks up and takes home with him. Bruce and Alfred wish each other Merry Christmas as the camera pans to the Gotham sky. The bat signal suddenly lights up the sky, and Catwoman rises into frame.
Additional Film Information
- Batman Returns official website
- Peruse IMDb’s article on Batman Returns
- Learn more Batman Returns information at Wikipedia
- Get Batman Returns numbers at Box Office Mojo
- Find out what people think about Batman Returns at Metacritic
- Read Batman Returns reviews from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes