"It's better than the two movies that would follow it. Duh."
Here's where things started to go wrong.There's another review that states that Batman is a kids' comic.
Batman hasn't really been a kids' comic since the 1960's, when the TV show was on. Batman comics of the 80's and 90's (especially the 80's, with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns) are grim and gritty. But that's neither here nor there, because this isn't really about the comics.
Batman Returns was flawed from the inception. Whereas the first Batman had one villain, the Joker, Batman Returns (where did he go?) had two, the Penguin (Danny Devito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfieffer). The movie immediately loses sight of not only Batman (Michael Keaton) but the Bruce Wayne alter ego as well. The focus lies on the villains, and that's where the fault lies. The Penguin is more a grotesque, tragic figure than a supervillain, and Catwoman seems more of a fetishist with a thing for felines than the cat burglar that her original origin states she is.
But that never really mattered to the filmmakers or the Warner Brothers brass. Batman Returns was just the next stage in the franchise, the next wave of merchendising. And it didn't quite live up to expectations. Families were turned off by a film that's much more violent, more kinky (grown men and women in rubber suits licking each other's faces isn't exactly normal), than its predacessor, and purists thought it was a terrible adaptation.
That's not to say it's a bad movie (it's really cool to look at in terms of sets and design), but it certainly was a step in the wrong direction that ultimately led to the wretched excesses of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Villains became the focus, and that was a mistake, because it became less about the character of Batman and more about the over the top performances for the bad guys. And that's too bad, because this is where the franchise first stumbled and never really recovered.And Christopher Walken was annoying. A lot.