Having defeated the Joker, Batman now faces the Penguin - a warped and deformed individual who is intent on being accepted into Gotham society. Crooked businessman Max Schreck is coerced into helping him become Mayor of Gotham and they both attempt to expose Batman in a different light. Selina Kyle, Show more... Max's secretary, is thrown from the top of a building and is transformed into Catwoman - a mysterious figure who has the same personality disorder as Batman. Batman must attempt to clear his name, all the time deciding just what must be done with the Catwoman.
Jay Carr Batman Returns is the rarest of Hollywood beasts -- a sequel that's better than the original
Richard Corliss Burton, once an animator at Disney, understands that to go deeper, you must fly higher, to liberation from plot into poetry. Here he's done it. This Batman soars.
Terrence Rafferty As in the first movie, Burton gives the material a luxurious masked-ball quality and a sly contemporary wit without violating the myth's low, cheesy comic-book origins.
Jay Boyar Burton and company return to the prickly humor that gave such a jolt to the earlier film -- frequently finding it in unexpected places.
Gene Siskel This time the richness of the Batman movie is not in its production design but rather in Burton's and screenwriter Daniel Waters' Freudian view of adult human behavior.
David Ansen Something about the filmmaker's eccentric, surreal, childlike images seems to strike a deep chord in the mass psyche: he makes nightmares that taste like candy.
Jonathan Rosenbaum More of the same, but nowhere near as good (funny, disturbing, obsessive) as the uneven original, revealing arrested development on every level.
Todd McCarthy Where Burton's ideas end and those of his collaborators begin is impossible to know, but result is a seamless, utterly consistent universe full of nasty notions about societal deterioration, greed and other base impulses.
Geoff Andrew Bigger, louder, more relentlessly action-packed than its predecessor, Batman Returns batters its audience into submission.
Peter Travers Burton uses the summer's most explosively entertaining movie to lead us back into the liberating darkness of dreams.
Rita Kempley Like a hyperactive 11-year-old, the director seems both uncomfortable with adult emotions and unable to focus on the overall portrait.
Desson Thomson Comes closer than ever to Bob Kane's dark, original strip, which began in 1939.