Burton's second and final foray into the Batman series is a rare example of a sequel outdoing the original. Darker in tone than Batman, and decidedly kinkier, this sequel—set with Gotham in all of its wintery, blighted creepiness—introduces two of the most memorable villains in caped crusader's long history. With deformed hands like fleshy lobster-claws, translucently pale skin, and an oddly-shaped, lumpy body, the Penguin (De Vito) works as a pawn of the megalomaniacal Max Shreck (Walken). A vixen with metal claws and a form-fitting PVC suit, Catwoman (Pfeiffer) has a vague desire to destroy Batman while acting out her sexual frustrations by climbing walls and snapping a leather whip. With a richly sardonic script by Heathers screenwriter Daniel Walters, Batman Returns offers blockbuster spectacle through a glass darkly. "A moody, grotesque, perversely funny $50 million art film… 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… Burton's theme in Batman Returns is the masks people wear to hide their divided hearts. He's never seen Batman as a conventional heroic figure, which is why Keaton, with his clamped-down instability, is so right for the part. Now Burton's given this borderline schizoid an equally unsettled love interest… you never know where this brooding, satirical, prodigiously imaginative movie may turn."—David Ansen, Newsweek.
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID. | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.