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Batman Returns writer says movie “wasn’t respected” when it came out

Daniel Waters, the writer of Batman Returns, has said that the Christmas movie didn't get much respect back in 1992 when it was released

Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns

We all acknowledge that Batman Returns is a gothic masterpiece within the wider DCEU, right? It’s an ideal Christmas movie for anyone who lives life a little darker than normal. The thriller movie‘s writer says such respect wasn’t always placed on the film, and it opened to a muted reception.


Daniel Waters, who wrote the screenplay for Batman Returns, told Vulture that in 1992 people weren’t so keen on Tim Burton’s sequel. “I think now – especially since the 2022 Batman came out, which I quite enjoyed – people are coming around to Batman Returns,” he says. “Not that it wasn’t respected when it came out, but it’s never been popular with true Batman fans.”

Waters goes on to state that he believes it might be the film for people who really don’t like the dark knight much at all. “A friend, fellow screenwriter Josh Olson, who wrote A History of Violence, has a line: ‘Batman Returns is a movie for people who hate Batman’. I accept that criticism,” he says.

True, as a Batman movie, Batman Returns is perhaps a little out of leftfield. There’s not a lot of action in it, neither Bruce Wayne nor the big, bad, bat are in it all that much, and the dark, playful tone is at odds with the grim drama that was happening in the comics.

However, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s Penguin are both incredible performances, from actors who went all-in on director Tim Burton’s circus vibe. Combined with Michael Keaton’s Batman and Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, it’s a distinct take on Gotham that hasn’t been rivalled since.