Michael Keaton Batman Sequel Trends Christmas Weekend
A few weeks ago, we put up a poll whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and many of you had strong opinions to share about that. Around the same time, we put up another poll as to whether or not 1992's Batman Returns is a Christmas movie, as well. In regards to the Tim Burton classic, the results were much closer. Based on the people who commented and reached out, a little under 60% believed that it was, while a little more than 40% believed that it wasn't. Most of the responses were simply just "yes" or "no," so there wasn't anything too exciting to share at the time.
But now, anyone who believed that Batman Returns is a Christmas movie is vindicated! Comicbook reports that the Michael Keaton helmed Batman sequel was trending this past weekend as fans flocked to watch as a part of their Christmas festivities. Despite this being Burton and Keaton's final Batman movie, DC Comics recently awakened this continuity for the Batman '89 comic book series. This year, Danny DeVito, who played Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, also wrote a short Penguin story which was published in a DC Comics Anthology. Tim Burton is no stranger to dark Christmas movies, with writing and producing The Nightmare Before Christmas. Michael Keaton, too, went on to make another Christmas movie with Jack Frost.
One of the arguments that people give to movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Batman Returns is that just because it takes place during Christmas time, that doesn't mean it is a Christmas movie. I may argue that the holiday plays a crucial role in each film, but for now, we are only discussing Batman Returns.
The film starts off with a tree lighting ceremony in Gotham. What says Christmas besides a tree lighting ceremony? Immediately, we are aware of the seasonal setting. Later, Max Shreck starts a campaign for Oswald Cobblepot to become mayor. Cobblepot makes a clear remark of the time of year stating the campaign as absurd. Then who can forget when the Ice Princess was kidnapped? The Ice Princess was a Christmas-themed beauty queen who was honored with the role of switching on Gotham City's Christmas lights during the annual tree lighting ceremony. Once The Penguin was ratted out by Batman, he plots to kidnap and kill all of Gotham's first born sons, a direct reference to the Biblical story of when Herod ordered that all boys under 2 years old around the town of Bethlehem were to be killed at the time of Jesus' birth. Not long after, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle meet up at a holiday masquerade ball. Even at the very end of the film, when Bruce rescues a stray cat on the street, Alfred and Bruce share this exchange:
Alfred Pennyworth: Well come what may. Merry Christmas, Mr. Wayne.
Bruce Wayne: Merry Christmas, Alfred. Good will towards men... and women.
And who can forget the iconic line,
"Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it, but a kiss could be deadlier if you mean."
How beautifully chilling! Batman Returns may not the jolliest nor the brightest of Christmas movies, but that does not take away the role Christmas plays in the setting and plot of the film. The movie is here for the gothic noir lover, the action fan, and even the hopeless romantic as it weaves in elements of political corruption, personal identity, heroics, love and loss all with the spirit of Christmas.