Batman Returns Was Almost A Biting Superhero Satire

While “Batman Returns” features several villains from the comics, Daniel Waters admitted that he and Tim Burton never strived to make the film faithful to the source material. He said they weren’t entrenched in the lore and didn’t fully grasp the concept of comic books. “It was a weird assignment in that I didn’t need to please anyone but Tim Burton,” Waters told IndieWire. “Before the internet, you didn’t have to go before a tribunal and say what you were doing — it was just two guys in a room riffing. We didn’t know s*** about Batman villains. We didn’t really understand the whole comic book thing. I just found out DC Comics stands for Detective Comics.”

The comments might seem surprising at first glance. Still, considering Burton’s story choices in the first two “Batman” films, it’s pretty clear the talented director didn’t believe following the comics was needed in most cases. In the first film, The Joker was given the real name Jack Napier, and in the second, Burton and Waters introduced an original villain in Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) who doesn’t appear in the comics. However, it’s clear that Burton tried to maintain the comic book aesthetic, even if his plot deviated from the source material, especially when embracing its sillier origins.

Despite the lack of meta-commentary on “Batman” and all those deviations from the comics, it’s hard to argue with the results of “Batman Returns” on the big screen. Indeed, Keaton made the right call in asking for the satire to be cut, as the film’s opening turned out just fine.

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