Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is the second installment of Warner Bros.' initial Batman film series, with Michael Keaton reprising the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film, produced by Denise Di Novi and Burton, also stars Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
In 1953, District Attorney Tucker Cobblepot and his wife Esther gave birth to a deformed infant child named Oswald. Fearing that Oswald would become a menace to society after he ate their cat, they throw him into the Gotham River. Due to buoyancy, the basket containing Oswald floated into an abandoned zoo and a rookery of penguins begin to raise him as one of their one.
In 1992, during the Christmas season, Oswald had grown up to become a kingpin known as the Penguin and he was meeting with rising mob boss Sal Maroni in the sewers. Maroni was the owner of a small restaurant. He wanted to take control of the criminal underworld in Gotham City, however, standing in his way was Gillian B. Loeb, the corrupt police commissioner who acted more like a politician than a cop. Maroni was losing funds to buy what he needed for his restaurant because of Loeb dismantling his operations. Maroni couldn’t buy a reverse catalyst to prevent food from rotting, and a food additive called papain, which would be considered a catalyst, to make the meat he had tasted better. Penguin who have the Red Triangle Gang, a group of carnival performers, commit crimes for Maroni in exchange for money and food from his restaurant. However, Maroni had a better gift for Penguin, he gave him incriminating evidence that he gathered on Loeb.
At City Hall, Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb is proposing new policies, though he is opposed by Mayor Hamilton Hill. Loeb enraged that he and Hill were having a disagreement for the first time, began secretly a ballerina he had attached to an old music box. Loeb then started to calm down and become polite to everyone. However, Hill and the city council saw with Loeb did and was disturbed by his behavior. Suddenly, Deputy Commissioner Arnold Flass arrived telling everyone it was time for Hill to present an award to Loeb for reducing Gotham City’s crime rate. When leaving, Loeb threatened to have Hill no longer be mayor by revealing that he made several police officers sign a petition for a reelection. However, Hill just laughed at Loeb saying that there was no reason for a reelection to occur. When Loeb is being given an award by Hill for reducing Gotham City's crime rate, Gotham is attacked by the Red Triangle Circus Gang. Despite the efforts of Batman to stop the violence after being summoned by Flass, Loeb is abducted and taken to the sewer, where he meets the Penguin at the Arctic Zoo. Using the evidence given to him by Maroni, Penguin blackmails Loeb into helping become a respected citizen. The evidence Penguin had was on Loeb dumping toxic waste into the sewers, the human remains that Loeb flushed down the toilet of the previous police commissioner Atkins, and documents from Maroni proving that Loeb has been accepting payments from the late Carl Grissom. Loeb agreed to help Penguin on condition that they helped each other and Penguin agreed.
After Loeb’s shy and timid secretary, Selina Kyle, discovered her boss’ corruption on his computer, Loeb pushed her out the office window. Flass saw the whole thing and smiled saying that Selina committed suicide from stress, and the two men started to pretend that happened. Selina layed unconscious in an alley, a group of cats swarm around her and she began to regain consciousness. Selina began to develop Dissociative Identity Disorder and fashioned a black vinyl costume and a whip, becoming Cat-Woman. Loeb arranged for one of Penguin’s men to kidnap Mayor Hill’s infant son Jordan, allowing Penguin to "rescue" him. As a reward, Penguin was given access to the Gotham City Archives, where he learned his real name and that he was the last surviving member of his family.
Batman's alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, voices his suspicions about Oswald's true motives and investigates his background and connection to the Red Triangle Gang. During a meeting with Loeb, Wayne meets Kyle and the two become attracted to one another. In order to remove his enemies, Loeb pushes for Oswald to run for Mayor and discredit Hill by having the Red Triangle Gang wreak havoc on the city. Batman intervenes and meets Catwoman as she causes an explosion in the police building that Loeb has an office at. Cat-Woman escapes, but is injured and swears revenge on Batman by allying with Oswald to frame him for an undiscussed crime.
Loeb starts to become suspicious of Selina when Selina came back to work feigning amnesia and ordered Flass to spy on her. Flass agrees to because he and Loeb were family due to Loeb’s nephew marrying Flass’ sister. Selina captures Flass and makes him call Loeb telling him that she’s clean and that he will be leaving town for a few days. Afterwards, Selina kills Flass by drowning him in cement, an inorganic substance that Selina had a large quantity of in her possession.
Bruce and Selina entered into a romantic relationship. Oswald abducts Gotham's Ice Princess and kills her, framing Batman for the act, at the same time sabotaging his Batmobile to rampage throughout Gotham until Batman disconnects the device with help from Dick Grayson, a teenage African-American garage mechanic with Chris Rock outbursts and a vigilante wannabee. his partnership with Catwoman, who didn't anticipate the murder, when she rejects his marriage proposal; he attempts to kill her with one of his flying umbrellas, but she survives after falling into a greenhouse. When Dick and Batman are being pursued by Lieutenant Eddie Bullock and the GCPD, he records Oswald's disparaging remarks about the people of Gotham and later plays them during Oswald's next speech, destroying his image and forcing him to retreat to the sewer, where he reveals his plan to abduct and kill all of Gotham's firstborn sons as revenge for what his parents did to him.
At a ball Bruce hosts to keep up with appearances, Bullock confronts Loeb demanding to know if he was working with Penguin. Loeb refuses to confirm or deny anything and threatens Bullock's career. Bruce and Selina meet and discover each other's secret identities. As Bruce and Selina are prepared to fight each other, Penguin crashed the party revealing his plan to drown the kidnapped children in a vat of toxic waste, including Loeb. Batman defeats the kidnappers and Penguin unleashes an army of penguin soldiers to destroy Gotham with missiles. Dick redirects the penguins to fire on Penguin’s hideout and the penguins literally chase Dick as he runs over there. Penguin attacks Batman in rage but was assaulted by bats causing him to fall into the toxic water.
Catwoman ambushes Loeb in an attempt to kill him, but Batman stops her and unmasked himself. Catwoman removes her own mask when she rejects Bruce’s attempt to reason with her. Loeb uses a gun to shoot Bruce and Selina, removing a number of her “nine lives”, but runs out of ammunition. Putting a taser to his lips, Selina kisses Loeb while grabbing an exposed power cable, electrocuting him. Bruce uncoverers Loeb’s corpse while digging through the rubble in an attempt to find Selina. Rising from the water, Penguin attempted to kill Bruce with an umbrella but died from his injuries. His penguin family began to carry out a makeshift funeral.
In the aftermath, Bullock becomes the new police commissioner and declares a manhunt on Batman. Maroni becomes pleased because with Gillian B. Loeb and Arnold Flass gone, no one will oppose him in his quest to control the criminal underworld. As Lucius is driving Bruce home, Bruce sees Catwoman’s shadow in an alleyway. Lucius stops the car and Bruce find Selina’s pet cat, Miss Kitty. He picks it up and decides to take it with him after realizing that this was Selina’s intention. Catwoman is then watching Bruce leave with Ms. Kitty with a look of sadness on her face.
- Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Danny Devito as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman / Selina Kyle
- Pat Corley as Commissioner Eddie Bullock
- Christopher Walken as Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb
- Michael Murphy as Mayor Hamilton Hill
- Vincent Schiavelli as The Organ Grinder
- Andrew Bryniarski as Deputy Commissioner Arnold Flass
- Cristi Conaway as The Ice Princess
- Marlon Wayans as Dick Grayson
- Rick Zumwalt as The Tattooed Strongman
- Anna Katarina as The Poodle Lady
- Paul Reubens as District Attorney Tucker Cobblepot
- Diane Salinger as Esther Cobblepot
- Ray Liotta as Salvatore Maroni
- Richard Roundtree as Lucius Fox