Tim Burton’s second film outing exploring Gotham City’s Caped Crusader is once again long on annoying guest villains and short on the main character. Though cheerfully absent of the destructive narcissism of a particular Nicholson, the film is a seamless continuation of the first film’s few strengths but an escalation of it’s more gratingly unnecessary flaws. In this installment, Batman is faced with two different costumed foes: a mutant Penguin and Catwoman; played respectively by a typically scene chewing (and drooling) Danny DeVito and a sumptuously playful Michele Pfeiffer. Again, Gotham City seems suspiciously underpopulated, as if the film’s budget didn’t extend beyond needlessly busy art direction to suit Burton’s (by now) tiresome visual scheme. It all begins well until the forced mechanics of cartoon villainy undercut the deliberate solemnity of the portrayal of the film’s hero.
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