THE 25 FILMS OF CHRISTMAS
The countdown of my top Xmas movies ever. Just under a fortnight to go folks.
13 - Batman Returns (1992)
Ok, so Batman and Christmas may not seem like much of a dynamic duo on paper but I’m happy to go out on a limb and say that Batman Returns is the best Christmas action movie not called Die Hard.
Whether they’re overtly festive or not, Tim Burton movies have always seemed a bit Christmassy to me. Maybe it’s his love of snow, gothic whimsy and candy stripes, or just the Danny Elfman score. Whatever it is, Burton and Christmas feel like a match made in heaven and Batman Returns is as seasonal as the director gets.
From the second we see Oswald Cobblepot in a cage in front of an outlandish white Christmas tree, you know this is going to be a far different take on Christmas than we’ve ever seen before.
Christmas comes to Gotham and drenches the place in all the bright, sugarcoated trappings of the season yet there’s always a darkness lurking under the city’s snow-slicked surface. The film certainly looks the part but of course there’s more to it than that.
Many Christmas films follow a similar formula of growth, redemption and gratitude but there’s none of that here. In true Tim Burton fashion, Batman Returns is full of freaks and outcasts but there’s no redemption arc to be seen.
Subverting our Christmas expectations, Batman Returns presents us with a world devoid of that most festive of things - family. Penguin’s parents left him for dead in a frozen river, Selina Kyle has only her cats for company, and Bruce Wayne...well...he’s probably the most famous orphan in comic book history.
The film serves as something of a dark, twisted take on the normally bright, cheerful, sanitised feel of many Christmas films, becoming a satire of the holiday genre - a tale of bleak, violent sadness juxtaposed against the snow and twinkling lights.