Ah, Christmas. The festive time of year is a real joy, isn’t it? Well, not really in 2020. But generally, the silly season offers a rare opportunity for folks to indulge in too much chocolate, sip away on fancy booze and watch festive films back-to-back until they’re not sure what day it is anymore.
Is that just me? Oh, alright then.
Irrespective of the way you choose to celebrate the holiday period, Christmas films are a well-loved part of this time of year for many people. And as the never-ending argument surrounding Die Hard shows, folks tend to get quite attached to their festive faves, along with their definitions of what makes a “Christmas movie”.
I’m here to let you know today that I’ve added a new film to my rotation. And I am completely confident in my decision to do so. That film, dear friends (traditionalists, avert your eyes), is Batman Returns.
“But it’s a comic book film!” You might say.
“Where’s the Christmas cheer?” You could ask.
But this Tim Burton classic, starring my favourite of all the Batmans (don’t @ me), Michael Keaton, is quite literally bursting with Christmas references. At one point, decorations explode onto Gotham City. It’s not exactly merry, but it’s certainly bright?
How the heck is Batman Returns a Christmas movie?
Set over the holiday period, Gotham is covered in Christmas decorations throughout the movie. Then there’s the Ice Princess character who is featured as the city’s Christmas mascot of sorts. You’ve got scenes featuring characters like Alfred carrying beautifully-wrapped gifts. And then there’s the dialogue, which likes to remind you of the season as often as it can.
Take this exchange between Batman and Catwoman, for example:
Catwoman: You’re catnip to a girl like me. Handsome, dazed, and to die for.
Batman: Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
Catwoman: But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.
Or how about this line from Selina Kyle (Catwoman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer) after getting shot a few times:
“Two lives left. I think I’ll save one for next Christmas. But in the meantime, how about a kiss, Santy Claus?”
The Penguin even gets amongst the Chrissy references, telling Catwoman at one point:
“You’re Beauty and the Beast in one luscious Christmas gift pack.”
You get the picture.
And while the dark storyline (Danny DeVito’s Penguin scares the shit out of me) may initially seem quite removed from holiday themes, it does hinge on the concept of family, or a lack thereof, around the holidays and the way the movie’s three key characters cope with that.
Batman Returns a Christmas classic? I think so.