When it comes to what movies can be considered to be "Christmas" movies, there has been a long-running argument around Die Hard as not just a Christmas movie, but the ultimate Christmas movie. But, for fans of another film, the argument isn't about the Bruce Willis action flick. It's about another film altogether: Batman Returns.
A recent Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter asked around 2,000 U.S. adults if they considered Die Hard to be a Christmas movie and while the results were bad news for the pro-holiday film camp -- only 25-percent felt the film was indeed a Christmas classic -- it reignited the conversation about what non-traditional films should make a must-watch holiday list and that's where Batman Returns comes in.
If by some chance you are not up to speed on Batman Returns (and you could be forgiven for that considering it's been 26 years since its 1992 release,) allow us to refresh your memory. Directed by Tim Burton, Batman Returns is the sequel to 1989's Batman and sees Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film is, in a word, unique and centers largely around The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot (Dany DeVito) who has some very nefarious plans for Gotham City -- including killing all of its firstborn sons. The movie also features this universe's origin of Catwoman/Selina Kyle (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) as well as Christopher Walken as the deeply corrupt businessman, Max Shreck.
The film also has a complex history in terms of how it went from idea to screen. Burton, who had directed Batman, didn't really want to return for the sequel until Warner Bros. gave him a large bit of creative freedom. This decision saw the story shift from more of a heist film featuring Penguin and Catwoman going after a set of antique ravens, a "vigilante Batman cult" and Batman riding a horse in a script with Sam Hamm to the version that made it to screen.
So, what makes Batman Returns a Christmas movie? For starters it's set around Christmas time and there is no avoiding the decorative splendor, but the holiday theme of the film goes well beyond some lights and tinsel. Instead, the film serves as something as a dark take on the normally bright, cheerful, and almost sanitized feel of most Christmas films. With holiday films largely about family and the importance of togetherness, Batman Returns anchors its story on characters who have no family. Penguin is thrown into a frozen river by his parents and left to drown as an infant. Selina Kyle has only her cats. Bruce Wayne, well, he's possibly comics' most famous orphan. These elements come together as something of a satire of the holiday genre, a tale of bleak, violent sadness juxtaposed against some twinkling lights.
And it turns out a lot of people agree with that sentiment. With the Die Hard debate fresh again, many fans of Batman Returns have taken to the internet to express their thoughts on why Batman Returns is, in fact, a holiday film. We've curated several thoughts about the film on Twitter so read on to see what people have to say about Batman Returns as a Christmas movie. And be sure to chime in with your take in the comments below -- let's continue the discussion for or against Batman Returns' place on the Christmas film roster.
Anyway, "Batman Returns" is very much a Christmas movie. It's just not about people coming together as a family. It's about how people cope with lack of family and how those decisions affect our lives and relationships. It's a Christmas movie by, for, and about total weirdos.— Cory (@corymassimino) December 9, 2018
Batman Returns is a favorite Christmas Movie of mine.. meow... ? ? ⛄️ pic.twitter.com/dQ6m47J9OC— ⭕️Neodiva2002-Eva (@Neodiva2002) December 10, 2018
Batman Returns is brilliant subversion and satire of the Christmas genre. Christmas movies are primarily about family, of which BR has zilch. So I see why it's rarely mentioned. But the key is that it's *about* family. Specifically, people with none. People Christmas forgot.— Cory (@corymassimino) December 9, 2018
I am actively mad now at the annual Die Hard is a Christmas movie argument when I have not read one word about the greatest Christmas movie, Batman Returns.— December the Titans (@lizardmess) December 10, 2018
After fully viewing Batman Returns, it's 100% a Christmas movie. A strange one but yes it belongs in the rotation this month. So does Die Hard. Ghostbusters II = New Years movie! https://t.co/yiQM0lIrNU— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) December 10, 2018
Yes. Die Hard is clearly a Christmas movie. More importantly Batman Returns is a Christmas movie. pic.twitter.com/SRKtS6jzYw— ??????? ??? (@MatthewAryCEO) December 10, 2018