Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

Batman Returns (1992)

Art by Tom Whalen

Art by Tom Whalen

Genre:  Superhero Action

Walken in Short: He plays the millionaire industrialist Max Shreck. A bit of a sociopath, and not an ideal boss to work for, but he’s no Super-villain. At least not compared to The Penguin or The Joker. He is a strong character with a handful of good moments, and some great lines throughout.

Art Note —> I was searching for the official movie poster when I found this art by Tom Whalen. I love it. Check out his site, more Batman stuff and other film art, too.

Movie in a Sentence: A scheming businessman (Walken) is the catalyst that inadvertently creates Catwoman (Pfeiffer) from a lowly secretary and also brings the Penguin (DeVito) out of the sewers with his army of carnival criminals to battle the Batman (Keaton).

vlcsnap-2014-02-15-22h10m58s140Director: Tim Burton – You know who he is. Walkenarially, Burton went on to direct SLEEPY HOLLOWS, with Walken as the Headless Horseman.

Screenplay: Daniel Waters (also wrote HEATHERS and HUDSON HAWK!) and Sam Hamm (also wrote the previous BATMAN screenplay). Of course, Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the original Batman comic.

Film Duration: 2 hours and 6 minutesvlcsnap-2014-02-15-22h01m18s217

MPAA Rating: This got a PG-13, and that sounds about right. There isn’t anything outrageously verboten. But between some ribald double-entendres from the Penguin, the full-on, in-yo-face, sheer sexuality of Catwoman (bless her heart), and the nightmare-chaos that the Penguin’s carnival-army creates, I’d say PG-13 is justified.

Actors Other Than Walken: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle  Pfeiffer

vlcsnap-2014-02-15-22h29m12s55Similar Films: I’m not going to list them. Super-hero movies. Google it. Although, if for some reason, you’ve not already seen Tim Burton’s previous Batman film, then I want to convince you that you should. Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Jack Palance, and Kim Basinger. Sooo good!

Available to Own: Oh sure. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray. You should be able to find them pretty cheap too.

vlcsnap-2014-02-15-23h22m09s102Walken Content: 40% – Which is surprising, considering his character has no an animal-themed alter-ego. Despite that obvious handicap, Walken makes regular, and significant appearances throughout the entire running-time of this film.

FUN FACT: David Bowie was offered the role of Max Schreck before Walken got it. Bowie decided to appear in David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS film instead.

Walken Quote: He has so many, I couldn’t pick just one. Here’s one where he reacts to the mayor introducing him as Gotham’s Santa Claus:

“Santa Claus? ‘Fraid not. I’m just a poor schmoe got lucky. And sue me if I want to give some back. I only wish I could hand out more than expensive baubles. I wish I could hand out world peace and unconditional love. Wrapped in a big bow.”

And then some others that need no introduction:

“You think you can go 15 rounds with Muhammad Schreck?”

“Who’d a thought Selina had a brain to damage? Bottom line: she tries to black-mail me, I’ll drop her out a higher window.”

“I’m the light of this city. And I am its mean and twisted soul. It doesn’t matter who’s mayor.”

vlcsnap-2014-02-15-22h35m56s223Should You Watch This? Absolutely, yes. Walken is terrific in this, and if you’re at all a fan of Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy, or any of these blockbuster superhero films that are around now, then you should see where it all came from. Tim Burton’s two BATMAN films have a great balance of reality and fantasy, grit and levity, action and comedy. Great casts, great scores (with the brilliant Danny Elfman, of course!), and great quotable scripts.

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