'Batman Returns' Deserves a Spot On Your Christmas Movie Playlist

Can we all finally admit that Tim Burton's Batman Returns is an excellent Christmas movie? And has the runner-up of best Batmobiles?

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Gif: YouTube

I’m unsure why Batman Returns isn’t widely recognized for the Christmas film that it is, and I think it’s time we changed that. The genre is richer than people give it credit for; it contains so many more movies than the usual picks, like Die Hard or The Santa Clause. There are plenty of classics we often overlook, such as Crash and Jingle All The Way, and, of course Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.

During our latest Jalopnik Twitch stream, Steve and I tried to convince Andy that the 1992 sequel to Batman is, indeed, a Christmas movie. Even putting Tim Burton’s obsession with the Yuletide season aside, the film is about as close as we can get to a live-action Christmas special set in Gotham City.

Well, Tim Burton’s color palate (as well as Danny Elfman’s score) could be part of the reason people forget it’s set during Christmas, because the director loves to use the cold winter months as a backdrop to the point that it gets lost on us.

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Image for article titled 'Batman Returns' Deserves a Spot On Your Christmas Movie Playlist
Photo: Warner Brothers

But the tragic intro sequence that follows the discarded baby Oswald Cobblepot— AKA the Penguin — through the sewers of Gotham is likely also responsible for most folks overlooking the movie’s Christmas setting, which becomes painfully obvious in the scenes immediately afterward. You know, when that giant bow-topped gift explodes with henchmen on stilts and dirt bikes.

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Batman makes short work of these baddies after emerging from the batcave in the second-best Batmobile. Batman even infamously sets one of the henchmen on fire (so much for your rules, Bruce) so it’s easy to forget that this mayhem is all happening during a tree-lighting ceremony.

But there’s countless other examples: Alfred shopping for Christmas gifts; Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne kissing under the mistletoe; the swarm of bats awakend after nesting in that big Christmas tree; a young Christopher Walken playing a murderous Ebenezer Scrooge. You get the point.

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Image for article titled 'Batman Returns' Deserves a Spot On Your Christmas Movie Playlist
Photo: Warner Brothers

Oh, and can you believe the Penguin is supposed to be barely over 33 years old in the movie? That’s neither here nor there, but it’s just another example of the little details that get lost in this excellent Christmas film, which is quite possibly one of the best Batman movies, outdone only by the Mask of the Phantasm.

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Looking back on it, it’s just so obvious that this is a Christmas movie. So add it to your list this year, and revel in the glory of a Caped Crusader Christmas.

Image for article titled 'Batman Returns' Deserves a Spot On Your Christmas Movie Playlist
Photo: Warner Brothers