Superman II is exciting even in its flaws: even its badness seems to defy other kinds of movies, like so long as Superman is on top of this, everything else will be okay. It’s an uneven and delightful ride with defiant special effects — they defy the ambition of their practicality and also how that ambition has aged.
This moral naysaying is shockingly against type for a film bursting with Copacabana headliners. Remember that these are the guys hired explicitly to hold a mic in one hand, a drink in the other, and to generate a fantasy of wealth and well-meaningness that makes thousands of less charming people mistake clubbing for having fun. Robin and the 7 Hoods is drastically less endearing than any of its hoods.
Batman is the man Bruce Wayne wishes he was, an empowerment trip mythologized into a performance. Batman is Bruce’s mania, his love, his coming-into-being. Batman Returns is as perfect at portraying him as live-action has been, though there were many angry mothers whose frightened children screamed to recall its atrocities.
The pay-off is stalled beyond normal human tolerance, as though Godzilla was a nervous groom who simply won’t commit to marriage until he has enough buildup. Even advertising the closeted meanings of such serious-contra-seriousness idioms native to the giant monster bash as nature vs man and the brutalities of war, the dialogue in “Godzilla” asserts itself to such meaning like a crowbar asserts itself to a jammed service door. This is when it remembers to have dialogue at all.