2 of 12 Days of Christmas

“If you believe in this spirit thing, the miracle will happen and then you’ll want it to happen again tomorrow… It can happen every day, you’ve just got to want that feeling.”

– Bill Murray in SCROOGED

That’s right – it’s time to feel the moment and that holiday spirit thing. It’s time for SpoilerFreeReview’s 12 days of Christmas 2021 edition! We will be posting our favorite holiday experiences with 12 reviews and illustrations of movies, TV, and music. So sit back, enjoy some spiked eggnog, and welcome to SFR’s 12-days of Christmas 2021!🎅🏽

Yeah, some people may write it off as dated, or campy, or too weird. But to me it’ll always be one thing: Amazing! BATMAN RETURNS was always my favorite of the Burton/Schumaker franchise. And while many may argue, “it’s not about Batman,” I beg to differ. The movie’s antagonists are all dark mirror reflections of what Batman/Bruce Wayne could be if he wasn’t committed to justice. From Danny Devito’s twisted orphan Penguin. To Christopher Walken’s devious billionaire businessman, Max Shreck. And the brilliant Michelle Pfiefer playing the quintessential Catwoman/Selina Kyle to perfection – the vigilante gone extreme. Every character is a reflection of the things that make up Bruce Wayne. Add to this a perfect Christmas setting, dazzling visuals, and electric chemistry between Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeifer, and you have by far the most entertaining live-action BATMAN film of its time.

There’s something about Christmas in Gotham that just brings out the stunning imagery and chaos of the season. Circus freak villains popping out of giant Christmas presents, bats flying out of Christmas trees, and mistletoe to help develop sexual tension between a hero and villain. Every frame embodying a dark comic book come to life, or the noir-ish feel of the classic animated series that would debut shortly after this film’s release. This is how Gotham needs to look! A character unto itself.

The iconic moments and lines in this movie stay with you forever – testaments to this sequel’s place among the pantheon of the greatest comic book films of all time. Michelle Pfeifer’s apartment scene transformation from mild-mannered and abused secretary to iconic femme fatale – a brilliant wildcard performance illustrating the tragic effects of bullying on a good person pushed over the edge. The iconic moment during the Shreck holiday party with Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, as they heartbreakingly realize the secret identities of the person opposite one another. A caped hero perched on the edge of a building, expanding his cape out into a glider as he flies into the night sky engulfed by bats unleashed from a Christmas tree. The limitless imagination of Tim Burton, along with the dark broodiness and tone of the film, set during a season about goodwill, through the eyes of a character that will always believe in upholding justice and goodwill resonates, not only as a phenomenal comic book film, but also a legendary Christmas movie in its own right!

“Merry Christmas, Alfred. Goodwill towards men and women.”

BATMAN RETURNS is available to stream on HBO Max.

Mike Manalo

Born a Slytherin. Baptized into Marvel. Bitten by a Radioactive DC fan. And raised a Jedi, Mike Manalo is a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Nerd!

Latest from Mike Manalo


THE BOYS are back in town and more “f**king diabolical” than ever! It’s funny because THE…