Yes, Batman Returns is Tim Burton’s more personal Batman film, in that it embraces the weirdness of the saga without a hint of hesitation. Unfortunately, he chooses the wrong weirdo on which to focus. Danny DeVito’s Penguin is an ingeniously visualized creation, with his stringy tendrils of hair and habit of drooling goo, yet a little of DeVito’s growling act goes a long way. And psychologically, neither the script nor DeVito get a complete hold on the character. (Is the Penguin a misunderstood soul seeking empathy and respect, a lascivious creep pulling a long con or just another villain looking to cause mayhem?) Meanwhile, staring the movie in the face is a far more compelling, tragicomically cracked character: Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman. The beleaguered assistant to Gotham businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), Selina puts on a servile secretary act but is seething underneath. (Our first clue: after being saved from a mugger by Batman, she takes the Taser that the mugger was using and gives his unconscious body a vindictive shock.) After Shreck pushes her out of a window and a pack of live alley cats lick and nip her back to life (a grotesque sequence worthy of a horror film), Selina gives in to her id: the slinky, destructive and vengeful Catwoman. Pfeiffer has become iconic for the leather costume and pun-filled catchphrases, yet it’s her pitiably funny scenes as Selina that really make the character work. Because she’s made that half of the character’s personality so indelible early on, we remember it when Catwoman takes over and therefore understand how intensely she feels a psychological split. In this way, her alter ego is both empowering and a curse. It’s telling, then, that Michael Keaton’s Batman seems more interested in getting to the bottom of Catwoman’s story than thwarting the Penguin’s plot. If the movie had followed his instinct, it probably would have been better off.