Archives in the Movies: Batman Returns
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
It's the holidays and nothing says deck the halls or 'tis the season like a movie featuring archives! What movie, you ask as though you didn't read the title of this article? Why that would be Tim Burton's follow-up to his beloved reimagining of the Dark Knight, Batman Returns (1992).
With the Joker taken care of in the previous film, Returns features a villainous duo in Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito) who Batman (Michael Keaton) must thwart in the midst of a Christmas celebration across Gotham City. The archives, however, are a central component to Penguin's plot. In a ruse to gain access to the first children of Gotham, Penguin, with the help of Max Shreck (Christopher Walken), stages an attempted kidnapping in which he saves the mayor's baby. As a reward, he asks to view the Hall of Records to find information about the family who rejected him, the Cobblepots.
It's a brief scene, but the striking architecture of Gotham City makes the giant Hall of Records extra intimidating in its metallic starkness. Also, let it never be said that archives aren't useful even in the world of superheroes and supervillains. Every plan has to start somewhere.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!