Batman Returns (1992, dir. Tim Burton)

Batman encounters Catwoman and The Penguin, who is being manipulated to become mayor of Gotham City. Darker, confident sequel, with a pervy streak a mile wide running right through it. Pushing the limits of weirdness for a tentpole release, Batman Returns is both a franchise and genre high point.

Batman (1989, dir. Tim Burton)

Batman creates – and battles – the Joker. Mixing expressionism, noir, Hammer horror and pop art, the 1989 Batman is well-tailored from patches and the need to service a guest villain performance, even if it doesn’t really have a story. Still fun, tho, with a lovely mix of technologies working together. Best of all, it feels like a comic book. Sequels followed.

Dumbo (2019, dir. Tim Burton)

A failing circus buys a pregnant elephant; her baby has huge ears, allowing it to fly. Ambitious but mostly soulless attempt to make a non-musical live-action/CG remake of the 1941 original. Some heart, but this is mostly anodyne and clean, lacking the dark inventive touch of early Burton.

Dark Shadows (2012, dir. Tim Burton)

An ancient vampire is resurrected; he vows to restore the family fortunes. Gothic comedy-horror revival of the 60s TV series. Initially very funny, but soon collapses as there’s not much story, and the film runs out of culture-clash gags. Looks great, though. Minor Burton, alas.