Danny DeVito Believes His Performance As Penguin In Batman Returns Is Better Than Colin Farrell’s In The Batman

Both versions of the Penguin forced their performers to go under extensive makeup. Farrell felt like his makeup, courtesy of artist Mike Marino, allowed him to be a “malleable marionette,” as if he was puppeteering another body from within. Farrell frequently has a tough time finding villainous roles because his caterpillar eyebrows and big sad brown eyes make him almost too lovable. He has a face that’s somehow both reminiscent of a kicked puppy and impossibly handsome, so the makeup allowed him to really act without people focusing on his face. 

Farrell is an incredible actor, and he fits seamlessly into Reeves’s grim noir version of Gotham city. There are numerous opportunities to really overdo it and ham it up as the Penguin, but Farrell plays it with more nuance, giving a grounded villain for Robert Pattinson’s young Batman to battle against. His trademark charm is also still apparent, even without the handsome face to sell it, and ole Oswald is one seriously charismatic villain. He’s a joy to watch and is clearly having the time of his life, injecting some fire into the cold, dark world of “The Batman.”

It’s challenging to make a cape and cowl comic book movie that’s gritty and grounded without sacrificing what makes these stories so great, but Reeves managed to do it with “The Batman,” and Farrell’s Penguin is a huge part of why it works so well. As the kids say, he clearly understood the assignment.

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