One of the strongest aspects of Batman Returns is that despite him being effectively the third villain of the movie, Batman is powerless against Max Shreck. Batman can beat up the Penguin and wrestle with Catwoman, but a simple billionaire? He achieves nothing against this dude.
He never gets revenge on him for "killing" Selina Kyle. He never stops his big energy-draining power plant. When he exposes Oswald's deceit, Shreck just dips out. Shreck escapes the Penguin's cage.

It's only when Catwoman just straight up murders him that he's stopped.
Returns says a lot about how the rich can just kinda operate outside the law. They'll find new secretaries to push out of windows. They'll back other freakish mayors. At best, they'll show up at the party and mock you.
When he's surprised about Bruce Wayne being Batman, it's less of a "WHAT?" and more of a "Bruce, you're a billionaire, too. Why are you hanging out with these people? Why are you dressed up like Batman?"
Heck, Batman tries to stop Catwoman from killing him! Two hours ago, he sent the Joker plummeting to his death. He knocked Penguin through a window and kicked Catwoman off a roof. But he's willing to send Shreck to jail?
"The law doesn't apply to people like him or us."

When Catwoman says this, despite Batman's rebuttal, she's right. Shreck's wealth and greed has rendered him the same kind of monster as them. He's a freak, too.
Anyway, Catwoman giving him the kiss of death is still super satisfying and Batman Returns is the best superhero thing ever put on film.
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