Review by Jake
Batman Forever is a 1995 superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher starring Val Kilmer as Batman, Chris O’ Donnell as Robin, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, and Nicole Kidman as Chase Meridian. This Film is a sequel to Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). Because the film is a sequel, I will judge on it on being a stand alone film and a sequel to an already established franchise.
I remember seeing this movie at a very young age and really loving it. I mean what about this film would a kid not like ? The flashy colors, the one liners and easy to follow dialogue, the fact that batman is in it, the cheeseball villains, etc. I just watched the film recently again at an older age and thought I would give the film a more critical look. I will be performing an autopsy of a film if you will.
THE GOOD :
The Sets/Cinematography: I’m kinda stretching for something nice thing to say if the first thing I’m complimenting is the set design but hey there you go. The movie has a very colorful look, Its like an old school comic book come to life. The Filmmakers definitely did not shy away from using strong color and contrast. Some of the flashback scenes are quite dark and appropriately so. Overall the film has a nice palette. Some of the sets like Two-Face’s lair are just over the top and great. CGI was used to portray some of the exterior shots of Gotham. I think the CGI is used pretty well in this film. The Exterior shots give the film;s setting (Gotham City) a grand feel, almost like the film “Metropolis”.
The Relationship Between Bruce And Chase: I’m personally not a fan of romance in any Batman portrayal. I am open to a love interest for Bruce Wayne/Batman but I always thought it fits the character better if he flys solo. He is so dedicated to his crime fighting and his dead parents that nookie should be the last thing on his mind. I think the romance between Bruce and Chase works reasonably well. Bruce is pretty messed up deep down and Chase is a psychologist so their verbal sparing and a playful relationship works a lot better to me than the two previous love interests in this series. Chase being into Batman is kinda weird but hey she falls for Bruce in the end anyway.
The Revenge: Robin wants to get revenge on Two-Face for killing his family, makes sense he is only a 25 year old orphan. Batman/Bruce has killed people in this film series before (The Joker) having Bruce explain to Robin/Dick that revenge doesn’t make the pain go away is a clever touch and reference to the previous film and builds on them in a way.
The Stupid: Going over a list of all the stupid moments in this movie would take up way too much time but I am going to list some “highlights”. Why/How does Batman jump from an incredibly high building down to the batmobile perfectly ? Why does Batman have to put that bank vault EXACTLY where it was ? How does that acid not just burn right through the bank vault ? How does Batman’s cape protect him from a huge explosion ? Why does Bruce think that Two-Face is going to be able hear him shout that “Harvey, I’m Batman!” over all the Panic at the Circus !. Why does Bruce think Two-Face would even take him seriously and or give a shit ? How/Why does Alfred build a suit for Dick/Robin ? Why does Robin Dry his clothes like a douchebag ? Why does Wayne Industries have no idea what Nigma/The Riddler is working on and why don’t they just shit can him ? How does Nigma doctor surveillance footage so perfectly and with what 1995 technology does he accomplish this with ? Why Nigma have the Suicide note and why does that not raise any red flags ? How does Nigma know how to perfectly forge a suicide note and perfectly imitate someone elses handwriting ? Why is Commissioner Gordon the worst fictional law enforcement official since Inspector Gadget and rule Ed Begely Jr.’s death a suicide after literally two minutesof investigating ? How does Two-Face and The Riddler successfully launder millions of dollars worth of stolen diamonds and use this money to start a multi million dollar company without raising any eyebrows ? What does The Riddler hope to accomplish by sucking out everyone’s brain juices ? I get that Two-Face wants to kill Batman for sending him to prison or whatever. Does The Riddler wanna be the “smartest” man in the world and make everyone else stupid ? Why, so he can listen to avant-garde jazz records and everyone can call him a fag ?
The Clashing Tone: Down to what I believe was probably studio
infetterence interference the movie tries to juggle too many tones at once. All the stuff with Bruce Wayne remembering his parents death and reflecting on how he became Batman is played pretty straight but it clashes with the colorfulness and goofiness of the movie. Having Batman tell Alfred “I’ll get drive through.” and Robin exclaiming “holy rusted metal Batman!” and having Jim Carrey basically do the same shtick he did in Ace Ventura and The Mask doe NOT sit well with the dark and brooding moments of the film, even if they are fewer and far between compared to previous installments. The director clearly wanted to go in a somewhat more serious direction but Warner Brothers (TM) wanted something kid friendly and “goofy”.
The Action: None of the 90s Batman movies have “great” action and this one proudly continues the tradition. There isn’t a lot of action in the film, but what is here is shot way too closely and the editing seems like a random jumbled mess. This was maintained in the franchise all the way up until The Dark Knight.
The Nipples: Everybody who reviews this film mentions the nipples on the batsuit but seriously what purpose does that serve ? Is Gotham City just really cold or does Batman need some extra bat-protection in his sensitive areas ? A special mention to Batman’s ass. It’s not a big deal because its two seconds out of the movie
butt but still for what purpose ?
The Villains: Like I mentioned previously, Jim Carrey as The Riddler is basically doing what he does any every other movie he was in up until that point, except even more annoying and ridiculously out of place. Tommy Lee Jones is basically just hamming it up as Two-Face and is a cliche villain straight out of the big book of movie cliches. I don’t think it comes down to the actors though. I think the script is so bad that any actor would have probably been just as bad if not worse than Carrey and Jones.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Batman Forever is just straight up a bad film there is no other way to say it. It has all the hallmarks and warning signs that bad films have. Studio Interference ? Check. Wanting to draw the biggest bucks instead of making a good film ? Check. A poorly written script ? Check. Casting actors based on popularity at the time instead of who was best for the role ? Check. Actors mailing in their performances so hard its brought to you by the United States Postal Service ? Check. Batman Forever is not even so bad its good like Batman & Robin kinda is. Batman Forever is just bad bad. Hopefully people just forget it over time because much better Batman films exist.