The Dark Knight of Gotham City confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and the Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face incorrectly believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side; he has unleashed a reign of terror on the good people of Gotham. Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler he perfects a device for draining information from all the brains in Gotham, including Bruce Wayne's knowledge of his other identity. Batman/Wayne is/are the love focus of Dr. Chase Meridan. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, his family killed by Two-Face, becomes Wayne's ward and Batman's new partner Robin the Boy Wonder. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
I loved the first two Batman movies, and honestly would have loved to see Burton go on to direct more entries in the series, but Joel Shumacher's Batman Forever is not at all an unwelcome change. I think some people recollect this film and automatically associate it with Shumacher's awful second Batman attempt, Batman & Robin. That is the bad movie. This is not. People also seem to forget how big of a hit it was. Artistically, there were things it got wrong and didn't do as well as the others, but there were things it did so much better, too. For one thing, this is the only 'Batman' with a decent soundtrack to its name (including 2 great songs by U2 and Seal).
In some ways you can look at this as a transition from the dark, tortured Batman to a Batman who has finally conquered his personal demons and gone on to be happier in being a man who fights crime in the night dressed up in rubber. For this one it was good, 'cause that's essentially how it ends, but the result of this led to the campy and just plain boring 4th episode.
But I really was surprised at how psychological of a movie Batman Forever is. I'm not saying it's particularly deep, but when you look at Edward Nygma's obsession with Bruce Wayne (stalking him, to imitating him right down to the mole), Harvey Dent's schizophrenia as Two-Face, and the fact that both Bruce Wayne AND Batman end up romancing the same psychologist is all enormously amusing. The romance isn't to be taken that lightly, though. I thought out of all 5 films Chase Meridian was Bruce's best girlfriend. The whole Vicky Vale relationship was pretty stale if you cut out all of the conflict with the Joker, and obviously Selina Kyle didn't work out so well for Bruce. Having this woman who could understand the mind of the tortured Bruce Wayne was a great idea, and I don't need to tell you that the gorgeous and talented Nicole Kidman pulled it off well.
Something I liked (and would have liked to have seen more of) was the competitive relationship between Bruce Wayne and Edward Nygma. They're enemies as Batman and The Riddler but also as regular people in everyday life. Take that scene at the Nygmatec Ball when Edward gloats about how well off he is, but Bruce is totally unflinching. Jim Carrey does a great job with a character that is so obsessed with this person; who idolizes him but hates him at the same time and is generally evil, but still can make us fall on the floor laughing.
This is a rousing and dynamic picture. It's basically the lighter side of being Batman. It was exciting with some great action sequences: I loved the end where both Robin and Chase are dropped and he saves them both. That piece of Elliot Goldenthal music when Batman finally grasps Robin's arm is excellent.
I liked Burton's 2 films and obviously Batman Begins better than Forever, but when you're in the right mood for it, it really is a fantastic movie that, if nothing else, thoroughly entertains.
My rating: 7/10
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