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>
Batman Forever is the third installment for Warner Bros. Batman franchise, only Tim Burton and Michael Keaton decided to jump ship, so now we're stuck with Joel Schumacher, Val Kilmer and writing so campy it'll make you want to pitch a tent and make some s'mores. What we see in this film is a systematic destruction of absolutely everything that made the first two Batman films so popular.
Kidman and Kilmer have been great in other films like "Moulin Rouge" and "Tombstone," but Joel is simply incapable of getting any good performances out of his actors. Don't believe me? There's a scene where Kidman's character tells Batman to meet her at her place at midnight. Even though she's expecting company, she decides to sleep in the nude before he shows up. I can understand her character trying to seduce Batman, but why go to bed and fall asleep while you're expecting company? Just listen to her character's inner conflict when she says "I can't believe it. I've imagined this moment since I first saw you... and now I have you and... guess a girl has to grow up sometime." I guess I can't blame Kidman on doing the best with the crap she was given. Someone needs to fire Mr. Script Writer.
Joel, in the tradition of Burton's previous Batman film, decided to use two villains at once: the Riddler and Two-Face. Personally, I wonder why the director would want to use two villains when he can't get one character right.
In previous Batman films, the villains were layered characters. The Joker was back-stabbed in a set up, Catwoman was in a mid-life crisis and sick of being taken advantage of, and the Penguin was a social outcast playing the sympathy card so he could get revenge on Gotham. While these character motives are little more than "I want revenge" at least it's something. Joel enjoys making the villains of his Batman films silly cardboard cutouts which don't make any sense at all.
Joel turned Harvey Two-Face, a steely, no-nonsense crime boss, into a laughing idiot that hops up and down whenever he blows something up. There's a quick twenty second explanation of how Harvey Dent had acid thrown on him during a trial, so he swore revenge on Batman... what? Batman didn't throw the acid. Two-Face is pretty much Tommy Lee Jones copying Jack Nicholson's performance as the Joker, except with different makeup, and the Riddler isn't far behind. Jim Carrey was acting like... well... Jim Carrey. As "good" as Carrey's performance might be, there's really no room for non-sequitur dance sequences and goofy voices to be thrown into the middle of a scene-- but that's what Jim is good at doing, I guess. As for Edward Nigma, they briefly explained how he became the Ridler (he was fired from his job, I know that tends to make people become super-villains), but never explained why he likes making riddles. His master plan: become the smartest man alive by reading the minds of Gotham's citizens and then... and then... uh... well, it doesn't matter because we all know Batman will save the day.
As if a poorly done treatment for Two-Face and the Riddler, and a poorly done romance subplot added into the mix weren't enough, we have another poorly done subplot thrown in: Robin! The most hated side-kick in the world. Joel introduce Robin as a character who wants revenge on Two-Face and offers absolutely nothing else significant to the story. There's not much to say about Robin, except that he kicks ass at doing laundry. He's just eye-candy so the ladies (and Joel) have someone to swoon over in this poor excuse for an action film.
The biggest crime in Gotham was how Joel rebuilt the city. He demolished Burton's Gothic atmosphere and added colored lights and large bronze statues to turn the desolate wasteland of a city into a sparkling Las Vegas wonderland. He also introduced the phosperhous gang, a group of guys who glow in the dark and play heavy metal music... drug trafficking never looked so fabulous! Big naked man statues, face-painting gangs, and rubber nipples summarize everything that Joel has added to the franchise.
I've heard some arguments standing up on Joel's defense, claiming that the movie would've been better with the deleted scenes put back in. Namely, two scenes: one which shows TwoFace escaping from Arkham, writing some sort of anti-Bat message in a victim's blood, and other scene where Bruce gets amnesia and has to remember why he's Batman. The first scene was supposedly cut for being too scary for kids, but I can safely say that it was filmed and edited to fit into the rest of this crap fest perfectly. And the amnesia scene was utter crap. Honestly: AMNESIA. As if a bullet grazing Bruce's forehead and causing amnesia isn't far fetched enough, how about the fact that he cures it in under five minutes? That scene wasn't cut for being too dark, or too slow, it was cut for being too stupid.
It could be worse. You could be watching the next installment "Batman and Robin." At least the plot for Batman Forever wasn't as poorly juggled as that movie. The worst you get with this movie is a bunch of clichés, poor acting, nonsensical moments (as in "why would only thirty or so members of the circus audience slowly form a circle to look at the the dead trapeze artists?"), and an undoing everything dark and dramatic that made the first two films good. What we're left with is a campy, kid-friendly movie that anyone with a brain can tell is just a cheap knock off of the first two Batman films.
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