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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.
Batman forever fails to follow in the footsteps of the first 2 movies,
after Tim Burton and Michael Keaton were replaced with with Joel
Schumacher and Val Kilmer. Schumachers approach is too comical and
Gotham has lost the sinister ora that Burton created, Val Kilmer is OK
as the bat, and he certainly helps save the film from total disaster.
All the other characters are new, Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian) brings sex appeal, but her character delivers little more. Chris O'Donnell is introduced as Robin, and his martial arts antics do add something to the film. Tommy Lee Jones plays Two-Face and as usual his performance is decent, but the star of the show is Jim Carrey as the Riddler; his performance is both camp and eccentric, and it hits the mark brilliantly.
The problem with the movie, although i did enjoy it, is the total change in style; the backdrop of Gotham city is no longer dark and Gothic and the series is moving away from Batmans comic roots.
This was the beginning of the end, and it was followed by Batman and Robin. Thank god for Batman Begins.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Personally, I just enjoyed the first Batman the best, I think a lot of
us did. But that doesn't mean this was a bad installment to the
"Batman" series, it's actually very decent worth more than one look. We
do have a new but every exceptional Batman, Val Kilmer, who has a tough
role to fit into after the great performances Michael Keaton brought.
Nicole Kidman plays Chase, a beautiful and intelligent scientist who
has the hots for Batman more than Bruce, she does a great job and looks
so sexy! Jim Carrey, the master of comedy, takes the role of The
Riddler, only he can bring the true comic relief and was a great
choice. Tommy Lee Jones, as Two Face, was also great and so believable
as a scary villain. Last but not least, Chris O'donnel as the wimsical,
but more serious than anything version of Robin. The dynamic duo are
finally put together for this masterpiece of a sequel!
Batman is now fighting Two Face, or Harvey Dent, who was brutally scarred on one side of his face in a court case of his when he was a lawyer. When he fails one night to successfully capture Two Face, he meets Dr. Chase Meridian, a beautiful scientist and journalist. She is just fascinated with him and it's almost love at first sight for her. Batman of course is falling for her, but is playing hard to get. When Bruce Wayne makes a move on her though, she accepts and they attend a charity circus together, they see the Flying Gracins, a family of flying acrobats, but when the party is interrupted by Two Face and he demands to find out the true identity of Batman otherwise he'll set off a bomb in the circus! When the Gracins try to stop it and Dick Gracin, the youngest flying member goes his separate way to stop it himself, the family is on top of some very high up beams and wire which Two Face stops them by shooting the wires causing the Gracins to fall down to their deaths in front of everyone. When Dick stops the bomb, he is too late to see his family lying dead on the floor.
He comes to live with Bruce and wants revenge on Two Face and promises death and justice! It's not too soon that he discovers that Bruce is Batman and wants to be him at first, but then decides that he shouldn't take over but they should become partners! Batman refuses knowing that it's too dangerous; he continues his affair with Chase. But there is a new problem, an angry employee, Edward Nygmam, at Bruce's business now wants to destroy Batman and become evil! Who better to join up with than Two Face? He also has a machine that can read a person's mind and makes it tell the person's deepest darkest secrets. When Bruce comes to a party after Edward is successful in selling these machines, he tempts Bruce into the biggest machine of all and finds out what Bruce has been hiding for so long. When Batman and Chase are together, she confesses to Batman that she is now falling for Bruce. When she and Bruce have a get together, he wishes to tell her the truth, you know a little bit before this scene he said to Alfred "I've never been in love before", what happened to Vicki Vale and Catwoman? I always wondered that! But anyways, Two Face's gang kidnaps Chase and now Bruce must save her, but his bat cave has been destroyed by The Riddler! With the riddles that Edward sent to Bruce as clues, he and Alfred put everything together and know that it's not going to be easy to defeat this powerful team, that's where Dick comes in, or now known as Robin! Can the dynamic duo save Chase in time and save the world from getting their brains sucked into The Riddler's and can Robin get the revenge he's wanted for so long with Two Face?
Batman Forever is a fantastic installation into the Batman series. I would highly recommend it! It's got action, romance, drama, comedy, and great sets! Among a fantastic soundtrack featuring U2 and Seal's famous "Kiss from a Rose". It's a good movie and should be seen by every Batman fan!
Batman Forever is a big time hit and miss effort. At times it's fast
hitting, funny, vivid and interesting and at times the humor and dialogue
are beyond hope, the action is too silly and the characters are too shallow.
The scenery is also hit and miss, running from nicely colored for a change
to completely garish. I love Val Kilmer but he's completely dull as Batman,
continuing the trend in the series of making the title character the dullest
character in the movie. Jim Carrey as the Riddler is allowed to swing all
over the place emotionally and is actually outstanding at times in a role
that he's made for. His character is scripted as strangely feminine and
there are times when he comes off as being incredibly creepy but he takes
the part and runs with it. Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face is a major
disappointment, not because of Jones but because his role is shallow,
stereotypical and completely uninteresting. The psychopathic edge of Two
Faces personality is replaced by a giggling goof who seems to be having just
a little too much fun. All the torment that should have gone to his
character goes to Carrey's strangely enough. Nicole Kidman as Chase
Meridian should also have been interesting as a psychologist paired with
Batman should be but she comes off too much as being just a giggling
groupie, falling for both Batman and Bruce and calling mentally ill people
wackos, something that psychologists never do. Chris O'Donnell as Robin is
ok and does a good job of playing his role with whining immaturity. He
comes up a little short on the dramatic moments though. The scene where he
takes the Batmobile out for a spin is one of the best in the film. The
opener is fun, the circus where Robin's parents die is actually done very
well and the moments where Bruce opens up to Chase are also interesting.
The villains running amok together range from pretty funny to very weird as
one starts to question their relationship and the ending is somewhat
unfulfilling. Batman Forever is a bridge movie between the dark and good
Batman Returns and the horrible Batman and Robin. It's not great, not
awful, takes itself much less seriously but entertains pretty
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
I wonder what it's like to sit at home and realize you had just
destroyed a multi million franchise.
Well, Schumacher should know.
And when I say destroy, I mean BUTCHER. If George Clooney was the delivery boy, Schumacher was the conductor of this orchestra of disaster.
But if "Batman & Robin" completely destroyed the series, this one was the setup before finally transforming Tim Burton's Gothic vision back into the campiness of the old insane TV series (but, unlike the series, it wasn't so bad it was good).
Jim Carrey was the only thing that made it worthwhile and watchable. The guy simply carries the entire movie on his shoulders. He is truly a gifted actor.
Unfortunately, Jim Carrey wasn't around for the aforementioned sequel...
Some people talk about "the stick of straw that broke the camel's
back", meaning when something reached the tipping point. So when did
the Batman franchise go bad? Well, "Batman Forever" was getting silly,
but it still had Jim Carrey to steal the show as The Riddler ("Batman
and Robin" had about as many good qualities as a barrel of toxic
waste). Personally, I don't know why they had to have Batman (Val
Kilmer) going through therapy; remove that and he still would have been
a cool superhero with neat gadgets. Tommy Lee Jones wasn't bad as
Two-Face. Nicole Kidman and Chris O'Donnell, as Dr. Chase Meridian and
Robin, respectively, didn't really add anything.
Overall, the point is that when Joel Schumacher took over directing, the franchise went downhill. Part of the problem was that while Tim Burton created an eerie Gotham City that looked like New York in the 1940s, Joel Schumacher created a Gotham City that looked like it was trying too hard to be "Blade Runner".
So, the franchise starting getting stale with this one, but Jim Carrey kept the movie from being unwatchable. As Edward Nygma, one of Bruce Wayne's employees, he had some great lines. In the movie, Nygma proposes a device that rests atop TV sets and reads peoples' minds, but Wayne rejects it, considering it too dangerous. Thus, Nygma becomes The Riddler, and he's the best character in the movie.
It was clear the beginning of the end of the original series had
arrived when the mediocre BATMAN FOREVER swooped into the box office.
This hugely disappointing third entry lacks Michael Keaton, Tim Burton
and a whole lot of other stuff.
The Caped Crusader (Val Kilmer) must once again save Gotham City from evil, this time in the form of the psychotic Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the twisted Riddler (Jim Carrey in a particularly annoying performance). Along the way he finally teams up with sidekick Robin (Chris O'Donnell), makes a hot blonde psychologist (Nicole Kidman) weak in the knees, and tries out a few new (mostly lame) Bat Toys.
Many critics loved BATMAN FOREVER for its departure from the darkness of the first two entries. But this new "Batman light" doesn't work nearly as well. The characters are quite irritating, and the film tries to squeeze in far too much. Did we really need two villains again, particularly with Robin entering the picture? As imperfect as it is, it's a masterpiece compared to what followed two years later.
I must admit that I was biased before I'd even seen this movie back in 1995.
I was biased because I just didn't expect it to be any good due to the
absence of Michael Keaton.
When I did watch it I thought it was okay. Val Kilmer did his best as Bruce Wayne although he just looked a bit too young to play a millionaire playboy-but he did do a good job.
Finally we saw the debut of Robin. I thought Robin's costume was cool-it was updated for the 1990's.
Once again the villains stole the show. Jim Carrey (a truly funny man) made a great Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones made a superb Two Face.
Nicole Kidman made a great love interest for Batman but I would have liked to see more interaction between them in the film.
Whilst I think the first two Batman films were the best, I have no problem in recommending this film to any Batman fan.
After "Batman" and "Batman Returns" made over half a billion dollars
combined at the box office, it was clear it wouldn't be long before
Warner Bros. green lit a third installment to the Batman franchise.
After Tim Burton was released as director...due to the sexuality and
violence of "Returns" not being marketable enough for big sponsors like
McDonalds, Joel Schumacher of "The Client" and "The Lost Boys" was
given a shot at the directors chair. Schumacher was hired primarily for
his unique style and ability to balance the light and dark in a film.
Michael Keaton decided not to take the reigns as star for a 3rd time
around, so he was replaced by Val "Iceman" Kilmer. And Robin finally
gets his first appearance as batman's sidekick. Here played by Chris
O'Donnell, respectively. While the film may be flawed in terms of a few
plot holes and a bit of overacting, it stresses a larger point to the
Batman legacy, as did "Batman Begins". "Begins" teaches us why Batman
is, and "Forever" teaches why Batman will always be.
The film begins with our hero (Val Kilmer) hunting after his prison-escaped nemesis, Harvey Two-Face (Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones), the once crime fighting D.A. Harvey Dent. After failing to bring Two-Face to justice, Batman faces another challenge in the forms of Dr. Chase Meridian, a psychiatrist who is week in the knees for bad boys, and Edward Nygma, a maniacal employee of Wayne Enterprises. After Nygma proposes a new device that can allow the viewer of any television program to become one with the show, Wayne refuses, denouncing the idea of mind manipulation. Nygma, now rejected, vows vengeance. After receiving several disturbing letters in the form of riddles, Bruce Wayne engages the help of Dr. Meridian. Bruce, infatuated by Chase, asks her to join him at a Grand Circus, featuring all of Gotham's "well-to-do". Whilst there, Two-Face crashes the party, armed with 200 sticks of TNT. Threatening to leave the place in ruins unless Batman's identity is given up, the acrobatic stars of the circus, the Graysons, attempt to stop the bomb. In their gallant attempt, Two-Face executes them. The only surviving son, Dick Grayson, managed to escape that very fate to dismantle the T.N.T. Dick, now alone and orphaned, is taken in by Bruce. Having gone through a similar situation with the murder of his parents, Bruce takes Dick under his wing (forgive the pun). Eventually, Nygma transforms into an alter ego known as The Riddler, and joins forces with Two-Face. After establishing himself as a brilliant tycoon as Edward Nygma with the release of his 3-D Box, he takes advantage of all the images and information being sucked out of Gotham's brainwaves. He would eventually devise a way to read men's minds. Between the Riddler and Two-Face discovering his identity, Chase's infatuation with Batman, Bruce's true love for Chase, and Dick Grayson's wanting to exact vengeance on Two-Face, Batman has his hands full. These conflicts all culminate in a raid on Wayne Manor and then a final battle on the Riddler's Claw island fortress, in which Robin makes his first venture in heroism.
Between the dazzling special effects, the newly written musical score by Elliott Goldenthal (no where near as effective as Danny Elfman's haunting score, but still damn good), and the new and fresh performance as the Dark Knight/Bruce Wayne by Val Kilmer, this film is sure to please anyone who was disappointed with "Batman & Robin" or "Batman Returns". My final comments will go to the cast. While Kilmer was effective as Batman, giving us something both new and something we have seen in Michael Keaton's portrayal, I was surprised to see how well he fit into the role. His voice, his body movements, and especially his billionaire, corporate C.E.O. version of Bruce Wayne that Keaton had not shown us, are all pluses for his performance. Tommy Lee Jones was only given one side of the personality of Two-Face. Thus giving us a wildly over the top, hot headed, but ultimately cool Two-Face. From the first shot we see him to the final confrontation between he and the dynamic duo; Jones gives to Two-Face what Nicholson gave to the Joker, an unrelenting dose of delicious evil. Jim Carrey was the ultimate choice for the Riddler. His tall, thin structure and extraordinarily comical body movements gave the Riddler what Frank Gorshin had done in the 60s with the same character. From the twirling of his golden , question-mark-topped-cane, and the skin tight green suit encumbered with jet black question marks, Carrey proves one of the best of Batman's on screen adversaries. Kidman was sexy and refreshing. But, if people think Two-Face is over the top, try a criminal psychiatrist who is turned on by "the wrong kind of man". I kind of buy it, but over all I thought the best part of her character was when she decided to grow up and fall for a normal man (if you consider Bruce normal). Chris O'Donnell did hear what he should have followed up in "Batman & Robin". And that is to keep the bad boy image going, and abandon any Burt Ward impersonation. Luckily enough, Burt Ward is no where to be found in this film. This film shows us why Batman will always be, as "Batman Begins" showed us why he is. Wayne in "Begins" confronts what he must become, as Wayne in this, must confront why he must continue. Overall a good chapter in the series.
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