Big Screen Batman Review – “Batman Forever”

Schumacher’s first outing was insanely successful at the box office. I was working at a theater at the time, and noted that most of the audience was around age ten.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne / Batman

Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent / Two Face

Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma / The Riddler

Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian

Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson / Robin

Written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, and Akiva Goldsman

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

The Riddler figures out a way to boost his brainpower by sucking it out of other through a 3D television. Two-Face’s crime spree helps him generate the capital needed to put it all together. That same crime spree kills the parents of Dick Grayson, and puts him on a path to revenge.

High Point

The first meeting of Bruce Wayne and Chase Meridian.

Low Point

Jim Carrey. I’ve never enjoyed him in any role that gave him creative control. I also know that they gave Robin Williams the script on a Tuesday and a chance to play the part, but he gave it his standard 48 hour consideration period. When he called them back on the Thursday, he was told the part had been offered to and accepted by Carrey on Wednesday. Personally, I think Williams would have done a better job, and would have forced enough of a tone shift to bring things together in a much stronger way. We’d have had a considerably more mature finished product.

The Scores

This was not an original script. The neon glow to Gotham is the only element that seemed new, and it wasn’t a good thing. I give it 2 out of 6.

The effects were very good. They hold up quite well over time. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story was well over the top with “the box,” and with the opening sequence. (The piton went through the wall, but the wall supported the safe? Please.) Two-Face’s “good” personality didn’t show through nearly as often as it should have. Sure, he used the coin a fair amount, but it was almost always the evil side making the decisions. The story arc introducing Robin was well done, even if it was written for an underage actor instead of the then-25 O’Donnell. (Why would social services bother someone his age?) I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting from Carrey was terrible. Jones is usually better, too. The villains were both disturbingly over the top, lacking Nicholson’s controlled psychosis from the original. Kilmer, O’Donnell, and Kidman did good work with what they had. Kidman’s character was particularly weakly written. (She was a professional listener. She asks a guy a question she needs to know the answer to, and then kisses him before he answers? It makes no sense.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was decent. It’s entertaining if you go into it looking for an action flick, but not necessarily as a Batman movie. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production had some serious flaws. Elliot Goldenthal’s musical score was inconsistent, uneven, and generally weak. Schumacher’s visual style doesn’t mesh with Gotham; there shouldn’t be neon lights anywhere in the city, especially in the Batmobile. This is all flash, with no real thought or care. Schumacher has shown that he is capable of more than commercials and Revlon designs, but this is not one of the examples that proves it. The editing in the action sequences is problematic, confusing, and rought with continuity errors. I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a movie that hits its rather low goals, and that’s about it. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Batman Forever receives 24 out of 42.

5 replies on “Big Screen Batman Review – “Batman Forever””

  1. y42 says:

    Inertia
    This movie only made money because it followed 2 better movies. A bait and switch.

    And Robin’s kung-fu clothes drying was lifted straight from a hong-kong movie.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Inertia

      This movie only made money because it followed 2 better
      movies. A bait and switch.

      This one outperformed Batman Returns. It
      continued making money in the long term because it had Jim
      Carrey at the peak of his popularity in a movie that 10
      year olds could see without their parents. Disney’s outing
      that year was Pocahontas, so about 90% of the
      movie-based birthday parties that summer ended up in
      Batman Forever.

  2. jbrecken says:

    villainy
    I’ve often thought that Schumacher’s comical Two-Face and Burton’s gothic Penguin did such disservice to the characters that it would have been better all around if they’d switched.

  3. UncleJam says:

    Ack!

    Yet another awful Batman movie that had been blocked from my brain that you have brought back to the surface. Are you trying to drive me insane or what?

    Thankfully, this is the last one I saw, so your review of Batman & Robin won’t have the same effect on my now-delicate mental state.

  4. Alexius says:

    Perspective Of The Heathen Guy…
    A Friend Of Mine (Heathen Guy) Pointed Out That This Seemed Like A Decent Comic Book Movie On It’s Own, Until They Shoehorned The Woman Into It. Edit Her Out, And The Movie Would Be Just Your Standard ‘Hero Rescues Sidekick’ Movie.

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