So I watched Batman Forever…
It’s the 20th anniversary of the movie’s release and it’s as silly today as it was 20 years ago. I actually really liked this movie when I was a kid, unfortunately it didn’t age well.
Okay, basic plot: Batman is back, this time played lifelessly by Val Kilmer and he has to protect a CGI version of Gotham from the terrible overacting of Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler. As if this isn’t challenging enough, he’ll also has to traverse the complexity of love as not one but two people (Nicole Kidman as Dr Chase Meridian and Chris O’Donnel as Dick Grayson/Robin) vie to be his partners. It’s a shitfest that’s soul aim is to destroy the hero you know and love but director Joel Schumacher is just getting warmed up…
You know this movie is terrible but it was made in a time when people didn’t quite know how to make comic book movies. Everything was too comical, directors were trying to take the source material and transpose it to film without taking any time to filter the things that work in comic books from the things that won’t work in a movie. Watching this movie I can see that there are some moments that could have been really amazing if they had just been toned down.
Speaking of things that need to get toned down – Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey. These two are good actors who have made a bevy of enjoyable movies. They were also in their prime when filming this movie so you have to question why their performances were so horrible. It would be easy to point the finger at director Joel Schumacher (and trust me I am) but I think the two actors need to bear the brunt of the criticism. Their collective performances are so over-the-top, so forced that I bet even William Shatner watched this movie and said, “hmmm, those guys might wanna dial it back”.
I can excuse Tommy Lee Jones because he’s playing a character with a split personality so he had to show the intensity between two opposing ideas but Jim Carrey just goes too damn far. This is a guy who’s known for his manic energy and extravagant eccentricity but in this movie he goes full Ace Ventura…you never go full Ace Ventura. Not even in an Ace Ventura movie.
The rest of the cast doesn’t do much better. Val Kilmer fails on two counts – his Bruce Wayne is bland and completely lacks charm, swagger or character; his Batman isn’t intimidating or frightening. I did like his fighting style in this movie but the action sequences are so poorly shot and hurriedly edited that you never get to truly enjoy them. The character of Bruce Wayne is also explored in the most excruciatingly dull way possible. The heavy handed symbolism about Bruce’s fear of bats is really unnecessary seeing as it was discussed in the two movies before this and this movie was just a sequel not a reboot.
The one thing that is cool about this movie is Batman’s gadgets. The scene where Batman uses his cape to escape being cremated by an oncoming fireball is one of my favourite from all the Batman movies. See scenes like that are amazing because they add to the wonder and amazement of Batman, unfortunately, they’re often so comical that they really take away from the quality of the movie.
The plot of this movie is a bit too scattered and they’re just too many characters in this movie. This movie actually feels like the inspiration behind the trainwreck that was The Amazing Spiderman 2. The villain starts out as the hero’s biggest fan then hates the hero because the hero stops him from being hurting people. He teams up with another villain to try destroy the hero with technology from the company where he worked. All this happens while our hero is busy pretending to be in a romcom instead of suiting up and kicking butt. Yup, I’m pretty sure Marc Webb stole this script for Amazing Spiderman 2.
Overall this movie is worth a watch but only so you can mock it. There’s a hilarious scene where Batman and Alfred figure out The Riddler’s true identity, it’s actually not meant to be funny but the blatant lack of logic is too glaring to not be laughed at. Definitely not a timeless classic. 4/10