Batman Returns only made two thirds of the grosses achieved by 1989's Batman and so Warner Bros (especially the toy department) were keen to lighten the tone somewhat and make the third film more commercial and appeal to a younger audience. Tim Burton happily stood aside to take a token producer role and was replaced by the flashy but more superficial and flippant Joel (The Lost Boys) Schumacher. 1995's Batman Forever (written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, and Akiva Goldsman) is considerably more family friendly and lightweight than Burton's vision, the gothic gloom giving way to garish neon and even the slanted camera angles of the television series. Elliot Goldenthal's score too is more mainstream and conventional than the ones produced by Danny Elfman. You are tipped off very early to the tonal shift when Batman tells Alfred "I'll get drive-through" as he is about to depart in the Batmobile. A line that positively whiffs of a fast food commercial tie-in. Schumacher's most important task during early production was to find a new Batman actor. Michael Keaton wasn't impressed with the campy and jokey nature of the script he was presented with and decided if Tim Burton wasn't directing the film he was out. He was offered $15 million by Warner Bros to change his mind but he stuck to his guns and Schumacher replaced him with Val Kilmer after being impressed with the actor's performance in Tombstone. Kilmer was sometimes talented but a notoriously difficult actor. At one point Schumacher and Kilmer didn't speak for two weeks during the production when Schumacher took umbrage at the actor's rude and lofty attitude to crew members. Kilmer is younger and more handsome than Keaton and looks like a wealthy playboy but he brings no emotional depth to the role whatsoever. He looks and sounds bored as if the whole thing is beneath him but he just has to get it completed with his dignity intact.
Not exactly easy with the tongue-in-cheek nature and outrageously homoerotic flourishes of Schumacher. A shot of Batman's spandex bottom is perhaps the strangest of these interludes. Why are there nipples on the batsuit now too? I have no idea. Batman Forever actually makes more narrative sense than either of Burton's films but that isn't saying much and doesn't necessarily make it better. Schumacher is clearly having the time of his life here, let large in the world of Batman. The colour hues are off the scale and Gotham now takes in Egyptian architecture to add to its suffocating clashes of form and style. It is noticeable though that there are computer generated cityscapes for the first time in the series. You start to miss those big Gotham sets from the first film. The villains this time are Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). The Riddler is Edward Nigma, a scientist at Wayne Enterprises who invents a device which beams television waves into the brain and extracts information. When Bruce Wayne shows no interest in his invention and he is fired by his boss, Nigma tries the device on himself, goes insane and swears revenge on Wayne and Gotham etc. The Edward Nigma backstory is pretty tedious at times, Schumacher, like Burton, insisting on presenting the genesis of the villain whether we care or not. Two Face is Harvey Dent, a former prosecuting attorney who went insane too (all Batman villains have to go insane I suppose or they wouldn't be villains) and turned to crime when one side of his face was scarred with acid in a court attack. He blamed Batman for not stopping the attack and now has a schizophrenic personality.
The Riddler and Two Face inevitably team up together to cause trouble for the caped crusader. This is the catalyst for a sometimes unbearable bun fight between Carrey and Jones. Carrey, as you would expect, does not hold back as the Riddler and seems to have been given a completely free reign by the director. He's too much at times and you wish they had diluted his presence. Carrey is one of those comic actors who seems to think that if you pull a funny face and shout all the time then everything you do or say is automatically funny. It's not and I can't say I found his Riddler terribly amusing in the film. Tommy Lee Jones is absolutely determined that he's not going to be overshadowed by Carrey and so he goes just as over the top as Two Face. When you have the pair of them chewing the scenery together in stereo the film becomes like a loud noise that you just want to find the source of and turn off. Neither are particularly scary either and the films suffers in hindsight now with the more subtle and adult depiction of Two Face by Aaron Eckhart in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Returns. To be fair to Schumacher though the film is sort of refreshing in a guilty pleasure way at times for eschewing the gloom of the Burton pictures and trying to have some fun. He's a little bit better than Burton at action sequences and Batman Forever has a Bondish style stunt at the start where Batman foils a bank raid and ends up clinging to a helicopter rope. There is a Batmobile chase too where the car ends up climbing a wall (first of several not so sly nods to the television series). Preposterous but then I suppose no more silly than Nolan having the Batmoble driving around rooftops in Batman Begins.
You do of course get the introduction of Robin here in the form of Chris O'Donnell. Legend has it that the producers had to choose between O'Donnell and a very young Leonardo DeCaprio and went for O'Donnell because they decided he would win in a fight between the two! O'Donnell is Dick Grayson, an acrobat who becomes an orphan when Two Face murders his parents at the circus. Bruce Wayne of course can relate to this and takes him in, allowing him to stay at Wayne Manor. Grayson eventually discovers Batman's identity and gets his own kinky rubber costume to fight crime in. Robin doesn't really work in these Batman films for me. Batman is the ultimate loner and it never quite feels right for him to have some smartarse sarcastic teenage sidekick. Comics can get away with Robin when they choose because the page is different from the screen. As an example, the scene here where we see Batman in court failing to stop the acid attack on Two Face is just ridiculous and laughable. You can get away with Batman sitting in a courtroom in his costume (!) in the comics but try to film it and it just looks silly. It's why Burton kept Batman in the shadows. O'Donnell is a very bland actor and they make Grayson more annoying than he needed to be here by giving him a rebellious streak (he steals the Batmobile to go cruising for girls etc).
It doesn't come as a huge surprise that Schumacher notices the possible connotations of Bruce Wayne taking in a teenage ward. "Hang out in a lot of biker bars Bruce?" asks a wary Grayson. The love interest here is Nicole Kidman as Dr Chase Meridian, a psychologist and expert in abnormal psychology. They do a sot of Lois Lane/Superman thing here where she seems to love Batman more than Bruce Wayne, unaware they are the same person. Kidman is fine but doesn't have much spark with Kilmer. I think the best moments in the film are the more restrained, quieter ones amidst all the carnage and over the top performances. Bruce Wayne having a flashback to a stormy night when he was a child, running from the house and falling down a hole into what would become the Batcave. And Michael Gough as Alfred trying to help the grieving Dick Grayson settle in at Wayne Manor. Gough makes a welcome return despite the absence of Burton and Keaton. Gough and Pat Hingle are the only constants in this everchanging series. The film is laudably big and looks expensive but it falls apart somewhat at the end when ever kinkier Bat costumes plus a Bat Boat and a Bat Plane are deployed for the climx. That's enough now Mr Schumacher. Stop it. Batman Forever is like eating Toffee Popcorn. The first handfuls are enjoyable but after a while you start to feel sick and can't face anymore. While it is probably more fun than the Burton films this is a film I am far less likely to return to. This is a bare bones Batman Forever DVD with not much more than subtitles and scene access and available for less than a fiver. There is a special edition with extras but (at the time of writing) that will cost you a tenner more.
Released in 1995, this was the third film in the Batman series and unlike modern productions this one didn't have Tim Burton as the director and surprisingly didn't have the same lead in the role as Batman from Batman Returns. After only two films the lead actor decided that he didn't want to be Batman anymore, Michael Keaton decided not to play the role due to the fact he stated there was no way that Batman is the main character in the film, that honour always goes to the villain of the piece which in the case of Batman Forever is starting to stick to a formula as there are two villains - The Riddler and Two Face. In this film, Batman is played by Val Kilmer.
The plot is more twisted than a corkscrew, an attempted robbery by Two-Face is foiled by Batman who is taken for ride across Gotham trailing from underneath a Helicopter. With Two-Face dealt with the story diverts to a character called Edward Nigma who works for Wayne Technologies, being frustrated in his role he tries to give ideas direct to Bruce Wayne on a visit to his Department, in turn Nigma blows a fuse and this is where The Riddler is born. After taking on Dick Grayson as his ward after his parents are killed by Two Face, Bruce Wayne meets the woman of his dreams in the form of Chase Meridian and his feelings for her combined with emotions experienced when witnessing the death of Grayson parents at the Circus cause Bruce to experience a number of regressed memories that question the existence of Batman and in turn puts Gotham City in danger from the combined forces of Riddler and Two-Face that have invented a mind machine that has become the latest craze.
I have to say that Kilmer in the dual role of Batman and Bruce Wayne is very good, he is young to be believed in the role and yet projects that mysterious edge that a character of this nature should have. As Batman he has the height and physical build and yet still manages to get away without really changing the tone of his voice at all. In fact it's Kilmer's voice that lets him down as by the end of the film it becomes rather droll and monotonous to listen to. In some respects it's a shame that he didn't make another film as he fits in, but I think he got out at the right time. The initial costume that Batman wears is totally spot on and looks good, as a continuation from the film before.
Backing him up is Chris O'Donnell as the new sidekick, the sidekick is always dangerous territory and here the sidekick has been orphaned and wants revenge becomes one of the more stronger sub-plots to the film. O'Donnell plays Dick Grayson as a hot head and wants to do things his way while Batman wants to control him, it's in the conflict scenes with Kilmer that O'Donnell takes it to another level and shows the range of emotions that he is going through.
Jim Carrey plays the character of Edward Nigma who becomes The Riddler, he steals the show from the rest of the cast and it frankly becomes The Jim Carrey Show. Wrong on a lot of levels, the manner in which he plays the character is so over the top that everyone else is just in his shadows and you can see why the main characters of Riddler and Batman are kept apart as much as possible. After this film I think Carrey realised that the over the top lunatic routine was starting to wear thin and started taking the more serious roles that I personally prefer him in. In fairness the costume that Carrey wears on screen is very loyal to the comics as in colour and appearance; in fact it's a cat suit that looks like it was spray painted on.
Two-Face is played by Tommy Lee -Jones, yes the same actor from Men in Black! I can't believe that he is appearing in this as the scarred nemesis of Batman. He does play second fiddle to Carrey in all scenes without much of a chance to grow or evolve although the origins of the scars and the genesis of the character are shown in a flashback as to how his face was mutilated. Rounding off the main cast is Nicole Kidman as Dr Chase Meridian, a Batman obsessed psychologist who has her work cut out when dealing with Bruce Wayne. Kidman is so miscast in the film; she takes on many roles as lover, heroine and finally a potential victim. Not impressed with her at all as she doesn't really do that much and for a calibre of Kidman abilities as an actress I felt we were not necessarily getting a fair amount of her on-screen.
With the departure of Burton as director and now only an advisor, the opportunity to reshape has been taken. Another new costume change throughout the film provides ample time to extend a plot and the happenings earlier on when the Batcave is destroyed, and the rationale of revenge is always lingering in the background waiting to be used, however its things like Dick Grayson taking the Batmobile for a joyride that doesn't stick to well and even the Batmobile being driven up the side of a building, paying "homage" to the window scenes from the Adam West show. It seems that all the atmosphere and tension that was built up in the first two films has been disbanded. I would have liked to have seen the values created by Burton continue as they were quite grounded and provided more of a film noir approach in storytelling that was easy to watch and through the use of greys and blues built tension as the story evolved. Here the film can easily be broken down to a four part story and when watching can easily see where the cliffhanger could be inserted. Now I'm not saying that I don't like it, but the problem is that the use of neon and ultra violet light is a serious departure from before and I can see why this had put some off. However in the midst of things these are minor as the film overall does move at quite a nice pace and allows the audience to be sucked into the story of a man who is questioning his self worth as the caped crusader.
As soon as the film starts, without any title sequence and the credits being played over what is happening in the Batcave you know that this is a different film completely, in fact the new Batmobile is presented for the first time, its quite impressive to see as the design is different from before and dies take a little getting used to. This is where Batman delivers a line that is truly out of character stating that he will get a drive-thru!
As with the other film in the series, the extras can give a definitive aspect on why the cast and the story changed and this is one of the main reasons to watch them. Segments of the Batman documentary that span all four films give an interesting insight to the legacy of The Bat and show how much he has grown as the decades fly by. I enjoyed the making of as this it does explain scenes that were in the trailer and didn't appear in the film and also backs up the reason s for the change in cast and feel of the film. These are just at the right length for what they have to show and don't overstay there welcome as the longest is just a consolidated number of featurettes that last 46 minutes in length. Plenty to keep the average Bat fan happy for about four hours as the deleted scenes are a worthy addition on there own. Also included is the music video to the Seal song Kiss From A Rose, a song that is still played today and still sounds fresh, although as with all releases in this series the extras are simply lifted onto whatever format and are the same as Blu-ray as they are for DVD.
Overall you do tend to see that Burton has had some, if restricted, input in what goes on, the film moves at a faster pace and therefore by the end the film does tend to burn out and transitions more into a level of campness that means the villains can justifiably go mental without feeling too guilty although I think they will be remembered as being quite embarrassing seeing the work that actors like Tommy Lee Jones and Nicole Kidman has done since. For the better part of the film its okay, but just gets too outlandish in what the ending is out to achieve. Although all the cast do have various sizes in the part they play, there is a standout person that robs the screen from all around him and that does tend to justify Keaton's comments. As I said earlier this is a departure from the two previous films and can easily be considered a Marmite film. Joel Schumacher has delivered a bright and colourful film that does tend go against the true legacy of Batman, however having watched this again after some years the film is enjoyable but for completely the wrong reason and you can see the slippery slope begin to form however the next film was where it fell off the cliff entirely!
I managed to come across this film on ITV2 the other night through a bit of channel hopping - although to be honest, I do own it somewhere on DVD, just watching it made me decide to write a review. I think this is the first Batman movie I have ever seen, and although the Christian Bale movies are my favourites, there is something about Batman Forever (but not any of the others) that will keep it in my DVD collection!
In this film, Val Kilmer (Iceman from Top Gun) took over from Michael Keaton in the role of Batman. Batman Forever follows Batman as he tries to stop Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the Riddler (Jim Carey) - both classic villains from the Batman comics - from completing their villainous plans and draining the minds of the people of Gotham City, and perhaps even the world (as you would expect from the bad guys!). Of course, there is the love interest; Dr Chase Meridian played by the beautiful Nicole Kidman - but who does she want most, Bruce Wayne, or his alter-ego Batman? Finally, Batman is joined by Dick Grayson - also known as Robin (Chris O'Donnell, D'Artagnon from Three Musketeers), an orphaned acrobat who Bruce takes under his wing after Two-Face kills his family.
So I'd say this is a classic comic-book movie - you have your hero and side-kicks (yes, I am counting Alfred the Butler as a side-kick), you have your love interest, there's a bit of comedy and, of course, there are the slightly crazy bad guys. One thing I love about Batman Forever is its ability to have a bit of fun with itself. There's a fairly serious plotline, that could have been made dark and creepy (as with predecessors and successors), but this Batman film had fun. It's colourful, almost cartoony - there are even comic-book like sound effects (for example, Pow). There are what we youngsters would call lame jokes in the film, and over-dramatic moments - but this is what I absolutely love about it. It hasn't taken itself too seriously; in fact it's had a bit of fun with itself and made a very cartoony movie, without the cartoon. Until I did a bit of research about it, I didn't know Tim Burton was involved, and although I wouldn't say this was very similar to some of his other works, I can see the influence.
At times it can be a little too cheesy - and a little too loud for 11 at night when you're trying not to disturb sleeping house members! I think the only reason I watched this Batman out of all the others was because I recognised Val Kilmer and Chris O'Donnell, so decided it couldn't be all bad. I think Tommy Lee Jones is fantastic as Two-Face; I've only seen bits and pieces of his acting and he normally seems to portray quite normal, sensible-ish characters, and in Batman he really lets loose - but you can still see what a fantastic actor he is. I found Nicole Kidman's character a little annoying, but I do tend to get like that with damsels in distress that can't seem to make up their mind about who they like, but think they know exactly how their love interest thinks. Although, in this case, she is portraying a psychiatrist so we may have to give her a little lee-way - just a little though.
So, to sum up. Batman Forever has a fairly good, fairly classic storyline. There are lots of colours and noise and cartoon-like moments in there to cover up the weak points. I must admit that as this film is rather cheesy I don't always admit I like it - but compared to the George Clooney one that followed, Batman Forever is definitely the one to watch if you want a bit more light-hearted portrayal of the Dark Knight. And, asides from a little bit of violence, there's no gruesome deaths or fights, so younger viewers may be able to watch this one, depending on parental decisions. For me, watching Batman Forever when I was younger has encouraged me to watch the newer versions now, so it didn't manage to put me off watching anymore Batman films. Even though this film may be a bit of a guilty pleasure, it is a classic superhero story and I never tire of it!
Batman / Bruce Wayne: Val Kilmer
Robin / Dick Grayson: Chris O'Donnell
Two-Face / Harvey Dent: Tommy Lee Jones
Riddler / Dr. Edward Nygma: Jim Carrey
Batman Forever shows Batman and Robin facing both The Riddler and Two-Face. Two-Face blames Batman for his disfigurement, and The Riddler is an inventor who used to work for Wayne Enterprises; they both wish Batman dead and they will do it in any way possible. Will Batman and Robin save the day? Or will Two-Face and The Riddler gain advantage on them and kill them?
Unlike the new dark Batman films, this one is more comedic in the way it is presented. It isn't as serious as the newer ones which can be a good thing; it has more colours and vibrancy to it rather than just seeing dark and black colours. Visually, the film has a great look about it; but the director did seem to make everything look a lot more 'sillier', which is the main complaint to the film.
The acting is mediocre; nothing special from Val Kilmer or Chris O'Donnell, but I did really enjoy seeing Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones playing their villainous roles. Jim Carrey played an excellent Riddler; really working with the character's insanity and using it to making his role believable.
The storyline is typical Batman; heroes and villains, excellent little plot twists, etc. I for one did not get bored at any point whilst watching it, and it gripped me right until the end. It is easy to understand even if you haven't watched the previous ones.
After the new serious films, I doubt anyone would want to watch this, but I found it great since I grew up watching these films, and the comedy was good. However, if you want to watch it, go ahead; it's enjoyable if you are in the right frame of mind and you don't judge it before you see it.
This was the beginning of the end for the original film franchise!
I remember watching this in the cinema with a friend when I was little and loved it then.
It's still quite enjoyable now but it lacks the darkness of the first two films and the characters are less edgy.
Warner Bros did receive some complaints about the darkness of the first two films and decided to change the tone of them, starting from this one.
The villains are more comical now and are made to be portrayed as less violent than the bad guys in the first two.
With Jim Carrey starring here, what do you expect?
He plays the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones plays Two Face.
The Riddler is more or less a copy of the Joker from the first film as he giggles and laughs a lot and is up to tricks. He tends to leave envelopes with a question mark on them at Wayne Manor, taunting Bruce.
Two Face, who was once known as Harvey Dent, exists because he had acid thrown in his face during a day in court once and has gone mad. He is the more edgy of the two villains but by the end of the film, he becomes very comical and also turns Joker-esque as he seemed to take a leaf out of Jim Carrey's portrayal.
Nicole Kidman plays Bruce Wayne's love interest and is very bland.
This film also marks the entrance of Robin, played by Chris O'Donnell.
I know a lot of people didn't like this character but he made the film a little fun as he tends to, first of all, wind up Bruce by being there in dangerous situations where he is not wanted and snoops around the Manor and investigates things that he isn't supposed to.
As a whole, this film is a lot of fun and is a different kind of Batman film.
It has fun with itself and is pure popcorn entertainment.
It's nowhere near as bad as the ridiculous fourth film and there is some good action scenes here.
Val Kilmer makes for a decent Batman, too.
I just wish they would have stopped casting famous actors as the villains because Jim Carrey kind of steals the limelight away from Kilmer as did Jack Nicholson from Keaton in the first film.
This film is worth a watch so long as you realise that it has a much lighter tone and mood than the first two films.
It's good entertainment for a couple of hours.
Joel Shumacher was hired to direct this movie, after the studios were getting worried that Tim Burton was drowning Batman in the dark, inescapable ink of misery that flowed from his brain. But that's what we loved about the first two films, wasn't it? The darkness, the return to Noir influences of the 40s. It made Batman popular all over again. Then the studios decided it was best to make new Batman films, but instead of adding plot and believable characters they thought "screw it, we need to sell some toys here". And then out of the blue came Batman Forever.
Now it's not as bad as its sequel (almost nothing is), but it takes away a lot of the elements that made Batman ... well, Batman and instead made everything just a bit more manic, a bit more colourful and a bit more childish.
In this installment, Val Kilmer ... sorry, Bruce Wayne, must stop The Riddler from sucking everyone's minds and Two-Face from doing ... nothing, it appears.
That's the problem I have with this film. It doesn't make any sense. Why is Two-Face working with the Riddler? There's no logic behind that. There's no reason Bruce should have taken Dick in as his ward (they do it in the comics, too, but even then it was a bit confusing).
And the villains aren't Two-Face and the Riddler. I mean, in costume they are but in character they aren't. Especially Two-Face. The Riddler kind of gets away with it, being Jim Carrey and all, but Tommy Lee Jones could have played a fantastic Two-Face without making it a repeat performance of Nicholson's Joker. Two-Face (here without any backstory whatsoever) is a manic, insane man who refers to himself in the plural (which is actually pretty cool). There isn't the cold, hardened lawyer-turned-gangster. Just madman with a thing for Twos.
For what it is, though, a children's suerhero film, it isn't bad, that's true. It certainly is an entertaining romp for an hour and a half. It doesn't try to be anything more than it is, and works because of it. Good for brain-dead entertainment, not recommended for those who like Batman
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Batman Forever is a film that I loved as a kid, and that very much embodies most of its appeal - it pales considerably when faced with Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton's iterations, but it's also a lot more fun and less self-serious than the dark Burton versions, and it does have an impressive visual style, even if it's a lot more flamboyant than we're used to and therefore may turn people off. I still maintain that it's quite an underrated film, although certainly no masterpiece.
Batman Forever sees Batman aka Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer, who was quite notorious for being difficult to work with on set) trying to take down evil villain Two Face aka Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones in a frenzied performance), who wants revenge on Batman after he caused his face to get scarred with acid. Also, the eccentric genius Edward Nigma (Jim Carrey, the film's true highlight) has gone overboard, his insanity causing him to don the alias of The Riddler, who taunts Batman with numerous difficult challenges.
This isn't as mature or dark as either Nolan or Burton's Batman films, but it is colourful, vibrant, and energetic. The main complaint is how director Joel Schumacher has just made things a lot sillier and more camp - particularly how he attached bat-nipples to the suit and really made everything extremely outlandish. Nevertheless, it is a pretty fun film in its own right, and very well designed artistically - the cinematography of the cityscapes in particular is immense.
Yes, it's Schumacher, yes it has bat-nipples and the like, but I got a real kick out of this as a piece of entertainment. Carrey makes a superb Joker, and as long as one doesn't take this too seriously, one can have a lot of fun with it.
In this Batman outing Val Kilmer dons the black kevlar suit as Bruce Wayne. Wayne is having doubts about his lifestyle and memories of his parents keep intruding into his head.
The quality of this film comes from the quality of Tommy Lee Jones as Harry Two Face, Jones plays the psychopath brilliantly and with Jim Carey expertly cast as The Riddler the two are excellent when on screen together. The love interest is provided by Nicole Kidman who forms a romantic triangle between Batman, herself and Bruce Wayne. She is also connected to Two Face professionally. The final significant cast member sees the introduction of Robin, played by Chris O'Donnell who is a circus performer whose family are killed by Two Face and his gang.
By the time this came out I was starting to lose interest n the Batman series of films as the second one was rather poor, this film is a lot better helped mainly by the inclusion of Jones and Carey, visually it is excellent however neither Kilmer or O Donnell bring enough to their characters in my opinion and this leaves the film a little flat when they are in front of the camera.
The action scenes are impressive and it is a great rollercoaster of a film which certaonly makes it better than the second effort but it is still a film that failed to ttally grab me when I saw it for the first time and watching it again recently it had not improved with age.
Everyone seems to have given Batman Forever terrible reviews but i think its a great movie if you take it at face value! It is clearly not on par with Dark Knight or Tim Burton's Batmans, but it is still a very very enjoyable movie. At the moment it is being shown on Film Four as part of its Guilty Pleasures weekend, and I think that really says it all! Robin's tenuous back story and Val Kilmer's questionable acting skills are all criticisms that a die hard Batman fan could make, but Batman Forever still remains one of my favourite (and very very camp) guilty pleasures! Jim Carrey is brilliant as always, cast as the Riddler which is a role that could have been created just for him. To top it off, there is garish and over the top costume and set design which definitely made the movie for me.
Working my way through the Warne Bros adaptations of the Dark Knight, Batman, I thought I had better continue with the third in the series, Batman Forever.
Written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Avika Goldsman, and directed by Joel Schumacher, with the brilliant Tim Burton co-producing, Batman Forever was released back in 1995. This is a review of the film only.
Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) is growing tired of his daily existence. Not being content with being rich, powerful and influential during the day and being a crime fighter at night Bruce is at his wits end. His empty feeling is not helped as he is haunted by memories of his parent's death.
In this saga Batman has secured the attention of two individuals, both of whom are out to make his life a misery. Harry Dent "Two Face" (Tommy Lee Jones) is a serial killer with mental health issues who blames Batman for an accident that left him with permanent disfiguration to one side of his face. Dr Edward Nygma "The Riddler" (Jim Carrey) is a former employee of Wayne Enterprises that was given the boot after developing a dangerous invention and after identifying the man behind the Caped Crusader he seeks his revenge. In true comic book style these two individuals come together and team up to try and defeat Batman.
As a side issue Dr Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) is assigned to look at Harry Dent and help him overcome his insecurities and issues. A love triangle between Dr Chase/Batman and Bruce Wayne causes much confusion. How will the relationship develop?
During a charity function Two Face and his motley crew gate crash the party and takes out a family of circus performers. The youngest performer Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell) survives the attack and vows to avenge the death of his family. Dick is invited to stay at the Wayne manor and after finding out about Bruce Wayne's alter ego he decides to assist him in the fight for justice. Donning a superhero suit Dick becomes Robin.
Will Batman and Robin defeat the deadly partnership of Two Face and the Riddler? Will Robin avenge the death of his family? Will Bruce ever find happiness with Dr Chase?
The cast list is huge and includes many different characters. This film is centred round the main cast, obviously, and the other characters merely offer a supporting role with little input. I guess this was to be expected given the large A list actors who star in it.
The other characters do a good job and keep the film rolling along like it should but none of them give outstanding or memorable performances and are quickly forgotten as the film moves towards its conclusion.
There was nearly a three year gap between Batman Returns and this release, which in reality isn't that long (after all there was an eight year gap between Bad Boys and Bad Boys II) but the age old question still arose..... Was it worth waiting for?
Batman Forever is the third of Tim Burton's Batman adaptations (although he didn't actually direct it but he did have a big role as the co producer) and whilst the writers may have changed, the quality of the overall film has not suffered one bit, despite some poor choices of actors. Many have commented that Tim Burton's adaptations are the best and by the time Batman Forever was released the series had gained a massive following.
In true Burton style Batman and Robin maintains the unrealistic and fantasy storyline as well as the dark and eerie atmosphere that was evident in both Batman and Batman Returns. I am glad that the original formula was still being used as I am a great believer in 'if it ain't broke then don't fix it' and the tried and tested method was so popular it would have been madness to change it.
Batman Forever is a 'busy' film and contains quite a few different stories that all end up merging in to one. Personally, I think that the producers have tried to cram too much story in to this film, although it doesn't make it any worse for it, however it does mean that you have to concentrate a bit more to make sure that you don't miss anything.
Whilst the pace of this film is slightly faster, and hence more involved than the first two, it is suitable and had me gripped from start to finish. Not once did I get restless waiting for the next action scene, nor did I ever clock watch.
Whilst Batman and Batman Returns both had star studded casts the actors wanting to be involved in these films were getting bigger and bigger and the producers appear to have taken full advantage of this.
Val Kilmer was given the dream role of donning the Bat suit and whilst he did an admirable job I don't think he was as good as Michael Keaton, his predecessor. Keaton had confidence, sophistication, charisma and all the other attributes that are necessary to play the dual role of Bruce Wayne and Batman. In my opinion Val Kilmer did not have these attributes and was just too weak, or was it Keaton was just so good?
In this film we are introduced to Batman's side kick, Dick Grayson "Robin". I can remember watching the camp Batman series on TV where Robin was, and I don't mean to be nasty about this, an annoying and skinny twerp that was more of a hindrance (with his stupid questions) than help. The image I had of Robin was based on the bloke in the TV series so I was not overly impressed when Chris O'Donnell first came on screen. In my opinion he is too good looking, too buff and is too charismatic to play Robin. Despite my feelings on this I can't deny that O'Donnell does a very good job and gives a great performance.
The first of Batman's (and Robin's) arch enemies in this film is Harvey Dent "Two Face". In my opinion Tommy Lee Jones is an absolute legend and a fantastic actor. I can't think of a single film where his performance hasn't been up to scratch and he maintained his high standards in this film. His performance is absolutely brilliant, although not quite as good as that of Jim Carrey, and he plays the role of Two Face very well. I wouldn't say that the role is perfect for him and I am sure that there are other actors that could have played the role just as well although I am struggling to think of any at present.
The second arch enemy is Dr Edward Nygma "the Riddler". In my opinion Carrey was perfectly cast for this role and I can't think of any other actor that could have done a better job. In my mind the Riddler is meant to be over the top, in your face and totally off the wall and this suits Carrey's acting style down to the ground. All of Carrey's previous roles involve these over the top characters (he plays them so well, almost to the point of being a one trick pony) and I'm sure his role in the Mask was the deciding factor (other than the money of course) in being cast as the Riddler. I think that Carrey hogs the limelight in this film and I think it is well deserved since, in my opinion, he gives the best performance by a mile.
With her beauty, class, style and sheer presence Nicole Kidman was a great choice for Dr Chase, and she gives a very good performance. I do question the need for a love interest though since I don't think it adds anything to the film. In my opinion Batman and his new sidekick should be loners with only each other for support. They both have clear objectives in their minds and a love interest shouldn't happen. This film should be based purely on Batman and Robin protecting the City of Gotham.
Technology has clearly moved on in this saga and Batman not only has the Batmobile to get around in but he also has access to the Batwing, Batboat and Batsub, all of which are very cool. Rather than bombarding the audience with 3 new modes of transport in one film I think the producers would have been better off spreading them across future films, but hey ho. The gadgets in Batman's utility belt have also increased in this film.
Whilst this film is dark and contains scenes of violence there are no scenes of a sexual nature nor is there any foul language. This makes it an ideal family film that will be enjoyed by both a young and old audience.
This film is rated a PG, which I think it should be. Previous Burton Batman films were rated 12, which I think is a bit high given the content of the films. It is good that the censors have awarded this one a more realistic certificate.
Whilst Batman Forever doesn't really follow on from Batman and Batman Returns and can be watched without viewing the first two films I think that these films should be watched in sequence. Whilst Batman Forever is a great film, and very enjoyable, I do not like it as much as the first.
This film definitely has the most star studded cast of Burton's adaptations to the date of release but I don't think Val Kilmer plays the role as well as Keaton ever did. Don't get me wrong, he does a great job but he just lacks that 'something'. Carrey does an excellent job as the Riddler and is very entertaining.
If you enjoyed Burton's other attempts then you are definitely going to like this and I would highly recommend it.
This Batman adventure follows Tim Burton's blockbuster Batman Returns (1989).
As Warner Bros. decided to make the Batman franchise less dark and more mainstream, Burton handed over directorial duties to Joel Shumacher and remained only as a producer. There is also a new Batman, as Val Kilmer replaces Michael Keaton who had declined to reprise the role.
This time around Batman contends with two villains who form an alliance against him, and Batman himself gains an ally to help him combat his enemies.
The film opens with Two-Face holding hostages at a bank. Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) is a former District Attorney who became physically disfigured and psychologically disturbed following an accident which he blames on Batman, and has been terrorising Gotham of late.
Outside the bank Batman meets Dr Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), an expert on absormal psychology and multiple personality disorders who has been called to the scene to help the authorities.
Batman foils Two-Face's plan, who manages to escape.
We are then introduced to Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey), a Wayne Enterprises employee who eventually becomes The Riddler after Bruce Wayne, whom he seems to idolise, rejects one of his ideas.
The last main character to be introduced is Robin (Chris O'Donnell), a young circus acrobat that Batman takes under his wing after Two-Face kills his family. He becomes Batman's partner against Two-Face and The Riddler.
The film is quite loud and busy, even by comic book superhero adaptation standards.
Despite being jam-packed with action, it is actually rather dull at times, and the plot is not as engrossing as the previous Batman film had been.
The film's strength is the production design: it is a visual feast.
As usual with the Batman franchise, the film has a highly stylised look, its dark tones and quick-moving camera work producing a rather claustrophobic atmosphere and vertiginous sensation.
Chase's fair skin and blonde hair and Robin's multicoloured spandex suit provide two of the few lighter touches of colour.
The film is well-acted.
Val Kilmer doesn't have much acting to do as Batman, but looks better in the Batman suit than any of the other actors who have worn it, and Nicole Kidman as his love interest is also the sexiest I have ever seen her.
Jim Carrey does his usual manic brand of acting, but is suitably creepy as the spiteful scientist whose admiration for Bruce Wayne turns to obssessive revengefulness when Wayne rejects one of his ideas.
Tommy Lee Jones also makes Two-Face as menacing as a Batman villain ought to be.
There are also performances by well-known actors such as Ed Begley Jr and Drew Barrymore in minor roles.
The film's weaknesses are the dullness of the plot and the number of main characters crammed in to it.
Robin is probably the most superfluous character. It had originally been included in Batman Returns' original draft, but was dropped then as producers thought the film would have too many characters, and they should have come to the same conclusion this time around.
Although to be fair, Robin does provide the funniest moment of the film, when he is asked "who are you?" by the fluorescent-coloured gangsters.
The film was an even bigger commercial success worldwide than its predecessor, becoming the second highest grossing film in the U.S. in the year of its release.
It is not great, but worth watching if you like the genre, even if you will probably forget it quickly.
Abandoning the darker vision created by Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher takes over the Batman series, and brings with him a host of new villains as well as a new actor in the lead role.
Batman finds himself in a spot of trouble when the maniacal Riddler teams up with a District Attorney who has vowed revenge after an accident in court left him partially disfigured. Both villains have their own calling card. Two Faced (formerly known as Harvey Dent) flips his coin when facing a dilemma, whilst The Riddler creates a labyrinth of trouble using clever riddle's that Batman has to solve.
Meanwhile, both Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne become involved with a young circus performer who has also vowed revenge after his entire family are killed. Bruce, at first, resolves that he will never have a side kick, but soon relents and finds himself with a new sidekick - Robin. Throw into the mix damsel in distress Chase Meridian, and you've got a brand new Batman adventure, complete with his famous sidekick, a couple of colourful baddies and a new love interest for eternal bachelor Bruce Wayne.
Whilst Forever isn't a terrible film, its such a new direction from the previous film that its hard to stomach. Whereas Batman and Returns wallowed in its shadowy darkness, Forever is a camped up scream. If you like the tv series of the 60's rather than the dark mysterious comic, then you'll probably have seen this as a Batman in the right direction. But for me, it was the beginning of the end.
Val Kilmer looks out of his depth here. Pouting and leering his way through a role that requires more subtlety, he looks like he's attending a fancy dress party. The Batsuit has a slight change in design, but he still looks out of place. Chris O'Donnell is far more enjoyable as he trapezes his way into the film, and dons the Robin costume for the first time.
Nicole Kidman is alright, but doesn't really serve much purpose. Vicky Vale was a convincing love interest, whilst Selina Kyle was a formiddable foe. Chase is an attractive diversion, but pales by comparison. Tommy Lee Jones would never have been able to carry off a villain in the first two films, but his colourful turn in this film is enjoyable enough and fits in with his surroundings. I'm sorry to say that, despite my dislike of him in general, Jim Carrey upstages the whole sorry lot of them. He minces and grimaces his way through a part that is witty and well played. He's a one trick pony, but an admirable enough villain in this setting.
The only carry overs from the previous films are the ever reliable Michael Gough (looking suitably embarrassed probably) and Pat Hingle (finally looking at home with the rest of the over-compensating).
Schumacher really does drain the life out of a franchise that started off excellently, but still manages to turn out something that is vaguely enjoyable. His cast give it their all, despite being the poor man's alternative to Keaton, Nicholson, Pfeiffer and co. The action sequences are often deftly done, but there are times where they look staged and unconvincing.
Like the rest of the material, Elliot Goldenthal's rendition of the excellent original score has been replaced by a glaring and overblown alternative that abandons the subtle and dramatic flare of the original.
The only thing that Batman Forever really has in its favour is that its more colourful than the first two films, and certainly better than the next installment Batman And Robin. There's not really much more to say, except that its at least watchable.
Batman Forever (1995) This installment of the Batman films is a stark contrast to the previous two. A different combination of director and lead actor, and a colour change for the 'Dark' Knight led to this film not receiving such great reviews.
Gotham City's new threat comes from a couple of maniacs hell bent on destruction and revenge. 'Two-Face' is a former D.A. Harvey Dent, wrongly mad at Batman for his disfiguration. The Riddler is a scientist spurned by his employer Bruce Wayne. Together, they plan to unleash a device capable of stealing brain matter from all of Gotham, including Batman, in the hope of finding out his true identity. Only Batman can stop their plans of domination, but he needs help, and finds it in the hands of Dick Grayson, an orphaned acrobat who is also hell bent on revenge.
The Cast and Performances
Val Kilmer takes over from Michael Keaton as Batman. he is not as good as Keaton, and does not portray the Darkl Knight in a dark and moody way as writer Bob Kane intended. His portrayal of Batman's true identity Bruce Wayne is impressive, though. Tommy Lee Jones gives a solid peformance as Two-Face, but the character is a little over-exaggerated for my liking. Nicole Kidman provides the love interest as Dr Chase Meridian, but even she is flat and does not give the role anything memorable. Chris O'Donnell gives a cheesy performance as Dick Grayson, who dons a crime fighting suit and becomes Batman's sidekick Robin. The cheesiness is typical of O'Donnell's roles, and you cannot fault him for that.
Michael Gough returns as Alfred, and Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon, and these are the only two reminders of how good the first two films were, but they are not the best in the film. That honour goes to the ever-hyperactive Jim Carrey as the Riddler. He gives an outstanding turn as the maddened scientist who leaves riddles at the scenes of crimes to test Batman.
Director Joel Schumacher is normally on the money when it comes to controlling a film, but here he has got it all wrong. Batman is a dark and moody hero, one who relies on strength, agility, fear and science to overcome his foes. The director has brightened up the film by giving the hero a lighter costume and by employing psychodelic colouring in the majority of the costumes. Bright purple on Two-Face and near-fluorescent green on the Riddler, with a comical plot as opposed to a serious one, does not do this franchise justice.
There are positives to be taken from the film. It is entertaining, I'll give it that. Were I to know nothing about Batman, and was watching it for the first time, these criticisms may not hold place with me at all. The farcical nature of the plot to read people's minds, though, is too much. If the plot was more believable, and if the costumes and acting were darker, as is the true nature of Batman, I believe I would have enjoyed this film more.
Still, if I want to watch a film with some quirky one-liners and some feel-good hero elements, this will do. I cannot rate it highly because it does not come near to the previous two Batman films, but it is entertaining to a certain degree.
Disappointing Batman film. Unnecessary change from the mould.
I rate this film at 3 stars out of 5.
The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £5.98.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
This film was a new side to the Batman franchise with new director Joel Schumacher trying to make the film more like the Batman and Robin comic strip and not as dark as the first two were.
Michael Keaton did not return to the role of Batman and this was taken over by Val Kilmer who was always the choice if Michael did not take the part again. As Joel wanted a fresh look he wanted to introduce Robin in the film and chose actor Chris O'Donnell to play the part as he was at the right age and looked the part.
As for the choice of the villains in this film Joel chose Jim Carrey to play the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones to play Harvey Two Face.
Joel always knew who he wanted to play these parts and all of the above actors were his first and only choice.
Nicole Kidman was cast as Dr. Chase Meridian as Bruce Waynes/Batmans love interest.
I shall give you a brief outline of the film
This starts with Harvey Two Face breaking into a bank vault and knowing Batman will come sets a trap for him, he puts a security guard in the vault bound and gagged and as Batman fights off two faces thugs Two face gets in a helicopter, Batman gets into the vault to rescue the guard only to find the door slammed shut on them both. Two faces helicopter smashes and then carries the vault outside where two face shouts out that inside is boiling acid that he is going to kill Batman with and shower over the streets of Gotham, Batman quickly had a plan to escape from this but two face gets away after setting the helicopter on a collison course with the Statue of Liberty, two face parachutes out, but batman can't save the helicopter crashing into the statue.
At Wayne enterprises an inventor named Edward Nigma has a design to manipulate brainwaves and puts the idea to Bruce who rejects the idea. Edward is furious and later that night knocks out his supervisor and tests the invention on him. Edward becomes more knowledgable every time he does this. To prevent his supervisor talking he kills him and manipulates the TV cameras so it looks like suicide. A riddle is left on the scene
Meanwhile Bruce meets Dr. Chase meridian who Bruce has a meeting with. He invites her to the main circus in town. The Graysons are performing artists there.
Edward meanwhile has created a suit for himself and sends out a riddle to Bruce Wayne.
The riddler is born..
I shall not tell you any more plot lines to the film but it is a welcome edition to the batman franchise.
The disks I am reviewing is the region 4 two disk special edition which is also compatable with region 2.
The following disks are DTS and Dolby digital sound, dual layered, English and Italian languages, English and Italian subtitles, and is PG rated.
The film is on for 121 minutes.
Disk 1 Contains :
This film is available with a detailed commentary with director Joel Schumacher who tells you his thoughts behind the making of this film, his choices for the roles, and wanting a new vision for the batman franchise.
Disk 2 contains :
Riddle me this, why is Batman forever ? - a detailed look at the making and behind the scenes of this film, a TV special from 1995
Shadows of the Bat part 5 - reinventing a hero.
This is a look at how new producer to the role Joel Schumacher brought a new look to the Batman franchise and tells you why he wanted this. It also gives in depth looks at the actors and how their characters were created for their roles in this film and the significance of the addition of Robin.
Additional scenes - this shows you the scenes that were cut from the film for mainly time purposes and is worth a good look at.
Kiss from a rose music video by Seal - the entire music video from this popular singer.
The Heroes and villains profile gallery - Just like the first two Batman films this shows you the main characters of Batman Forever and taking you into their background of each character.
Beyond Batman documentary gallery - this gives you a lot of documentarys to go through, Out of the shadows the production design of Batman Forever, the many faces of Gotham City, "Knight moves" the stunts of Batman Forever, "Imaging Forever" the visual effects of Batman Forever, "Scoring Forever" the music of Batman Forever.
All of the above documentarys are detailed and are on for about 10-15 minutes each.
I enjoyed this film but not as much as the first two, I felt that it had gone too near the series from the sixties with such a lighthearted feel about it.
All the same it gives you good villains very well created and that I had remembered from the comics and it was good to see them in film especially two face who was one of my favourite characters.
I didn't really have any favourite bits in this film or at least nothing that really stood out for me, it had a good story though.
I enjoyed the music from U2 during the film and was a shame that this was left out from the special features.
The special features were a hit for me once again, a lot of effort has gone into making these batman special editions and a lot of credit should go into this.
I am enjoying the cinematic stories of the bat very much and only now have the last instalment to see.
If you watch the film more than once then try the commentary by Joel Schumacher, I found this very insightfull and tells you a lot about this film.
Also the design of the cover and inlay design was very good, a nice shiny box with the batsign covered with the riddlers question mark on the front, on the inside box itself the same on the front but on the back pictures from the film, special features index and the basics like PG rated, how long it's on for etc.
I would say that this is worth a good look at and if you are a fan of the batman films then it is worth getting.
There are so many reasons to hate the third installment of the modern Batman films, it's truly bewildering. But you can boil the whole sorry saga down to this: the first two films, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, rescued the comic character from his camp 60s Adam West stereotype and turned him into a shadowy vigilante avenger more akin to his original character in the comics of Bob Kane. Batman Forever, for reasons best known to director Joel Schumacher, then proceeded to stick the camp back in with a vengance.
Booted off the franchise following comparatively disappointing box-office for Batman Returns, Tim Burton retains an Executive Producer credit and one can only imagine, assuming he was on the set at all, his open-mouthed astonishment at all his hard work being shot down in flames.
So, this third time it's Val Kilmer pulling on the tights and pointed mask of the iconic character. He's fighting against Harvey 'Two-Face' Denton and 60s favourite, The Riddler.
From the start, the choice and depiction of the villains portrays the lurch in tone for the franchise. While the first film's Joker was essentially a vicious gun-toting gangster with a flamboyant streak, and the sequel's Penguin was carefully grunged up to become a deranged feral mutant, the bright primary colours chosen for both Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey betray the director's ambition to camp things up.
Perhaps the performances could have saved things, but this is Jim Carrey before his 'serious outings' in Truman Show, The Majestic or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He's all facial tics AND SHOUTING here in full MANIC mode. As for TLJ, his plaudits for deadpan perfection in films such as The Fugitive and Men In Black (but not their sequels) have mostly conned people into forgetting his over the top snarling in films like Natural Born Killers and Blown Away. Guess which he does here?
Val Kilmer's caped crusader must nevertheless battle against Two Face and The Riddler. They're working to construct a machine which will drain Gotham's brain power into the Riddler's head and boost his IQ through set-top boxes. The problems with this are twofold, in spite of the 'brain drain' thing running for almost half the film, we never see any evidence of Jim Carrey getting any more intelligent.
In addition, this storyline doesn't give Two Face much to do, except pursue a vague grudge against Batman. He's really just a man with a gun, and yet he gets a disproportionate amount of screen time. By the end, he's just reduced to wandering around randomly waving his gun at characters.
Batman, as mentioned earlier, has been replaced by Val Kilmer, and he fails to convince. He looks as though he should be out surfing, and lacks any conviction in scenes where he talks about his parents' murder.
Disastrously, and many would argue it was at this stage that Schumacher's kitsch ambition became clear, Batman Forever made the bewildering decision to introduce teen sidekick Robin to the film franchise. Orphaned by Two Face's bomb plot, Chris O'Donnell does his best with a crap part. I've never been so quick to loathe an orphaned boy.
Before you can say 'silly costume' Robin is in on the Bruce Wayne secret, largely due to butler Alfred's obsession with letting all and sundry rock on into the Batcave. Quick shout-out to Michael Gough, though, a great character actor who becomes the franchise's only stable performer.
Finally, Nicole Kidman rounds out the heavyweight cast. Definitely pre-Moulin Rouge and The Others, Kidman is supposed to be some kind of forensic psychologist. This is extremely unconvincing, however, especially after she fails to spot that Edward Nigma (Riddler) is an utter nutter, so it's just as well she quickly abandons the day job in favour of flirting unconvincingly with Val Kilmer.
I have to say something pleasant at some point, so I should just take a sentence to mention the awesome soundtrack. Large chunks of Danny Elfman's excellent bombastic score are present and correct, and of course U2 provided the obligatory hit single with Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. Its mumbled verses, nasty lyrics and raw noise are all wasted on this film, but it's great in any case.
The real problem, though, doesn't lie with the actors or the director at all. It's not even the fault of lame 'irony gags' (the 'holy rusted metal' gag being particularly painful) or the alarmingly homoerotic huge-nippled Batsuits. It's with the design.
The first two films were visual triumphs which still hold up today, despite being ancient in terms of special effects. They achieved this by adding a 'timeless' feel to the costumes and sets. All the characters wandered around dressed as though they were in a 50s film noir, and everything looked terribly old-fashioned, apart from Batman and his arsenal of gadgets. It was Burton's brilliant way of keeping the films fresh for as long as possible.
But with the third movie, Schumacher has gone all neon. Fluorescent street gangs attempt gang rapes with hockey sticks or something, in an embarrassing approximation of street culture. Everyone is dressed in mid-90s styles, and it's all just a bit dull.
Also, the editing has been stepped up a notch. Action scenes at the start are played at such a blistering pace that it's actually almost impossible to tell what's happening. The opening scenes in particular require several viewings.
I mustn't bury the film entirely though, it has some redeeming moments (just not many). The parallel between the Riddler's experience and the young Bruce Wayne's is a very interesting one, and some of the fight scenes are decently choreographed. The Riddler's destruction of the Batcave is the one scene where Carrey really lives up to his star billing. His antics are irritating and lame, but sort of cool when juxtaposed with the massive explosions.
Far from the best of the Batman films, but also not the worst (you know what that was, don't you...)
When Tim Burton and Michael Keaton announced that they'd had enough of the Batman franchise, director JoelSchumacher stepped in (with Burton as coproducer) to make this action-packed extravaganza starring Val Kilmer as the capedcrusader. Batman is up against two of Gotham City's most colourful criminals, the Riddler (a role tailor-made for funnyman Jim Carrey) and the diabolical Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), who join forces to conquer Gotham's population with a brain-draining device. Nicole Kidman plays the seductive psychologist who wants to know what makes Batman tick. Boasting a redesigned Batmobile and plenty of new Bat hardware, Batman Forever also introduces Robin the Boy Wonder (Chris O'Donnell) whose close alliance with Batman led more than afew critics to ponder the series' homoerotic subtext. No matter how you interpret it, Schumacher's take on the Batman legacy is simultaneously amusing, lavishly epic and prone to chronic sensory overload. --Jeff Shannon