Newest Review: ... 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 Forev... more
Batman With A Neon Glow!
Batman Forever (DVD)
Member Name: T4imbo3107
Batman Forever (DVD)
Advantages: Different story and approach.
Disadvantages: It ain't Burton!
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!
Summary: Okay, just dont't compare it too the other films!