Batman Forever (1995)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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> Batman - Continuities
Overall Rating 49%
Overall Rating
Ranked #593
...out of 14,100 movies
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Connections: DC: Batman

The Dark Knight of Gotham City confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and the Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side. And Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, his family killed by Two-Face, becomes Wayne's ward and Batman's new partner Robin. --TMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: January 09, 2008
After two stints helming the Batman series, director Tim Burton was given da boot. Warner Brothers had decided that Burton's trademark dark tone wasn't doing enough to bring in the kiddies, so they made what would turn out to be a disastrous decision: they gave the franchise to one Joel Schumacher. And so begins a Gotham of gaudy neon lights, so begins the infamous bat-nipples, and so begins the beginning of the end for the Caped Crusader's initial film series.

On the second anniversary of the day Batman first caught him, Two-Face has planned a huge heist of the Second Bank of Gotham. It's not so much an effort born of greed, but a trap for the hero. Indeed, Batman soon finds himself and a guard trapped in a safe that's slowly filling with acid and dangling from a helicopter. The conflict ends in a stalemate, as Two-Face is unable to kill Batman and Batman is unable to arrest the criminal. Meanwhile, one of Wayne's employees, Edward Nygma, has been working on a brain manipulation advice, (it was originally supposed to serve as a VR compliment to television) but after Wayne shoots the idea down, Ed flies off the handle. He forcefully tests it on the head of his department, and discovers it has the unintended side-effect of funneling the user's intelligence into Nygma. Seeing a means to gain his revenge, he fakes his guinea pig's suicide and resigns from his job. Bruce Wayne has now started dating Dr. Chase Meridian, a psychologist who finds herself unable to choose between Bruce and Batman, and takes her to the charity circus, where the highlight of the show is the death-defying trapeze act, the Flying Graysons. The good times quickly come to an end when Two-Face makes an appearance, dangling a huge bomb from the ceiling and demanding to know the identity of Batman. In the fray, Bruce is powerless to do anything, while the Grayson family uses their acrobatic skills to take the bomb up to the roof and safely dispose of it in the nearby harbor. None to happy to see this, Two-Face begins firing into the rafters, killing three of the four and leaving young Dick an orphan. Upon seeing the destruction on live TV, Nygma dubs himself the Riddler and convinces Two-Face that he will help him figure out Batman's identity if he helps him spread his Boxes throughout Gotham. As the two begin their crime spree, Wayne has taken Dick into his home; the young man is hell-bent on vengeance, demanding that Bruce makes him his new partner and help him kill Two-Face.

Schumacher's Gotham is completely different than Burton's. While the latter presented a dark, gritty city that really commanded a sinister tone, this new Gotham is more like Las Vegas on a bad LSD trip. Instead of being predominately black, now it's awash in blues, purples and oranges. It also has been decorated with huge statues of gargoyles throughout the city. The whole thing gives off the impression of a gothic circus run by that kid in high school who shops exclusively at Hot Topic. While I could see how this is aimed at the kids more than the first two, it's kind of negated by scenes of Dick in the Batmobile trying to pick up hookers or Two-Face ramming a helicopter into the Statue of Liberty's face. Schumacher's biggest problem is he doesn't know when to say when. Burton knows how to go completely off the charts without the viewer even feeling it, but his successor doesn't have that skill. The new look of Gotham, the addition of the annoying paparazzi (Elizabeth Sanders), and scenes like the Batmobile driving straight up a wall or the deus ex machina that wraps up the bank heist; it all adds up to this film slamming you right in the face.

Along with the man in the director chair, the man in the bat-suit is new as well. Keaton decided not to make it a Bat Trick, and Val Kilmer was quickly cast. I must say, he was fantastic in the role. He's one of the few Bruce Waynes who, in my opinion, has successfully been able to be a badass Batman as well as filling all the ranges between the depressed Bruce and the Playboy Bruce. Although I'm sure I'm losing cool points for this, I'll take Val over Michael anytime. As for the newly introduced Robin, Chris O'Donnell proves himself to be pretty much useless. Sure, he got the job done, but next to Val he was certainly lacking. However, there is a silver lining to this cloud. When Schumacher came in, he made a lot of casting changes. Originally, Dick was to be played by Marlon Wayans. There's one dodged bullet. As for Bruce's girl, I'm really not sure what Nicole Kidman was going for but she just came off as a slut here. Guess that was for the kiddies too.

I'm going to come right out and say that Jim Carrey annoys the hell out of me. He twitches a lot, makes weird voices, acts like a complete jackass, and not much else. As the Riddler, this is pretty much all he did for the two hour running time. It's not very often that Carrey is able to contain himself long enough to make a decent flick, and this certainly wasn't one of those times. In the original Batman, Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams. When he signed that contract, it came with full expectations that he would be back to play Two-Face. In fact, he had a clause in the contract stating he would have to be bought out if he couldn't play the character. Well, Schumacher had long ago decided that he wanted Tommy Lee Jones, and Williams was indeed bought out. While I sympathize with him, Jones' performance was utterly amazing. He's obviously having a blast and holds nothing back here; capable of hitting that same level of going over-the-top without ramming it down your throat that I praised Burton for earlier. In fact, he was even able to make Carrey somewhat enjoyable. The chemistry between the two really surprised me, as Jones' performance acts as a sort of happy medium between 'normal' and Carrey's shenanigans.

Despite Schumacher's over-indulgence, Kilmer and Jones were successfully able to carry, nay, save this film. Thanks to these two, it still ended up being a really fun movie, but sadly, neither of them would return to the next installment, Batman & Robin. Still, their work here was more than appreciated. 7/10
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 01/09/2008, 05:56 PM
This might be my least favorite in the franchise. The first two films were incredible because of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton. The fourth film, as horrible as it was, was so bad it was funny and that made it entertaining -- plus, George Clooney was not a horrible Bruce Wayne. "Batman Begins" was a very interesting take on the franchise and was quite entertaining. "Batman Forever" was just a train wreck. Jim Carrey is way too Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones is way too Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman is a totally uninteresting female lead and Val Kilmer just doesn't work as Bruce Wayne or Batman. I don't know if Joel Schumacher ruined the franchise, but he certainly took it down a path it shouldn't have gone. This first step was a doozy. 3/10.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 01/09/2008, 09:46 PM
Jones was going full throttle yes, but to say he was "too Jim Carrey" is completely unfounded. Like I said, Carrey just acts like a seven year old with ADHD and too much sugar. I think Jones was really the embodiment of what WB wanted to do with the Batman franchise. Instead of the brooding tone the Burton villains had, now they wanted a more animated, cartoonish atmosphere, and I feel Jones was successfully able to capture that feeling yet still come across as a villain to be feared. Now, whether or not you prefer the darker Burton villains is neither here nor there; I prefer them myself, but the score I gave it was based more on the movie itself, and not how it compares to the previous entries. And really, how can you compare them? Even though it's the same franchise, this is a completely different affair to what came before.
Edd #3: Edd - added 01/09/2008, 11:05 PM
He said BAT TRICK. 10/10 for the review and the film.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 01/10/2008, 10:00 AM
Wow. My assertion that Tommy Lee Jones was too Jim Carrey is 'unfounded'? Wow. That really puts me in my place. Odd considering I can't watch that film with anyone without them bowling over laughing about Jones' hideously over-the-top performance.
BuryMeAlive #5: BuryMeAlive - added 01/10/2008, 10:39 AM
Jim Carrey based his performance on the late Frank Gorshin who played The Riddler in the 60's TV series, and based on that he is pretty much spot on. I think Val Kilmer was a much better Batman than George Clooney, who played the role way to happy, Bruce Wayne is a tormented soul, Val had that feeling George did not. They pretty much fucked up with the character of Two-Face (my favorite Batman villain), but then again so did Burton with The Penguin. All in all this movie is not bad at all, a good comic book adventure, "Batman & Robin" on the other hand....
Luminaire #6: Luminaire - added 01/10/2008, 10:49 AM
Anyone who watched Batman Begins will forget about this poor excuse of a Batman movie.
Crispy #7: Crispy - added 01/10/2008, 12:52 PM
Again I say, yes he was over the top and extremely campy, I'm just saying what he was doing is nothing compared to what Jim Carrey did/does. You gotta realize, from where I'm sitting that's a huge insult.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 01/10/2008, 02:21 PM
It was meant as an insult. Jim Carrey's mid-90's comedy was awful because he didn't know how to tone himself down at all, and neither did his directors. Tommy Lee Jones was doing the exact same thing as Two-Face and Joel Schumacher didn't know how to tone it down at all. So, yes, if you took it as an insult, then it came across appropriately. I love Tommy Lee Jones. I consider this to be his worst role ever.
Crispy #9: Crispy - added 01/10/2008, 03:35 PM
Fair enough.
Tristan #10: Tristan - added 01/10/2008, 05:00 PM
Ever watch a little film called Man of the House?
bluemeanie #11: bluemeanie - added 01/10/2008, 05:44 PM
Sure have. I didn't say it was the worst film he's been in, I said it was his worst role ever. In "Man of the House", at least he was playing what he plays best.
Ginose #12: Ginose - added 01/18/2008, 12:06 PM
Let me be the unpopular kid here and say: I hated Burton's first "Batman". I will say it was my least favorite Batman film (this counts any of those shitty straight-to-video animated ones that I may have caught), however, this one runs very close in second place. Carrey's whole stint in the 90s was to be an irritating, over-the-top actor, and it worked normally. This was no exception, because I've always thought Riddler to be an irritating, over-the-top villan. However, Tommy Lee Jones was a bad Two-Face. I mean, his acting style wouldn't have been able to fit into the actual charecter of Two-Face. So, what, they choose to make him obnoxious? How would that ever work? Kilmer was not my favorite Batman, but Clooney was one lower on the Wayne-scale for his stupid and poor attempts at wit that he actually managed to make sound like he was reading directly from the script. That's... just weird... Anyway, like I said, this film wasn't a peach. I suppose they did what they could with the charecters and ideas, but that really doesn't help akward (and annoying) performance and direction from our leads and Joel "Bat-Suit-Nipples" Schumacher.

...wait, Nicole Kidman had a charecter in this? Where the hell was she? 3.9/10
Crispy #13: Crispy - added 01/18/2008, 12:17 PM
She was the therapist Bruce was trying to nail. Meanwhile, she just wanted to nail Batman. Funny how life works huh.
grain of sand #14: grain of sand - added 01/29/2008, 07:29 PM
don't like this one, but how bout that seal song haha
Vash #15: Vash - added 07/27/2008, 07:17 PM
i dont know why no one else ever notices that all the villains in the batman sequels were just riffing off nicholson's joker. lame. this one gets a lot of shit but it isn't nearly as bad as batman and robin. i can still sit through this if i'm extremely bored and it happens to be on tv. kilmer is slighted mainly because of the movie itself, but he's great as bruce, even with his ridiculous enunciation of "i am batman!" in the party scene. this movie would never fly nowadays, so let's be thankful that people have a LITTLE bit more care when it comes to beloved franchises, a decade later. ... just a bit.
The Red Clover #16: The Red Clover - added 07/27/2008, 10:42 PM
I fell in love with Carrey's version of the Riddler considering where he drew his inspiration from. I agree Jim Carrey's portrayal of the Riddler based on Frank Gorshin's was right on the money but Two-Face was far too cartoonish. The character is a killer who does what he wants based on the flip of a coin, not some nut-job with a suit that's half bland and half so-colorful you'd think he just got back from a cruise.
The Red Clover #17: The Red Clover - added 07/27/2008, 10:44 PM
However, since the reviewer based his score on the movie itself more than a comparison to the other movies in the franchise, I have to agree -- this movie sits somewhere between 5 and 7/10. Excellent review.
Rest Easy Soul #18: Rest Easy Soul - added 12/26/2009, 10:11 AM
Jim Carrey makes me enjoy this movie.
Lucid Dreams #19: Lucid Dreams - added 07/20/2010, 09:47 PM
I don't know why, but I did like Carrey as the riddler. The rest of the film sucked and is probably the worst in the bunch with next one right behind them. 3/10
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