Batman Forever (1995)
Plot: After creating a device that increases his brain power, Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) becomes a super criminal known as the Riddler, and aligns himself with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) to destroy and uncover the identity of Batman (Val Kilmer).
Batman Returns opened with a new born child being thrown into a river, abandoned. Batman Forever opens like this:
Alfred: Can I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, sir?
Batman: I’ll get drive-thru.
Clearly, Warner Brothers went in another direction with Batman. While Forever is no where near the Burton films, it’s a passable Batman movie. It has its share of highs and lows. There’s a lot more action, but gone is the dark look of Gotham and in comes a neon infested light show. The music is terrible compared to Elfman’s brilliant score. Although this one focuses more on Bruce Wayne and Batman, it’s still dominated by the villains. My dream of seeing a serious attempt at the Riddler has been crushed twice. I really want to hate the Riddler in this movie, but I just can’t. Jim Carrey is legitimately hilarious in this film. It may not be the Riddler I want, but Carrey is too charming and funny to ignore. The energy he brings to this character is insane. And there are still a lot of great Riddler moments that are true to the character. I love the story surrounding him, and I even like some of the riddles. What is detestable in Forever is Two-Face. What a complete disaster. First of all, I really hate the pinkish leopard skin suit he wears. And why is his scarred side pink!! Come on! He laughs way too much, and when’s he’s in a scene with the Riddler, it’s downright embarrassing. He just cackles along and doesn’t do anything! What a complete waste of a great character. And I swear there are multiple scenes where he looks like he’s going to make out with the Riddler. The worst though is when he keeps flipping his coin at Wayne Manor deciding whether or not to shoot Bruce. This completely defeats the purpose of the character. And they take the two personality thing way too far; his hideout is just disgusting to look at. The best part about Forever is how Dick Grayson/Robin (Chris O’Donnell) is introduced. O’Donnell is great in the role, and Robin is eased into the story. They could have easily made Grayson a jokey whiney annoying teenager, but instead he’s a driven and serious character. And seeing him and Batman shake hands for the first time was pretty awesome. All in all, Batman Forever isn’t bad and is at least wildly entertaining, but there’s no denying the subtle hints of the shit storm that comes two years later with Batman and Robin.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Slightly Better than ‘Meh’)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/the Riddler
-I was going to go with Val Kilmer who is a real solid Bruce Wayne/Batman, but I have to give it to Carrey. The characterization of the Riddler is so far off from what I wanted to see, yet Carrey’s performance is so good, I let it slide. I don’t know if there’s anyone else who could have pulled that off. Even if you are the most serious Batman fan, I dare you not to crack a smile at what he does.
Worst Performance: Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
-This isn’t Tommy Lee Jones’ fault. We know he can act. This was what director Joel Schumacher wanted. I already ranted about this in the opening, but his Two-Face is a preview of the debacle we get two years later.
Best Line: “For if knowledge is power, then a God am I.” –the Riddler
-This sums up the ego and arrogance of the character perfectly, and the fact that he says this while sitting on his ridiculous throne is the icing on the cake.
Worst Line: “It’s the car right? Chicks dig the car.” –Batman
-Can you imagine Christian Bale saying this in a Nolan Batman movie? Yikes.
-Robin and Two-Face at the end. Although it’s not really a fight, I think O’Donnell’s performance really shines here. And this is the true climax of the Robin character development. It’s a really well done scene.
-Batman makes a house call to Dr. Chase Meridian to see if Chase loves him or Bruce Wayne. Wow…WTF.
-I love when the Bat-Wing and Bat-Boat storm Claw Island. It continues the tradition of introducing bad ass vehicles at the end of a Batman movie. In the first one, we had the plane. The second gave us that jet/boat thing. And here we get both. And yes, I even like when the Riddler and Two-Face play battleship to blow them up.
-I hate when the Riddler blows up the Bat Cave. This is where the jokey dialogue wears a little thin. And it contains one of the worst moments in any Batman movie; the baseball stadium music as the Riddler “pitches” a bomb…and does the crouch grab. Like I said, it’s a preview of Batman and Robin.
-When the Riddler puts on that neon jacket and says, “Like the jacket…it keeps me safe when I’m jogging at night,” cracks me up every time. I would do anything to own that jacket. My guess is it’s in Jim Carrey’s closet somewhere. Man that would be fun to walk around in.
Bad Ass Moment:
-I’m just gonna say the Riddler’s hideout. When Batman goes up that elevator shaft and you see all the question marks light up in the circular dome, it’s a pretty bad ass sight.