FFlashback: Batman Forever (1995)

Tim Burton’s gothic stylings are out, and Joel Schumacher’s campy excess is in. It’s Batman Forever…

 

The One Where: When double-dealing delinquent Two-Face murders Dick Grayson’s parents, Bruce Wayne finds himself with a new crime-fighting sidekick. Can the Caped Crusaders stop Two-Face and his new partner in crime, Edward Nygman AKA The Riddler?

Best Bits: There are few positives things to say about a film as tonally inconsistent as Forever, but there are a couple of bright spots. Thankfully, Michael Gough remained through the regime change as his Alfred is always an endearing presence. Nicole Kidman also vamps it up brilliantly as a pretty strong love interest to follow Catwoman. Plus, the new bombastic theme from Elliot Goldenthal perfectly suits the movie.

Weak Points: Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey are both terrific – yet very different – actors. Unfortunately, putting them together seems to make them both worse. Carrey ramps up his usual manic schtick to almost unbearable levels, while Jones swaps his usual gravitas for a misjudged goofy performance. On the side of the angels, Chris O’Donnell does nothing to convince us Robin needed to be introduced.

Verdict: After Batman Returns‘ securely gothic tone put off a lot of people, Batman Forever tries too hard to please. On the one hand, it’s a kid-orientated romp with cartoon baddies. On the other, its full of sexual references, darker themes and a brooding performance from Val Kilmer (I’m never sure if he’s brilliantly understated or just really bored). Fittingly for a film that features Two-Face, Batman Forever suffers from an identity crises that prevents it from coming together as a whole.

Holy fascinating trivia, Batman! The title makes little sense within the context of the film. It is actually leftover from a darker version of the movie, where the plot revolved around Bruce losing his memory and having to become Batman once again. Batman Forever. 

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