Two-Face and the Riddler team up to invade the minds
of everyone in Gotham, and only Batman can stop them.
Batman Forever (1995)
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman
Starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey,
Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell, Michael Gough,
Pat Hingle, Drew Barrymore, Debi Mazar
Sequel to 1992's Batman Returns
Based on characters from DC Comics
Oscar Nominations - Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
The instant that Joel Schumacher stepped onto the set of Batman Forever, the franchise began to crumble into oblivion. This movie is step one, and while it is not a bad movie in itself, it is an awful Batman movie. Val Kilmer just doesn't sell the character of Batman. His Bruce Wayne is perfect, but his Batman is a far cry from Keaton's.
Tommy Lee Jones was a terrible Two-Face. I think Tommy Lee is a great actor but he played Two-Face like a cheap Joker knockoff as opposed to the cool and calculating gangster he is in the comics. Jim Carrey, however, did an enjoyable job with the Riddler. While his interpretation wasn't perfect (his green leotard showed off a little too much of Riddler's question mark), it was fun to watch. Nicole Kidman's character made no sense at all. She was simply there to be "The Girl." She was supposed to be this intelligent psychologist, but she lusted after Batman like a school girl in heat. Frankly, it was embarassing for her. Chris O'Donnell was an acceptable Robin this time around, as he didn't whine about everything and his motivations were clear.
Batman Forever did turn the Batman franchise into a caricature of itself, but I grew up watching it. It holds a special nostalgic feel to me and for that, I can't give it a failing score.
Between a studio mandated lighter tone and some questionable decisions from director Joel Schumacher, the Batman series took a sharp downturn in quality. While Batman Forever is at least tolerable between his directed films, it's still a far cry from the greatness of the previous two. A greatness that would take the franchise a while to reclaim.
The set design that marked Gotham City in the previous two is completely gone by this point. Instead, we get an odd, neon glowed Gotham City that looks nothing like it used to. As for the actors, they don't fare much better. Tommy Lee Jones gives an energized performance as Two-Face, problem is the character was never meant to be over the top. He is meant to be a cold, calculating killer; something the movie, and actor, clearly forget. Jim Carrey actually did a fun job as the Riddler. While he went a little overboard at times, he still did a solid representation of the iconic villain. Val Kilmer's turn as Batman/Bruce Wayne was okay at best. He is not the worst person to take on the mantle, but he's not the best. Chris O'Donnell is brought in to play Robin and he does a pretty good job, proving to be not nearly as annoying as he would become in the next installment. Finally, Nicole Kidman's character could have been completely written out of the movie considering she serves no purpose beyond wanting to sleep with Batman.
Batman Forever is where the franchise drastically started to become a parody of itself. The set design got way too over the top and the actors slowly seemed to stop caring. Still, I'll at least watch this one over the final film in this series.