By Will Barber – Taylor
Batman is 75 years old this year. To celebrate I shall be posting a Bat Cave full of reviews and articles dedicated to The Dark Knight. The fourth review in the series looks at Batman Forever, the first film to be handled by new director Joel Schumacher. After the lack of takings for the brilliant Batman Returns, Warner Brothers decided to give the series to another director and keep Burton on as producer but without much power. What came from this unholy union would be Batman Forever a film that really shouldn’t have been made.
The Dark Knight of Gotham confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and The Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face, incorrectly believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side; he has unleashed a reign of terror on the good people of Gotham.
Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler he creates a device for reading the minds of all the people in Gotham and discovers Bruce Wayne’s knowledge of his other identity. Together they plan on destroying Batman forever. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, whose family were killed by Two-Face, attempts to convince Wayne that he can be his partner as Robin The Boy Wonder.
Batman Forever is not the shambles that we shall see in Batman and Robin but it is on the path that will lead to the death of the original franchise. The movie opens with Batman (Val Kilner) being called by Commissioner Gordon to the Second Bank of Gotham (Gothamites showing their originality again) to stop Two Face from destroying the bank to mark two years since Batman first caught him. After ascending the building The Dark Knight tackles Two Face before he escapes and destroys the Statue of Liberty.
This is where Batman Forever begins to really have its problems. The film doesn’t know how to act as it hasn’t yet gone to the full campy crap that we see in Batman and Robin but it hasn’t completely abandoned the seriousness of the previous Burton films so the film has a jarring almost ironic personality problem; it isn’t sure whether it is a light hearted comic book movie or a camp piece of nostalgia.
The acting in the film goes from fairly okay to pretty dreadful. Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face starts off okay but soon becomes completely cartoonish sometimes just spurting out “oooh!” and “hahaha!” instead of real dialogue.
Kilner’s Batman goes from just dull to plain old boring though Kilner is clearly trying his best with the material he has been given and with a better script he might have given a much more interesting take on the character.
The big fat raspberry prize however must go to Jim Carrey who from his first appearance is over the top. Now the character of The Riddler is an over the top character, it is in his narcissistic nature, he wants to make a spectacle of himself. The characters sole desire is to test Batman to see if he can catch him while he is being so overtly silly. However Carrey is so over the top from his first scene that it just annoys the audience with his campiness that wasn’t really needed.
The rest of the cast aren’t too noteworthy in their performances but at least they try to act natural even with the disgustingly over the top dialogue they are given.
Batman Forever for all its faults was not the final nail in Batman’s cinematic universe that honour would go to one of the most horrendous films of all time.
BATMAN AND ROBIN