Batman Forever is the third film in the series of Tim Burton films. Here we have Joel Schumacher in the directors chair, and Burton as a producer. We also have new villains, a new sidekick, and even a new Batman! Mild spoilers are in this review (not that it matters), so consider this your final warning.
“I’ll get drive-thru.” These are the first words spoken by the Dark Knight, and this is when I knew it was about to get ugly. The film starts out with Batman (Val Kilmer) doing his thing; he suits up and goes out to stop the villain Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). We also see Bruce Wayne’s love-interest, Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) in the crowd watching from afar. So far so good, right? Wrong. These two characters are terrible. Two-Face comes out of nowhere, and the only way we know his origin is from a ten second news clip playing in the background of another scene. He doesn’t have an arc, and he doesn’t really have any motivation to kill Batman. He’s just evil so, y’know that’s his job. Meanwhile we have Chase as this strange psychiatrist; and she ends up falling in love with Batman at first sight. She kinda has a Harley Quinn/Joker vibe going on. She likes Batman and Bruce Wayne, but she can’t decide between the two. She pretty much turns into a creepy Batman-stalking fangirl, and it’s very disturbing. This character isn’t fun like Catwoman and she isn’t as likable as Vicki Vale. There is no chemistry between Batman and Chase. Batman says that he has never been in love before, but he’s had more chemistry with Catwoman and Vicki Vale in this series alone! It’s like they completely forgot the first two films.
The first couple of scenes show you what to expect for this film. It’s drastically different from Batman (1989) and Batman Returns. The tone isn’t as dark and the villains are much more cartoony. The Riddler (Jim Carrey) is the perfect example of this. Edward Nigma was a scientist working at Wayne Enterprise. It’s obvious that he’s a wacko, but billionaire Bruce Wayne still takes the time to look at his latest invention. Nigma has created a device that uses brainwaves to project 3-D images (he can read people’s minds), but Wayne doesn’t like the idea of tampering with people’s brainwaves and wants this project stopped. This pushes Nigma over the edge and he wants revenge; leading to him becoming the Riddler! This is a weak story and Carrey’s over-the-top performance doesn’t do it any favors. You never buy The Riddler’s motivations and he’s just too crazy to take seriously. He doesn’t bring any fun to the movie even though he’s supposed to be funny. The Riddler just gets worse (even his costumes get worse as the character gets worse). It’s a shame because I think Jim Carrey could have been a great villain! Carrey could have played a serious character with a hint of his comedic-flare and it would have been perfect. Instead we get an annoying over-the-top antagonist with little motivation. Both Two-Face and Riddler feel like weak versions of the Joker. Instead of bringing what makes these characters interesting to the film, we get two wacky, crazy and annoying villains.
One of the things that I was looking forward to was the introduction of Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell), also known as Robin. The story of Robin stays pretty close to the source material, and it plays out pretty well in this film. One of the problems I had with this version of the Boy Wonder was that he was too old. Bruce Wayne takes in a young boy who lost his parents (just like he did), but here he takes in a 20 year old man. It doesn’t really have the same effect. This combined with the fact that the character isn’t likable gives us an unenjoyable side plot. Sadly, this is one of the major problems with this movie as a whole. None of the characters have any charming qualities, and aside from Batman and Alfred they’re all annoying, creepy, and unfunny characters.
Batman Forever has some things that could have worked really well, but the script and directing really brought it down. No one person is at fault here, sadly everyone is to blame for this failure. The one good thing I can say about Batman Forever film is this: “At least it’s not Batman & Robin“. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned as our 25 days of Batman v Superman continues!