Batman Forever (1995)

batman forever poster 1995 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Still better than Batman & Robin

Massive step down from previous Batman films

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Batman Forever

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  June 16, 1995

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

batman forever costume val kilmer

Val Kilmer in all his mouth breathing glory

Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) is menacing Gotham, and Batman (Val Kilmer) must stop him!  Bruce Wayne is also facing a challenge from an insane, obsessed employee named Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) whose plans for a mind manipulating TV series have led to him taking of the guise of the Riddler.  As Bruce Wayne tries to come to terms with his past with the help of Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), he finds himself with a new ward named Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell) who has also found his life shattered by Two-Face.  Two-Face and the Riddler have just formed a pact to destroy the Batman and find out his true identity…can Batman survive?

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman Forever is a DC Comics action-adventure superhero movie.  Followed Tim Burton’s Batman Returns in 1992, the movie switched tones from Burton’s darker style to a more family friendly version which was closer to the TV series and had Val Kilmer taking over for Michael Keaton.  The movie was met with mixed reviews but a strong box office.  It received Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing. U2’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” received a Razzie Nomination for Worst Original Song.

batman forever riddler jim carrey

Riddle me this…why do we have to have the Two-Face plotline?

I was a big fan of Batman and less so of Batman Returns (but I still liked it).  I really looked forward to the next installment despite the change of directors.  I will say that Batman Forever isn’t awful…that title still goes to Batman & Robin, but Batman Forever is a huge step down.

Batman Returns was already a pretty crowded movie with too many threads and characters, but it feels like they didn’t even try to incorporate all the plotlines of Batman Forever into a very coherent story.  It is busy, dull, and all over the place.  Two-Face adds little to the story and the whole Meridian storyline seems like a weak Vicki Vale/Catwoman replacement.

batman forever two face riddler tommy lee jones jim carrey

Two-Face might not shoot Riddler, but Tommy Lee Jones might kill Jim Carrey

Val Kilmer has never been one of my favorite actors and he continues to sleep his way through this movie (Keaton dropped out when Burton didn’t return and the script decided to go lighter).  I actually am ok with Jim Carrey as the Riddler (who he plays more like the Flash’s Trickster however).  Tommy Lee Jones didn’t seem to know what he was doing with the Two-Face character, and Warner Bros. actually had to buy out Billy Dee Williams who originated the Harvey Dent role in Batman (Jones’ onset feud with Jim Carrey is one of Hollywood’s bigger battles).  Chris O’Donnell’s Robin is pretty irritating and is more Jason Todd than Dick Grayson (a crowbar would have been a nice edition).  The movie also has returning actors Pat Hingle and Michael Gough plus an early Drew Barrymore role in her attempt to reinvent herself after her meltdown in the ’80s.

batman forever ending batsignal chris odonnell val kilmer

Batman and Robin will be back! Unfortunately…

The real change is the visuals.  Schumacher went for a candy-coated Gotham instead of the dark brooding Gotham of Burton’s films.  The movie is a crazy “in-your-face” display of colors and scenery.  Somehow Burton made the absurd work, but it is just sickening and nauseating in Batman Forever from the sets to the costumes including shots of the Bat-Butt.  All I really had to say was “nipples on the Batsuit and Robin suit” and everyone would understand the problem.

Batman Forever shows a huge downgrade.  There are elements that work, but I would have loved to have seen some of the original concepts for the film (calls for a Schumacher cut have floated around for years).  If you were disappointed by Batman Forever, Batman & Robin which was released in 1997 shows another huge drop…just when you thought it couldn’t get worse.

Related Links:

Batman (1989)

Batman Returns (1992)

Batman & Robin (1997)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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