Batmania Part 5: ‘Batman Forever’ – Got ham?

Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever is a cautionary tale of what happens when movie franchises are used for evil.  After the success of the first two Batman films directed by Tim Burton, Burton passed the reins to Schumacher, who camped up the franchise and pretty much destroyed everything Burton did to distance Batman from the 1960’s tv series.

Batman Forever is also the first film that made me realize that just because advertisements tell me something is good that doesn’t make it so.


Sadly, these posters are the best thing about 'Batman Forever.'

Sadly, these posters are the best thing about 'Batman Forever.'

What’s it about?  Harvey “Two-Face” Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) teams up with Edward Nigma/The Riddler (Jim Carrey) to uncover Batman’s (Val Kilmer) secret identity.  They’re not the only ones who wants to know: Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman, still in “Mrs. Tom Cruise” mode here), a beautiful (of course) psychologist, also wants to know who’s the man behind the mask.

At a charity fundraiser at the circus, Two-Face threatens to blow up everybody unless Batman reveals his true identity.  The Flying Graysons, a family trapeze act, saves Gotham’s elite from destruction, however, all are killed by Two-Face except the youngest Grayson, Dick (Chris O’Donnell).

With no family and nowhere to go, Dick is invited to live at Wayne Manor with Bruce.  To no surprise, Dick finds out that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same and volunteers to be his sidekick, thus becoming Robin.

The Riddler’s created some sort of blender-looking thing that sucks people’s brain waves.  He finds out Bruce Wayne’s secret.  Bright colors and explosions ensue.

What’s good about it?  Uh… How about them posters?

What’s bad about it?  Had this movie not made heaps and heaps of money (it was the #1 movie of 1995), Warner Bros. would have taken a long and hard look at doing another Batman movie.  Every frame of this movie makes you cringe because you know the studio paid far too much money on the production (see also Wild Wild West).  Tommy Lee Jones hams it up to the Nth degree, while Jim Carrey is being his early 90’s goofy self while intermittently channeling Frank Gorshin.  And what’s with the pink hair?

With bright and sparkly colors and levels of camp previously unseen since the 60’s tv show (not to mention Batman and Robin’s costumes, complete with nipples and disturbingly large codpieces), Batman Forever is a gay old time at the movies.  But, sadly, even this is NOT the worst Batman movie ever made.

Perfect for: anyone who likes their dark, brooding super hero movies fabulous.


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