Batman Forever

Batman Forever ★★★


This has some great moments and some terrible moments. Kilmer plays it super low key in a way I really enjoyed. It’s clear he’s trying to make Batman his whole life, leave behind as much as he can of Bruce Wayne, only becoming him when he needs to be. Bruce is more of a persona than Batman. Slowly by the end he reclaims his humanity, empathy, and connections. The big problem is that the steps he takes to get there have all been cut out. Schumacher’s original script and vision (apparently most of it was filmed too!) had a lot more introspection from Bruce Wayne and his arc is not as clean cut by the end. It’s a true sequel to what Tim Burton was getting at with the character, and it’s probably the best Bruce Wayne story that had ever been adapted at the time. The theatrical cut still has Schumacher’s gorgeous, HUGE aesthetic vision on display and has a lot of personality, but there’s a heart at its center that feels partially formed, not whole. That’s how the entire film feels to me; lots of great moments due to some of the cast. Carrey plays it wacky sure, but is still able to suffuse the performance with melancholy and threat. It’s a terrific tight rope Carrey nails, but the same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face which is one of the worst performances I’ve EVER seen in a movie. When you have Carrey’s mania, it is enough to fill an entire movie (he really should’ve been the only villain) but add Tommy boi’s lunacy on top of that and their scenes quickly become insufferable. They feel like the same character, there is no interesting dynamic. It’s strange because Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face SOUNDS perfect for that time, but he plays it entirely wrong and is extremely annoying. Kidman is also not much better as the most hilariously horny character I’ve ever seen in a superhero film. She’s so horned up for Batman’s rubber that it genuinely stops being titillating and becomes awkward/grating in her opening scene. Her first line is “Hot entrance” when Batman just falls down to her. Very weird. She also is a horrible psychiatrist literally using the term “Wacko” thinking that was enough analysis before being correct by BRUCE WAYNE. That’s the last guy who should be correct in any psychoanalytical environment lol. Kidman’s character is supposed to be the one reason he is going to attempt giving up his life as Batman briefly, and I never buy their connection beyond wanting to fuck. The last addition is Chris O’Donnell as Robin and aside from being WAY too old, he’s actually quite good in the movie. They get his origin done very well and it’s taken seriously. A lot of the dramatic elements with the caped crusaders actually works pretty well in this movie, especially in the first half. All of Robin’s motivations, wants, and needs are established well early on and I like how he becomes Robin of his own volition, forming that alter ego from his own life. It’s good stuff. Shame the second half almost entirely forgets about him until that last act and he has nearly nothing to do. But I genuinely like how his arc ends with choosing not to avenge his parents. This movie’s refusal of the MOST violent actions is refreshing after Bruce was just murdering people in the last two. There was even moments in the original script when he was supposed to grapple with those actions! Shame we didn’t get to see that. I’m glad I rewatched this because I liked it a lot more than I remembered, but I also still dislike a lot of stuff here. This not going full camp helps too because it’s clear once Schumacher tried that with Batman & Robin, he didn’t understand how Batman is supposed to be done camp. Even though there was a whole series made that did it very well. Oh well. This is still fun for the most part, only annoying occasionally. Not a huge overall fan of Schumacher’s tone for this character, but this is fine.