Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #24 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. So we’ve covered the Tim Burton Batman films, now let’s talk about the more light-hearted and lesser liked follow-up film slightly controversial sequel in the form of Batman Forever.
Okay now we’re talking about the 90s Batman and this is probably where I started watching Batman in the live-action films when I was a kid. I remember really liking this. For a while I loved this film for its characters, action and kick ass soundtrack, so after a while I grow up and even though I was teenager after the Christopher Nolan films had come out, I still liked watching this film. But now I haven’t seen it in a good few years so now let’s go through this film and see if my thoughts have changed at all.
As for the plot it focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face and the Riddler in their villainous scheme to drain information from all the brains in Gotham City. He gains allegiance from a love interest in the form of psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian and a young, orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson, who becomes his iconic sidekick Robin.
I thought the plot in this film was alright. There a good few ideas in this film like how Batman questioning his act of vengeance due to what happened to his parents and then there’s Bruce struggling with his dual identity too. We also have the introduction of Dick Grayson and his storyline and Edward Nigma’s plot too which all sounds pretty good on paper too. The problem is that way its done in the film is not nearly as effective as it could have been. Due to the direction by Joel Schumacher, this film adopts a much more child-friendly approach which mean that all the more serious aspects are watered down and it doesn’t help that the script a little on the weak side offering up some half-assed material and stupid coincidences that really shouldn’t be taking place in a Batman film. You know what the film emulates the feel from the Adam West 1960’s TV show, it feels very similar with the colourful villains, crazy situations and levels of campiness.
Now let’s talk about the cast. In my opinion Val Kilmer makes for a great Bruce Wayne and Batman. I Kilmer’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and I also like his calm and collected Batman too. As for Nicole Kidman she was good as Dr. Chase Meridian. Firstly she is SUPER gorgeous in this film and she was one of my first film actress crushes. That aside, I liked her character, she was smart and sophisticated and a good love interest for Bruce Wayne thought I wasn’t keen on how obsessed she was with Batman or how she was a damsel in distress in the climax.
Then there’s Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Somehow Billy Dee Williams disappeared and is replaced by Tommy Lee Jones. I feel like Jones was okay in role but he was far too wacky, over-the-top and was in no way as good as he was in the comics. And then there’s Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma/The Riddler as the second villain in the film. In this film he’s a bit of a sympathetic character and you can understand his a motive for become evil. Even though Jim Carrey is pretty much Jim Carrey in this film which can be frustrating at times, I feel like he’s way better villain because he has better motive and more screen time devoted to his character. These two together are like children stuck in older men’s bodies, they’re so crazy and out of control that its very reminiscent of an episode from Looney Tunes.
As for Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin, I thought he was alright, thought he did moan a little too much for my liking. He was still decent once he became Robin, but wasn’t as skilful as his comic book counterpart. And lastly Michael Gough is still great as Alfred Pennyworth, he’s still reliable, funny and I like how he’s the faithful family faithful butler and Bruce’s confidant.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is insanely colourful and way more vivid and bright than Tim Burton’s darker and moody colour palette. Gotham is still a unique and distinctive-looking city, it is way more colourful and accessible to child audiences though it is a bit excessive for me especially with all the additional special effects that’s found in this film. The action in this film is of a pretty extra in this film and is way more in line with the comic book and 1960’s TV show too. As for the soundtrack by Elliot Goldenthal I personally really like it. The score is loud, bombastic and works well with the style of the film. I really like the new main theme for this film, it is one of my favourite themes ever! It’s so epic and heroic, I even had it on CD when I was like 7 years old and played it on repeat. That’s how much I loved this song!
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? As I said before my knowledge mainly comes from the Batman cartoons and research online. Well in this film we have the inclusion of Robin, The Riddler and Two-Face and while some of their character origins are the same, the way they’re depicted that’s questionable and different. Firstly Robin is a hell of a lot older and not a boy at all and he’s whole persona is wrong, then there’s the Riddler who is just a lot comedy-based than usual and then there’s Two-Face, I’m sure he was meant to be more of a serious character but here’s portrayed as a much sillier and campier character which really doesn’t work for the comic book fans.
So to conclude Batman Forever is a film that I like from a nostalgic stand point and I think it’ll honestly have a special place in my heart. But it obviously isn’t exactly the Batman film that fans were hoping for after the Tim Burton approach and I can say that I don’t like the film nearly as much as I did before. However Batman Forever is still decent, it’s not nearly as painful as some say and I think its WAY more tolerable than its sequel, so if you haven’t watched it and you’re curious, give it a chance.
Rating: 6/10 (Its cheesy, campy and a little silly, but it’s still fun!)
So there’s my review people, only 6 more to go. So have you seen Batman Forever and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!