Flashback Review: Batman Forever

After the release of “Batman Returns,” Warner Bros. (WB for short) failed to surpass Batman’s box office despite breaking even. Parents delivered angry letters to WB, because Batman Returns was way too dark and disturbing for their kids. In response to negative complaints, the movie studio decided to lighten up Batman’s image in order to gather more families and earn more big bucks.

WB offered Michael Keaton, $15 million to reprise his role as The Caped Crusader, he turned it down, because of the lighter tone and he didn’t like the idea making Batman less darker. As Michael called it quits and several auditions later, Val Kilmer won the part as Batman. WB hired Joel Schumacher (a lifelong fan of Batman) by taking over Tim’s director’s chair. After two years of constructing the film, “Batman Forever” shifted a major change to Batman’s image.

Batman Forever was released in 1995. (the year Toy Story came out) The film received mixed reviews from critics and it made enough revenue than it’s predecessors. Two Years Later, a follow up known as “Batman & Robin” damaged Batman’s reputation as an icon in superhero films, until Christopher Nolan defibrillated the character in “Batman Begins.”

Now that Nicole Kidman confirmed she’ll portray Aquaman’s mother in a solo film involving her onscreen son and the upcoming future Razzie winner, “Teen Titans Go To The Movies”. I want to remind WB on what happens if you use too much style of over substance. Plus, Henry Cavill is gonna be in “Mission Impossible 6” with Nicole’s ex-husband, Tom Cruise.

NOTE FROM 2021: An ongoing trend is spreading rumors involving a director’s cut under #ReleaseTheSchumacherCut. If it actually exists, I’m interested in watching the late Joel Schumacher’s version.

Today’s review features big SPOILERS. If you’ve never seen this film, read at your own risk. Is it on the same page as Tim Burton’s movies? Well, let’s find out shall we?

Positive & Negative Aspects

Positive: Val Kilmer, did a good job on his portrayal as The Caped Crusader.

Other Cast Members including, Nicole Kidman, & Chris O’Donnell, both did a job on their respective performances.

Michael Gough & Pat Hingle, are the only two Cast Members from Tim Burton’s films to reprise their roles as Alfred Pennyworth & Commissioner Gordon.

For the first time in the Batman film series, Robin’s origin story is depicted onscreen.

Fun Fact: Jim Carrey went on to play Bruce Nolan in “Bruce Almighty” with Morgan Freeman. Morgan went on to play Lucius Fox. (he’s like Q from James Bond). Batman is Bruce’s real first name, while Nolan is the last name of Christopher Nolan, who was responsible for resurrecting Batman’s onscreen image.

Dr. Chase Meridian, mentioned a Rorschach inkblot. I think this is a subtle wink for “Watchmen” fans. At the time, WB went through a decade of developing a film adaptation of Alan Moore’s crowning achievement. Watchmen is my favorite comic book.

Oscar Winning Makeup Artist, Rick Baker, (An American Werewolf In London, The Nutty Professor) applied Prosthetic Makeup for Tommy Lee Jones, & several gang members in Gotham.

Alfred said, “Old habits Die Hard.” Die Hard With A Vengeance” came out the exact same year as Batman Forever. Jeremy Irons, who played the villain in the third Die Hard movie, went on to portray Alfred in the DC Extended Universe.

Set Pieces such as, Riddler’s Island, and The Batcave, were constructed by hand.

Batman gives Commissioner Gordon, a thumbs up. Batman also did a thumbs up in Bruce Timm’s cartoon.

If you’re a fan of U2, they wrote a song for the film called “Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me” during The End Credits Sequence. Plus, Seal’s hit song, “Kiss By A Rose” is played during The End Credits as well.

Negative: Where the heck is Selina Kyle/Catwoman? Nobody mentioned her after the events of Batman Returns! I have no choice but to Double Down Points for WB erasing Catwoman’s existence! It took us Seventeen Years to see Catwoman back on the silver screen courtesy of Anne Hathaway’s portrayal. Not you Halle Berry, your movie made your toilet overflow with a Razzie!

This is the first time Batman dons a Batsuit with nipples, prior to George Clooney’s Batsuit.

C.G.I. such as the use of a Green Screen, looks completely dated, resembling Nintendo 64 graphics. Let’s face it, C.G.I. was still growing like a baby, learning to talk for the first time.

When Kevin Smith did a commentary about the film, he claimed that Dick Grayson is too old to be adopted by Bruce Wayne and he thinks it’s weird and disturbing for a twenty something year old person to be adopted.

Dutch Angles are used in a variety of scenes. Was this intentional for WB to pay tribute to Adam West’s Batman? Sorry fans of the Adam West series, I won’t let this problem slide.

Riddler & Two-Face’s personalities were too similar to Joker’s over-the-top behavior. In the comics, Two-Face has a Jekyll & Hyde like personality with a balance between good & evil. Riddler suffers from O.C.D. due to his obsession with puzzles, he’s a master tactician like Jigsaw from the “Saw” series. Prior to Riddler’s transformation, he was a nerdy lab worker portrayed by an over actor! It’s not Tommy Lee Jones & Jim Carrey’s fault. I blame WB trying to recapture the same magic Jack Nicholson’s performance as Joker.

Wait a minute! Why does Lex Luthor in “Dawn Of Justice” sound familiar? Zack Snyder, if you’re reading this, why did you encourage Jesse Eisenberg to channel Jim Carrey’s Riddler, mix with Heath Ledger’s Joker, by making Lex Luthor, a cheap hammy overacting knock off of both Jim & Heath’s villainous portrayals?

Robin setting up his laundry, felt like it should’ve been part of a compilation of outtakes.

Alfred is somehow fooled by Riddler & Two-Face’s “Halloween disguises.” Why didn’t he notice them? Come on WB! He’s been raising Bruce since his parents died!

Batman manslaughters Two-Face by tossing a bunch of coins in the air, causing Two-Face to lose his footing by falling to his fateful death. Even though is lighter than Tim Burton’s films, WB ignored feedback from fans that Batman has a no killing rule. Hypocrisy in a nutshell.

While Batman was gearing up, I just had to witness a close-up shot of Batman’s butt. Why did I have to witness my favorite superhero’s rear? That’s enough close-ups for a rubber behind.

The Final Verdict: C, FOR CLOGGED TOILET!

Despite cringeworthy moments, I managed to enjoy most of the positive aspects including the performances of Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, & Chris O’Donnell, Dick Grayson/Robin’s origin story and creative set decorations. It’s not the worst Batman film of all time, until George Clooney’s take of The Dark Knight, nearly destroyed Batman’s image. If you wanna look back at Batman Forever, so be it.

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