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Batman Forever

tn_batmanforever

RELEASE DATE: May 19
RELEASE DATE: June 16

“Those who cannot remember [BATMAN FOREVER] are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905

You guys wanna see a hit summer blockbuster that was well received at the time, but has since been disavowed like a discredited ideology? The summer of 1995 gives you BATMAN FOREVER.

Just six years earlier Tim Burton had smashed open the zeitgeist with BATMAN, which had been used as somewhat of a reference point for would-be blockbusters since, clearly influencing at least the scoring and marketing of DICK TRACY, DARKMAN, THE ROCKETEER and THE SHADOW, for example. But Burton’s second one, BATMAN RETURNS (1992) was weirder, more personal, and therefore less enthusiastically received by the public. That made the studio weary about plans for a Burton-directed part 3, and they parted ways. Burton is credited as an executive producer on FOREVER, but apparently his only role was to give the new director his blessing and meet with screenwriters Lee & Janet Scott Batchler once to discuss the importance of duality in Batman characters.

Joel Schumacher was a weird but not controversial choice for a replacement. People remembered THE LOST BOYS, FALLING DOWN and maybe FLATLINERS as good movies. And he did THE CLIENT – you know, those John Grisham court room thrillers were a big deal in the ’90s, for some reason. I wonder what happened to that whole genre. Anyway, a 1993 Entertainment Weekly article said “Hiring Schumacher to direct the summer-of-’95 release is seen by insiders as an attempt by Warner Bros. to get the Batman movies back on track” because “Warner doesn’t want a repeat of the macabre 1992 sequel, BATMAN RETURNS, which frightened small children and angered many parents.” It goes on to quote an anonymous “source close to the project” as saying they didn’t want Burton to direct because “he’s too dark and odd for them.”

Yeah, because Schumacher made a real normal movie. No oddness to see here. Just a couple of bros in shiny plastic muscles driving a car up the side of a building. Don’t worry about it, fellas.

Burton and Keaton both reportedly okayed Schumacher taking over. In fact, at the time of that article Keaton was still supposed to be playing Batman. Maybe that’s why even after Val Kilmer replaced him there was enough connecting tissue that people took it more as BATMAN 3 than as what we now call a “reboot.” Michael Gough still plays Alfred (maybe the only likable character in the Schumacher movies), Pat Hingle still plays Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman is mentioned, Elliot Goldenthal’s score definitely takes inspiration from Danny Elfman’s baroque textures, and Schumacher does his own take on Burton’s mixed time periods, dark skies and big artificial looking backlots with giant statues. Also the Batman costume used for most of the movie is still designed by Bob Ringwood (with veteran Schumacher collaborator Ingrid Ferrin) and looks very similar, although it’s shinier and in at least one scene you can see that yes, it has nipples. The actual costume is currently on display in the lobby of Seattle’s Cinerama, if you want to see the nipples close up. I noticed it doesn’t have a belly button though. What’s the deal with that?

Later in the movie, though, he gets a different suit that’s lighter-colored and even shinier and has weird vents and shit on it. Batman Maxx. There’s also a different Batmobile, even bigger than the last one, I think, but now with giant fins and un-aerodynamic slits all over revealing its light-up innards. That didn’t come from the unused design they commissioned from H.R. Giger – his looked more like an intestine than a rib cage.

Schumacher’s Gotham City is less art deco and has lots of neon lights in it. And it’s a different theme song, a different Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones [UNDER SIEGE] instead of Billy Dee Williams – does a three named guy always have to play Two Face?), but most of all it has a different tone. It’s much tackier and broader and jokier. FOREVER makes RETURNS, which featured three colorful villains and an army of penguins with missile launchers on their backs, seem restrained and grounded.

mp_batmanforeverThe opening scene seems intent on parodying Burton’s gothic grandeur. A dramatic suiting-up/revving-up-the-Batmobile scene turns out to be setup for a wacky joke about Alfred telling Batman to take a sandwich and Batman saying he’ll get drive-thru. Later a similar montage follows the usual close-ups of Batman pulling on his gloves and boots with a shot of his g-stringed bat-ass. If this was just meant as gender fair play I’d let it go, but it doesn’t play as sexy. It’s definitely timed and framed to get a cheap laugh at the expense of building up drama.

Though shooting mostly in the dark, Schumacher treats Batman with more Adam West era camp than before. This is a Batman who appears during a trial, stands openly on the sidewalk talking to people, gives a thumbs up from the batplane, and has a comically large smile in one scene because a girl likes him. It also has some explanatory dialogue as if it’s a radio play, like when Two Face pours some sort of hot, corrosive liquid into the safe that Batman and a security guard are locked in and the guard yells “OH NO! IT’S BOILING ACID!”

The movie is peppered with groan-worthy gags, but it’s the overall tone and style that’s most grating. Jones and Jim Carrey (THE DEAD POOL) as the Riddler are in a high level competition to see who can best make Jack Nicholson’s Joker seem subtle and underplayed. Jones puts in some serious effort, going mega but not in a way that can make the character appealing. Instead of half good, half evil this version of Two Face is half regular, half outrageous. So he’s Tommy Lee Jones on his right and a purple monster guy with a zebra striped suit on the other side. Half evil, half party animal. In that poster we can’t see his left arm but I’m almost positive he’s giving a high five to Spuds Mackenzie. He also has two young, pantsless girlfriends, Sugar (Drew Barrymore) and Spice (Debi Mazar), who stay on opposite sides of his apartment, which is split into good and evil or something, and compete for his attention. Not a healthy relationship in my opinion.

His binary gimmick isn’t explained very well, and I think once his coin landed on the good side and he re-flipped it like a cheater. The only part where I liked his performance was near the end when he interrupts his evil plot to quickly admit that Bruce Wayne has always been a good friend, then gets back to it.

In the scene-chewing contest Carrey comes home with the gold and 12 endorsement deals. Even as regular citizen and Wayne Enterprises employee Edward Nygma he won’t let a line come out of his mouth without doing a funny voice, a goofy face, a random shout or dance move or a weird pose or gesture or (usually) several of the above. The funny thing is Robin Williams was offered the role and must’ve been shown the wrong script, because supposedly “He believed the character was too intellectual and not as comedic as the Riddler played by Frank Gorshin on the TV series.”

Carrey, who had become a surprise movie star with ACE VENTURA just a few months before being cast, seemed to think the role was all about Williams-on-a-talk-show style riffing. He’s like a jazz musician who got a horrible head injury and now only knows how to play the squawky parts of the solos, and not in the proper sequence.

"I hate you. I really don't like you. I cannot sanction your buffoonery." --Tommy Lee Jones to Jim Carrey, according to Carrey years later on Howard Stern http://screencrush.com/jim-carrey-tommy-lee-jones/
“I hate you. I really don’t like you. I cannot sanction your buffoonery.” –Tommy Lee Jones to Jim Carrey, according to Carrey years later on Howard Stern

Of course he’s doing his thing, and nobody else could do it quite the same. But for my tastes it’s not even close to funny or an interesting portrayal of a character, even a larger-than-life one. This is not so much acting as “spazzing out.” At one point he yells out “JOY-GASM!”, so maybe we should call this style joygastic acting. And sure, he got good at spinning that cane around, but so did Michael Sheen in TRON LEGACY. He still sucked.

In 1995, though, Carrey got some pretty good acclaim. Mick LaSalle wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, “This is in marked contrast to Jim Carrey as the Riddler, who is even more way-out than Jones’ Two-Face yet always seems grounded in understandable emotion. The Riddler’s lust, child-like vindictiveness, insecurity and screaming-preening narcissism are always right near the surface in Carrey’s performance, which is the film’s main delight.”

By the way, Schumacher says that Michael Jackson wanted to play the Riddler. That would’ve been interesting.

The plot, one of the messiest in any super hero movie, involves Nygma’s invention of “the 3D Box,” which looks like a blender with a bunch of random crap welded to it, and people put it on their TVs to make TV shows look like parts of them are floating out of the TV, but actually it’s stealing their brainwaves to make Nygma smarter, or at least that’s what he keeps saying, although I’m not sure there’s any evidence to support that. And really I’m surprised the FCC let this thing through. He’s also obsessed with Bruce Wayne and creates the secret identity of The Riddler so he can send him riddles that over time piece together to reveal his real identity, which Batman should’ve known from the beginning having been exposed to this weirdo in and out of disguise within a couple of days.

streetbikerrobinThe Riddler teams with “Harvey Two-Face” to rob banks and one of those big charity circuses, where some careless tommy gun fire takes out acrobat Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell, MAX PAYNE)’s mother, father and brother while he’s getting rid of a giant bomb. Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, was there on a date but the cumbersome rubber batsuit is back at home I guess so he’s running around in his tux trying to reveal his identity.

Grayson looks like an adult but they treat him like he’s supposed to be a minor and send him to stately Wayne Manor to live with the rich guy. He whines about not being a hero and saving his family, which is very humble considering he saved everyone else in the building by disposing of the bomb. And he never holds it over Bruce that he lost his entire family, not just his parents. (Bruce only mentions the parents when feeling sorry for him. The brother is invisible to him.) Otherwise, though, he’s an obnoxious dick whose idea of rebellion is calling Alfred “Al,” and other lines that could’ve been written for a Corey Feldman character in the ’80s.

Of course Grayson becomes the iconic comic book super hero sidekick we know as Robin. Conventional 1995 wisdom dictated that a kid in a colorful outfit helping Batman was totally stupid, but this was much cooler: an adult man with an earring wearing dark maroon plastic He-Man muscles and complaining about stuff. This is not your father’s Boy Wonder. He namedrops rare motorcycles, does a complicated series of flips to sneak into the Batcave and, most incredibly, does… well, check out this scene where he does laundry, that’s all I can say.

This might have the worst love story of any super hero movie to date. Young, hot Nicole Kidman, in the same year as her acclaimed leading performance in TO DIE FOR, plays psychiatrist Chase Meridian, who aggressively hits on Batman right at the beginning, talking lustily about rubber suits and psychological trauma. Then she uses the bat signal in an attempted booty call, forcing Batman to scold her with the notorious line “the bat-signal is not a beeper,” then sit in the Batmobile for a beat and grunt “Women.”

But he goes to see her briefly as Bruce Wayne (she’s practicing kickboxing when he gets there, but never uses it for a fight, let alone to do laundry, so I don’t know why that’s in there) and on a quickly interrupted date to the circus, then all the sudden he’s telling Alfred he’s never been in love like this before and wants to confess and quit being Batman. He barely knows her! He’s like a kid who touched a boob for the first time and can’t think straight. He’s gone boob simple. I guess to be fair he did climb into her window as Batman and try to fuck her and she turned him down because she likes Bruce now. That’s sweet, but it’s “try a second date” stuff, not “give up the crusade that you’ve invested decades of your life and millions of dollars into” stuff, in my opinion.

A good symbol for the difference between Burton’s approach and Schumacher’s is the soundtracks. Burton didn’t want the Prince songs in BATMAN, but still, he got a one-artist soundtrack, by a great artist, doing a very consistent and interesting concept album thematically intertwined with the movie. For RETURNS he used a song by Siouxsie and the Banshees during the masquerade sequence, but otherwise it’s only Elfman’s score. Schumacher, on the other hand, did the disposable-studio-bullshit approach of hiring 14 popular artists to hand over a patchwork of songs that don’t remotely fit together or with the movie. What the hell are U2, PJ Harvey, Brandy, Seal, The Offspring, etc. etc. songs doing in Gotham City? Fuck if anyone knows.

Also it turns out there’s a Method Man song about The Riddler?

Oh shit, that’s good! Tical era Method Man. I have no idea if that’s really in the movie somewhere. I didn’t notice it.

Looking at the Rotten Tomatoes’s and what not, FOREVER doesn’t register as a critical hit. Reviews I can find from the time were mostly mixed, but some would describe it in an excited tone that seems funny now that almost everybody agrees it’s a tacky piece of shit. Owen Glieberman’s review in Entertainment Weekly, for example, flattered the movie with this passage:

“Yet Batman Forever is funkier and more satisfying than the scattershot Batman Returns. Although the film’s frenetic rhythm is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones picture, visually Schumacher directs it like a musical, turning each image into eye candy, weaving one lush set piece into the next, as if he were the Vincente Minnelli of blockbusters. It’s not just that the sets (Edward Nygma’s demented pad, the charcoal Batcave) are entrancing; the moods they create define the characters.”

But we’re talking about an era when the hit summer blockbusters included THE FLINSTONES, STARGATE, INDEPENDENCE DAY, TWISTER, ERASER and SPACE JAM. My memory is that the average person on the street accepted FOREVER as great summer entertainment, and what a comic book movie was supposed to be. A defense of the Schumacher movies on the websight Batman Online explains, “Back in a time when a film’s entertainment value was what mattered most, BATMAN FOREVER rose to the top of the box office food-chain to dominate its year of release.” Though he prefers the Burton movies, he blames internet hyper-criticalness for FOREVER’s bad reputation, which I think translates to the same “leave your brain at the door” defense people used back then. But I don’t see how that even works on this one. You’d have to leave your taste at the door too. Yes, this is dumber than most dumb movies by several orders, but that’s low on its list of crimes. I would rank stupidity below ugly design, poor stortyelling, obnoxious acting styles, embarrassing humor and overall lack of cohesiveness in tone or style.

When young people today tear into what I think is a decent if imperfect super hero movie, like MAN OF STEEL or THE AVENGERS 2: REVENGE OF THE AVENGERS or the IRON MAN sequels or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, it’s fair of course. But it’s hard for me not to think jesus kid, you don’t know how good you have it. In my day the most popular comic book movie was the one where an actor who didn’t seem very invested in the role wore plastic muscles with nipples on them and talked to a guy who did kung fu laundry about fighting a purple zebra man and a hyperactive guy with orange hair in a rhinestone-covered leotard who used a blender to suck green beams out of people’s brains.

AND WE LIKED IT.

Post-script:

In the U.S., BATMAN FOREVER was the highest grossing movie of the year (the rest of the world chose correctly, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE). FOREVER made $337 million worldwide, about $70 million more than BATMAN RETURNS, so by studio logic they succeeded in their goal of “getting back on track.” Of course, that success led to giving Schumacher free rein on BATMAN AND ROBIN, which made alot less and was so widely hated that it took them 8 years to figure out how to make another Batman movie. Schumacher’s second BATMAN is more extreme than FOREVER, and honestly more fun because they’re both garbage but at least the other one has Arnold Schwarzenegger in a robot suit sliding on dinosaur tails and making ice puns.

The Seal song “Kiss From a Rose” won three Grammies: Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. (But it was on his self-titled album before it was on the soundtrack so I’m not sure which one gets credit here.)

Screenwriters the Batchlers have only had two other feature credits in the 20 years since – the Scott Spiegel-directed DTV movie MY NAME IS MODESTY: A MODESTY BLAISE ADVENTURE (2004) and Paul W.S. Anderson’s POMPEI (2014). Akiva Goldsman, however, who rewrote their script to Schumacher’s specifications, has become an extremely prolific writer and producer and won an Oscar for writing A BEAUTIFUL MIND. He is responsible for A TIME TO KILL, BATMAN AND ROBIN, LOST IN SPACE and THE DA VINCI CODE, among other things. He directed the apparently insane A WINTER’S TALE, and he’s overseeing plans for a “TRANSFORMERS cinematic universe” which, I’m guessing, means TRANSFORMERS 5 and one or zero unsuccessful spin-offs. He has become buddies with Will Smith, so his movies that I’m okay with are I, ROBOT and I AM LEGEND.

The assaultive terribleness of the 1997 followup killed any notion of Schumacher as a trustworthy director of blockbusters. He started going smaller and got great reviews for TIGERLAND, which was a breakthrough role for Colin Farrell (much as his A TIME TO KILL had been for Matthew McConaughey). He worked with Carrey again on THE NUMBER 23, which was not well received and I’ve heard Carrey has a saxophone around his neck that he never plays. I should watch that. Since then Schumacher has verged on straight to video with movies like BLOOD CREEK and TRESPASS, and directed two episodes of House of Cards.

I do honestly believe that Schumacher’s gawdy approach to Batman did have kind of a phoenix effect that led to the modern era of comic book movies. His choices were so uniformly terrible that they destroyed the public’s taste for the genre and temporarily killed it. Their unparallelled awfulness made it possible for the executives who thought this was “getting back on track” to throw their hands in the air and let somebody try something different. Without this we never could’ve had Christopher Nolan re-beginning Batman, but I think it also helped make the opening salvos of the modern comic book movie like BLADE and X-MEN seem really refreshing.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 11:32 am and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

89 Responses to “Batman Forever”

  1. I remember really digging this one when I was like 10, when it came out, but I am more than willing to believe it has not held up and that my adult self would not enjoy it. I’m happy to leave this one in the past as a vaguely happy memory.

  2. I appreciate this more now actually than I did back when I was 12.

    Back when it came out and I was 12 I walked out really pissed off and embarrassed. I almost broke those McDonald’s BATMAN FOREVER crystal mugs I had at home when I got back then but then decided against them cause they were still cool glasses.

    However it’s only because I’ve been such a huge Batman comics fan for almost 30 years now and so familiar with the history by this point that I find a lot to like in it because they’re homages to golden age and silver age and things like that. Not really because it’s a legit movie. It’s all over the place and editing is terrible to the point that even if I didn’t know that a lot key scenes were cut out I would still notice how random and sloppy a lot of it comes across ass.

    Ironically it was the first BATMAN that I saw twice at the flicks cause the second time was a school trip towards the end of the school year. It was more enjoyable the second time though cause I just fooled around with some girls from my class whenever I wasn’t audibly riff traxing it with some of my buddies.

  3. Man, I am loving this 1995 summer movie flashback almost as much as I was lukewarm about this film. Both of Burton’s Batmans were pretty awesome and I thought Jim Carrey as The Riddler? Tommy Lee Jones?! Shit, this is going to be great. I had preview tickets and went to see it at a midnight screening in downtown Milwaukee. And it lost me with Robin’s glow-in-the-dark street battle. And I even liked that Offspring cover of The Damned, but I’ve never watched this movie again. I abhorred Batman and Robin, but at least that movie was so bad it was funny.

    Val Kilmer was a great Batman (but a poor Bruce Wayne), but this was like Hollywood run amok, like a parody of a “star-studded Batman film” that you’d see as a joke trailer or movie poster in a comedy.

    I feel like I’m hating on all these films from ’95 but it’s probably because I was in a film-obsessed stage and worked weekend nights so I’d see all of them in matinees on opening day. And I wasn’t even into art films yet or any of that bullshit, but it was disappointment after disappointment. At least some of the other movies you brought up in the review WERE great entertainment (I’ll defend Eraser anyday as a spiritual sequel to Arnold’s 80s classics and Stargate gave us that good ol’ Star Wars feeling before the prequels shit in our mouths.)

  4. It’s the car. Chicks dig the car.

  5. I absolutely hate this movie, and yes, I’m the guy who defends Batman & Robin all the time. At least that one knows it’s campy trash and has a delightfully tacky stagebound look, like a musical without the music (I think I made Repo! The Genetic Opera comparisons somewhere in the forum here). But Forever flirts with campiness but also kinda wants to be serious and it just sucks. The plot is horrible. The action sequences are poor. Don “The Dragon” Wilson is in this and the fight scenes still manage to suck. The wacky gags like the bank vault landing right back in the building aren’t funny, they’re just stupid. This is the type of movie where Batman escapes cars chasing him by grappling and driving up a building and Two Face goes “Noooooo!” and it cuts to the next day, meanwhile I’m wondering how long Batman hung on the side of the building and did everyone just get tired of waiting for him to come down and go home?

    How can so much mega-acting with Jones and Carrey be so boring? I mean, Jones is basically doing the best parts of Strannix from Under Siege, possibly my favorite villain of all time not named Boddicker, but he’s just not funny or engaging here. Carrey is insufferable. I didn’t think his schtick was funny as a kid and I still don’t. O’Donnell is unlikable, Kidman is, as Vern said, a non-character and possibly the worst comic book love interest ever. (I like that she apparently has someone on staff to press the sheets around her as she sleeps to perfectly outline her ass, however) At least B&R had the good sense to not even have a half-assed love story and keep Elle MacPherson in a glorified cameo. And sorry, I love Val Kilmer in alot of stuff – Madmartigan, Iceman, Doc Holliday, Real Genius – he has tons of charisma – none of which is here at all. Easily the worst onscreen Batman (There’s people out there who still say Kilmer is the best. That’s INSANE to me)

    Yeah what drug was everyone else in ’95 smoking that told them this was a good movie? All my friends LOVED this shit, raved about how much better it was than Batman Returns, etc… I will point out that the highlight for everyone was the “Hole-y Rusted Metal, Batman!” gag. Everyone talked about that part and how clever it was. Like the show, see? Get it?? Then the next movie was basically a feature-length version of that one joke and they all hated it.

    Btw, i rewatched this only a year or two ago hoping it would be better, or might find it campy fun like B&R, but no, I actually wanted to turn it off about 10 minutes in. Fun facts – 1) the two hapless scientists from the climax of B&R are also in this. and 2) Jon Favreau is in this, which means he’s actually in a Batman movie, an Iron Man movie, and a Daredevil movie.

  6. Speaking of the neon gang did you guys know that Don “The Dragon” Wilson played the leader?

    blew my mind when I read that in the credits the first time.

  7. Damn neals post beat me to it literally by seconds lol.

  8. “you know, those John Grisham court room thrillers were a big deal in the ’90s, for some reason. I wonder what happened to that whole genre.”

    They got to The Runaway Jury and realized they were out of decent Grisham books to adapt.

  9. I think this one was the first time I got the soon-to-be-all-too-familiar “What the fuck just happened?” sensation during an action sequence. I’m sure that opening set-piece is clear as a fucking bell by modern standards, but back then I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Honestly, that sunk the movie for me more than the tackiness.

  10. Apparently there is a bootleg of an early workprint circulating since the VHS days, that fixes some problems of the movie. Mostly in the plothole department and especially in terms of the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Nicole Kidman. (Incldung from what I’ve heard more therapy scenes, that gave the movie an a little bit darker and more serious tone, which obviously was the reason why they got cut out.) Also Rene Auberjonois “Dr Burton” (Y’know, the psychiatrist with the Tim Burton hairdo. I’m surprised you forgot to mention him.), was more than just a quick one-scene cameo.

    I can’t remember if I ever liked it, but I think I never hated it. Also it’s not true that the financial success earned Schumacher more creative freedom. These days he might be on record for taking the full blame*, but he also said that BATMAN & ROBIN got rushed into production and studio noted to death with endless requests of making everything as toyetic** as possible.

    *In the tradition of Spielberg, Kevin Smith and Shia LaBeouf, only that 1941, JERSEY GIRL and CRYSTAL SKULL were actually good.

    ** https://youtu.be/_h6ab9nbByY

  11. Mr. Majestyk – Yeah that was pretty weird. Schumacher wants to show you a more agile and athletic Batman and yet he masks his abilities by spiraling the camera all over the place. Really fucking weird stylistic choice. It doesn’t help anybody. As bad as Nolan’s action was BF set the precedent IMO. B&R is a bit better in that department but not by much.

  12. Vern – the laundry bit was ripped off from a Yuen Biao movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg4IORYEfl4

    At the time I thought it was so odd that The Riddler’s plan was using this brain scanning technology so he and Two Face would know when people weren’t home so they could steal their jewelry.

    It’s been really fun reading about all these awful nineties movies. I think I can remember being at a Sam Goody when these two guys were setting up the display stands for the VHS tapes of The Lost World and Batman and Robin and saying it would be better to just take everything to the car park and burn it.

  13. A lot of people remember the first time they were really, really into a movie. For my generation it’s mostly Donnie Darko or American Beauty or something, a movie that kind of speaks to you, even if you’re just a sixteen-year old who feels like a loner, even if he isn’t per se. But there’s also, often before that, the first movie that you watch where you realize ‘I don’t think this is very good?’.

    I wasn’t allowed to see many movies as a kid, but when I was thirteen or so I started obsessively making schedules of all the movies that were on during the weekend and how I could watch most. In grade school I had to listen to my friends describe Jurassic park to me, and I watched all three Star Warses in about two hours on VHS at a friend, almost all of it on FF before my mom came to pick me up. It was tremendously exciting to suddenly get to watch all these movies and see what I’ve been missing. All these awesome worlds I could get to see!

    Even if the movies weren’t that great (Con Air, Fortress, old B-noirs on the BBC), I just loved watching them. I don’t remember if it was Costner’s Robin Hood or Batman Forever, but one of those two first made me go ‘huh, this isn’t right’. I do remember in both it’s the first real fight-scene, where some threatening goons show up, and Hood/Batman… just sort of beats them up? There’s no cool moves or real danger? It just kind of happens. I thought I missed something and didn’t really understand what happened, because something that I knew should be really fun felt really tired and boring.

  14. grimgrinningchris

    June 16th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Totally with Majestyk. I very very VIVIDLY remember seeing this in the theatre and it being the first time I ever noticed myself noticing how poorly shot and edited an action scene was (the opening- especially the fist fight when Batman first comes out of the elevator)… Like seriously the first time I was internally hollering “Pull the camera back! What’s with the lighting? What?!?! What the fuck… I can’t understand what the hell is going on, it’s just a bunch of blur of black rubber whooshing over other black rubber! Pull the camera back!” Of course, things in that department got much much much worse over the years… but the badness of how that scene was shot (I won’t say shot and choreographed cuz who fucking knows how or if it was choreographed- I can’t SEE ANYTHING!) was the first time I understood a marked difference between a good action scene and a bad action scene. It may also have been the first time that I remember succumbing to nerd-rationalization. I hated the movie, but did not want to admit that I hated the movie… It was Batman, I had been pumped for the movie for so long and just couldn’t admit until at least my second viewing (which wasn’t until video- whereas I had seen 89 and Returns multiple times in the theater) that it was just a bad fucking movie.

  15. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Man, really?

    Ok, I’m gonna be the guy who defends BATMAN FOREVER, it seems.

    I grew up with Adam West’s TV show, which was the only exposure I had to the character(s) of BATMAN (I think it’s safe to say that with all the multitudes of different “takes” on the character, it can’t be called just one guy) until I saw BATMAN RETURNS when it came out in the cinema. I was still a child then. I remember it was a 12A, and my parents didn’t like it at all – they thought it’d be something more akin to the old TV show, and less “Christopher Walken shoots Catwoman multiple times to see if she really does have nine lives”. Yeah, that scene still disturbs me today.

    It’s fair to say that I pretty much loathe MOULIN ROUGE, which did for 1930s Paris what BATMAN FOREVER did to Batman. But there’s a critical difference there, at least for me. Most of my favorite literature comes from the period in time that MOULIN ROUGE is supposed to take place in. I find it absolutely fascinating – the cultural war between the establishment and the hedonists, the struggle between societal norms and new ideas of “freedom”, the overall shaping of a new society, the origins of sexual liberation and feminism, etc. I think it’s fair to say that MOULIN ROUGE just fucks all of that stuff right up and makes it an awful space opera that misses out on everything interesting about that society, without bringing anything interesting in its place.

    BATMAN FOREVER, on the other hand… it was always camp, guys. I mean, I’ve not read any of the comic books but I’ve seen stills from them on the Internet, and I think it’s fair to say that even they look pretty camp nowadays. And obviously my knowledge of this subject is limited, to say the least, but take a look at these:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/DCE-Batman-Classic-Comic-Poster.jpg&imgrefurl=http://collider.com/batman-tv-series-retro-toys-apparel/&h=1600&w=2400&tbnid=WmtR3tGh_zIkJM:&zoom=1&docid=AVx7C1buU7V-DM&ei=PqGAVdHzN67LsATukZngCQ&tbm=isch
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.logodesignlove.com/images/classic/batman-comic-logo.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.logodesignlove.com/comics-greatest-logos&h=695&w=500&tbnid=WmTni_rg9yGxLM:&zoom=1&docid=CCjEsfMQfKtCIM&ei=PqGAVdHzN67LsATukZngCQ&tbm=isch
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://howtolovecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/detective_102_11bw.jpg&imgrefurl=http://galleryhip.com/vintage-batman-comic-book-page.html&h=1624&w=1196&tbnid=i9oAkEoh0vISmM:&zoom=1&docid=0CSVYvuFOTeG9M&ei=PqGAVdHzN67LsATukZngCQ&tbm=isch

    And these aren’t outliers either. I found them by googling “Retro Batman comics” using Google Image Search. Try it yourself and see some of the stuff that comes up. Again, it’s a very small sample, but if it’s at least representative of the kinds of retro Batman comics that used to exist… well, it seems like Schumacher got a lot closer with his vision to that retro comic-book style than Burton did with his.

    And I’d rather have the bizarre neon thing than THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’ ugly grey “realism” any day of the week, thank you very much. Talking of which, people can’t honestly be saying that BATMAN FOREVER is worse than THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, can they?

    Here’s a few advantages that FOREVER has over RISES, other than the look:
    – The sound is balanced so that you can actually hear what the characters are saying in BATMAN FOREVER.
    – FOREVER actually features Batman for a large portion of its running time in this BATMAN movie. And he’s not a cripple. Nor does he spend a large portion of the movie trying to fuck the main villain of the piece. (Yes, we’ll conveniently ignore the Poison Ivy “seduction” scenes from BATMAN AND ROBIN here. Even I’m not gonna defend that one.)
    – FOREVER doesn’t take a great massive dump on former film versions of its characters; and its new characters are at least noteworthy, even if you don’t like them.

    Let’s take Vern’s points: “I would rank stupidity below ugly design, poor stortyelling, obnoxious acting styles, embarrassing humor and overall lack of cohesiveness in tone or style.”

    Of those, “Ugly design” and “obnoxious acting styles” are subjective. I grant you that both can be grating, but that’s as far as I can go. I disagree with “lack of cohesiveness in tone or style” – it’s garish, sure, but you know what you’re getting. You may not like the film’s tone or style, but I’d argue that it at least has its own identity. “Embarrassing humor” is a definite problem with the film, to be sure, but I don’t think it’s a constant one, nor is it a terminal one. “Poor storytelling” is another one, but I’m not sure that it counts against the film as much as it might with some other films. FOREVER is not a story-driven film in the same way that, for example, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is. Sure, FOREVER has a story, but it’s more a function to show off the visual style, mega-acting, and batshit craziness. And that’s ok.

    I mean, that scene where Robin steals the Batmobile and goes off to rescue a beautiful young women who’s being menaced by lucha libre thugs with glowsticks(!) is definitely not for everybody. And while it serves a plot function… let’s face it… if you’re putting in a scene like that, it’s not for the sake of “the plot”. There are many ways they could’ve done the same story that don’t involve the guy (I believe he’s the bank manager, by the way, not a security guard, although I’d probably have to recheck that given my recent Zeus / Jesus confusion) yelling: “Oh no! Boiling acid!”

    I’d add that the extended version of this film, which I’ve seen, is way better. Disregarding the “therapy” stuff, which frankly I could’ve done without in both versions of the film, there’s an extra scene between Batman and the Riddler at the very end of the film which adds some much-needed gravitas to the final confrontation.

    All of this said… BATMAN FOREVER is not a great film. I don’t even think it’s a particularly good one. I think that maybe it suffers from “guilt by assocation” because of its sequel, which is as jaw-droppingly awful as everyone says it is. I don’t think BATMAN FOREVER is devoid of merit or enjoyment, and I think that some of the criticisms Vern and others have levelled at it are a little harsh. I think it’s one of those movies where you have to be in a definite frame of mind to really appreciate it, and if you’re not… well, it ain’t gonna work for you. But it’s not worthless either.

    There ends Paul’s defence of BATMAN FOREVER.

  16. Batman Forever is not a great Batman movie but is a deep look at gay relationships in 1995. At the beginning Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent have recently ended their relationship. Clearly Harvey is the dumped one and is vindictive and angry at Bruce and can’t move on. The subtext of this break-up is perhaps Bruce is no longer attracted to Harvey because he’s become to old. The scarring and disfigurement of his face serving to underline this. Bruce on the other hand just wants Harvey to move and and seek help, another lover in other words. Having moved on himself Bruce is free to pursue a new relationships.
    Bruce is pursued by 3 possible lovers. The first is Dr. Edward Nygma, a smart but socially awkward employee who Bruce quickly brushes off. Either because of a lack of sexual attraction or because as head of Wayne Enterprises is mindful of not dating within the company. The second would be lover is Dr. Chase Meridian a female who aggressively chases Bruce hinting at possible bi-sexuality since Bruce does not treat this the same as he does Edward by brushing Chase off but actually considers a relationship with her. Nor would Bruce be the first gay man to have a heterosexual relationship between gay lovers. The third suitor is the most intriguing is Dick Grayson, a hot young man who comes into Bruce’s life and home with baggage that is very much the mirror to Bruce’s own. Even more young Dick is a difficult and exciting, and unlike Edward and Chase, Dick makes Bruce pursue Him.
    Meanwhile, Edward, stung by Bruce’s outright rejection of him has chosen to become Bruce. A “Single White Female” case of if I can’t have him I will Become him. Set upon this course Edward begins a relationship with the other man who Loves/Hates Bruce as much as he does: Harvey. In Harvey’s case Edward is a substitute for Bruce but one he knows is a poor imitation of the real one. To keep Harvey’s interest Edward even takes to wearing a mole that is an exact copy of Bruce’s.
    This all comes to a head as the four rivals together confront Bruce and essentially demand that he choose one of them.
    For poor scared Harvey their is never a chance for him. Bruce is not open to getting back together and Harvey commits suicide. Also for Edward there is no chance and his attempt to become Bruce and Harvey’s death costs him his sanity.

  17. At the end Bruce has not chosen between Dick and Chase. Perhaps to keep his sexual options open. Batman Forever is Great mid 90’s gay cinema.

  18. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Actually no… I got a bit more.

    I’ve talked about BATMAN FOREVER in isolation, and compared to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (which is a far worse movie in my opinion), and compared to its sequel (also a far worse movie, although I hardly think that saying BATMAN AND ROBIN is a bad movie is a controversial opinion). Let me address this point:

    “When young people today tear into what I think is a decent if imperfect super hero movie, like MAN OF STEEL or THE AVENGERS 2: REVENGE OF THE AVENGERS or the IRON MAN sequels or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, it’s fair of course. But it’s hard for me not to think jesus kid, you don’t know how good you have it. ”

    Well I haven’t seen MAN OF STEEL or THE AVENGERS 2, but here’s some of the things that bothered me about the other Marvel movies.

    In THE FIRST AVENGER, what’s essentially a miracle formula for physical wellbeing is used to pump a mentally-ill suicidal man full of steroids, wrap him in the American flag, and use him as an army recruiter. In the IRON MAN films, the underlying message seems to be “trust the rich white guy for he has everyone’s best interests at heart”. And THE WINTER SOLDIER ends with Scarlett Johansson giving what amounts to a minute-long speech in defence of the NSA that isn’t so much subtext as right there in the actual text. That last one was the breaking point, guys. I can’t get over these movies’ rancid, shitty politics. Even if I thought they were perfect in other ways (and they’re not), this would be a dealbreaker for me. I actually had fun with the IRON MAN movies, but WINTER SOLDIER made me look back at them and their politics and think: “No. That’s not ok.”

    What I’m getting at here is that I’d rather have BLADE or the first two X-MEN movies than BATMAN FOREVER. (BLADE 2 is a difficult case because I think it’s a better movie in many ways, and yet I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did BATMAN FOREVER. Let’s say that I think both are deeply flawed and leave it at that.) But I’d rather have FOREVER than the recent Marvel crop, THOR movies excepted, or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES or DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. That’s my (completely subjective) take on the subject.

  19. But Paul, the stuff you linked to was either a tie-in to the TV show or fifty years old by the time of BF, when comic books were for children. That’s not the same thing as camp. True, the character went through a period of ridiculousness due to the Comics Code that prevented creators from tackling anything even remotely real-world, so he fought aliens and sea monsters and shit like that, which is where the TV version sprung from. But that version of the character had been gone for two decades by the time Schumacher got to him, and nobody missed him. I’m not saying the grim, gritty approach of Nolan is the only way to go–you know how I feel about those films–but Burton’s slightly arch urban noir style was much more in line with the majority of the character’s appearances. He needs to exist in a dark Gothic psychodrama to make any sense. To rob him of his shadows and bathe him in neon light is to destroy what makes him special.

  20. I feel like an asshole for not mentioning Don “The Dragon” Wilson. I noticed him and everything.

  21. Well, thanks for reminding me that the climax is awful- all the riddles he solves throughout the movie are terrible (I know the water jug thing in DH3 wasn’t properly explained in that film but it’s downright amazing compared to the crappy riddles here), and they set up this intriguing situation where he has to choose between his barely developed love interest and his annoying sidekick, and he…I dunno, saves them by doing the exact same grappling hook shit he’s been doing the whole series. And then Two-Face somehow teleports down to the bottom of the pit and he dies because he’s trying to catch a whole bunch of coins even though the movie never really establishes that he has an OCD-like compulsion to catch multiple flipped coins, and then he falls into a pit of really widely-spaced spikes and GOD I HATE THIS MOVIE.

    Compare that to B&R – no matter what you want to say about the rest of the movie, the end has an identical situation where Bruce actually LETS Robin fall so he can save 2 civilians. Not because he’s an ass, but because he KNOWS that Robin can save himself, which he does. It’s an unusual solution to their movie-long antagonism (any other movie would just have Robin save Batman to prove he’s a big boy, the end), and it’s better than anything in Batman Forever.

  22. That’s my Paul.

    Comparing BATMAN FOREVER to the tv show is unfair to the tv show. It had a very controlled tone that worked as comedy for adults and drama for kids. It had a consistent, appealing pop art visual style. It wasn’t modern, cool, dark Batman, but it was a great camp parody/appreciation of a certain era of comic books. BATMAN FOREVER tries to pass as modern, cool, dark Batman but also be funny, silly Batman, and it horrendously fails on both accounts. And would you, Paul, say that BATMAN FOREVER is a good looking movie? I recommend looking at a picture of Robin in costume when you answer.

  23. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Majestyk – what I’m arguing here is that that was the look Schumacher was going for. I’m not claiming that he was even successful in this regard, just that it’s not necessarily fair to claim that there’s not a specific vision that he was going for.

    Vern – ok, I’ll give you this one: that costume is pretty damn silly.

    Does FOREVER try to pass itself off as “modern, cool, dark Batman”? I think if anything it was going as far away from Tim Burton’s vision as possible.

    Again, I agree with you to this extent: I wouldn’t ever say that BATMAN FOREVER is a good movie. I did enjoy it despite its faults, and having watched it again fairly recently… I think to some extent it holds up as a work of ridiculously silly entertainment. It has many, many, many problems, and I think you really have to be prepared to overlook or forgive a lot of ’em in order to enjoy it. (I think you’ve made it pretty clear that you can’t do that, which is fine!) But, all of that said, it’s not as iredeemably awful as some of the people here are painting it.

    Neal – I don’t remember that specific scene of BATMAN AND ROBIN, but I’ll say this: if I saw Robin of that movie falling to his death, I’d let the fucker go as well. I know Chris O’ Donnell was hardly great in FOREVER either, but he was Humphrey Freakin’ Bogart compared to his appearance in BATMAN AND ROBIN. And come to think of it, could someone have thrown Alicia Silverstone’s character off a building as well? Please? I have a lot of love in my heart for Silverstone (thanks, BLAST FROM THE PAST) but dear God was she awful in B&R.

  24. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    And while I might occasionally be “contrary” to keep you guys honest – and yes, there’s an aspect of this involved in my defence of BATMAN FOREVER here, although I do enjoy the film – I think it’s important to keep a sense of proportion. Those of you comparing BATMAN FOREVER negatively to BATMAN AND ROBIN might possibly want to keep that in mind.

    And if you’re still not convinced, maybe watch BATMAN AND ROBIN again. Compare Chris O’ Donnell in that one to Chris O’ Donnell in BATMAN FOREVER. Or look at how it treats Arnie (this guy had already played the lead in PREDATOR, THE TERMINATOR, COMMANDO, TOTAL RECALL, and a dozen other action classics. He’s reduced to spouting awful, awful one-liners in B&R.) Compare the two movies’ scripts (again, if you think FOREVER suffered from inappropriate humour, just try re-watching BATMAN AND ROBIN). Look at Uma Thurman in it and compare her performance there to, well, anything by Tarantino. Look at its treatment of environmental issues (plants versus people – only one can survive!) Wince as it hits you over the head with constant references to other better media (Superman! Ninja Turtles! Starlight Express!) Groan as it fucks up every beloved character from the previous films (Alfred is now a master computer hacker with plot-convenient fatal disease! Batman now takes part in sexist auctions to buy favours of single women! Robin is… well… even whinier than he was before? Ok, they had to go to some lengths to make Robin any worse. But they managed it!)

    I mean, I know it’s fashionable to try and go the opposite way as “the Internets”. But occasionally the masses get it very, very right. BATMAN AND ROBIN is one of those occasions. And I’m not saying you can’t enjoy BATMAN AND ROBIN – hell, I had a blast with it when I watched it the first time (although, it must be said, only the first time. Having a giant heap of shit blasted directly into your face only has novelty value once). Uma’s awful acting alone is almost worth watching the movie for. But I wouldn’t claim that anything in it works, or is competent!

  25. I really am not sure there is any upside to debating which Schumacher Batman movie is least punishingly bad.

    For the official record, my friends & I were 19 when we saw “Batman Forever,” and I recall (to my shame) that afterwards we actually said the words, “They finally got it right!” We had been excited for a Batman movie that was faster-paced, more action-based, and had more of a cohesive story than Burton’s gothic ruminations on schizophrenia. Or maybe we were just looking to be consistently entertained by visual spectacle for two hours, and we accepted what Schumacher gave us because we were 19 and had terrible taste.

    Either way, I persisted in remembering “Batman Forever” as being a lightweight-but-enjoyable piece of entertainment until I happened to catch some of it on cable a few years back. And holy shit was I horrified. Vern said the tone and style is grating, which sums it up perfectly, but I’ll go a little farther: there is basically nothing in it that works. The best thing you can say about it is that Jim Carrey’s performance is in line with what we-the-audience wanted from him back in 1995. Beyond that it’s a piece of shit. I agree with Vern.

  26. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Daniel:

    “I really am not sure there is any upside to debating which Schumacher Batman movie is least punishingly bad.”

    Well, I wouldn’t agree that BATMAN FOREVER is punishingly bad, although it’s certainly very flawed indeed; whereas BATMAN AND ROBIN’s reputation as one of the worst blockbusters ever made if anything probably undersells just how awful it is. We’re talking about a film that makes THE AVENGERS (the Sean Connery one, not the Marvel one) look competent and well-structured by comparison.

    Not that I can’t understand the BATMAN FOREVER hate – as I said, I think you have to be very, very forgiving to be able to enjoy the movie – but it’s light years away from BATMAN AND ROBIN in terms of quality.

  27. It’s interesting to think about ways in which the Adam West show and film managed to get its tone right and Batman Forever seemed to flounder. I agree with Vern that comparisons between the two make it clear that Forever doesn’t even hold a candle to the 60s film. (I’ll admit that I’ve only seen the movie, not the TV show). I distinctly remember the “Bat Shark Repellent” joke, which, in my opinion, was a pretty clever take on the fact that all of Batman’s gadget had to have the word bat in them somewhere. Also, the scene of Batman trying to dispose of the bomb was genuinely hilarious, especially how it escalated. And I believe they also had an allusion to Krushchev banging his shoe on the podium somewhere in the film.

    Still, I remember enjoying Forever when it first came out. It was only later when I developed taste that I realized what a clusterfuck the film is.

  28. Paul – I appreciate your defense of BF, I actually really like reading defenses to widely hated movies, because there’s almost always some good stuff to bring up. Someone (I think the DejaReviewer) actually wrote a very passioned defense that made it sound like a decent movie. One of his best points is that Bruce Wayne in this is very selfless – he tries to out himself at the circus without hesitation to save lives; he tries to make sure the family of that scientist Nygma kills receives full benefits even though it looked like a suicide, he jumps right in to save Chase in her office when he thinks she’s in trouble even though he’s not in costume. That sounds nice and appealing but yeah, the movie is so grating and Kilmer is so bored and detached that none of these things registered with me.

    I don’t think Arnie gets treated bad in B&R. He gets first billing over Clooney, I think he got the highest salary ever at the time, and he’s clearly having a blast doing it. Doing bad puns is what he does better than anyone else in the world, who the fuck doesn’t smile at the idea of a movie where that’s LITERALLY all he does? That’s like me saying “HOLY SHIT, WHAT’S UP WITH THAT KATE UPTON MOVIE WHERE SHE’S BOUNCING IN A BIKINI THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME? SO LAME!” And yeah, I’ll take Arnie doing a purposely groan-worthy one-liner above Jim Carrey’s “Joygasm!” shit any day.

  29. Regarding the soundtrack, I remember that rather tepid era of that unholy alliance between studios and record companies (quite often housed by the same company) that meant MTV and especially VH1 looked like movie trailer channels than anything remotely having to do with music. That Seal song was one of the major hits that summer (that and the FRIENDS song, sort of completing the cycle), and I actually liked the U2 song. It was in that murky period leading up to the much-maligned POP record that cost them whatever rock cred they had left. I liked Nolan’s decision to just have Zimmer and (to a lesser degree) James Newton Howard do all the music to his Batman franchise. I would say that decision had the larger effect to where now it’s much more rare for big films to have big hit singles. Good riddance I say.

  30. Oh man, Paul, Dark Knight Rises might not have been as good as the Dark Knight, but saying it’s worse than Batman Forever is some cold cold shit. The urban combat scenes in Rises are some of the best city mass fight scenes ever put on film. No one has captured scale in a city setting as well as Nolan did for that movie.

    And speaking of Don The Dragon Wilson, I hadn’t thought of him in a couple months and then I read about him today in this review and one of his posts popped up in my Facebook feed (one of my friends liked it.) So, that was completely random, but it gave me a chance to see what he was up to and that he’s indeed still pretty awesome.

  31. I enjoyed BATMAN FOREVER. I don’t have a lengthy intellectual manifesto explaining this – I just thought Carrey and Jones were funny and I enjoyed the goofy tone.

    I remember the film getting lots of laughs and cheers when I saw it in the theater. I also remember my date (or were we just friends at the time? I forget) making grabby hands at the screen when Kilmer had his shirt off in one scene.

    I actually kind of miss the days when superhero movies (and movies in general) were still aimed at a mass audience without always being sure what that audience wanted. That approach maybe led to some trashy movies, but in hindsight it seems like a less uptight time compared to now.

    Now that Hollywood (well, Marvel at least) know what the hardcore fans want and know how to give it to them, it’s maybe raised the quality but at the expense of variety. Crazy stuff doesn’t get through like it used to – just ask Edgar Wright.

    I guess one thing that shows how much things have changed is that Batman saying that Robin’s gang “must be halfway to Metropolis by now” qualified as a clever in-joke at the time. There wasn’t the same tone of “if you didn’t read issue #357 then you’re not allowed to have an opinion about this one plot detail because you should have known it was a reference.”

  32. The 90’s had a hard time taking superheros seriously, I guess it’s because the world was a lot less scary back then then it is in the post 9/11 present day, but people back then couldn’t help but find the idea of a guy in tights running around solving problems inherently ridiculous whereas today people feel like “yeah, we could use some superheros to help fix this mess”.

    So it’s no surprise to me that people responded better to the goofy FOREVER than the more serious and grim RETURNS and to be honest I kinda like Schumacher’s visual take on Gotham city with the bright, eye popping colors, modern Batman films could use some more of that visual panache in the age of Snyder’s “TELL ME!? DO YOU BLEEEEEEEEEEEEED!? YOU WILL!”, but despite some interesting visuals FOREVER and B&R are junk.

    I think it’s a real shame that Burton and Keaton didn’t get to do a third film, imagine Burton’s take on Scarecrow.

  33. Wow, reading this review made me realize I don’t remember a goddamn thing about this movie. Not even when Vern describes the actual scenes. BATMAN AND ROBIN was a human rights violation, but I can remember that one almost scene for scene. I know I saw it, possibly twice, but nothing stuck. It’s like one of those weird Slurpee flavors that they have for a week and you think “This is…okay I guess,” but you only drink half of it and just leave it on a table somewhere, and what the fuck was it called? Something Extreme, maybe with two “x”s, and I know it was neon green, but it didn’t taste like anything identifiable in nature. So BATMAN FOREVER is like that Slurpee. But I’m glad Paul liked it. Every movie should have its defenders. Incidentally, isn’t it odd that a popular beverage has the word “pee” in it. You’d think someone would have pointed that out before settling on that spelling.

  34. Also, here’s a weird piece of trivia for you, if you didn’t know it:

    The scene where Robin rescues a woman from the glowstick people reuses the same piece of music from ALIEN 3 (another film scored by Eliot Goldenthal) where Ripley is sexually attacked by the other prisoners. Skip to 0:35 to hear it:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtUUxu0QiyM

    Which weirdly reminds me of the fact that Karl coming back to life and getting shot by Powell in DIE HARD is scored with an unused James Horner cue from ALIENS, but I’m sure you guys all knew that one.

  35. You know what I think get’s the visual tone of Batman pretty perfectly? the Arkham video game series, there’s enough of that Gothic surreality of Burton with a dash of Schumacher color and the gritty, almost sci fi edge of Nolan.

  36. The Original Paul

    June 16th, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Mike- I’ve written freaking essays in these comments on what was wrong with DARK KNIGHT RISES, so I’ll give you the cliff notes here. The simple fact is that of the sixty-seven films that I saw in the cinema in 2012, that was the worst one. It wasn’t the one I enjoyed the least (that was YOUNG ADULT, which I absolutely hated) but YOUNG ADULT does a good job at least of presenting its characters, the dialogue is well-written, and it has other strengths that I could point out. TDKR has none of those strengths. On a technical level and a storytelling level alike, it’s pretty much incompetent. I could not believe that the same guys who did the scoring and cinematography for THE DARK KNIGHT also did TDKR, there’s such a vast gulf between the two. It looked and sounded really bad. And that’s on top of its storytelling flaws – character motivations were either unexplained or completely missing, Batman has to learn to not be crippled not just once but twice, etc. And while I kind of agree about the city scenes (there was at least a sense of geography in TDKR), the fights themselves were shoddily shot. Some of the least kinetic fight scenes I’ve seen for a long time. Everything just looked laboured and “lumbering” if that makes sense. They tried to use quick camerawork to disguise this but it didn’t really work.

    Yeah… TDKR just plain sucked, and not in the fun way where you can laugh at how ridiculous and camp it is. On every technical and storytelling level, I thought it was a bad film. Not even close to the worst I’ve ever seen, but certainly the worst film I saw that year. One of those films where you come out of the cinema thinking “that was kinda bad”; and then the more you think about it, the worse it gets.

    Neal – thanks for the support of my (admittedly half-hearted) defence here – half-hearted because I agree with a lot of the criticisms of it (it’s certainly a clusterfuck!) but don’t agree that they make the film as iredeemably bad as some people here have said. Curt, lengthy intellectual manifestos are pretty much what I do!

    OnTheWall – I liked most of the soundtrack of BATMAN FOREVER too. The U2 song (“Hold me thrill me kiss me kill me”) was something of a bizarre fit for the film it was in. I’m not sure if it stands up on its own, but as an accompaniment to this particular film, it just fitted perfectly.

  37. By the way, speaking of Batman movies I just learned that Danny Elfman did the score for FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and now I’m laughing my ass off imaging “The Breakfast Machine” from PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE playing while Dakota Johnson gets her ass paddled.

  38. It was when U2 was that odd period of the 90’s where their rock cred was being decimated by their interest in electronic music. ’95 was also the year of the PASSENGERS album which was a more direct collaboration with Brian Eno. It produced “Always Forever Now” which you can hear a snippet of in that other Val Kilmer Warner Bros. film from ’95.

    I liked their song for this much more than the Seal one which you heard everywhere for a period of a couple months. That and the FRIENDS song were the big ones that summer. Needless to say it was a rather uneventful year for music. The biggest things I can remember was the Beatles’ ANTHOLOGY documentary on ABC, coinciding with the “Free as a Bird” single.

  39. During that time of the 90s, pretty much every Rockband had an interest in electronic music. And pretty much every electronic music act had an interest in experimenting with electric guitars and trying to sound as punk and metal as possible. I kinda miss the so called “Big Beat”.

  40. With all due respect: Fuck you, Vern. That soundtrack was awesome.

  41. Paul, the thing of it is that BATMAN AND ROBIN is “worse,” but much more enjoyable to watch. Both are ridiculously terrible movies, but the second one is so much more extreme about it that it’s way more fun. There are ice skates and the Bat Credit Card and Schwarzenegger wearing bunny slippers leading his thugs in singing the Heat Miser song and a muscleman in a pink gorilla costume and all kinds of shit. It’s so much more over-the-top and unhinged that it’s easier to laugh at. I felt the same way about the first two TRANSFORMERSes.

  42. This is the one Batman-movie that I have a hard time to sit through. It seems, like Wayne himself, conflicted. keeping the dark, broody nature of Burtons films but also the campier Adam West-version and not doing any of them very well. At least BATMAN & ROBIN went all West and is therefore more enjoyable as schlock.

  43. I was thinking about the jackasses that complains that MAN OF STEEL would be better with more “purdy colours”. I would like to tell them to shut the fuck up and watch this movie. The colours are so extreme, it´s like staring into the sun. It hurts your eyes at times.

  44. The Original Paul

    June 17th, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Vern – if I’d only watched BATMAN AND ROBIN the one time, I’d agree with you. Watching it once was absolutely hilarious and I had a blast with it. Hell, I’d rather have that than THE MUMMY RETURNS or JOHNNY MNEMONIC or something. There’s a difference between “bad” and “unwatchable”. There are a lot of movies that I’d say are objectively “bad” that I’ve enjoyed my time with, and a lot of objectively better movies that I find completely unwatchable. THE LOST WORLD would fall into that category; even though it’s not terrible on a technical level, I find the characters to be so unlikeable, annoying, badly-written, or however you’d put it, that spending any amount of time with them makes me want to turn the movie off. I’ve tried to watch that movie from start to finish in a single sitting. It’s not easy.

    The twist in this tale, of course, is that I tried to watch BATMAN AND ROBIN twice… and it’s not the same, at all. It’s painful to sit through that second time. That’s the thing about a movie as bad as that one… I can only sit through it once and be entertained. Once the initial feeling of “Heeheehee, this is hilariously terrible!” has worn off, you’re left with just an awful piece of cinematic art.

    I can’t comment on TRANSFORMERS 2 because I never saw it. (I did, as you know, see TRANSFORMERS 1, and I pretty much agree with everything you said about it. I was done with the TRANSFORMERS franchise after that.)

  45. Shoot McKay – dude, there’s gotta be a balance somewhere, right? MAN OF STEEL is so dull looking, so grey, I get sleepy just thinking about it, certainly the alternative doesn’t have to be Schumacher’s 1970’s era gay disco?

  46. The Original Paul

    June 17th, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Talking of movies with Jim Carrey in them (well, he had a cameo in DEAD POOL), I’ve just got my copy of the DIRTY HARRY collection through in the post. I haven’t seen the original DIRTY HARRY since I was a teenager. I remember it being fantastic, but you never know if these films will hold up years later. Hopefully this one will.

    I also got a copy of DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE. I can Casper too!

  47. Griff- yeah, but the complaints regarding “less color” are what I consider on a five year old level. As a kid, you are usually turned off if there is not an immediate visual impact. But as an adult you care more about subtext and deeper meanings than pretty colors. Sure, having nice visuals is a bonus, if everything else works.

    This may sound condescending. but I think the complaints comes off as incredibly childish. i think, for instance, that MAN OF STEEL has more to it than a dude in a cape flying around punching people. Does the film deliver on a deeper,intellectual level? Maybe not entirely successfully in terms of Superman as diaspora. A lot of the intellectual ideas (as in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES with Gotham as a failed state) are never fully realized when the ideas happen to get in the way of blowing shit up.

    Paul-All the DIRTY HARRY´S are fucking good. They might seem a bit dated in the politics they address, but that is what makes them great as they say a lot of the times in which they were made.

  48. Shoot McKay – I’m mostly razzing you guys with the MAN OF STEEL complaints, I didn’t like the movie, but shucks, I liked Zack Snyder’s previous movies and I do admire his brashness at giving the 2010s a Superman that seems very much like a 2000’s emo take on the idea (just tell me Linkin Park’s Crawling would have been out of place in the soundtrack of MAN OF STEEL), that’s the kind of mildly dopey but fun style I expect from Snyder, the guy that gave us Richard Cheese’s cover of Down With The Sickness in DAWN OF THE DEAD.

    But it’s just that I do believe that Superman is at his best when he’s a guy in bright blue and red tights saving the day, there’s an inherent optimism to the character I think that feels pretty lost in MAN OF STEELI can see what Snyder was going for but I don’t think he quite succeeded, however at the end of the day I don’t really nerd rage about it because I just don’t care that much, I’ve never been a big comic guy, the only superhero I’ve ever truly loved is Batman and to be honest I am curious to see Snyder’s take on him (though “TELL ME, DO YOU BLEED?” is maybe a bit much).

  49. Am I the only one who likes the “Tell me, do you bleed?” line?

  50. It’s just a meme at this point. One person makes fun of it and then everybody has to jump onboard and pretend that there’s something inherently bad about the line that they arrived at independently and not just a bunch of unimaginative followers bandwagoning on each other. Somebody brings up that line as if it’s some kind of smoking gun and I know not to take their opinion seriously.

  51. I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world, just a biiiiiiit much, maybe.

  52. Paul – thanks for accidentally/inadvertently reminding me what I don’t like about all the new Ryan Reynolds Deadpool-stuff I’ve seen. It seems exactly like height-of-his-powers Jim Carrey under the mask, which is I guess what people who read the comic book want since nerds are jerking off about it, but I don’t think I can handle a whole movie of it. Again, millions of people who loved Carrey in the 90s can’t be wrong so who knows, maybe it’s time for that brand of humor to come back in style (shudder)

    And yes, this discussion has reminded me that if there is a redeemable part of this movie, it’s the soundtrack. I probably hated Kiss From a Rose back then but i smile when I hear it now (I STILL hear it now on the radio)- it’s a song so big it definitely transcends the movie (like how nobody remembers “Rhythm of the Night” was from The Last Dragon or “Stay” was from Reality Bites). Hell, even Jack Black jokingly sang it to Seal on American Idol that one time and said “that was from Batman Returns, the most sensitive of the Batmen” and nobody corrected him. (The idea of Batman Returns with Kiss from a Rose in it is hilarious though.)

    The U2 song is awesome as a real song and as a movie song and probably would have been a good Bond song (this was the same year they wrote the theme for Goldeneye for Tina Turner which is probably the one Bond theme I can’t hum or can’t even remember how it goes). Hell, that song Elevation they did for Tomb Raider was the best thing about that movie too. I can see why Vern doesn’t like the corporate approach of jamming a bunch of pop songs on the soundtrack that might not work thematically, but I give it a pass because the flagship songs are at least good. I’m pretty sure most modern comic book movies use the same blueprint for their soundtracks, sometimes with an original song or two, but none of them are memorable. Last one I recall was the Velvet Revolver song from Ang Lee’s Hulk.

  53. I guess “Do you bleed” has become the new “Nuke the fridge” (a moment in Crystal Skull that I’ll defend to death). The only problem I have with the line is the follow up when Batman says “You’re about to.” Well, if you already knew Superman could bleed, then why the hell did you ask in the first place, Batman? It kind of robs a little of the power from what I think is kind of a badass line.

  54. Ok – i just wikipedia’d the Avengers 1 soundtrack b/c I couldn’t remember if Soundgarden or Audioslave or Velvet Revolver did the theme song. That soundtrack contains Papa Roach, Bush, Evanescence, and Buckcherry. For a movie that came out in 2012! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the soundtrack for Batman Forever from 1995 is somehow cooler.

  55. I just bought the Adam West show on Blu-Ray – I was saving for a while to grab it and it’s so worth it. That show is so great and I think has the definitive Riddler and Joker. Were the plots silly and was the show campy? Sure, and all on beautiful purpose, but Gorshin and Romero added a menace to their characters that make them genuinely cool. I love that show.

    And yeah, Schumacher tried to ape some of that while still being “cool” but it’s just a failure. He thought he could add “holy rusted metal” and then that 90s “dark” stuff and have it make sense; what he missed was that the Adam West villains already had a cool level of darkness to them! His version just ended up dumb.

  56. Crushinator Jones

    June 17th, 2015 at 8:38 am

    The “Do you bleed?” line is great. It’s a Batman line right up there with “Swear to me!” It’s supposed to show that Batman’s threats are ridiculous when you direct them at Superman. You’re supposed to be, like, “Really, Batman? You think this bravado is going to work against this dude?”

    I too have one of those Batman Forever McDonald’s crystal mugs and I still use it to this day. And I like the kung-fu laundry.

  57. I said it many times before on here, but I miss the “Songs from and inspired by the motion picture” soundtrack album. It’s still there, but it’s not a big thing as it used to be. And yeah, the songs on those album always felt pretty random* and most of them were never heard in the movie**, but I have to say that those were often full of seriously good songs.

    *Unless they tried to actually pull a concept together, like the SPAWN album, that teamed up electronic artists with rock and metal artists.

    **The most hilarious example was LOST IN SPACE, where during the end credits a short excerpt of each song is played, only missing an announcer saying things like “But wait, there is more!”

  58. I will back up Paul’s defence a bit, but mostly for the indefensible reason that I’m quite nostalgic for BATMAN FOREVER. But I did revisit it last year and found it to be a more cohesive experience than I expected, more so than the previous time I watched it around 2005. And I do think it’s a fairly interesting movie visually, you can kind of tell THE COOK, THE THIEF, THE WIFE AND HER LOVER is one of Schumacher’s favourite films.

    I do remember the “hole-ly rusted metal line” getting a big laugh in the theatre. I also saw B&R in the theatre, even then (aged 10) I “knew” it was the weakest of the lot and that a lot of the gags fell flat, but I’d be lying if I said I thought it raped my eyeballs or anything, or even that it was worse than SPACE JAM. If anything my main problem with at the time was probably that Arnie pining for his wife bored me. My main memory is that the Bat Credit Card was met with an awkward silence, and the stone face of the father a few rows ahead of me I assumed was the target audience for that joke.

    It’s interesting that the Schumacher BATMAN films seem to be just about the only once huge thing not supported by the 90s nostalgia movement (such as it is)

  59. And yes, the soundtrack album rules

  60. I got to hand it to you Paul, you’re definitely not afraid to take the unpopular side of an argument. And I respect your opinion on TDKR and I know a lot of people don’t love the movie (that Ra’s Al Ghul prison shit seems like it belongs in a medieval fantasy film, but Marillon Cotillard still has some sizzle in her role and I didn’t see her turn coming honestly.)

    But I will agree that soundtracks are part of what make a move extra awesome – Batman Forever has a pretty good one, but LAST ACTION HERO is probably the greatest of the action movie rock/metal/alternative soundtrack albums (but there’s a lot of great ones from the late 80s and early 90s as well!)

  61. My high school friend who drove a convertible would blast “Kiss From a Rose” like a near-deaf madman and we would cruise parking lots and pick up girls by karaokeing/lip-synching Seal and I would disprove the notion that a scrub (hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride) couldn’t score with chicks so yeah it’s pretty much the greatest song ever.

    Joel Schumacher is an interesting case. He has a lifetime pass for gifting the world with THE LOST BOYS. Sure, cinema is a collaborative effort and that movie is great for a lot of reasons (casting, cinematography, editing, sound mix, etc) but I don’t even want to imagine a world in which a different director helmed THE LOST BOYS.

    I’m one of the few people who really like his version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004)
    and one of the very few people who have seen and liked BLOOD CREEK
    (which I recommended a while ago here:
    http://www.outlawvern.com/2013/10/25/my-underrated-horror-list-on-rupert-pupkin-speaks/ ).

    TIGERLAND I saw in college and remember liking but wishing the ending wasn’t so weak.

    His next movie BAD COMPANY (2002) is one of the worst pieces of shit ever made. $70 million budget and Anthony Hopkins doesn’t even *try* to act for a single second. BAD COMPANY might be worth watching only for the purpose of comparing Hopkins’s performance to late Seagalogy (the Lazy Whisper Era).

    Did you know Schumacher wrote CAR WASH (1976)? Was not expecting to see that credit on the IMDB page.

    I’ve never had any urge to rewatch BATMAN FOREVER since that 1995 theatrical experience. God knows basic cable has been trying for years & years to get me to do so, but no, sorry, I’m clicking the channel button and moving on with my life, TNT.

    It was a semi-enjoyable experience as a child, though I remember thinking the flashback scenes were clumsy and that a lot of the sets seemed cheap despite their exuberant trying-too-hard gaudiness. The action did nothing for me. The character of Robin is a major disappointment; he’s a boring dweeb who takes stuff that doesn’t belong to him and I wish those neon weirdos had sliced him up good. Nicole Kidman was pretty and she was… there… for some reason. Two-Face is terrible. The Riddler (and Ace Ventura) made me wish Jim Carrey had gone back to sketch comedy and stayed there.

    Is this the one where they’re at a big fancy party and the guy says, “Your entrance was good, his was better”? I remember that line got a good laugh, funny stuff, like one good memorable sitcom-level joke in the middle of a feature length blockbuster film.

  62. I miss the golden age of hip-hop soundtracks. There were classics like BOYZ N THE HOOD, MENACE II SOCIETY, JUICE, and FRIDAY, but even lesser known movies would have solid albums attached, like TALES FROM THE HOOD, TRESPASS, NEW JERSEY DRIVE, POETIC JUSTICE, WHO’S THE MAN, and BULWORTH. Even fucking garbage like HIGH SCHOOL HIGH had a killer soundtrack. Of course, the talent pool was so deep back then that you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting ten dope rappers with an unreleased track laying around. I shudder to think what would happen if they tried to pull it off nowadays.

  63. OFFICE SPACE, BELLY, BOILER ROOM, NEXT FRIDAY… I had a whole thick section of my cd booklet devoted to hip-hop soundtracks.

  64. I don’t really care enough to argue about this stupid movie, but I do like Jone’s alleged quote.

  65. I think I’m gonna get it as a tattoo…

  66. I thought BATMAN FOREVER was fine. It was mildly entertaining. It wasn’t as good as the Burton ones. BATMAN & ROBIN, however, is the only time I can remember leaving a theater angry at the movie that just assaulted me. Usually I’m a really easy going person and if I don’t like a movie I think something along the lines of, “Yeah, that wasn’t good.” Or, “That’s not for me.” That one put me in such a bad mood I’m sure I had to pinch the person I was with just to relieve some of the painful pressure.

  67. I always did like the score to this movie. It’s a shame it wasn’t used in a better Batman movie. I remember the main theme was very up tempo yet heroic sounding made it seem like we were gonna get a swashbuckling Batman. Instead we got whatever the hell it was that Val Kilmer ended up playing. It was like a weird alternate version of Keaton’s Batman cause he kept playing him much the same way and a lot of the plot themes continued (Batman “redeeming” himself from the darkness he entered in the first 2 movies by helping show Grayson the light or whatever) but just very robotic. Like he had a Superman Robot-like Batman robot created to replace him while he went to make MULTIPILICITY or whatever.

  68. Speaking of songs from movies, can I just say that I almost tear up every time See You Again comes on the radio these days?

  69. Paul – Burton and Schumacher both got as close to the comics as even Nolan did. It was just different comics than the ones that influenced Nolan.

    Michael Uslan the man who has produced all the WB Batman movies and other Batman media has stated many times that he gave Burton THE KILLING JOKE (which was new at the time of the movie’s production) and Detective Comics #27 to issue #39 the introduction of Robin as reference guides and research material.

    That run of Detective #27 – 39 is what many Golden Age Batman fans refer to as “the true Year One” were he was still a pulp character who was basically a rip off of characters like The Shadow and The Spider but with a Bat motif. Which explains not only a lot of the visual references to the comics in Burton’s movie and why Burton’s Batman is a pulp hero at his core but also the fact that Robin would be introduced towards the end of the movie the same way Robin was introduced at the end of Batman’s first year.

    Check this link out to see some of the visual influences on Burton from the comic books

    http://gothamalleys.blogspot.com/2011/08/comic-book-references-in-movies-part-i.html

  70. The Original Paul

    June 17th, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Neal – You’re welcome for the reminder. It was, of course, my intention all along.

    I have that U2 song on my car playlist. I always feel a bit awkward when the midsection bit comes along through. It sounds like Bono is trying (and quite possibly succeeding) to work himself up into a vocal state of orgasm. I have to turn the volume down when that happens.

  71. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 had some generic Alicia Keys Ft. Someone or other jam as part of its promotional push, along with some Pharrell stuff and fairly anonymous dubstep; one of the reasons it drew unflattering comparisons with BATMAN FOREVER.

    HIGH SCHOOL HIGH had a great trailer, they should have never released the film and quit while they were ahead

  72. The Original Paul

    June 17th, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Broddie – I pretty much assumed that it’d be something like that.

    Mike – sorry for taking a dump on a film that you obviously liked. I have to say that I tend to react worse to films that look at least competent on a technical level, but have other glaring flaws, than ones that are completely incompetently made. I think that when a film’s bad on the level of, say, BATMAN AND ROBIN, you can at least have some laughs at its more egregious failures. If a film completely fails to engage you on the level of story or character, though, it’s harder to gain any enjoyment from it.

  73. Looking back at it, I think the last true hitsong (That got lots of airplay and was in the top 10 in many countries) from a movie might have been Evanescence’s BRING ME TO LIFE, from the DAREDEVIL soundtrack. Although the song itself seemed to be pretty removed from that movie. Not even the (admittedly seriously good video) had any references to it. So maybe it was that Chad Kroeger song from the 1st SPIDER-MAN?

    I just know I forget another song or two.

  74. What about that obnoxious song from FROZEN? Or that Anna Kendrick song from PITCH PERFECT?

  75. Are we not counting songs from animated movies? Not even talking about an animated musical like FROZEN, because I’m not sure that actually played on the radio, but Happy from DESPICABLE ME 2 was frickin’ everywhere. Or are we discounting Oscar nominated songs? Or ones from actual musicals? There’s the pseudo-musical ONCE with the song Falling Slowly. I think there’s been a ton since DAREDEVIL here in the U.S., but I don’t know about global popularity.

  76. That song broke the band, and they were pretty huge for awhile. But that was right at the tail-end of nu-metal being a mainstream thing, and I think their inner turmoil prevented them from becoming anything more than a 2-3 hit wonder. I remember liking them despite my hatred of said genre. Kind of a guilty pleasure now, but I thought it was nice and progressive for a female-fronted band to break through that wretched group of bros with their backwards baseball caps and wife-beaters.

    Quite often it was the case that the hit single from the soundtrack of the box-office blockbuster…was barely in the movie. I do think “Kiss From a Rose” makes an appearance in FOREVER, and the U2 song is over the credits. Otherwise I’m pretty sure a lot of what was on the soundtrack was filler or just used briefly in the movie. At least the film scores would get a separate release, either at the time or somewhere down the line. Though I’m sure they were much harder to find, in the early days of the internet.

  77. Maggie: You’re not the only one. HOW CAN WE NOT TALK ABOUT FAMILY WHEN FAMILY’S ALL THAT WE GOT?

  78. $70 million more and that’s somehow validation. It probably only accounts for three years’ inflation since RETURNS. Still nowhere near the behemoth of the original BATMAN. And only about 20-30 of those 70 wee in the States.

    Never forget BATMAN FOREVER. Never forget.

  79. I forgot to mention that I actually saw THE NUMBER 23 in theaters, it was a very bizarre movie, so much so that it actually managed to creep me out a bit.

  80. animalramirez1976

    June 17th, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Casper’d this after twenty years. Despite hating the villains and forgetting most of the stuff with Nicole Kidman, I had mostly fond memories of this movie, possibly because I found the Burton ones so skull-crushingly loud and boring.

    However, I saw the original a few years ago on TNT and rather liked it. Some pictures scale down very nicely. As for this one, well, there isn’t really anything to add about how stupid and vulgar it is. I haven’t read every comment yet, so maybe no one mentioned the boingy-boingy cartoon sound effects, including a loud clang when Jim Carrey grabs his crotch. Or the way Two-Face and Riddler figure out Bruce is Batman by stealing a picture from his brain (?) of a bat flying around. Or maybe the way all the green thought-energy went into the Riddler’s skull at the end, making it extend like Stretch Armstrong. Or that Edward had a bobble-head and a fortune-teller booth of the Riddler before there was a Riddler. Or that Edward had a fortune-teller booth at all.

    Yes, Jones and Carrey are both terrible and I even thought so at the time. Despite a cool name and look (well, not here, but…) Two-Face has never reached his full potential as a bad-ass villain. His whole premise is a lie: he does the wrong thing 90% of the time, and the times he elects to flip a coin is pretty random. He didn’t even get a veteran character actor to play him in the old t.v. show.

    So what exactly did I like about this movie the first time I saw it? The line “Not because I have to be, but because I choose to be” left a big impression on me. I found the idea of a Batman cured of neurosis and embracing his life and not brooding all the time very appealing. Needless to say, it did not resonant quite as much the second time around. Gritty, tormented super heroes are here to stay. Booo.

  81. See? I knew I forgot some songs. Although in all fairness, they never played that FROZEN song on the radio here and I think it wasn’t even in the charts. (FROZEN was a success in Germany, but far from being the cult phenomenon that it immediately became in the US.)

  82. animalramirez: They actually planned to have Two Face appear in the old TV show and offered the role to Clint Eastwood! (If I remember right, the channel deemed the concept of that character as “too frightening” for a family show of that time and so it never happened.)

  83. Great discussion everybody. But surely Vern, you aren’t going to make us wait another two years for your review of BATMAN AND ROBIN? Sigh.

  84. The Original Paul

    June 18th, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Oh, and Fred:

    “Never forget BATMAN FOREVER. Never forget.”

    Too late, everybody did!

    …And they will again, probably about twenty minutes after this review has disappeared off the bottom of Vern’s front page.

  85. People compare the Schumacher movies to the campy 60s Adam West Batman show, but the latter at least was clever dialogue and had some wit(at least the first season) while BATMAN FOREVER and BATMAN AND ROBIN have groan inducing jokes and bad puns. Also the colorful pop art look of the show is way more pleasing than the garish neon visual nightmare of the movies.

  86. I feel much the same way as Tommy Lee did about Carrey’s obnoxious antics.

  87. Adele’s Skyfall theme was quite successful in the charts I believe.

    Batman Forever. Boy, oh boy… I like that the Amazon link that accompanies this review is selling the film at the princely sum of $0.01. Ha ha. A bargain. Just.

  88. “He’s gone boob simple”

    You, sir, just killed me with that line.

  89. Crushinator Jones

    February 12th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    The final Batman v Superman trailer has dropped and it’s pretty Batman-centric. I liked it and it doesn’t really spoil anything you couldn’t figure out from the premise. Also, I’m lookin’ forward to seeing Vern’s take on Deadpool.

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