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Overall Rating
2.1

Awesome: 3.61%
Worth A Look: 13.86%
Just Average: 20.48%
Pretty Crappy: 12.65%
Sucks49.4%

5 reviews, 136 user ratings


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Batman Forever
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by Rob Gonsalves

"It feels like forever, too."
1 stars

The key to the first two 'Batman' movies -- 1989's 'Batman' and 1992's 'Batman Returns,' both directed by Tim Burton -- was their gloomy ambivalence about the hero.

Committed to a huge project he didn't initiate, Burton showed no interest in the catharsis of crime-fighting; his Batman was a loner haunted by the random murder of his parents, doomed to keep playing the event in his head, sworn to protect the innocents of Gotham from the horror that shattered his life. (Burton and his screenwriters took a page from Frank Miller's 1986 revival Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.) And Michael Keaton, feeling a bit removed from this strange hero (but relating to his intensity), embodied Burton's depressed ambivalence: you saw it in the way he held his body -- stiff and pinched, even when he wasn't in costume. Even in 1989, Keaton knew he was too old to run around in a cape, and he gave Batman the weight of uncertainty. Burton and Keaton's Batman movies are really about two misfits trying to make sense of the all-time misfit: a man preserving peace through violence, upholding the law by breaking it.

The new Batman Forever dispenses with all that bothersome complexity. Despite its stabs at hipness, it's the campy no-brainer we were afraid the 1989 movie would be. Pinch-hitting for Burton, Joel Schumacher (Falling Down, The Client) tries to make Batman Forever a shoot-the-works bash, a deliberate departure from Batman Returns, which many found "too dark." But if this director has a personality, it hasn't snuck into any of his movies. Burton's controversial gothic gloom is gone, with nothing to replace it; Schumacher has overcorrected and made Batman too light. The director has no talent for action (every fight is shot so close in that you can't see what's going on) or for spectacle; generally, he gives us a brief establishing shot of each big, pricey set, which we never see again, and the camera never pauses to take in details. And what we do see gets drowned in pastel strobe lighting. (If I were the set designer on Batman Forever, I'd be pissed.) However, Schumacher (who started out as a costume designer) does show you every contour of the new rough-trade Batman and Robin suits. (For a daffy moment, we seem to be watching superhero fashion porn.)

Val Kilmer steps in as Batman this time. He's a fine actor -- rent Tombstone if you doubt -- and he performs smoothly, but the script gives him nothing to play; Batman is reduced to chintzy one-liners and even chintzier flashbacks to his parents' funeral. Kilmer's scenes as Bruce Wayne don't connect with anything he does as Batman. Unlike Keaton's Bruce, this Bruce isn't a lonely rich man adrift in his vast manor (like a four-color Charles Foster Kane) -- he's a slickster, a shrewd businessman. With the normally outgoing Keaton, you sensed the tension of the actor's restraining himself, trying to flesh out a pained man who hadn't developed a knack for small talk. (There was a sadness in the way Bruce's attempts at conversation petered out in the first Batman.) When Kilmer wears the Bat-suit, there's little difference between him and Keaton from the nose down; the continuity of those pursed lips is a mixed blessing, because sometimes I had to remind myself it was Kilmer, especially since both actors have the same aurally enhanced Bat-whisper. And because this Batman (unlike Burton's) isn't conceived as a quiet, embattled man seething with pent-up violence, Kilmer's performance has no tension. The virus of Gotham's sin hasn't infected him.

Critics accused the earlier Batman movies of forfeiting the action to the villains, who were more flamboyant than the hero. But Keaton provided a center of stillness, without which the glorious excesses of Nicholson, DeVito, and Pfeiffer would have lacked context. Kilmer isn't allowed to hold the center; he has too much competition from eager co-stars trying to wrestle it away from him. Four major characters introduced in a sequel are at least two too many. In Batman Forever we have the duelling ids Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the Riddler (Jim Carrey), and, as if they weren't enough, the long-awaited Robin (Chris O'Donnell) finally hits the big screen. Somewhere in the margins of the movie, Nicole Kidman's Dr. Chase Meridian tries to light Batman's fire, but the BDSM-doppelganger sexuality shared by Batman and Catwoman in the previous movie spoiled us for this Kim Basinger-type damsel-in-distress stuff. (Chase is shown to be a good fighter, but she hardly uses her skills.)

So who wins? Chris O'Donnell, the current cover boy of choice, gives a faintly embarrassing "I'm a tough guy now" performance. Near the end, Robin gets all duded up in his fabulous muscle-bound costume and then does ... not much. Despite Rick Baker's yin-yang make-up, Tommy Lee Jones' Two-Face couldn't be less interesting. He does the same flatulent mugging he did in Blown Away and Natural Born Killers; since he also did amazing and subtle work in last year's Cobb and Blue Sky, I'll forgive whatever he thinks he's doing here. It's up to Jim Carrey, and as soon as the camera singles him out, the movie's energy level soars; not much later, he takes over completely. Carrey gives the expected Tasmanian-devil performance, but he also lets us share his glee at playing his first villain in a summer blockbuster. His manic vibrancy -- he comes up with a terrific diabolical laugh when he kills off his prissy boss -- cuts right through the movie's muddle.

It helps, too, that Carrey is the only actor in Batman Forever who gets to shape his performance -- progressing from bitter nerd Edward Nygma, who experiments with brainwaves, to the megalomaniacal Riddler, who beefs up his IQ at the entire city's expense. By contrast, Two-Face is abruptly thrown into the plot right at the beginning, so that Jones starts off hammy and never varies. We don't get to meet him (as we did in the comics) as a crusading attorney disfigured and warped by an accident he blames Batman for, though this is explained in a news clip that barely registers. Two-Face seems like an afterthought, and I wondered why the filmmakers didn't just save him for the next sequel.

Batman Forever is boring and near-unwatchable; its title sums it up with cruel accuracy. But I can see why millions of people will go along with it. It's a Batman movie, and it's there, and the trademark pop visuals (what little we see of them -- the editing is wretched) make it a must to catch on the big screen. Yet I'd hate to think that people honestly accept this rhythmless blob as entertainment. Joel Schumacher may be going for the freewheeling, boldly colored escapism of the Batman comics of the '50s, but Dick Tracy already did that sort of thing as well as it can be done. Even Batman's dark nights of the soul are filmed in Schumacher's vapid, Michelob-commercial Flatliners mode.

'Batman Forever' has no heft, no specific mood; it's the latest big, aggressive summer non-movie. It invites comparison (and not flattering, either) with the '60s 'Batman' TV series, which achieved the same level of proud, idiotic awfulness without having to spend $100 million.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=714&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/26/07 21:08:12
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell best of the original 4 4 stars
3/23/15 Jerry Spray Take "Batman", add in pointless action, throw out the story, and you've got this movie. 2 stars
9/02/14 Dude This was awesome... when i was 5 3 stars
8/08/12 Kcaj not as silly as batman and robin. But thats not saying much 3 stars
1/19/10 Stanley Thai A lot more colorful and hyperactive, this sequel still falls short of being good. 3 stars
11/09/09 Jeff Wilder Easily the weakest in the series. Carrey went over the top, 2 stars
7/28/09 dan halberg Carrey is even funnier than Jack in the 1st film. He'd make a decent Joker, too 3 stars
9/02/08 Herbet Only the soundtrack was good with Kiss from a Rose... 1 stars
7/23/08 Shaun Wallner Ugg boring!! 1 stars
7/21/08 the dork knight They should have marketed it as an updated version of the Adam West show 3 stars
6/20/08 David V It's not bad. 3 stars
9/03/07 johnnyfog Kilmer is ok. But what's with Schumacher and his rubber ass-shots? 3 stars
4/28/07 Jackospacko Whoa Nicole Kidman is hot as and the storyline is pretty good. Wake up dumbfuckers! 4 stars
3/05/07 Dude pretty crappy 2 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday Decent, but not as dark as Batman usually is. 3 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega I like Tim Burton's better. But this is passable. 3 stars
1/09/07 johnnyfog I almost forgot Debi Mazar was alive. What a stone fox! Oh yeah, IT BLOWS 2 stars
9/13/06 Anthony Feor The characters are good, but the movie could be better 3 stars
9/13/06 Patrick Petty I really enjoyed it, won't say it was the best, but a thoughtful reimagining. 4 stars
7/18/06 Michael Jones had a inventive character going, but it wasn't Two-Face he was playing. 4 stars
7/10/06 David Cohen Somebody please stop Schumaker before he directs again! 1 stars
6/24/06 George Val Kilmer did a good Perf, but he isn't Batman 4 stars
6/22/06 The X They took an awesome character like Two-Face and fucked it up, pathetic movie. 1 stars
6/10/06 Jacko The villans were unafective and it got boring at times but it was worth it.6.7 /10 4 stars
6/06/06 ES better than the fourth installment, on par with number two- that's not saying much 2 stars
6/04/06 chris Not as much of a letdown as the 4th 4 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer Clownish and nonsensical. AN EYESORE AT BEST! 2 stars
3/02/06 Anthony Feor Not the best Batman 3 stars
1/18/06 JM Synth Fun but mostly uninvolving, thought the openning scene is great. Best for pre-teens 3 stars
12/28/05 tony Well, not total crap. but still too goofey 3 stars
12/22/05 cody a bad sequel even if val kilmer and chris give good perfomances, pretty bad 2 stars
8/22/05 Eden People who like this film should be sent to prison 1 stars
8/18/05 green gremlin Makes "Batfink and Karate" look sophisticated !!! 1 stars
7/11/05 Andrew underated 3 stars
6/20/05 R schumacher = the satan of cinema. 1 stars
6/19/05 Manu Ginobli Not as bad as the next one, just because it has Jim Carrey 2 stars
6/05/05 Littlepurch I liked it. Overacted and a rushed ending but overall fun. And it looked great! 4 stars
5/16/05 E-FUNK Enter Schumacher... exit all interest in this dead franchise. 1 stars
3/26/05 Jack Sommersby By far the worst of the series. Unbearable and uncouth. 1 stars
3/24/05 indrid cold Schumacher manages to make even a cartoon look silly. 2 stars
3/18/05 Seanboy I thought that this movie was good for what it was, with some surprisingly good performance 4 stars
1/29/05 Jeff Anderson Sad to say, a dull & dumb BATMAN film! Nicole Kidman is the only great EYE CANDY in this! 2 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams awesome Batmoblie, but damn the flick was weak 2 stars
11/17/04 chris terrible twoface 3 stars
11/07/04 Dave yawn. id rather watch fabian shave his beared 1 stars
10/03/04 sbpat21 okay 3 stars
9/03/04 T.B. I liked Jim Carrey as the Riddler 3 stars
4/20/04 Daveman More visually impressive than Batman & Robin with a very good performance from Carrey. 2 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern At least it's better than, BATMAN & ROBIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/13/04 Helius Could be worse; the cast is excellent, if nothing else. 3 stars
12/21/03 Snickerdoodle Jim Carrey was good but Val Kilmer sucked and acted like he was on Valium. 4 stars
12/09/03 re okay 3 stars
12/04/03 john a convoluted mess - Schumacher is the wrong director for this franchise 1 stars
11/23/03 Samuel Not all that great, but Jim Carrey's in it so it was ok... 3 stars
10/31/03 American Slasher Goddess Downright terrible, although O' Donnell is halfway decent as Robin. 1 stars
10/08/03 Buck Second best, next to the original, despite cheese factor 4 stars
5/28/03 Zach Interesting.......... 2 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Has possibly the worst direction ever seen on film. 1 stars
2/10/03 Ubu the Ripper This movie sucks harder than a black hole. Val Kilmer should be fined. 1 stars
1/30/03 bullit17 The best thing you can say about it: At least it wasn't "Batman & Robin" 1 stars
1/29/03 Maegs Horrid 1 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones Proves that Megabucks don't necessarily a good film make 1 stars
1/03/03 Jack Sommersby By far the worst of the series. Kilmer is superb; Carrey is catastrophic. 1 stars
10/17/02 Jiz Riddler was played well. The rest? Uh... No. 2 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Movies like this is why Hollywood Bitchslap exists 1 stars
10/02/02 Ron Sanchez Fuck all you assholes , this was the best batman ever 5 stars
8/15/02 Shaun Slightly better than Returns, Jones and Carrey have a blast, its good 4 stars
7/10/02 CVJ NWO good but not at all the best one watch batman returns instead 3 stars
6/02/02 Joel Schumacher and Akiva Goldsman J: I hope you loved my direction. A: My writing in B&R was even better! Both: NEON FOREVER! 1 stars
5/13/02 Phoenix Almost on par with the original. What the fuck is wrong with everybody? 5 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 Paging Val Kilmer.. return to Heat and get the fuck off a Batman set...repeat... 1 stars
4/23/02 Danielle Ophelia An overindulgent sideshow. Wasted Jones and Carrey. Kilmer and O'Donnell suck hose water. 2 stars
3/01/02 Alan Smithee Anyone who like this movie is a complete bastard. 1 stars
12/16/01 Gryphonlady Different feel than 1 & 2, still an impressive performance by VK and TLJ. Stands alone. 4 stars
11/28/01 KMG Boring commercial piece of Keaton castoff Mad Mardigan meets Pasty Cruise Goddess shit! 1 stars
11/15/01 the sugar plum fairy it was complete and utter crap 1 stars
11/03/01 Alecia Kidman as Chase Meridan???? What's wrong wth ths picture??? There's nothing sexual about K 1 stars
10/21/01 Bring Burton Back!!!!!! Holy SHIT, Batman! Get yer dick out of my ass would ya, Joel? Sick bastard. 1 stars
9/25/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best Batman Yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/17/01 Butterbean Burton's dark feel is missed, but this was casted wonderfully 3 stars
9/05/01 spaceworm Carrey feels like TV version, Kilmer best of three Batmen, disappear O'Donnell(Hoo-hah!). 2 stars
8/09/01 the scarecrow A big pile of dogshit that used to be pretty good before Schumaker butchered it!! 1 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk I missed Burton immediately, but the size of the cast and the action was a nice substitute. 4 stars
8/06/01 Joe Zappa Holy kick-ass, Batman! This movie kicks ass! 4 stars
8/01/01 KC Au Should't have killed off the Joker so soon, now we are stuck with two C-grade villians! 1 stars
6/13/01 Gary I felt sorry for Nicole. She looked confused, but who can blame her? 1 stars
6/13/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe What a gyp 1 stars
6/09/01 Turtle Jim Carrey is the ultimate savior of this film. And it's not that bad. 4 stars
5/21/01 mjm103171 I saw this for Chris O'Donnell 3 stars
5/21/01 Ray McCoy Hey look, bat nipples!!! 1 stars
5/03/01 Gracy Lionheart SO much better than Batman and Robin. Overhyped, but I liked Carrey's character. 3 stars
4/12/01 Kel-C Not as bad as B&R but what have they done to Burton's vision and Elfman's theme?! So sad... 1 stars
4/05/01 fifu val is no keaton 3 stars
4/03/01 Mike Dean Bat-butts and bat-nipples=homoerotic garbage. Please return to us Tim and Mike! 1 stars
3/27/01 Jesse L With a killer cast can a movie suck all ass? THIS IS IT! 1 stars
3/17/01 Hobbes I would smile if i saw Shumacher executed. 2 stars
3/08/01 BART everything sucks except for the songs. 2 stars
2/16/01 Joseph Lewis When even star Jim Carrey messes up, you know it's bad. 1 stars
2/15/01 Ray McCoy "Holy rusted metal, Batman!" - Batman Forever, no, really 1 stars
2/15/01 lisa watching that babe kilmer run around in rubber was pretty cool. 3 stars
2/14/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi The Villians made this one stomachable. Val Kilmer as Batman is pretty-boy PUKE!!! 3 stars
1/29/01 rubber FUCKING APPALLING!!! 1 stars
1/13/01 safged weygwe 4 stars
12/25/00 Turtle An okay sequel, but needs some work. 4 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla good action scenes but shitty plot, face it people, most sequels suck shit (prove me wrong) 1 stars
9/16/00 Hal Pokejedservo needs his head examined! That SOB Shitmaker raped the life out of Batman! 1 stars
8/02/00 Terrie Smith Not a bad entry in the series; Jim Carrey is annoying. Special effects are OK. 4 stars
6/29/00 Hal Shumacher MUST die! Bring back Burton and Keaton! 1 stars
5/30/00 danilo very good - BIG improvement over Returns 4 stars
5/28/00 Fred Schumacher and that hack Akiva Goldsman should be taken out and beaten to death! PATHETIC. 1 stars
4/29/00 Matt AHH....VERY PRETTY,VERY EXPENSIVE SHITE! 1 stars
4/15/00 BB-15 Not as good as the first two, but still a great thrill ride. 5 stars
4/09/00 Myself Good movie, but would've been better with Burton, Keaton, and Elfman. 4 stars
4/01/00 malcolm best of the series. Kilmer kills Keaton and Clooney. 4 stars
3/16/00 Lame-Oh What the hell was I thinking?! This movie blows Canadian bacon! 1 stars
2/28/00 Jana Great fun and excitement! This series ROCKS! 5 stars
2/10/00 Kyle Broflovski Tommy Lee & Jim are the only saving graces. Batman & Robin are just plain BORING!!! 3 stars
1/31/00 Hmm... Flashy,but good.Different from one and two sure,but no one would hate it had IT come 1st 3 stars
1/19/00 k.tomkowski Over the top. Flashy, shallow and unnerving 3 stars
1/12/00 Jedi15 This movie sucks and blows! There's so much shit in this movie that you'll choke on it! 1 stars
12/21/99 Deckard Leave it to H'Wood to destroy a good franchise.The most pathetic thing is that it got WORSE 1 stars
12/12/99 Ted Wetzel UGH! This "movie" sucks from start to finish.There isn't one good thing in this shitter. 1 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Lots of children dying by hunger in Africa, and they waste millions in this... 1 stars
7/02/99 Cage It wasn't great, simply entertaining. Any Batman is cool, no matter what. 4 stars
6/28/99 Arkansas Jon Entertaining, but highly disappointing. Speaking of nipples, Nicole is a babe, though. 3 stars
12/13/98 Binky And to think they let Schumacher take another one. Guh. Shitful. 1 stars
12/04/98 grunter um, Batman's not cross-eyed. 1 stars
11/04/98 Bad Kosh Your'e doomed, Fatman. Do the Bartman, dickhead! 1 stars
10/13/98 Alex F. If it wasn't for Jim, this flick woulda sucked more moosecock then a drunken canadian 3 stars
10/07/98 Maegs Val Kilmer? 2 stars
10/04/98 Negative Creep I waited FOREVER to see this. It wasnt Great but it wasnt EVil. 3 stars
9/01/98 J-Guy you've ruined batman. fuckerheads. 1 stars
8/31/98 MikeF not as shity as natman and robin, but shity none the less. 2 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Shitful. But did they learn? Did they shite. 2 stars
8/30/98 Johny Who needs Neon? 1 stars
8/27/98 Chuck-D Eung, kinda OK, like a good amusement park ride, has nothing on the first movie. Nipples? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jun-1995 (R)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Jun-1995 (PG)




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