batman foreverWarner Bros.
1995
PG-13

“One man is born a hero, his brother a coward. Babies starve, politicians grow fat. Holy men are martyred, and junkies grow legion. Why? Why, why, why, why, why? Luck! Blind, stupid, simple, doo-dah, clueless luck!”

So, here we are at the third installment of the Burton / Schumacher Batman movies. This, of course, being the one where Schumacher took over the directing duties, while Burton — not wanting to continue on with the franchise — was given Executive Producer credit.

Boy, howdy was there a noticeable tonal shift with Batman Forever. I went with a bunch of friends to see this the weekend it was released in 1995. I remember sitting there, watching the movie play out, thinking ot myself, “There’s a lot of dayglow in this movie.” Mind you, Batman & Robin was two years off at this time. But, Batman Forever seemed less whimsically dark and more…well, campy. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here. Let’s make with the rundown, shall we?

In Gotham City, former district attorney Harvey Dent turned supervillain Two-Face is causing all sorts of shenanigans, narrowly escaping capture by Batman, who starts off the movie with a quick McDonald’s commercial take. Meanwhile, Wayne Enterprises employee Edward Nygma is developing a way to beam television directly into everyone’s brains, which, as it turns out, is considered immoral by big industry, and thus Nygma is promoted to customer. After killing his former supervisor, he takes on the persona of The Riddler, devising a way to take down Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, at a circus performance, Bruce and his psychiatrist date witness the death of a trapeze family saving everyone from a bomb planted by Two Face, leaving late-20s-looking “teenager” Richard Grayson an orphan. Of course, Bruce Wayne takes in “young” Grayson as his ward, while The Riddler teams up with Two-Face to mass-produce the mind-television thing to learn the secrets of Gotham’s citizenry…and also Batman’s secret identity. Meanwhile, Grayson is being a whiny ponce, and earns his name Dick by managing to break into the Bat-cave and taking the Bat Mobile out for a joyride. After running into the Dayglow and Glowsticks Gang, Dick demands Batman let him find and kill Two-Face, with Batsy not havin’ any of it, especially after stealing the Batmobile so soon after having it detailed and all. But, they have bigger problems, as The Riddler and Two-Face have discovered that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and thus arrive at stately Wayne Manor cause wacky mayhem and blow up the Bat Cave. Thus, Alfred creates the Robin costume, and he and Batman head off to take down the two nefarious ner-do-wells, just in time to sell more Batman action figures.

The best way this movie was described comes from the Honest Trailers on YouTube: “This is definitely the worst Batman movie I’ve seen thirty times.” I have to admit, despite the flaws in the plot and characters, there’s a certain kind of charm to this iteration of the Caped Crusader. You do have to agree that Joel Schumacher managed to do the impossible in making Jim Carrey not the most over-the-top character in this movie. Somehow, Tommy Lee Jones manages to out-mug Carrey. Chris O’Donnell is far too old to be playing the Boy Wonder, making his teen angsty thing rather off-putting. As for Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne / Batman, at the time when I first watched the movie, I thought he made a pretty good one. Now…eh, he’s decent, but that’s merely because there have been more actors having played the part. He’s still better than George Clooney’s portrayal.

Overall, yeah, I still watch Batman Forever once in a while. It holds a kind of campy fun, like with the 1966 Batman movie. However, to misquote a much, much better Batman movie, Batman Forever may not be the Batman movie we wanted, but it definitely the Batman movie we deserved in the 90s.