Since I reviewed a good Batman game, I thought I would review a bad Batman movie to follow up. While it's not as bad as Batman & Robin, it's still pretty painful, so today's review is of:
The characters for the most part are horrible. Val Kilmer as Batman/Bruce Wayne was decent (Keaton was still the best), but he did a pretty solid job. My main complaint for his Batman is that he looked bewildered most of the time, which just seemed...strange.
Alfred was good once more, being the supportive fatherly mentor for Bruce and now Robin. Not much more I can say about him.
Commissioner Gordon....*sighs* Less and less for the Police to actually do as they seem to just do nothing, and Gordon suffers as a result. Pat Hingle was great in the first Batman movie, tough and in charge of the police, overriding corrupt cops and doing what needs to be done...now...he's just there to smile and cheer Batman on.
Now for the new additions to the cast: First up, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. TLJ is a good actor...but how he landed a role like this is beyond me. If he had been allowed to play the character seriously, he could he done a great job (provided the director didn't screw out the character design). It's a shame to see such a talented actor go to waste. TLJ is better served as a more serious character, and playing a straight man, he can serve comedic roles well doing that. Look at Men in Black, he was serious, yet had great comedic sense in that movie. But here he's overplayed and overacted, which is bad enough, but he's tolerable where compared to the other main villain of the movie...
Jim Carrey as the Riddler. *groans* Once more it's not Jim Carrey playing a role, it's just Carrey being Carrey. Carrey has had some decent movies where he's more serious, but most of the time, when you hire Jim Carrey, it's not to be serious. What they turned the Riddler into was so sad, especially after seeing what they did with him in The Animated Series. They showed a villain who was mentally a challenge for Batman, making the Dark Knight really think. With BF...well...they made him as offensively stupid looking as possible. While trying to make him look similar to the old Adam West series of Batman, they managed to make that series look serious. The outfits were horrible, the hair style...they managed to make Carrey that much more annoying in this movie. Adding to the fact they play him up more as a mad scientist/psychotic stalker instead of a master puzzler and worthy foe to Batman.
Dr Chase Meridian played by Nicole Kidman....as the new Bond-I mean, Batman Girl, she's beautiful in this movie, and that's about it. She's got the hots for Batman and is a rather shallow character, but she is beautiful. I guess she did this movie to raise awareness of the evils of Lord Xenu.
Finally we have Chris O'Donnell as Robin...and he's a mixed bag. He does a pretty solid job of playing Dick Grayson, but I think he's too old to be the Boy Wonder. The character is a bit on the annoying side, suffering Skywalker Whiney, though it's not as bad in this movie as in B&R thankfully. BUT, the good thing, by the end of this movie, Robin becomes a hero at least, he delivers that role pretty well.
Art Design: 1.5/5
Ugh...this movie is ugly. The art direction of the first two, while dark, was awesome to see. Burton had an artistic eye to how the city should look, to capture the Gothic style of Batman. However, in this movie, and even worse in B&R, the movie is horrible...neon lights everywhere, outlandish outfits that glow in blacklight...it looks more like the streets of Tokyo in Akira.
The costumes are just as bad, the Batsuit began it's decline here, with the bat nipples, but it's not totally ruined yet, though the prototype suit at the end of the movie was...odd, mechanical looking. Robin's suit was pretty well done, no green underwear or elf shoes for him...but yes, nipples on the suit too, which just didn't belong. Two-Face's outfit was somewhat fitting to the comics...just...outlandish, like everything else touched in the movie. The ruined side of Two-Face was just plain silly looking as well. And finally, the Riddler's outfits...they scream out GAY! In fact, they might make a gay man cringe in how horrible they were done. The original outfit you see the Riddler in in the movie was a spandex outfit with a bowler hat and a jacket with a cane...it looked okay...but after that it went down hill with more insane and ugly outfits which ends with a white spandex suit that has glitter all over it, and the white devil hairdo from Ace Ventura 2.....ugh. Plus the naked statues all over the city are just...a bit much, though once more, not as bad as B&R.
The music in the movie is pretty good actually. Elliot Goldenthal did a pretty good score for the movie (as those bands and such that have their music in a movie I don't count, since I find that rather lazy alot of times). The main theme that is played during the opening credits I like, it's powerful and triumphant and loud, though it doesn't feel like a Batman soundtrack. Compared to the score done by Danny Elfman, this isn't as good, BUT it is good. The main weakness of the score comes in the action scenes and the Riddler scenes...it's rather...erratic and all over the place. The music here sounds more like a score for a B rated sci-fi movie...which you would find on the SyFy channel (a stupid name for a channel). So the music isn't bad, but it doesn't capture the Batman feel in my opinion.
The story isn't stellar, but it's not the worst either. It's just an average forgettable story with small spices of Batman stories sprinkled in to try and spruce it up. Robin's origins are shown here with the death of his parents and his being adopted by Bruce Wayne, and how his origins mirror Batman's, and so once more we're given the flashbacks and brooding on Wayne's parents' deaths. It's not like we didn't get enough of Wayne's backstory in the first Batman movie. Two-Face is there to serve as the motivation for Robin to become a caped crusader. The Riddler's origin was butchered to turn Edward Nygma into a psychotic stalker/worshipper of Bruce Wayne and a mad scientist as well, when Wayne rejects to fund his invention, Nygma goes nuts and becomes the Riddler and teams up with Two-Face to become the flamboyant duo of crime. One point of the story I do like was the scene where Wayne and Alfred figured out the riddles and the answer to all of them, that was a clever scene to me. But the story ends up having them all meet at Nygma Island, where reality has no hold as we see the most bizarre and strange of set designs are used for the final battle. The Riddler has a mental overload with a badly done head stretching effect and Two-Face falls to his death when he is distracted by other coins that made him lose track of his special coin. In the end, the Riddler is put in Arkham Asylum where it looks like Carrey's future one day about 20-30 years down the road. Bruce gives Nicole a smooch, and she goes home with Alfred whilst Bruce and Robin run toward the screen with the Batsignal on behind them, the music blares and the movie ends with crappy rock-ish music playing as the credits scroll.
Final Score: 3/5 (Not an average)
In the end, Batman Forever is an average movie. It's not horrible, but it's not great. Batman & Robin is a toy commercial and horrible to watch, but at least Batman Forever is a story that's told competently enough. The characters range from good to horrible, and the art direction of the movie is just bad. Gotham City went from a dark, gothic city to a brightly neon colored blacklight lit city with horrid statue use that gets more abusive as the movie goes on. The movie is a popcorn flick, watchable and it's not bad, but it's not worth seeing beyond that. The original Batman movie Burton did was excellent, well told, and fit Batman (granted it had Batman killing, which I wasn't wild about) and is great to see many times. The musical score is decent, but doesn't come close to matching the excellent score done by Elfman in the first two Batman movies. Watch it with some friends to have some laughs, but beyond that, it's not worth going back to save maybe once in a while for variety.