Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones
BATMAN FOREVER (1995). Director: Joel Schumacher.

"Why can't you just die!" -- Two-Face.

Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer of Kill Me Again), who is secretly Batman, has his hands full with the combined threat of former employee Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey), who has reinvented himself as the Riddler and marketed a mind-sapping "box" for public consumption, and former D.A. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones of Eyes of Laura Mars). now the notorious Two-Face. A further complication is the seductive psychiatrist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman of Birth), who gets excited by first Batman and then his wealthy alter ego. Batman Forever also introduces Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell), an acrobat whose family is killed by Two-Face and who becomes Robin. Kilmer is fine as the Gotham Knight, but the picture is pretty much stinked up by the campy approach personified by Jones and especially an over-the-top, epicene, and really irritating Carrey, who not only appears to be channeling Carol Burnett, but who seems determined to turn this in to a Dumb Jim Carrey Project at any cost -- Frank Gorshin was actually better in the role. Kidman is okay as a kind of kewpie doll shrink -- "I'll bring the wine, you bring your scarred psyche," she tells Batman --  and O'Donnell is more than okay as an older "boy" partner; he was actually 25 at the time. Michael Gough, as usual, makes an excellent Alfred. At times the movie is as silly as any episode of the old TV series and aside from some striking scenic design and a brief bit of excitement as the very end, has few redeeming features. The action sequences are not well-handled, Stephen Goldblatt's cinematography is too often murky and cluttered, and Elliot Goldenthal's musical score is effective but highly derivative. Followed by Batman and Robin.

Verdict: Seems like it's six hours long. **.


angelman66 said...

I agree, this is not so hot, but I don't think it's Val Kilmer's fault at all. I think he's a very good Bruce/Batman. Also like Chris O'Donnnell as Robin...I would definitely see this again.
I even enjoyed the next one with Alicia Silverstone and Clooney! I must admit,I like the 80s-90s series far better than the Christian Bale or recent Ben Affleck reboots. Even the bad ones seem better than the nihilistic, overly dark take on the story that is the cuirrent zeitgeist...

William said...

The modern-day Batman movies make the mistake of substituting pretension for depth. Their fans go on about them as if William Shakespeare wrote the screenplay! I know that the camp approach just wouldn't fly these days, but they've perhaps gone too far in the other direction. But this is what todays super=hero fans want ..

Val Kilmer was good as Batman, but it was the only time he played the role.