Guilty Pleasures – Batman Forever

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that movies these days have a spandex fetish, what with all the Supermen, X-Men, Batmen and other heroes flying around the place. Truth be told, this is pretty much the second golden age for these genre flicks. The mid-90s saw the first age of hero films die off for a couple of years, thanks to ludicrous budgets and even more ridiculous stories that were attached to them.

But one of those final films from that age, was the third Batman movie in the original quadrilogy. And it’s quite easily my favourite out of all the movies about the big bad bat, past and present.

The Dark Knight of Gotham City confronts a dastardly duo: Two-Face and the Riddler. Formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, Two-Face incorrectly believes Batman caused the courtroom accident which left him disfigured on one side; he has unleashed a reign of terror on the good people of Gotham.

Edward Nygma, computer-genius and former employee of millionaire Bruce Wayne, is out to get the philanthropist; as The Riddler he perfects a device for draining information from all the brains in Gotham, including Bruce Wayne’s knowledge of his other identity. Batman/Wayne is/are the love focus of Dr. Chase Meridan. Former circus acrobat Dick Grayson, his family killed by Two-Face, becomes Wayne’s ward and Batman’s new partner Robin the Boy Wonder.

First off, check out Val Kilmer. That man knows how to make zero neck movement and rubber nipples work! Kilmer was a fantastic combination of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Cocky, confident and lethal all wrapped up in one bat-package. Likewise for Chris O’ Donnell, as Robin. The dynamic duo looked awesome on the big screen, even if it did include some gratuitous shots of the bat-derriere. And hell, you know what? I’ll admit. I loved the costumes that they used for Two Face and the Riddler. Except that last emperor Riddler costume which was weird.

One of the big complaints about the film, was that Jim Carrey as the Riddler was just way too over the top, a sharp departure from the sophisticated performance from his animated counterpart in the Batman cartoon that was currently on the air. And that’s a bit unfair really.

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Look at Joel Schumacher’s film, and you’ll see that he actually hit a right blend between making it friendly to kids, without having to inject pure Tim Burtonesque nightmare fuel inside of it, in order to get the adults interested. This was an adventure film, a movie harkening back to the brave and bolder days of the silver age Batman. And I loved it.

And in that capacity, Carrey was perfect, channeling the spirit of Frank Gorshin’s Riddler from the Adam West Batman show. Likewise with Tommy Lee Jones as Two Face, who ate all the scenery in sight. Batman Forever isn’t the completely dark and brooding Batman film that would come later.

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It was the right amount of camp, fun, neon and excitement with some amazing set design and vehicles, and it showed just how well the character could work in any medium. Sure, it had some bad moments, but it had a ton of great ones as well. I had a blast when I saw this movie in 1995. And I still enjoy it to this day.

And really, what more could you ask for?

 

Last Updated: July 3, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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