Saturday, August 11, 2012

Batman Forever (1995)

Batman Forever (1995)

Director: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Val Kilmer, Chris O'Donnell, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, and Nicole Kidman

Batman Forever brings a few changes to the Tim Burton Batman franchise. Burton handed over the directing duties of this movie to Joel Schumacher. Michael Keaton opted not to be Batman in this one because he didn't like where the series was headed (smart man) and he wanted to pursue other roles (I'll let you decide whether or not Multiplicity  was better than Batman Forever though I will say this: It's a closer call than you'd think).

Val Kilmer suffers from the same problem Michael Keaton did: he makes a good Batman and an unconvincing Bruce Wayne. Whereas Michael Keaton seemed a little too detached as Bruce Wayne, Val Kilmer seems actually bored by the Bruce Wayne half of the role. I guess I just wish that either of them was a little more like Kevin Conroy from Batman: The Animated Series.

While this movie seemed super hip in 1995, it has become very dated as its stars have waned considerably since the mid-90's. For a short time in the 90's, Val Kilmer and Brad Pitt were pretty much equals. Now Val Kilmer is overweight TMZ fodder, which seems really sad. Chris O'Donnel was slated to be the next big thing, but that never really panned out. He went from a legit movie star to a guy who does short story arcs on TV. Jim Carrey was the funniest man in the world in 1995. In 1994 he starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber (I was shocked to find out that all those movies came out in a single calendar year. I don't know if we'll ever see anything like Jim Carrey circa 1994 ever again). Since he took the world by storm in the mid-90's, his star has faded considerably. He's been in a couple decent movies and a whole bunch of duds. His turn as a serious actor didn't work out the way he wanted (probably partially due to the fact that we watched him talk with his butt a mere half-decade before he started trotting out serious films). I honestly don't know what happened to Nicole Kidman. Moulin Rouge made her one of my favorite actresses, but I stopped caring about her for some reason. Tommy Lee Jones is probably the only actor in this movie who is actually probably better now than he was then. Even so, his portrayal of Two-Face is one of the most embarrassing things I have ever seen. He set the bar really low for himself in this one, so everything he's done since benefits in comparison.

Before I tell you that Batman Forever wasn't a very good movie, let me pick a bone with the new Batmobile. While the Michael Keaton Batmobile was the greatest we had ever seen (the record still stands if you ask me. Here are the rankings of all the Batmobiles from the movies in case you cared: 1) Michael Keaton's 2) Adam West's 3) Christian Bale's (begrudgingly) 4) Val Kilmer's 5) George Clooney's) the Val Kilmer Batmobile is an example of why you should leave well enough alone. It's basically the Michael Keaton Batmobile with thinner wheel wells, and a bunch of clear plastic with blue lights underneath for no good reason. It's as if someone pimped Batman's ride, which is a ride that doesn't need any sort of pimping whatsoever. It also feature a large batwing-shaped fin on the back which wobbles noticeably any time the car hits a bump. It just looks bad. They shoulda left things alone, but they just had to tinker.

Anyway, this movie is generally a turd. The performances, though tuned to whatever weird phase we were all going through in 1995, seem dated and embarrassing now. My wife, who had never seen this movie before, actually asked if it was a comedy because it looked like a comedy to her. I laughed at this movie, but not for the reasons its creators intended. It falls into the kitschy/bad department and should be viewed only by fans of MST3K.

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