Property review: Batman Forever

Batman-Forever-01Bat­man Forever

Warner Bros., 1995

The point in which the Bat falters

There comes a time in every Bat­man fan’s life where they must do the expected: rank the orig­i­nal quadrilogy of films. And, sure, every­one knows that any Bat­man fan worth their salt is going to put the first film in the No. 1 slot, Bat­man Returns sec­ond and Bat­man and Robin dead last. But where does that leave the third film if you’re not going by that require­ment? In our esti­ma­tion, squarely in the mid­dle. A mid­dling film deserves noth­ing more than that.

Bat­man For­ever doesn’t have as many prob­lems as its suc­ces­sor does, but it doesn’t exactly inspire the warmest feel­ings toward the fran­chise. Its main prob­lem is the fact that Val Kilmer — as good as an actor as he might be — isn’t exactly our idea of Batman/Bruce Wayne. We were in no way con­vinced that he should have taken up the cowl and tights, well after he did. It was a colos­sal mis­cast that rather plunged the fran­chise into the down­ward spi­ral that it remained in until Bat­man Begins.

The sec­ond prob­lem is the cast­ing of Jim Car­rey as the Rid­dler. He wasn’t ter­ri­ble, but if he can steal every scene in a movie, he will, and it will not always be pleas­ant. We get the appeal of Car­rey because he was the only per­son at the time that could have pos­si­bly car­ried off the campi­ness of the Rid­dler, but his pres­ence actu­ally hurt the film more than it helped.

While we’re on the sub­ject of the vil­lains present in the film, we have to give some­thing to Tommy Lee Jones as Har­vey Dent/Two Face. Jones man­aged to make Two Face inter­est­ing and bring some much-needed lev­ity to the pro­ceed­ings, but we’re still upset at the way Two Face went out. Why mess up the estab­lished train of com­mon sense that Two Face pro­vided with a weak con­clu­sion? It was unnec­es­sary, and it made the con­clu­sion a lit­tle underwhelming.

We appre­ci­ated the inclu­sion of Robin/Dick Grayson, which was needed after two pre­vi­ous films with the Boy Won­der miss­ing. Grayson, as played by Chris O’Donnell, pro­vided some of the films bright­est spots, which is much bet­ter than the con­tri­bu­tions of Nicole Kid­man. Kid­man, a fine actress in her own right, was a throw­away char­ac­ter and dragged the film down quite a bit. There is no chem­istry between her char­ac­ter, Chase Merid­ian, and Val Kilmer’s Wayne, and it’s obvi­ous pretty early on.

So, with unin­ter­est­ing leads with no chem­istry, a scene-hogging main vil­lain and a decent plot, there’s noth­ing that really draws the Bat­man fan into watch­ing it mul­ti­ple times. A mid­dling expe­ri­ence within a mid­dle movie.

Story: 6

Like the comics: 3

Cast­ing: 3

Total: 12 out of 30 or 4

How we grade

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in the case of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of a max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory, and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

This entry was posted in Property review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *