In Defense of Batman Forever

In Defense of Batman Forever

Ignore the Bat-nipples. Put the codpieces back in your pants, and stow your rage until you've read the whole article. Watch the movie again a little less critically, and a little more for enjoyment.

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By CheckmateComics - 2/16/2013
Ignore the Bat-nipples. Put the codpieces back in your pants, and stow your rage until you've read the whole article. Watch the movie again a little less critically, and a little more for enjoyment. The Schumacher/Burton Batman films represented something much bigger when they came out, than they do now. They represented first time we had seen Batman in film since Adam West's portrayal in 1966. for twenty years comic book movie fans had to put up with things like this:



Unless you were a Superman fan, that is. (Superman fans get a movie for every decade they've lived, and an origin story for every three. I think its some kind of contractual obligation) We know that, looking back, Batman and superman films are historically very profitable for DC, so no matter how campy and silly we find Batman Forever, there are a ton of reasons to love it now.

Tommy Lee Jones was great casting for Harvey at the time. Jones traditionally plays the tough, no-nonsense authority figure in his films. His best roles, and most typical characters are men of law and order, with his most iconic role as US Marshall Samuel Gerard in “The Fugitive.” In this way, Jones's own filmography gives a sort of back-story for Two-Face. When Tommy Lee Jones is on the screen, as an iconic actor, he is immediately associated with his history of law enforcement characters. On the unfortunate side of things, Tommy Lee Jones seems to almost feed off of Jim Carey at times. Jones picks up that insane energy and transforms Two-Face into a spastic, Jim Carey-esque version of himself, which changes the tone of the character quite a bit. We lose the seriousness that Jones could bring to the character, and instead we have a Two-Face whose personality blends into the Riddler's. So, Tommy Lee Jones could have been the perfect Two-Face. He just...wasn't.

On the other hand, the Riddler is quite possibly the best thing about this movie. A lot of fans prefer the serious, methodical Riddler that shows up in “Batman: The Animated Series” but the character can also be portrayed as the high energy, crazy character that Jim Carey is perfect for. Frank Gorshin's Riddler had the same high energy personality, and even a similar laugh. Carey's manic portrayal is not just valid, but is the classic characterization of the Riddler. The costumes are a bit over-the-top, but that is right in line with the character's absurd behavior, and many different Riddler costumes have shown up throughout the years.



However, Schumacher spent such little build up on the riddles that they seemed simplistic and obvious. In reality, each clue was developed by Will Shortz, puzzle master for the New York Times Crossword. The clues, which could have caused anyone a little grief, are instead solved in only a few seconds. This makes the riddles look simple, and completely deflates the drama from the situation.

On the side of good, we have Robin as a new addition to the films. Robin was bound to show up eventually, and Chris O'Donnel did not do terribly. But, O'Donnel was simply too old for the character. There is no sense in making Dick Grayson a ward of Bruce Wayne if Dick is in his early thirties. However, If Grayson had been introduced to the batman universe even one film earlier, he could have been much younger. Viewers could have watched the evolution of Robin, and in the next film, O'Donnel could portray a much older “Nightwing.” The age, the attitude, even the costume fit Nightwing's comic book persona. In truth, O'Donnel could have been a great Nightwing, bringing the character more into the mainstream.



Despite its flaws, there are some positives to Batman Forever. The film marks the first appearance of Arkham Asylum, and of Harvey Dent in a live action film. The characters and the acting still show great potential. Schumacher still held on to the dark adult atmosphere of the Tim Burton Era, and best of all, no “ice” puns. I'm not saying Batman Forever is by any means a great film, but all the potential in this one movie more than makes up for a costume with nipples on it.
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10 Comments
DrDoom - 2/16/2013, 10:39 AM
Batman Forever is garbage. You can't ask me to not watch a movie critically; it's just the way I think.
MrReese - 2/16/2013, 10:47 AM
Batman 4ever

Minato - 2/16/2013, 10:56 AM
Regardless of enjoyment value this movie still falls on the side of BAD.
ForeverPowerful - 2/16/2013, 11:46 AM
Only positive thing I can personally say about Batman Forever was that it wasnt Batman and Robin. Not the worst thing ive ever seen, but farrr from good.
jessepostal - 2/16/2013, 12:33 PM
Forever was always bad, even as a kid it was bad. The only think that I think could have been a saving grace was if it was made before batman 89, after 89 and returns this movie was out of its league, it went from a serious almost realistic take to a circus camp show, which if they started that run of bats it probably would have been more acceptable. .
TheFirstAvenger97 - 2/16/2013, 12:46 PM
That last pic you showed proves it all.
Tainted87 - 2/16/2013, 9:28 PM
About a year ago I had the same feeling you did about Batman Forever. I felt that when it came down to it, it was still the movie my friends were raving about when we were little kids, and there's some fine performances in there - after all, they aren't universally panned like the ones in Batman and Robin, right?

Well then I bought a used DVD and watched it for the first time in about 6 or 7 years.

Much as I love Tommy Lee Jones (and he clearly could have done better), he was really really trying to emulate the freaking JOKER in wackiness. Two-Face is not wacky. Not even remotely.

I already know all there is to know about Jim Carrey and his Frank Gorshin channeling, that was real obvious.

There's just.... not much to save this movie from being a waste of time. I do like the song U2 wrote (featured in the credits) though, Hold Thrill Kiss Kill Me.

@WesleyGibson
And what would have been wrong with Billy Dee Williams? Do tell.
sintzu - 2/17/2013, 9:31 AM
the movie is gold compared to what we had pack then
TheSuperguy - 2/17/2013, 12:09 PM
BATMAN FOREVER had the POTENTIAL to be cool. That's the main difference between that and BATMAN & ROBIN. When you watch FOREVER closely, you can see the potential to be a cool Batman flick, but when you watch BATMAN & ROBIN, you'd rather be watching the 60's Batman show. At least that was meant to be campy.
Tainted87 - 2/17/2013, 5:50 PM
I have nothing against Aaron Eckhart, but I wanted to see more of Two-Face, rather than just some guy having a complete nervous breakdown. I guess I just love the Animated Series too much to let that version go.

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