Plot: As crime never sleeps, Batman doesn’t get much downtime and now, he has to once again face off against multiple maniacal villains. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) was once the district attorney, but now he is a disfigured psychopath unleashing violence and crime upon Gotham City, using a coin flip to drive his actions. At the same time, an awkward researcher at Wayne Industries plots his revenge, after Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) rejected his unethical brainwave experiments. Now Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) has fine tuned his brainwave manipulation tech and released it as entertainment devices, allowing him access to the minds of Gotham’s population. Of course, Batman is in the middle of it all and trying to take down these fiends, when he isn’t sulking or distracted by his new crush, Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). Can Batman once again fend off multiple violent villains and save Gotham from a brain dead fate, even with the help of a new sidekick?
Entertainment Value: After the dark, brooding Batman installments from Tim Burton, Batman Forever burns that formula to the ground and opts for an outlandish, over the top, neon soaked vision of The Caped Crusader. This still feels like a comic book in a lot of ways, just a much different style than Burton’s pictures and a more manic, zany kind of energy flows through this one. As always, Batman is a sad sack who gets depressed when chicks like Batman better than Bruce Wayne, but thankfully, the villains balance out his emo traits and are vivid, outrageous personas. Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones throw subtlety out the window and go for broke, in outlandish and ham handed efforts that take over the top to new levels. This isn’t out of the ordinary for Carrey of course, as he is no stranger to ridiculous performances, but Jones seems a little out of place, though he hams it up like a champ. As for Val Kilmer as Batman, he is fine, but this movie is more about the villains and Batman is just a prop, more or less. Nicole Kidman channels a lot of lustful, come hither energies and is fun to watch, but she and Kilmer have zero chemistry in their scenes. The severe shift in tone from Burton’s movies divided fans, some of whom didn’t mind the drastic change and others who disliked this brisker, more over the top vision. I can see both sides, but I appreciate the camp value in this one and the villains are fun to watch. I still prefer Adam West to all Batmans, but Batman Forever offers a unique spin on superhero cinema. Just don’t expect the darker, serious vibe the character is best known for.
No nakedness. The movie has some pelvic thrusts from Jim Carrey in a skintight suit, but that’s about it. No blood. A good amount of action unfolds, but it is all silly, over the top comic book style mayhem, no graphic violence. This one has fight scenes, chases, explosions, all the action elements you’d expect from a superhero movie, some of which are inventive, ridiculous, or both. The dialogue here has a number of cornball one liners, which I appreciated of course and in truth, this is a comic book movie, so the goofy lines aren’t all out of place. The Riddler is a machine of silly, quotable lines, all delivered in a manic, take no prisoners fashion by Carrey. Two Face has some good cheese as well, while Robin’s naive good guy talk adds some fun. I really liked Kidman’s lustful presence, but she isn’t given many sultry lines to really make the most of her presence. So some fun lines, ones that some might dislike and call camp or cheese, but I think it adds to the off kilter, over the top fun. After all, awkward and bad lines can be just as fun, if not more, than skilled, lyrical prose. The movie does have a zany, outlandish vibe, but aside from the ham handed villains and an odd scene of real life battleship, it stays within the expected superhero framework.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
The Disc: Batman Forever has been spruced up with a new 4k remaster from Warner Brothers. Given how vibrant, kinetic, and over the top the film’s visuals are, this new and much improved presentation is quite welcome. I was lost in the vivid colors here, just dynamic and bold hues that leap off the screen. Those intense colors are a big part of the movie’s visual design, so I am glad they’re so well presented. Those rich neon bursts are further bolstered by flawless contrast, giving us inky, deep blacks that never falter and look fantastic. The print looks excellent, which allows depth and fine detail to sparkle, with subtle textures on point and a crisp, sharp overall look. This is the best Batman Forever has looked on home video, by light years.
The extras start off with Joel Schumacher’s director’s commentary track, which includes a lot of production design details and a broad overview of his vision, as well as his thoughts on the prominent cast members. You can also watch three behind the scenes and retrospective featurettes, hero & villain galleries, deleted scenes, the video for Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
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