Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Batman Forever

directed by Joel Schumacher

Batman Forever poster  
Batman Forever is one of those comic-book films that isn't so much as an adaptation as a direct attempt to transpose one medium onto another without changing much. You wouldn't adapt a book by filming whilst someone slowly flipped through its pages at reading pace. Yet the characters in this movie have all of the overblown style and absurdity of the Batman comics.

The chief culprit is that master of gurning, Jim Carrey. Carrey plays Dr Edward Nygma, an employee of Wayne Enterprises who loses his job because Bruce Wayne (Val Kilmer) doesn't approve of his experiments which involve brainwaves. Bitter about this rejection, he vows to take revenge on Batman. Carrey dominates the film as The Riddler, dressed in a dazzling green suit and hogging the limelight like a hyperactive child.

This movie also pits Batman against Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), a disfigured criminal with a grudge. Two-Face is more of a figure of fun than the hideous creature he could have been, with an acid-scarred look that makes him appear more clownish than monstrous.

Another character with circus connections is Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell), a talented acrobat who soon finds he has some of the same motivations for vigilante revenge as Batman does. At least he has a reasonable explanation for his bright costume, whereas The Riddler just seems to want to add crimes against good taste to his rap sheet. Batman tries to persuade Dick to turn away from the life he's chosen, but Dick is determined to help Batman as his sidekick, Robin.

Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) is a psychologist who falls for Batman, although it's anyone's guess what she sees in this rather wooden version of the Dark Knight. Kilmer isn't the most intense Batman, and his portrayal is fairly stiff.

The action comes to a head after the Riddler sells people his Nygma box, which he can use to change their brainwaves and steal their thoughts on a grand scale. It's a melodramatic finale that relies on a a real old chestnut of a dilemma for Batman when he has to decide who he will rescue. The movie is full of corny jokes that suit Jim Carrey's over-the-top delivery, peppered with manic laughter from Two-Face. Batman Forever is a silly film that falls in the gap between comedy and action, never really impressing in either genre. This one's strictly for die-hard fans of Jim Carrey's unique brand of exhibitionist humour.

Film Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Films


Classification: 12

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2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson