Ah, my childhood movie
Directed by: Joel Shumacher
Starring: Val Kilmer, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman and Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth.
What does it take to make a faithful adaptation? You have a character and as an auteur, you want to make the best interpretation to date. How does one go about to doing this properly? Well, for starters, you have source material that serve as a map to reach the gold. Only a select few have done it right with Batman. But after Batman Returns, writers of the comic book hero and movie makers took the character to the next level at a psychological stage in his life. To know the caped crusader, you must first understand his psychology. The character will then become believable, realistic, authentic, relatable.
Batman Forever has the coolest opening ever in the franchise. I don't say it as a fan, but with the heart of a child. The music composed by Danny Elfman takes an evolution like a Pokemon and becomes darker, more patriotic, and fun to listen to. Of course, I don't mean Seal. The suit up intro has earned the right to be memorable in my book when you have the opportunity to see all of his cool gadgets and an updated Batmobile which had me jumping up and down my bed like mad child. What I never paid attention to that others have ridiculed to dust are the infamous "Bat-Niples". Honestly, what was Shumacher thinking accepting this design into the new Batsuit? Nevertheless, when you look at this movie with the eyes once viewed when you were younger, you won't have any complaints like I did.
My complaints for Shumacher's movie are its villains. Two-Face may get his m.o. when he operate around the number 2 and his use of .22 and double barrel guns, but he plays too much like Joker than a man with two personalities combating the lawyer and the criminal. We also have Riddler, the green chameleon with the thirst for knowledge, and knowledge, ladies and gentlemen, is power. Jim Carrey is another favorite that outshines Jones's character, but emits Joker enough to warrant crazyness. Its like Joker met an Arkham female inmate and decided to have twins separated at birth. Despite this, his performance is the best of them all in this saga of crime fighting demons.
Bruce Wayne, played by Val Kilmer, has to stop both villains in an attempt to control Gotham people's minds. The plan goes darker and in-depth. The main goal is to discover the identity of Batman by installing the brain wave device in every household thus keeping an eye of everything and everyone in hopes of landing the prey out of curiosity. The price of course, is an overload of knowledge. It would take a thousand years before we are close enough to accept vast amounts of knowledge. Poor guy.
Joel Shumacher does do right from small faults. He explores Bruce Wayne and the death of his parents. Bruce blames himself for their death. In the director's cut, we see a young boy at a funeral of two people. He approaches a book calling out to him, and he hears a man's voice. The voice belongs to Thomas Wayne, which tells:
"Martha and I want to stay home tonight, but Bruce insists on seeing a movie."
How would you feel? Bruce forever blames himself for the death of his parents. If he wouldn't have been so anxious to leave, their deaths would have never taken place. The movie revolves around this psychological impact to the character ,which is where Nicole Kidman's expert character and love interest to the caped crusader makes her entrance. She is deeply interested in a man who dresses like a bat and he only wants her for her brain, of all things, to try and study himself and find the answer to his sorrow. We would have been able to see Bruce return to the cave he fell into as a kid, and see the giant bat that visits him in his past. It would have been dark and complex moment in the story, and would have greatly saved this film more credibility, but Joel and Warner Bros. especially, wanted a more campy interpretation while still maintaining a dark tone like Burton's movies. Nothing like an Adam West movie, but light with cream and sugar. Kidman has never looked hotter than she did in this movie. Made me want to get in costume and visit her at her rooftop. Surprisingly enough, the majority of the actors in this movie weren't too famous, so it's safe to say Batman made the careers of a certain talented few. I'll never forget you Kilmer, but for the love of God, lay off the cheeseburgers.
Robin, as Batman's trusty sidekick, is introduced to the quadrilogy. A much older looking acrobat performer, but with a guilty pleasure actor. The idea of Bruce Wayne housing an adult like an orphan child is laughable. Doing him a favor because they both can relate? Sure. But the dialogue matched better to a 13 year old in this situation. Being curious and blaming Bruce for not saving his parents, he gets the same treatment as Batman and becomes Robin. at least he didn't wear the short shorts with pantyhose.
The third act had some of the coolest sets and gadgets ever in the 90's. The Batwing got a new design. The toy line must have sold like crazy. I should know, I owned that Batwing, the electric powered Batmobile and the costume for halloween. I was a king back in elementary school. Batman gets a new prototype suit that gives him a bigger, meaner build. With everyone knowing the identity of Batman, it's only fair we kill off the villains or damage them psychologically to keep the secret hush hush. Why kill them? Ah well, moving on. Joel Shumacher ends this new entry into the franchise with an iconic run into the night and call to action with Batman and Robin in front of the beacon. Ironic, how it took two heroes to defeat two villains with one of them that operate solely by the number 2.
Overall, my childhood favorite Batman movie. May not be in my top ten, but this is where it was for me as a kid. You can learn to appreciate a movie more when you remember your youth. Sadly, I can't say for it's sequel.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.