ComicsAlliance Reviews ‘Batman Forever’ (1995), Part Two
Each week, Chris Sims and David Uzumeri take a look back at one of the most successful and influential comic book movie franchises of all time, in ComicsAlliance’s in-depth retrospective on the Batman films.
David: Welcome back to Remedial Batmanology, where Chris Sims and I are… looking at… 1995’s Batman Forever. You can read part one here. This film stars Val Kilmer as Pouty Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Bizarrely Adult Robin, Jim Carrey as Frank Gorshin as the Riddler,Tommy Lee Jones as the Joker in Two-Face makeup and Nicole Kidman as Sexy Psychologist Meridian Chase!
Chris: Chase Meridian.
David: Chase Meridian sounds like a bank. “Your future is secure with the financial planners at… Chase Meridian.”Chris: When we last left off, the various elements of the plot had still yet to come together into a cohesive whole. Edward Nygma had just become the Riddler and Doctor Chase Meridian was doing some intense rooftop flirting/cleavage-revealing with Batman, but Dick Grayson was still just a dude who, by all appearances, was pretending to be a teenager due to his mid-life crisis. Two-Face, meanwhile, was exactly the same as he was at the beginning of the movie, and he will continue to display no character development whatsoever throughout the rest of the film.
David: We kick off with Two-Face’s lair, which fits Two-Face perfectly in that it perfectly conforms to his aesthetic but not his psychosis. He’s got two molls, Sugar (Drew Barrymore) and Spice (Debi Mazar). As you’d expect, one is very sweet and fits with his Dent side, while the other one is goth and fits with his freaky scarred side.
Chris: Except that Sugar isn’t actually “sweet,” and damn you Batman Forever for making me write that pun. She’s just wearing a slightly different kind of lingerie from Spice, whose major “evil” attribute is playing up her New York accent.
David: They each give him a cigarette, one black and one white, and then they’ve each made him a meal, which he eats on a big black-and-white table — lemon souffle from Sugar, and a roasted black boar heart from Spice, as well as “sterno and grain alcohol, straight up.”
Chris: I think this scene is left over from an earlier draft, where the character was actually “Two Stomachs and Two Livers.”
David: To hell with the BOILING ACID, Dent, that will completely kill you. I don’t think being scarred makes you immune to denatured alcohol.
Chris: I’d like to point out that, against all odds, Two-Face’s lair was not made into a playset. Also, the Evil Dinner comes with “a side of raw donkey meat.” I don’t have any insights about it, it’s just really fun to say. And I think it might be a 2 Live Crew song.
David: Riddler shows up, and basically Frank Gorshins it up, alongside an astonishing amount of awful jokes and a moment where he looks like he’s about to fellate Two-Face’s pistol (actual pistol, not a metaphor). Then he chews some scenery and invites Sugar and Spice to try his new 3D TV, which they sit down and agree to do without any arguing whatsoever.
Chris: Without him even telling them what to do or what it is! There’s absolutely no explanation for this scene, he just points to a couple of chairs and sets up his aquarium blenders. It’s also worth noting that this movie misses an opportunity to remember that they’re doing a story about Two-Face when the Riddler asks him to spare his life so that he can tell him his plan for killing Batman. It’s the perfect setup for a coin-toss to make the decision, but instead, Two-Face just goes “eh” and lets him start mucking around with his girlfriends’ brainwaves.
David: Well, they DO get around to the coin-toss AFTER he lets him muck around with the brainwaves, except rather than leave us in any suspense as to the result when they cut from the coin in the air, we go right to Riddler and Two-Face robbing a jewelry store, seemingly called “Diamond Exchange.” With security this lax, it’s probably a sister company of Steve Geppi’s Diamond Distributors.
Chris: Diamond Exchange has an awful distribution model that caters to an increasingly shrinking number of necklace collectors. I think that was in the novelization.
David: Then they both hit the neural crackpipe that allows them to steal brainpower from Sugar and Spice, therefore making his henchwomen stupid, which you’d think would be a loss of assets for Harvey. While making some incredibly hackneyed references to the infamous cooking-eggs “This is your brain on drugs” commercial from the ’80s.
Chris: I don’t think the Riddler’s Box — a phrase I’m way more uncomfortable with than your “Bruce takes Dick in” from last week — actually makes you stupid. Batman uses it with no ill effects later, and even the Riddler’s old boss was fine once it was turned off. It just… makes him smarter? For some reason? That nobody bothered to write about because nobody really cared?
David: Yeah, but he steals their brainwaves, doesn’t he? That implies some sort of theft. I mean, they use the word “steal.” Unless it’s like music piracy, where it’s still “stealing” even though nobody “loses” anything…
Chris: Oh, one more thing: The Brainwave Boxes are already in Two-Face’s lair! The Riddler just picks them up off a chair.
David: Oh man, that’s so true. And awful. Riddler and Two-Face compare the sizes of their diamonds (Two-Face’s is bigger), and now they will somehow magically be able to fence these and launder the money before using it to start a legitimate tech company.
Chris: David, that’s dumb, but if that’s what we’re nitpicking, that they don’t show us the bad guys fencing the jewelry, then we’re missing the forest for the stupid, stupid trees.
David: True, especially since the very next scene is, indeed, Alfred and Dick doing laundry, including Dick taking his clothes out of the wash and using acrobatic kung-fu to put them on the clothesline in Wayne Manor’s laundry room. Let me restate this: The clothesline in Wayne Manor’s laundry room. Bruce Wayne does not own a dryer. He has two separate washing machines, but no dryer.
Chris: Or maybe he does, but Dick just doesn’t know what it is because they didn’t have one back at the circus. Or maybe he’s using a clothesline as a tribute to a circus tightrope! That’s… sort of plausible!
David: Or maybe they wanted to throw in a kung-fu laundry scene, logic be damned.
Chris: There is a movie where this scene would have made sense. That movie is Gymkata, the finest film ever produced.
David: Alfred also gives him this look the entire time of admiration, since he’s continuing to love living his life vicariously through two emotionally damaged 25-year-olds.
Chris: And Chris O’Donnell responds with the best smug thumbs up ever. Seriously.
David: And a wink! Then, Two-Face and Riddler rob a casino. And if it’s another charity casino night, seriously, Gotham City, stop holding charity nights if Two-Face is going to show up to every one and kill a busload of people.
Chris: This all leads to Batman getting yet another Riddler letter, a nifty little pop-up about chess pieces that leads to a scene where Val Kilmer dramatically whips off his Michael Keaton glasses and tries to figure out what they mean.
David: He pulls out the Keaton glasses, which is great. Also, Dick Grayson keeps trying to get through the one locked door in Wayne Manor, and when he asks what it’s for, he’s informed “Bruce Wayne’s dead wives.” Considering how Vicki Vale and Selina Kyle both dropped off the face of the planet, I halfway accept that. Of course, it’s actually the Batcave. Meanwhile, Nygma’s started up Nygmatech and is now selling the 3D Box all over the city (and apparently only the city — wouldn’t an invention like this get sold nationwide?)
Chris: He does say that he wants to go worldwide eventually, but c’mon. Nygma’s a classic underachiever. The weird thing about this is that both the Riddler and Two-Face are seen shoving Nygma’s Dalek Arm/Throb Item against their heads to get high off of brainwaves, but Two-Face never seems to get any smarter. I mean, it’s also kind of weird that nobody notices the gigantic bolts of green lightning shooting from Gotham City to the RIddler’s offshore Dr. Wily Castle, but at least that makes sense in the context of the movie.
David: Yes, there are apparently visible green brainwaves flying towards Riddler’s gigantic aquarium blender like Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII.
David: Why nobody finds this at all suspicious, well — this is the same city that believed Batman turned on them because of an umbrella full of bats and a hijacked Batmobile.
Chris: When will these stinkin’ people realize that they’re getting played?
David: Like a HARP from HELL! Back at Wayne Manor, Dick Grayson waits for Alfred to open the locked door to the Batcave, and then jumps around the Wayne Manor foyer to try to get in before it locks shut like a time trial puzzle in a Zelda game. Then he falls through the silverware rack down the stairs to the Batcave, where Alfred looks at him like “yeah, I did that on purpose.”
Chris: For all this movie’s faults, it totally did presage the whole parkour-in-film thing. The sequence of Dick jumping from the balcony to the Batcave entrance, while ridiculous, is pretty neat in that respect.
David: And over pretty ridiculous music, too. Next up, Chase Meridian gives Batman one of the black-and-white dreamcatcher dolls, in what passes for subtle symbolism in this movie. He’s getting bad dreams! And has two sides of himself! JUST LIKE TWO-FACE, GET IT?!?!?!? Bruce then tries to open up to Chase, and man, Val Kilmer’s “dark and brooding” is really bad.
Chris: In this movie, Val Kilmer’s everything is really bad.
David: Now, with regards to the dropped plot with the red leather diary he keeps seeing — and his constant claim that his parents’ death was his fault…
Chris: I remember this plot thread being a central part of the novelization, which I read on the last day of 7th grade, right before the movie came out.
David: It was likely a central conceit of the early screenplay as well, since as the movie stands, that’s a thematic thread that goes absolutely freaking nowhere. Originally, the red leather diary contained the revelation that his parents wanted to go to the movies that night anyway, not just because Bruce insisted upon it. Finding this out, he starts to cry and admit that his parents’ death was not his fault.
Chris: Maybe the diary also included the plans for Max Shreck’s Power Plant Capacitor.
David: And the Penguin’s motivation. Anyway, after some more foreshadowing about repressed memories that never goes anywhere, Bruce looks at all the Batman stuff on Chase’s desk and starts to feel jealous of himself. Shortly afterwards, he shows up as Batman, while getting a Bruce robot to come into the room to fool her, and then gets Alfred to marry a gorilla.
Chris: Aha! I knew there was a reason you said you liked this movie. I just didn’t know that it was because you fell asleep and started dreaming Silver Age plots instead of the actual third act.
David: No, I was awake the entire time, I just had this really interesting-tasting mushroom souflee right before that this nice man on the street cooked for me.
Chris: That’s a shame, because you missed what’s actually the high point of the movie: Michael Gough pronouncing the word “Jaguar.”
David: Right: Alfred calls Bruce to inform him Dick took the Batmobile on a joyride, at which point the movie plays an Offspring cover of “Smash It Up.” Dick tries to impress a bunch of streetwalkers, and then decides to save a woman who’s about to get robbed and presumably gangraped by what I can only describe as a tribe of glo-in-the-dark voodoo Darth Mauls. They are all wearing glow-in-the-dark facepaint and rocking lit-up neon bo staves. They fight in an alley decorated with glow-in-the-dark graffiti. This scene is both amazing and astonishingly stupid at the same time.
Chris: And they are led by, no joke, ’80s action movie icon Don “The Dragon” Wilson, with facepaint that makes him look like the Misfits’ drumhead cosplaying as the Ultimate Warrior.
David: On one hand, it’s a pretty cool action setpiece, and Chris O’Donnell (or his martial arts stunt double) acquits himself pretty well. Then, after saving someone from gangrape and murder, Dick decides it would be totally appropriate to take her up on her offer for a quick makeout. While they’re about to get the crap kicked out of them by the neon voodoo gang.
Chris: Eventually, Batman himself shows up and Dick — who was trying to entice hookers with his “love ma-cheen” not five minutes before — suddenly flips out about Batman not saving his parents and punches his arm for a little bit.
David: Batman assures him that, if he could, he’d totally have died for Dick’s family, and to be fair, he did try back when Two-Face was yelling at him to reveal himself. Back in the Batcave, Dick starts talking about how he totally wants to kill Two-Face. The movie actually bows to continuity here and doesn’t have Batman flip about about how Batman Doesn’t Kill!, he instead points out that even when you kill the dude who caused you pain, you don’t feel any better.
Chris: I hadn’t actually thought about it that way, but you’re right: Batman totally knows from experience what happens when you throw the dude who killed your parents off a building to his death. That said, it does make him kind of a hypocrite with regards to Dick and Two-Face.
David: Well, yeah, but he still doesn’t stop Dick even later, telling him “every man has to go his own way.” He’s trying to save Dick the pain of being in more crappy movies.
Chris: That part, where Robin goes “hey, I want to be your partner, but I’m probably going to try to kill Two-Face,” and Batman responds with “yeah, okay” is where I would completely give up on this thing, if I hadn’t already done that two movies ago.
David: Afterwards, Nygma’s apparently stolen Sugar and his having a party at the Ritz, when Bruce, Dick and Chase show up and Sugar insults Nygma’s suit.
Chris: This is another part of this movie that’s actually genuinely good: Jim Carrey as the Riddler is awful, but Jim Carrey as Eddie Nygma, the guy who desperately wants to be Bruce Wayne and bought the same suit and glasses and got he same haircut — including dyeing it! — to look just like him is actually really strong. So of course, it’s the focus of like thirty seconds of this movie.
David: I wonder if aping Gorshin was how Carrey decided to play the character, or if that was Schmuacher’s idea.
Chris: You keep saying that he’s doing a Frank Gorshin impression, but man, I am offended on Gorshin’s behalf. Gorshin had solid writing and a style of performance that was actually good that Carrey completely lacks as the Riddler. I’ve talked about this at length elsewhere, but with the way he’d snap between quiet menace and hysterical laughter, there’s a lot of Gorshin’s riddler in the modern idea of what we think of as the Joker. His spiritual heir in Batman movies is more Heath Ledger than Jim Carrey.
David: We also get the “what a grand pursuit you must be” line we talked about last time, and then Nygma declares — I s*** you not — that his “new and improved box offers fully interactive holographic fantasies.” Let me just get this out of the way: this is a movie about two dudes who live together with their old, perverse butler trying to stop a box that fulfills fantasies from being popular in Gotham.
Chris: And they do it through the power of rubber nipple suits and exaggerated codpieces! This is not even subtext. This is what is actually going on in the movie.
David: So some really sweaty child molester looking dude with an awful moustache gets his fantasy projected to everybody, and it’s being on a beach with some mai tais and serving wenches.
Chris: Eventually we get to see Bruce Wayne’s fantasy, and man. Of all the missed opportunities in this movie, this is the biggest.
David: Yeah, I was really looking forward to this — even if it didn’t show up on the TV, this could have been really, really interesting, and instead they just wuss out at the very last minute.
Chris: There are a ton of really obvious directions they could’ve gone with this. His parents being alive springs to mind. Heck, they could’ve even just played the scene from Batman: The Animated Series where this exact same plot goes down with Hugo Strange.
David: Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne suddenly reverse-engineers the entire idea right in the middle of the party, and accuses him of being able to extract images out of people’s brains, at which point Nygma calls him a coward. And asks Chase Meridian to dance, because Nygma is seriously in love with Bruce Wayne. (There’s that “sub”text again.) Instead, the machine is shut down at the right time and he runs to the car to change. Because TWO-FACE has showed up and is now robbing the place blind, because he got sick of waiting for Nygma’s plan. Seriously, Two-Face is the worst partner ever. He’s so two-faced, he’ll betray you out of nowhere.
Chris: But it’s not even a betrayal! They’re still partners. Two-Face just thinks for no reason that Batman’s going to be hanging out at this party, which is even crazier because he’s right!
David: Even though Nygma’s whole plan was to figure out who Batman is using the memories extracted from the box in peoples’ homes.
Chris: Clearly, Two-Face got a copy of the script and really felt that it needed a stupid action sequence right then.
David: Also, why did Batman think it was a good idea to try out the box at all, knowing it was going to steal his memories for the Riddler? And then project his fantasies on a TV for everyone to see? Just because a dude he fired two weeks ago called him a wuss?
Chris: Yes. And he thought that it didn’t have a test tube with green liquid in it. Why did we ever stop using those and move to USB drives?
David: Then, Batman shows up after changing in the car, crashing through the skylight and engaging in yet another sequence where this movie is far better than the last one: martial arts showdowns. Alfred opens the trunk of the car so Dick can grab his circus uniform and join in the fight, noting this is likely to get him fired. Alfred, you are seriously such an enabler. Chase makes out with Batman and sets up a not-even-remotely-subtle midnight booty call, even going so far as to say, “midnight. My place.”
Chris: It’s important for the movie that we have a scene at this point where Robin proves his usefulness so that he can become Batman’s partner, so the solution Batman Forever comes up with is to have Batman suddenly become the dumbest human being on the face of the planet.
David: He jumps from the top of the tower down through a hole that Two-Face escaped through, and falls through a gigantic laundry duct into a dungeon that Two-Face proceeds to burn with a flamethrower. Because there’s no way when Two-Face is literally making a “come here” motion with his hand that he’s being led into a trap.
Chris: One more time: He straight up jumps off a building and into a hole, where he is literally funneled with a tube to where Two-Face wants him to be.
David: Maybe he needed the security guard from the beginning of the movie to point this out again.
Chris: Then, after he makes it through the fire by digitizing his cape (?!), he just stands there while Two-Face shouts and shoots a rocket at him.
David: He’s back to his tricks from the first two movies. Then, Robin shows up to save his life, and Batman gets really pissed about this and yells at him.
Chris: Standing around and getting shot is seriously Movie Batman’s signature move. It’s his “snikt.” His “I’ll be back.” His “Shaken, not stirred.”
David: Back at the Batcave, we get this scene:
Dick Grayson: “Batboy, Nightwing… what’s a good sidekick name?”
Bruce: “Dick Grayson, college student.”
Chris: This puts Dick’s minimum age at 18. Grown-ass man being adopted by Batman, y’all.
David: Dick then decides the best way to ingratiate himself is to threaten to stalk Batman until Batman gives in. Then, once again, Alfred attempts, much like in the first movie, to convince Bruce to go cool down, get laid, and let the kid do what he wants. Bruce replies by pointing out that “she wants Batman, not Bruce Wayne,” but then goes and shows up for her midnight booty call anyway.
Chris: Hey, just as a guess… How many high school and college papers do you think were written in 1995-1996 on how Dick, Bruce and Alfred represened the Id, Ego and Superego? I’m going to put the over/under at fifty.
David: Anyway, Bruce shows up and makes out with Chase, who talks about “your eyes… your lips… your body… your neck… your back… your…” sorry, I got carried away there. ‘
Chris: Did not expect a reference to Khia in this review. Well done.
David: Except she turns Batman down, because she’s “met someone,” at which point Batman has to pretend to look all disappointed before smiling because now he can bang her as Bruce Wayne.
Chris: I like that Doctor Chase Meridian is asleep in bed naked when Batman shows up, even though she’s the one who told him to be there at that specific time.
David: And she wakes up at that exact moment. Maybe she wanted him to see her all draped out like that. It’s not an uninviting sight.
Chris: Isn’t it far more likely that she was pretending to be asleep? Doctor Chase Meridian is on some disturbingly calculated seduction, man.
David: Anyway, Riddler uses the memory map of Bruce Wayne he took at the dance, sees a bat in it, and uses it to conclude that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
Chris: It’s worth noting that in a movie where the Riddler and Two-Face have been getting high off brain waves by sticking a bong on a plunger to their foreheads, they still moved to an actual crack vial full of “memories.” And they figure that he’s Batman because he’s thinking about a bat. Not because he’s thinking about fighting crooks or dressing up as Batman or anything, but because he’s thinking about AN ACTUAL BAT. Dudes, this is Gotham City. I’m going to guess that at any given time, 85% of the population is thinking about bats. It’s sort of a motif for that place.
David: Also an excellent point. The entire scene makes little to no sense. Why is green fluid even the storage material? Oh right, because it glows in the dark and is brightly colored, just like everything in this damn movie has to be to please Joel Schumacher. Then, because a girl likes him, Bruce Wayne decides to stop being Batman.
Chris: This movie does really take the stance that Batman is just a really elaborate way for Bruce Wayne to pick up girls. Which it has been for three movies.
David: Although not particularly effective, since he’s chronically incapable of keeping a relationship going as soon as the camera’s turned off.
Chris: Bruce Wayne: exhibitionist.
David: An exhibitionist who wears a black rubber suit? That’s ridiculous. Anyway, Bruce tries to tell Chase that he’s Batman, but keeps getting interrupted by trick-or-treaters, at which point Riddler and Two-Face decide to wear masks so they can trick-or-treat too. Also, Bruce freaks out and has another waking dream and actually remembers his big repressed secret, which was that he saw a bat on the night of his parents’ funeral, and he was afraid of it, but it inspired him to get revenge. Because that’s what Batman’s motivated by: revenge. [throws remote at TV, kicks over chair, sets TV stand on fire, walks away]
Chris: You don’t get out of this that easily, Uzumeri.
David: You can’t tell me what to do! [gets on motorcycle, drives off] But yeah, this the most half-assed version of the scene from Year One where young Bruce falls down the well ever.
Chris: Bruce falling down the well is portrayed as a traumatic memory that was repressed for years, which is exactly how I felt about the following scene where Jim Carrey says “SPANK ME.”
David: Chase kisses Bruce, and it’s at THIS point, after once again touching those pouty Val Kilmer lips, that she figures out he’s Batman.
Chris: That’s because Batman trained to become the best kisser ever. And you can’t just turn that off.
David: He trained with the four-lipped immortal kissing masters of the Grand Canyon. Anyway, Riddler goes into the Batcave and blows it up with some exploding birds, before finally exclaiming, “JOYGASM!” with an accompanying pelvic thrust.
Chris: Riddler blowing up the Batcave is… I’m going to say maybe the most annoying sequence ever put on film. Like, top three, definitely.
David: Meanwhile, Bruce is beating up Two-Face’s goons upstairs and trying to save Chase.
Chris: And in a complete and thorough misunderstanding of how Two-Face works, Tommy Lee Jones sits around flipping his coin over and over until it gives him permission to join the fight. That’s not really how it works, guys. He flips it once and then abides by the decision. That is sort of his entire deal. But for some reason, despite Two-Face shooting Batman in the head (which only knocks him out for a few minutes, because he’s Batman), they decide for absolutely no reason not to kill him. This, I want to point out, has been their stated goal for 90 minutes of this movie.
David: Now they want to teach him a lesson! For what reason? Who knows! Maybe the lesson is “you can’t die, no matter how hard we try, because it’s your movie”?
Chris: Instead, they just leave him with the final Riddler™ Brand Pop-Up Riddle.
David: After being nursed to health by Alfred, Bruce discovers Dick’s run away (what a dick), and then Chase wakes up in Riddler’s tower on a Riddler-print couch while Riddler wears a new suit with blinking LED question marks, making him look like a GeoCities page from 1997.
Chris: Thus, his master plan is finally revealed: He’s going to take over Gotham with the promise of a book that teaches you how to get $$$FREE MONEY$$$ from the government.
David: In apophenia-related developments, Batman finally figures out the Riddler’s riddles, and it figures out the clues therein have nothing to do with the actual riddles at all. Apparently, Riddler planned for all of this since the very beginning of the damn movie, and put the clues to his current location in the numbers in each riddle.
Chris: Which is pointless, since he then modifies the Bat-Signal into a giant question mark (which is kind of cool) with lasers that are clearly coming from his offshore pleasure phallus.
David: Batman figures out the numbers mean M.R.E., even though he has to combine the 1 and 8 to make 18 to do it, and then that that means “Mr. E”, or “mystery,” or “enigma,” or “E. Nygma,” therefore Edward Nygma is the Riddler. This is some grade-a, unfiltered Batman ’66 “Seaplane… Sea… C is for Catwoman!” s***. This is actually on that level of cleverness. And by cleverness, I mean completely inscrutable stupidity.
Chris: I’ll not hear a word spoken against Burt Ward’s deductive process, you cretin. After they’ve finally figured it out, Alfred tells Batman, “You really are quite bright, despite what people say,” and seriously? I want a movie where Alfred is just a straight up a-hole to Batman for two hours.
David: Bruce goes to try on the new experimental Bat-suit, which means we get a new quick-cut changing scene. And, uh. It one-ups the codpiece shot from the opening. Pretty thoroughly.
Chris: For one thing, it proves that they can do a close-up on the belt buckle without lingering on Batman’s junk.
David: Fortunately for the ladies, the trade-off is a close-up on Batman’s ass.
Chris: A long close-up.
David: We then debut the new Batsuit, which has the big black bat-symbol instead of the yellow oval design. Trying to decide whether to go by sea or air with the new experimental Batboat and Batwing, Robin says “both,” decked out in a rubber suit designed by Alfred in his off hours, complete with nipples. Because Alfred is an enabler, and the worst butler ever.
Chris: But the best and most efficient tailor!
David: With what’s presumably Kevlar! What kind of sewing machine does he have?
Chris: He borrowed it from Silver Age Martha Kent. Enjoy the references that are obscure even for ComicsAlliance, folks!
David: Oh, that’s not that obscure. Then, Batman and Robin have this conversation: “I can’t promise I won’t kill Harvey.” “A man’s got to go his own way. A friend taught me that.” “Not just a friend. A partner.”
Chris: Yeahhhhhhh. Like you said, that line actually works in the context of these movies, but only because they’re already terrible to begin with.
David: Robin takes the Batboat towards Nygma’s ridiculously phallic tower, and Batman flies the Batwing, which exits from Wayne Manor, a fact nobody seems to notice. And Riddler and Two-Face try to blow up the Batboat with a gigantic, neon green version of Battleship. Sigh.
Chris: Honestly? That’s one of the least dumb things in this movie.
David: It’s a nice idea in concept, except Battleships don’t move. I mean, I love the ridiculous over-the-topness of the concept, it’s a great Batman villain trap, and it fits in well with Riddler’s gaming motif.
Chris: I think it’s actually pretty revealing, since Batman pretty much sent Robin to sail through waters loaded up with mines so that the crooks would be distracted while he flew in. Cold as ice.
David: They blow up the Batboat, but not before Robin ejects and gets into an underwater fight, which Batman joins into after the Batwing gets blown up and turns out to also turn into a boat. Which launches Batman like a torpedo, fist-first. Then they swim to shore, and the Riddler’s hideout has an erection.
Chris: Remember when I said that people might be blowing the whole homoeroticism aspect out of proportion in this movie? I may have been extremely wrong.
David: But not before Robin exclaims that the ground is made of “holey rusted metal.” Get it? Holy rusted metal, Batman? Get it?
Chris: Oh hey, a reference to Batman ’66. Yeah, just throw it on the pile with the others.
David: So Batman decides to scale the Tower of Bab-Il, I mean, the Riddler’s Dick Tower, while Dick beats the crap out of Two-Face and then, at the very last minute, picking him up from the edge of the gigantic tower and saving him, only for Two-Face to turn on him. Who saw that coming?!
Chris: This scene also gives us the immortal line “I’ll see you in Hell!” “I’d rather see YOU in JAIL!”
David: Haha! Yeah, like, Robin, are you planning on going too, buddy? I will say, though, I do love this movie’s dedication to huge, overcomplicated deathtraps. Two-Face puts a gun to Robin’s face, and Batman is stuck in this deathtrap below a big falling wrought-iron grill with spices, which he uses his boots to somehow unbalance, allowing him to go through a hole in the ceiling that opens over a question mark into the Riddler’s throne room, where he is wearing an even more ridiculous silver jumpsuit and a mask where the right eye is made out of a green question mark.
Chris: And he also looks just like Syndrome from The Incredibles — I’m pretty sure this is where they lifted his look from — which is fitting because he immediately starts monologuing about how his box is giong to send “sssssssexual fantasies” directly to his brain. There is also a pelvic thrust. Be glad I didn’t make an animated GIF of it.
David: He also goes “So if knowledge is power, then a god am…. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII” while doing this really guttural growl that echoes around the room.
Chris: Do you think the plan was to make viewers think of Ghostbusters and maybe get confused thinking that this was also a good movie?
David: So the Riddler makes fun of Batman’s self-doubt and identity crisis, and then reveals that he has Chase and Robin in deathtraps, and forces Batman to choose, since apparently only Bruce Wayne likes Chase and only Batman likes Robin.
Chris: When in reality, Batman and Bruce Wayne both want Chase, and seem to not really give a crap about Robin.
David: He then attempts to psychoanalyze Dick Grayson, who he says once hopes to be “barenaked with a girl.” He’s an eighteen-year-old circus acrobat with an earring and a motorcycle. How hard can it be for an eighteen-year-old circus acrobat with an earring and a motorcycle to get laid? Because I’m guessing “not very.”
Chris: Especially when all the hotties at the laundromat have seen his sweet laundry katas!
David: The Riddler reveals that they’re both gonna drop towards “a watery grave,” and tries to force Batman to choose. Spoiler: Batman saves both of them. Anyway, Batman then figures out that he can’t win, so he tempts the Riddler with… A RIDDLE.
Chris: “There is no way to save them or myself.” There’s that Batman confidence we know and love.
David: Well, I think he means within the confines of the game, since he then blows up the big aquarium blender, which apparently…. releases brainwaves to Riddler and overloads him with them? Or something? He drops Chase and Robin and, surprise surprise, he saves both of them, because he’s both Bruce Wayne and Batman!
Chris: He also uses his “new sonar modifications” to do this, which makes absolutely no sense because the room is lit by by at least thirty spotlights and a ton of Schumacher’s signature neon. They even set it up with a riddle about being able to seen in the dark, but it’s not! How in the hell does sonar make any difference at all?
David: We’re almost done, Chris! Batman totally screws up Two-Face, who somehow jumps down there to try to shoot them, by telling him he needs to flip his coin before killing them, and then throwing a whole bunch of coins into the air, so Two-Face can’t figure out which and falls to his OWN watery grave. “You can’t kill him, Dick! But I totally can.”
Chris: And Robin totally gives him a look that says “Son of a– you stole my kill!”
David: Riddler’s now messed-up and deformed, and I guess he got Batman’s memories overriding his own, so now, as we discover at a scene in Arkham Asylum, he thinks he’s Batman himself.
Chris: Riddler also looks at Batman and goes “Whyyyy can’t I killlll youuuuuuu?” And if I had to guess, I’d say it probably has something to do with not shooting him in the head when he had the chance about 20 minutes ago.
David: I wish I could have shot this movie in the head 20 minutes ago. Then Bruce and Chase kiss while Alfred looks on approvingly, and the movie ends.
Chris: And thus, we come to the end of the third movie that’s almost entirely built around Alfred trying to get Batman laid.
David: And Batman’s been psychologically integrated! Except for that pesky Zur-En-Arrh personality in the back of his head.
Chris: Don’t look at me, Uzi. You’re the one who liked this thing.
David: I did the first time! The third time while reviewing it, not so much. It gave us a pretty good U2 song. Nicole Kidman is seriously smoking hot.
Chris: Seconded. And I have to confess that I love how over-the-top and shameless her character is in trying to f*** Batman. Like, it’s so insane that I can’t really hate it.
David: She’s about as professional as a sixteen-year-old stoner working in the pet accessories section of Wal-Mart.
Chris: She does everything but strip right down in front of Commissioner Gordon in that first scene, and gets progressively naked every other time she meets Batman until she’s making out with him in a sheet. It’s hilarious.
David: Really, she’s your self-insertion character.
Chris: “Chase Meridian” is an anagram for “Chris Sims.”
David: I’m suddenly way more excited about sharing a room with you at San Diego Comic-Con.
Chris: Any other high points, before this gets uncomfortable for both of us?
David: Tommy Lee Jones played a pretty great TAS-era Joker, he was just completely in the wrong costume.
Chris: You’re sure you want to be on record as saying that Tommy Lee Jones was good in this movie? I’m giving you a chance here, Uzi.
David: He’s a great actor, he just didn’t play Two-Face.
Chris: Like I mentioned, the scenes of Nygma trying to be a budget Bruce Wayne were a good idea that was done pretty well in the one scene where it happened, but it didn’t go anywhere.
David: Casting a 25-year-old as Robin.
Chris: The bad casting in this movie is hardly limited to Chris O’Donnell. Val Kilmer is godawful, and Jones and Carrey aren’t much better.
David: They’re all great actors, in good roles, with awful direction. But since I think they’re explictly attempting to reach high camp, I’d say they succeeded at their goals – all of them. Except Val Kilmer, who plays the worst brooding hero ever. Inexplicably.
Chris: I mentioned liking the idea of the design sense in this movie last week, but Forever is stuck in this weird place between Burton Gothic and the Schumacher’s neon-lit statue garden where it’s still kind of trying to look like the real world. It doesn’t really commit to the aesthetic, but at least you can see what’s going on. The biggest problem, though, is the dialogue. The only character who gets to say lines that aren’t universally awful is Alfred.
David: Yes. The script is horrendous, and from what I can tell, they cut parts that — while equally horrendous — at least allowed the story to come together thematically.
Chris: I take back what I said about everyone in this movie being an awful actor. Anyone who could actually force themselves to say this stuff without having visible disgust on their face is the Olivier of our time.
David: If you want two hours of actors dressed as Batman, Robin, Two-Face and the Riddler sauntering around with a sexy Nicole Kidman and getting involved in fights that look like someone turning off the lights and throwing glow-in-the-dark condoms randomly at walls, then this is the movie for you.
Chris: I’m pretty sure that even if that’s exactly what you want, you’re still going to be disappointed by Batman Forever. It’s pretty irredeemably lousy.
David: If you want two hours of an old man encouraging two grown-ass men to act like ten-year-olds unless they’re being hit on in which case they should act sixteen, then… well, I guess it’s still your movie.
Chris: Bingo. And now that we’re through it, we only have one movie left in the Burton/Schumacher saga. Next week: David and I sit down for what I’m going to guess is the most thorough examination anyone has ever bothered to do of 1997’s Batman & Robin.
David: I’ve never seen this before. I’m shockingly excited to do so.
Chris: I’m seriously excited for you. You’re about to take your first step into a larger world.