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Batman Forever

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Batman Forever

Starring: Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman
Director: Joel Schumacher
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: June 1995
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Review by Brian Koller
2 stars out of 4

Why do people go to the theater in droves to see Batman movies? None of them are particularly good, and no one expects them to be. Perhaps they go in order to tell their friends, relatives and co-workers that they saw the movie. Or maybe they go to see the car. As Batman himself says, chicks dig the car.

In case the reader is a martian who is unfamiliar with American pop culture, Batman (Val Kilmer, this time around) is a super-hero who dresses in black leather at night to fight bad guys. During the day he is Bruce Wayne, head of a conglomerate, and all-around good guy.

Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones, in what certainly is a change of pace for him) is obsessed with killing Batman. Two Face was once a respectable man, but after exactly half his face was disfigured with acid, somehow this made him go criminally insane. Two Face sets up a trap for Batman, locking him and a hapless security guard in a metal box that fills with boiling acid and that is attached to a helicopter flown by Two Face that crashes into the Statue of Liberty. Both Batman and Two Face survive. I forget what happened to the security guard. The Statue of Liberty needs serious repairs.

Edward Enigma (James Carrey) works at Wayne Enterprises as a techno-nerd engineer. Carrey is a truly silly mad scientist who has invented a device that steals brain waves. Bruce Wayne is not impressed and refuses to fund the project.

Carrey isn't happy about this. After hours, he ties up his unpleasant boss and puts the contraption on his head, sucking the brain waves out of his head and into Carrey's. The unlucky boss is then pushed out a skyscraper window, no doubt to the cheers of oppressed workers everywhere.

Like Two Face, Carrey is obsessed with Kilmer. But while Two Face wants to kill Batman, Carrey just wants to stump Wayne with riddles. But he is foiled, as Kilmer always figures them out. This frustrates Carrey so much that he begins to act like a fairy, dress in a green jumpsuit and call himself the Riddler.

Every Batman film provides a new blonde girlfriend for Wayne and/or Batman. This time around it is Nicole Kidman's turn. She is a psychologist who turns Wayne on with sultry looks and psycho-babble.

Wayne takes her to the circus. The Flying Graysons, a family of acrobats, are performing. Two Face steals the show, and threatens to kill everyone unless Batman appears. But he only gets around to killing the acrobats, sparing on the youngest, Dick (Chris O'Donnell).

For some reason, O'Donnell is invited to stay at the Wayne mansion. He wants to split until he checks out Wayne's motorcycle collection. Later, he discovers the Batmobile, takes it for a spin, but gets into trouble fighting bad guys decked in day-glo. Fortunately for him, Batman arrives to save him, and gives him a Parent-Child lecture about borrowing the car without permission.

The Riddler and Two Face decide to team up to rule Gotham City. Their plan is to steal everyone's brain waves using Carrey's contraption. This scheme actually works, and now Carrey is a bigger celebrity than Bruce Wayne.

Two Face again nearly succeeds in killing Batman, but this time it is Batman's turn to be saved by O'Donnell. This makes O'Donnell so cocky that he decides to wear a costume as well and call himself Robin.

Batman is about to score with Kidman when Two Face and the Riddler break into his mansion, trashing it. They decide not to kill Kilmer because Carrey wants to leave another riddle for him. They take Kidman hostage.

Batman and Robin learn where Two Face's secret hideout is and go there to rescue Kidman. Robin ends up cornering Two Face on a cliff, but is tricked and also becomes a captive. Now Batman must save both Kidman and Robin, but his biggest challenge is keeping a straight face when confronted with Carrey's hammy Riddler schtick.

Batman Forever is not that good of a movie. It is often implausible and unintentionally laughable. But it is a guilty pleasure.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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