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
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
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
Copyright © 1995 Brian Koller