out of 4
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Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4
Among film geeks today it is quite fashionable to despise
Joel Schumacher, especially because of his magnum crimen -
ruining of Batman movie franchise. However, six years ago it
was completely different story - Schumacher was seen as a
saviour of Batman films. First two instalments in the
series, directed by Tim Burton, were often seen as too dark,
too "artsy" and under too much influence from Frank Miller's
DARK NIGHT graphic novel. Many Batman fans desired more
light-hearted and humorous approach, more in line with
popular television series from 1960s. In BATMAN FOREVER
Schumacher managed to deliver the goods and thus paved the
way for the disaster known as BATMAN AND ROBIN.
The protagonist of this film - multimillionaire and
crime-fighting superhero Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (played
by Val Kilmer) - this time has to fight not one but two
supervillains that threaten Gotham City. First of them is
Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face (played by Tommy Lee Jones),
former district attorney who went insane after having his
face scarred by acid. His criminal hordes are going to be
employed by another villain -Edward Nygma a.k.a. Riddler
(played by Jim Carey), scientist and former employee of
Bruce Wayne's business empire who managed to invent the
device that sucks up human brain and increases the IQ of
recipient. While Riddler and Two-Face join forces against
Batman, Bruce Wayne has to deal with some romantic problems
- he is in love with beautiful criminal psychiatrist dr.
Chase Meridian (played by Nicole Kidman), while good doctor
has hots for his charismatic alter ago. In the meantime,
Dick Grayson (played by Chris O'Donnell), young acrobat who
had his parents murdered by Two-Face, becomes Batman's
partner Robin the Boy Wonder.
Weak plot, complete lack of character development and at
least some actors who didn't look particularly interested in
their roles (this is especially the case with Val Kilmer who
wasn't able to fill Michael Keaton's shoes from two previous
films) or went over the top (this is definitely the case
with Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carey) - all that could have
burried BATMAN FOREVER. But Schumacher somehow manages to
keep the film together, mostly by putting plenty of
spectacular action scenes which display nice special effects
and interesting production design by Barbara Ling, so
different from dark and often not so attractive Gotham
setting in two previous films. There is also much more
humour in this film, and also plenty of references to 1960s
TV show. Some of the actors are very good too - Michael
Gough is always reliable as Wayne's trusted servant Alfred,
while Nicole Kidman with her looks and undeniable charm
manages to transcend script limitations of her character.
Although Elliott Goldenthal couldn't compete with Danny
Elfman, his musical score, as well as the rest of rather
impressive soundtrack, is as pleasing to the ears as the
look of the film is pleasing to the audience's eyes.
Although hardly something that would stay long in viewers'
memory, BATMAN FOREVER is entertaining summer blockbuster,
which shows that even someone with Joel Schumacher's
reputation can make a decent film under proper conditions.
Copyright © 2001 Dragan Antulov
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