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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 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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