|Batman Forever: A Trip Down 'Campy' Lane|
Batman Forever (1995)
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Batman Returns (1992) was seen by many fans and critics as being overly dark. Warner wanted to go in a new direction with the Batman franchise. For the next film, Tim Burton was moved to producer and Joel Schumacher came in as director. I can honestly say I don't remember what I thought of this movie as a kid which means I probably thought it was ok. As an adult it's still ok but only to a point.
The tone for Forever was a big change from the first two movies. There was a need for a change as I don't think anyone else could do a Burton Batman movie besides Burton. But I'm not sure they made the right change. This movie is a complete throwback to the 60s, Adam West Batman TV series. I'm not completely sure that was the best decision. To me, Batman, as described in the comics, is a dark figure in a dark city. But, at least they consistently kept with their new tone. A problem I had with Batman Returns was that it had two tones; overly goofy and overly serious. Forever goes into serious territory but never for long and it usually isn't meant to be that dark. I personally prefer a darker tone for Batman but I don't mind this tone either. I just don't prefer it. This tone is much more geared toward a younger audience despite its adult audience.
Seeing how this film was geared toward a younger audience, reviewing this film is a little hard for me to review as I'm 23, not 10. But, I think makes a good kid-film is one that doesn't talk down to the audience. Therefore, that will be my guideline when discussing the story. Story-wise, Forever isn't much different from the other Batman films. There are two more origin stories (and one origin story that is mentioned in passing), two bad guys (Two-Face and the Riddler) who want Batman dead, and Batman fights back. This is a side note but I think it's interesting that the Riddler, before he actually becomes the Riddler, is a scientist working on a 3D TV (makes it seem oddly up-to-date doesn't it?). There's another new character; Batman's sidekick Robin. He's a whiny, obnoxious little bitch at the beginning and end of this movie and is entirely unlikeable.
The movie doesn't talk down to it's audience, kid or otherwise, even if some of the motivations for some of the behaviors are never given. There are a few overly goofy parts though even for the tone of the movie. For example, the Batmobile travels, vertically, up the side of a building. The villains are written in a very, overly goofy way. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face literally, obnoxiously, has two different personalities. Jim Carrey as the Riddler acts like Ace Ventura pretending to be the Riddler. It all just feels overly silly even considering the lighter tone of the film.
The acting is not good. Extreme over and underacting is what you'll get with Forever. Val Kilmer is the perfect example of an under-actor. As Wayne/Batman, Kilmer underacts so much that he appears to be absolutely bored. Carrey and Jones both overact as much as they possibly can. Nicole Kidman is an overly sexualized pretty lady that the male audience gets to look at. Chris O'Donnell probably gives the best performance out of the bunch even if his character is a whiny little bitch.
The look of the film can be summed up in one word; neon. Imagine lazer-tag blue-purple-green lighting, neon florescent tubes, and any other neon thing you can imagine. It's unique to look at, that's for sure. I'm not sure I necessarily like it but the sets do match the tone of the film. The action scenes are much more well choreographed compared to the other movies even if they can become a little ridiculous (ex; a batgun that shoots an electric shock which makes thugs make the cartoon 'I've been shocked' noise). The music is a mix of Elfman (who wrote the the music for the first two Batman movies) and the 60s Batman surf music. It fits the tone of the movie well even if I don't necessarily like it.
Overall, the film is good to a point. Don't get me wrong, I didn't really like this movie. But I don't think this movie was made for my demographic. This is a kids movie. The first two movies...well, the first movie was a movie that kids could enjoy but was geared more toward adults. This film was a big departure but that doesn't make it a bad film. It's just different then what the fans of the previous Batman films were used to. As a kids film I think it has a lot going for it. The story is fairly good, it's at least interesting to look at, and the action is well choreographed. I can safely say that it's at least much more interesting then Batman Returns. This film just needs to be taken as a kids film, not a film for adults, or even as a family film. This is a kids version of Batman. Taken like that, this movie is ok even if it isn't the type of Batman I prefer.
Faithless: Comic Book to Movie Adaptations
Rorie and Alex are joined by Tony from Comic Vine, and Norm from Tested, to discuss the current state of comic book to movie adaptations.
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