Batman Forever (1995): Schumacher’s Third Installment, Starring Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman

Will the third Batman film be as big and as attention-grabbing  media event as the first two chapters? That was the question that warner’s top honchos asked itself when it decided to greenlight “Batman Forever.”
Grade: C (*1/2* out of *****)
Batman Forever
Theatrical release poster featuring Batman and various characters from the film.

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin

A stand-alone sequel to the superb 1992 Batman Returns, it stars Val Kilmer who replaces Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

The plot focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face and the Riddler in their villainous scheme to extract confidential information from all minds in Gotham City, and then apply it to figutring out Batman’s identity and bring the city under their control.

In the process, he gains allegiance from a young, orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick Robin, and and develops feelings for psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian.

The dilemma: will he be able lead a normal life, or is he is destined to continue and fight crime as Batman forever.

Val Kilmer, a handsome but vain and limited actor, plays the Caped Crusader in this installment, which adds youth and buff in a desperate effort to match the success of the previous chapters.
Unfortunately, Joel Schumacher takes over direction from Tim Burton, who now merely serves as a produced. Warner reportedly felt that Tim Burton’s brilliant “Batman Returns” was too dark for children and hired Schumacher to brighten things up.
I love what Burton said about the picture’s title: “I always hated those titles like Batman Forever. That sounds like a tattoo that somebody would get when they’re on drugs or something. Or something some kid would write in the yearbook.”
“Batman Forever” boasts new costumes (after all, Schumacher began his career as window dresser and costume designer), a revamped Batmobile, and some new characters. unfold as a quilt But his direction leaves much to be desired: the movie is sharply uneven and lacks unified vision or consistent tone.  The narrative (such as it is) unfolds as a quilt, or patchwork, consisting of set-pieces that are barely connected and could be rearranged because the plot lacks any logic (even movieish logic).
Negotiations with Robin Williams to play the Riddler failed, so it’s Jim Carrey who provides menace as the Riddler in an overstated performance. 
The actor to battle the Caped Crusader, Tommy Lee Jones set to wreak havoc in Gotham City as Harvey Two-Face, the ultimate split personality. Not only is his face half-destroyed, his house is also ruined.
The otherwise gifted Tommy Lee Jones plays Harvey Dent as a knock-off of Joker, rather than as a multi-layered rogue.
Icy cold Nicole Kidman, who looks great, is the seductive femme, Dr. Chase Meridian, and the charmingly boyish Chris O’Donnell is Robin/Dick Grayson.
Without a doubt, “Batman Forever” is the weakest of the three Batman movies.  Schumacher would run the series to the ground with the fourth (and worst) chapter, “Batman and Robin,” in 1997.
Despite poor reviews, the $100 million movie was commercial at the box-office, earning globally $ 336 million.

Oscar Nominations:

Cinematography: Stephen Goldblatt
Sound: Donald O. Mitchell, Frank A. Montano, Michael Herbick, Peter Hiddal
Sound effects Editing: John Leveue, Bruce Stambler
Oscar Awards: None

Credits:

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Tim Burton, Peter MacGregor-Scott

Screenplay by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman

Story by Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batchler, based on characters in magazines published by DC Comics Batman characters by Bob Kane.

Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Edited by Dennis Virkler

Production company: Warner Bros.

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date: June 16, 1995 (wide)

Running time: 129 minutes