I missed a week. Maybe it was because I wasn’t particularly excited about viewing the next two installments of the series. Maybe it was because I got busy with other life requirements. Maybe it was none of the above. I’ll never tell.
I’m gonna talk about Batman Forever and Batman and Robin in one post because I feel they are very similar in their flaws and strengths. B&R is the exact same as BF, only worse in every way.
Because of Batman Returns, the studios and legions of moms felt it was getting way too dark. So they decided to lighten things up and make a more kid-friendly Bat-film ( it’s interesting, though, that the animated series is based off of Batman Returns and not Batman Forever). The new director for the job was Joel Schumacher and the new Batman was Val Kilmer. Many people aren’t as critical of Forever as they are of B&R, but they kinda should be. It’s dumbed down and irritating. The action scenes are completely implausible, and the characters act unreal and stupid.
But that’s with the eyes of this 29 year old fanboy who has seen the film more than a dozen times. When it was released in 1995, I loved it. It was the first live action Bat film I saw in the theater. I had a Val Kilmer/Chris O’Donnell semi-homo-erotic fist bumping poster on my wall. I really like Batman and Robin too. It wasn’t until time passed that I began to realize how awful they were.
In my mind, the mistake was pretty simple. They were clearly trying to make these movies more like the 60’s TV show, yet still be ultra cool and hip and a little dark. Those things just don’t mix. Batman: the movie was a parody, and is funny and clever. Batman and Robin is neither. But, I suppose there were some good things in the Schumacher Bat films.
The High Points:
The Title: The tagline at the end of the theatrical trailer says, “Courage now. Truth always. Batman Forever.” Kinda gave me chills. Maybe that should be the next tattoo I get. I’ll put it right under the pug on a pogo stick.
The music: Although not as everlasting as the former, the new Batman theme is pretty great. I also liked the opening credits, with the Warner Brothers symbol morphing into the Bat symbol, and the opening titles flying across the screen. But they ruin a good thing in the sequel by putting silly automobile sound effects to O’Donnell and Silverstones’ names.
Two- Faces’ goons: I like their design. And their neon guns.
The Second Best Laundry scene in film history:
It’s second only to this one.
Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face: Oh, what a great idea! Oh, the potential! He’ll be so angry and intense! This is gonna be great!
The Low Points
Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face: Wait a minute…why is Jim Carrey playing the Riddler and Two-face?
Everything else: That’s a little harsh, I know. But I tried to watch it last week and I didn’t even finish it. Maybe I’ll lock it away and will enjoy it in 30 to 40 years. Maybe Batman Forever is like a good wine, and time will make it better.
BATMAN AND ROBIN
The High Points
The freezing special effects: They still look pretty good.
The Bat Family: This is a concept that seems to work in the comics, but so far has failed to be realized in a successful way on film. I love Robin and Batgirl, and even though they suck in this movie(especially Batgirl) maybe it was worth it for the very final scene where all three of them are running away from the bat signal like it was the black rubber police. I doubt we will every see the three of them on screen again. Unless I write it.
George Clooney makes a good Bruce Wayne: I’d say even better than Val Kilmer.
The Ice Puns!
The Low Points: Oh so many.
Don’t let all the negative press for Batman and Robin fool you into thinking maybe it isn’t as bad as they say. It is. But, it can be quite enjoyable to watch with a case of beers and a group of friends who love to laugh at bad movies. It’s bad enough to be good, which is something I can’t say for Batman Forever.
Ok. Now that that’s over with, we can get to the really good stuff.