Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That, Who’s Afraid of the Big, Black Bat?: Batman Forever (1995)

Riddle me this, riddle me that, who’s afraid of the big, black bat?

Every time a new Batman movie comes out everyone starts talking about which film they think is the worst of the lot, for me it will always be Batman Forever (1995).

Ugh…this film

I wasn’t originally going to review this film, but since I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of the film I wanted to review, Batman Versus the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Scooby-Doo Meets Batman, Instead I had to settle for this film.

Oh it is also the inspiration for my Jane Austen dress up this year:

There are only two thing I like about this film, Jim Carrry was an excellent choice for Edward Nygma/The Riddler and I liked the change of Robin’s suit so it isn’t bright red and green. I know a lot of people like to make fun of the latter ‘90s Batman films, but both Batman Forever and Batman and Robin updated more of the colorful costumes, something you see in the superhero films/TV shows of today like Captain America, Daredevil, etc.

Tim Burton passed on this film, with Joel Schumacher becoming the director. Along with Burton, Keaton also choose not to come back and they had to find a new Batman, with Val Kilmer getting the role. Now Kilmer is not a bad actor but I think he is terrible in this as he plays it so stiff and unemotional.

This film takes place a year after Batman Returns but isn’t a Christmas film. I. This Batman/Bruce Wayne (Kilmer) is feeling guilty as his friend Harvey Dent (who is now white and played by Tommy Lee Jones instead of Billy Dee Williams) has changed from kind, lovable, and moral lawyer to sadistic killer psychopath. Why the change? He was disfigured with acid by mobster Sal Maroni. I always wished they had gone with the Batman the Animated series versions where he already had a background of mental illness and then the something happened to magnify it.

Anyways, Batman defuses a hostage situation, meeting Arkham’s new psychoanalyst, Dr. Chase Meridan (Nicole Kidman) who is my least favorite Batman love interest. This character was not based on anything from the actual comics but created specifically for the film by screenwriters Janet and Lee Batchler. They thought it would be more interesting for him to date a psychoanalyst rather than a typical socialite. While I like the idea, I feel like this particular version of powerful woman is something men “think” is powerful but instead is just overtly sexual and has her own issues she should be focusing on before trying to assist others.

Batman/Bruce then later hasto go to Wayne Enterprises for his other job. There at Wayne Enterprises is Edward Nygma, big brain scientist who is obsessed with Bruce Wayne. When Bruce rejects his invention of trying to beam television signals into a person’s brain and influence then to make certain purchases, he becomes enraged and it is th trigger that pushes him on a chaotic and murderous path. It’s funny that Bruce is so against this, since that is essentially what most companies are doing. I mean I’m not saying they affect your brainwaves, but they are cataloging your info and trying to influence your shopping. Nygma kills his supervisor and plots to destroy Bruce.

Bruce likes the Dr. Meridian but she likes Batman. Poor guy, he’s falling victim to the Peter Parker/Black Cat scenario, when the girl finds your alter ego exciting but your real life boring. He asks her to accompany him to a charity functions and she agrees to attend. They go to the circus and watch the Flying Graysons perform. Unfortunately the night is ruined by a crazed by Two-Face who demands Batman or else he’ll blow up the whole tent. 17 year old Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell) the youngest of the trapeze troupe manages to disarm Two Face’s bomb and sending it into the river and saving everyone. However, his joy is short lived as a very angry Two-Face kills the rest of the Graysons in retaliation.

Bruce takes Dick in as he recognizes the pain he is in. Dick of course does what every kid would do in a mansion, he goes around looking in every room and discovers the bat cave and that Bruce is Batman. He demands they create the “dynamic duo” but Batman says no. Dick gets angry and basically goes “you’re not my father!” on him.

Dude you were taken in by a billionaire. If that was me I would not be making demands but enjoying it.

Nygma becomes the Riddler and joins forces with Two-Face. Two-Face is way more comedic in this then how I like him to be (as Two-Fave is one of my favorite Batman villains). They really try to send the “split personality” theory home with him not just having his face and suit divided, but his home and two ladies to appeal to both natures (Drew Barrymore and Debi Mazer). I’ve always felt this was way too over the top and silly. Two-Face was a really interesting and complex character and both film portrayals of him were terrible.

Team Two-Face and Riddler commit a series of robberies, the money Riddler funnels into his brainwave project creating the “Box”, which steals information from users’ minds.

Nygma throws a big party and steals info from people (again what happens today wow this movie was ahead of the times), discovering Batman’s secret identity and almost killing Bruce (before he knows he is Batman). Luckily Dick saves the day.

Dr. Chase turns on the bat signal and tries to seduce Batman, propositioning him, but he refuses her. Later he goes to her office as Batman, but she rejects him as she is in love with Bruce.

Are you really? I mean all your conversations have been you being rude to him, talking over him, and basically treating him as if he was a buffoon.

With the info about Batman the dastardly duo blow up his house/batcave and kidnap Dr. Meridian. Bruce and Alfred deduce who is behind this (Nygma), Bruce has Duck/Robin be his partner, an they save the day.

At the end they have captured Nygma but he’s lost his mind and Batman’s secret is safe forever.

So even though this film is Batman Forever, Val Kilmer did not stay Batman Forever, as he didn’t get for the bat suit and in the final film was replaced by George Clooney. Dr. Meridan also didn’t turn out to be a “forever” relationship as in the next film they are broken up.

The film is not as interesting as the previous two (or I’d argue the latter one) which is sad as there was a lot that could have been done with the characters. It’s definitely my least favorite of all the Batman films.

For more Batman, go to A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)

For more detectives, go to The Crimes of Juliet O’Hara and a Blast from the Past: Psych the Movie (2017)

For more Tommy Lee Jones, go to I Could Shoot You in the Middle of Mardi Gras and They Can’t Touch Me…: Double Jeopardy (1999)

For more Jim Carrey, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

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