Unlike the Tim Burton pictures, the Batman concept is treated here as a joke.
The very first deadpan line from Batman (now a dead-faced Val Kilmer) is a lame one-liner about getting drive-through food. It’s as if the line was planned to be used in a later tie-in TV commercial.
The Batcave, Batmobile, and other Bat-gadgets no longer attempt to be even remotely plausible, and the action scenes (endless punch-ups) are mostly forgettable.
What Batman Forever does have is over-the-top villains. Fresh from The Mask, Jim Carrey puts his best moves into a big, showy version of The Riddler – a sarcastic, slimy dude in green suits who likes nothing better than to needle Batman.
Tommy Lee Jones excels as former District Attorney Harvey Dent, now the “dualistic” thug Two-Face.
Bruce Wayne’s personal interest, this time around, is split between Nicole Kidman’s Dr Chase Meridian, as a sort of romantic accessory, and Chris O’Donnell’s Dick Grayson, who of course ends up joining Batman to become Robin the Boy Wonder.
Like Carrey, Kidman plays her role with cold precision and comes off as a sharp-tongued concession to intelligent female characters. For an alternative, we’re given a pair of villainous henchwomen – Sugar (Drew Barrymore) and Spice (Debi Mazar).
Batman Forever paints its street thugs in Day-Glo colours like extras from a KISS music video and the movie is filmed like a TV commercial, with fast-cut shots and pacing that soon becomes exhausting.
Meanwhile, the story bolts from confrontation to confrontation, with the origin story of Robin sandwiched in wherever it will fit.
Tommy Lee Jones
Dr Chase Meridian
Young Bruce Wayne
Larry A. Lee