The Guilty Pleasures: “Batman Forever”
Warner Brothers just announced that Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway have joined the cast of The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy will be playing the main villain Bane, while Hathaway will be playing the fan-favorite Catwoman. Christopher Nolan, who saved the Batman franchise with his vision and direction, says this will be his last Batman film.
I have always been a huge Batman fan. The first movie I remember seeing in theaters was Batman. I remember my jaw dropping as I watched the unlikely Michael Keaton morph into my favorite comic book hero. I’ll never forget how frightening Jack Nicholson could be every time the Joker came on-screen.
One of my favorite debates is, “Which Batman movie is the best?” You can make cases for all of them, save Batman and Robin. What’s that you say? You can’t make a case for Batman Forever being awesome? Well, challenge me all you want and tell me I’m nuts, but Batman Forever is totally a guilty pleasure for me.
So, let’s break down Batman Forever. After Batman Returns, Warner Brothers decided to move Batman away from a dark and moody style to make the movies even more accessible to the mainstream. Tim Burton, who directed Batman and Batman Returns, was asked to take a backseat so Joel Schumacher could take the helm. Schumacher brought in an all-star cast to make the movie bigger and brighter then the first two.
As a huge Batman fan, I know I should hate this movie. The Riddler is way over the top, Two-Face’s make-up is laughable, Chris O’Donnell can’t act, and there is no chemistry at all between Val Kilmer and Nicole Kidman. But I’m a fan anyway. Joel Schumacher did in fact kill the Batman franchise, but I have to give him a standing ovation for Batman Forever. Sometimes, you can’t explain why you love a movie, but I’ll try to explain why I love Batman Forever.
Back in the 60s, Batman was a big hit, but he wasn’t the serious character he’s known as today. Batman then, was more of a joke. You had Adam West in the title role and let’s just be honest: he didn’t have one muscle on him. This version of Batman was more about having fun doing things like the Bat Dance. But the look of Batman and Batman Forever are similar. Both are very bright, pokes fun at itself, and boast over the top Riddler characters.
I was never a fan of Batman Returns. In the first hour, Batman/Bruce Wayne is on-screen for maybe eight minutes. Maybe it’s just me but when I watch a Batman movie, I actually like to see Batman in the movie. The movie is all about the Penguin. The weird part about the Penguin in Batman Returns is that he’s almost like a man-penguin instead of the mobster that he is in the comics. It really doesn’t make sense. I usually find Tim Burton movies to be fascinating, but Batman Returns left a bad taste in my mouth.
The first four Batman movies don’t even come close to the Christopher Nolan Batman films. With the two newest movies, Batman is finally given the respect he deserves. Both Forever and Knight have Two-Face as a villain. In both films, Harvey Dent acts as one of Gotham’s district attorneys until a horrible accident leaves him scarred and is forever changed into Two-Face. Dent then begins to battle within himself for control as half of his mind wants to be evil while the other half tries to stay good. In Forever, Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t explore this as he’s just portrayed as pure evil. Well, as evil as someone can be when he’s covered in hot pink paint all over his body and dancing around with the Riddler. The Two-Face in the The Dark Knight unfortunately isn’t much better. I love the The Dark Knight, but I just wasn’t a fan of Two-Face. The character comes off silly on-screen, which is a shame because Aaron Eckhart plays Harvey Dent extremely well.
I know for a fact that I will be at the midnight show when The Dark Knight Rises is released, but the movie is going to have a lot of hype to overcome after the success of The Dark Knight. Will it live up to your expectations or will it crash and burn like Batman Forever did for most people?