‘Batman Forever’ (Film)

‘BATMAN FOREVER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Batman, Robin and Chase Meridian with Two-Face and the Riddler

Batman Forever’ is the third of the original ‘Batman’ movie series. It was produced by Tim Burton and directed by Joel Schumacher. It stars Val Kilmer as Batman, replacing Michael Keaton in the role.

The film features two villains in Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. It also stars Nicole Kidman as the sexy Dr. Chase Meridian and introduces Chris O’Donnell as sidekick Robin.

The first time I saw this movie was when I had it as a birthday present from Stephen, my best mate from school. I enjoyed ‘Batman Forever’ very much and consider it to be one of my favourite films.

I’m not claiming to be an avid ‘Batman’ fan, but this was a superhero movie that I found very engaging and entertaining to watch! Since seeing this, I have seen more interpretations of ‘Batman’.

I was impressed with the stellar star-studied cast featured in the film. I admit this film takes on a comedic edge compared to the previous two films. That might have something to do with the stars.

I like Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the movie. I would have to consider him one of my favourite ‘Batman’ actors! It’s a shame he only did one film in the original ‘Batman’ film series.

Apparently Val Kilmer and director Joel Schumacher didn’t get on well with each other whilst they were making the movie, due to creative differences. This would explain why ‘Batman & Robin’ failed.

I like the heroic, dark balance that Val Kilmer put into his performance as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. It was intriguing how he interacted with Chase Meridian; Robin and his two enemies in this.

Tommy Lee Jones stars as Two-Face/Harvey Dent in the movie. One point of interest is that Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in the first ‘Batman’ movie. Does that mean Harvey Dent’s a Time Lord?

I enjoyed Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as Two-Face in the movie. However, I think Tommy Lee Jones enjoyed himself too much in the villainous role. Perhaps he was competing with Jim Carrey. 😀

Jim Carrey stood out for me as the wacky and sometimes over-the-top Riddler in the movie. I’ve seen Jim Carrey in many comedy films and it was so hard to take him seriously as I watched the film.

I sometimes wonder whether Jim Carrey put too much into his performance as the Riddler, making him too silly and comedic. But somehow I found him entertaining and he fitted the Riddler perfectly.

There were times when I found Jim Carrey’s delivery of lines so over-the-top when they could be so menacing. The “Batman? Batman, you say? Coming for you?…” line springs to mind as I think of this.

Nicole Kidman stars as Dr. Chase Meridian, the romantic interest of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the movie. I did like Nicole’s sexy performance as Chase and when she’s interested in Batman and Bruce.

Chase is a psychologist who becomes fascinated by the dual nature of Batman in the movie. It was nice to see how Chase interacted with the two versions of the same guy before she learns the truth.

Chris O’Donnell stars as Dick Grayson/Robin, who makes his first appearance in the ‘Batman’ movie series. I enjoyed Robin’s introduction in the film. It was so interesting how he meets up with Batman.

Robin wants revenge on Two-Face, since his family were killed during a circus performance he took part in. Robin soon becomes Batman’s sidekick and the duo set off to fight Two-Face and the Riddler.

The film also stars Michael Gough as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler and Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. It was nice to see René Auberjonois (from ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’) as Dr. Burton here.

I enjoyed the action sequences featured in the movie, especially with Batman driving the Batmobile as well as he and Robin driving other Bat vehicles. The climatic fights were thrilling for me in the film.

‘Batman Forever’ has been an action-packed and enjoyable superhero film for me. It features a great cast with superb villains and a good story. I know people won’t agree with me, but that’s how I feel.

I really enjoyed the performances of Val Kilmer as Batman in the movie as well as Jim Carrey as the wacky Riddler! I now have this ‘Batman’ movie to watch on my tablet whenever I want to on holiday.

‘Batman Forever’ was released on a 2-disc special edition DVD in 2005. The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s an audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher and a theatrical trailer of the movie.

On Disc 2, there’s the ‘Why is Batman Forever?’ TV documentary; the ‘Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight, Part 5’ documentary and the ‘Beyond Batman’ documentary/gallery. There’s also ‘The Heroes’ profiles gallery; ‘The Villains’ profile gallery; the ‘Kiss From A Rose’ music video by Seal and deleted scenes from the film.

‘Batman Forever’ rating – 8/10


‘BATMAN FOREVER’ (NOVELIZATION)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Joel Schumacher Universe of ‘Batman’ Begins In Book

‘Batman Forever’ is a great movie novelization! What do you expect when you get Peter David?!

Since I received ‘Batman Forever’ on DVD as a birthday present from my best friend Stephen, and when I purchased the complete DVD box set of the four ‘Batman’ film anthology from 1989 to 1997, I’ve become wiser about this movie. It has flaws, but I still consider it as one of my favourite movies.

I know, you think I’m crazy. But hear me out. When I first saw ‘Batman Forever’, I got a sense of actual pleasure from watching this superhero movie with over-the-top villainous performances and a light-hearted approach. I know it’s a guilty pleasure on my part, but I still can’t help what I like, can I?

I’ve seen ‘Batman Forever’ more times than usual from when I first saw it on DVD. I even watch the movie on my tablet/phone whenever I go on holiday breaks or go for weekends to conventions. I can see the flaws people address with regards to this ‘Batman’ movie and appreciate what they’re getting at.

I even saw a review by the Nostalgia Critic with the Last Angry Geek on ‘Batman Forever’ in February 2018 before reading the novelization of the movie. I enjoyed that review a lot and agreed with some of the points raised in that. But I still can’t help liking ‘Batman Forever’ and finding some merit to it.

I’ve seen most of the ‘Batman’ movies made in cinematic history, including the original four-movie series, ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, the DC Extended Universe movies with Batman, the Adam West ‘Batman’ films and of course ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’. 😀 And this has all led me to one conclusion.

The majority of ‘Batman’ fans consider the two Joel Schumacher films as the weakest instalments in the ‘Batman’ movie series. This I can appreciate, as I know ‘Batman Forever’ does have some flaws and ‘Batman & Robin’ is the weakest of the original ‘Batman’ films, despite me enjoying it on a level.

But all the same, does that mean ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman & Robin’ can’t be saved? Are they just going to be considered not very good ‘Batman’ films without looking into what potential the storylines for those movies had? Well, that was what I wanted to find out with the film novelizations.

I had the ‘Batman Forever’ novelization in late 2017 when I received it in the post from Amazon. It was in tatty condition when I received it, but it was still readable and easy to enjoy when I eventually read the book in March 2018. I couldn’t wait to get into the world of ‘Batman Forever’ in book form.

You may be wondering why I went for ‘Batman Forever’ instead of the first 1989 ‘Batman’ film or even ‘Batman & Robin’ in book form. The answer is: Peter David wrote the novelization. Who’s Peter David? He’s a great writer of books, comics and anything related to superheroes and anything sci-fi.

Peter David wrote the movie novelizations of ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Spider-Man 2’ and ‘Spider-Man 3’ which I loved reading. He also wrote the novelization for the 2005 ‘Fantastic Four’ movie. So since I enjoyed those novelizations very much, I wanted to read another Peter David superhero movie novelization.

‘Batman Forever’ was the perfect book for me as a superhero movie novelization by Peter David. I knew he would do justice with this movie when novelizing it. He’d also enhance the characters featured in the book as well as amend some of the weaker points in the plot identified in the movie.

And yes, I know Peter David would be relying on the screenplay by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler and Akiva Goldsman before seeing the movie itself. But he makes up with adding some new scenes in the book that were never shown in the film as well as reinserting deleted scenes from the movie.

The book is divided into three sections. There’s ‘Then…’, ‘…Now…’ and there’s ‘…And Forever…’ ‘Then…’ contains three prologues. The rest of the book is divided into 27 chapters with the last four in the ‘…And Forever…’ section. So that makes 30 chapters altogether in the ‘Batman Forever’ novel.

Also contained in the book are eight pages of photo stills from the movie. This was quite a common thing in most novelizations of film and TV productions where they would include pictures from the movie to identify for people that they were reading the same products. The photos are pretty good.

I read this book for most of March 2018. This was during the time we had that cold snowy spell as well as me attending the ‘Carlisle Comic Con’ which I enjoyed doing. I even re-watched ‘Batman Forever’ to help identify what was new and different in the book compared to what was in the film.

As I said before, the novelization contains some new scenes as well as re-inserting deleted scenes that weren’t featured in the movie. I watched the deleted scenes of ‘Batman Forever’ on YouTube. Most of these deleted scenes focus more on Bruce Wayne/Batman than on the villains in the movie.

The book begins with the three prologues. The first prologue is on Bruce Wayne who seems to be running after his parents’ funeral into the night. The second prologue is on Edward Nygma and the start of his obsession with Bruce Wayne. The third prologue is on Harvey Dent first meeting Batman.

Chapter 1 of the book is actually an alternative opening sequence where Dr. Burton discovers Harvey Dent has escaped from his cell in Arkham Asylum. I’ve seen the deleted scene on YouTube, although there’s more to it in the book. René Auberjonois has more than one scene in the movie apparently.

There’s also a brand new scene of a chapter early on in the book where Chase Meridian gets introduced different by being mugged and having her purse stolen by a thug. Dick Grayson also makes a new introduction in the book when he stops the mugger and giving the purse back to Chase.

What I like about this movie novelization is that Peter David makes the effort of referring back to the first two ‘Batman’ movies by Tim Burton to keep in with the continuity of the original movie series. This includes mentions of the Joker, the Penguin and Catwoman who Batman had fought previously.

I still must ask though. How come it’s never explained how Michael Keaton regenerated into Val Kilmer in the film series’ continuity in book form? I assume that Harvey Dent was Billy Dee Williams when Batman met him in the book’s third prologue before he regenerated into Tommy Lee Jones. 😀

The structure of the book is different compared to the movie. In the book, Bruce Wayne meets Edward Nygma first at Wayne Enterprises before he goes off as Batman to fight Two-Face at the Gotham bank. This is different in the movies as the scenes are switched around with Two-Face first.

There’s also a switching of Chase sending the Batsignal to lure Batman after Bruce sees the signal from Wayne Major when he’s talking to Alfred. It ties in nicely to the scene where Batman gets chased by Two-Face and his thugs as well as making sense in terms of the continuity of the film plot.

It also gets explored about why Edward Nygma is so obsessed with Bruce Wayne, since it came from an early age in his childhood as identified in the second prologue. This would get referred to now and again. I’m not sure if reading the book makes Nygma’s character convincing than Jim Carrey did.

Whilst I’m at it, it’s interesting how Batman forms a good working relationship with Harvey Dent in the third prologue before he becomes Two-Face. The court scenes where Harvey Dent gets hit by acid to become Two-Face are now depicted as flashbacks rather than as news reports in the movie.

I’ve noticed whilst reading the book that the scenes where Edward Nygma watches the circus on TV aren’t depicted from the movie. The scene where Nygma chooses his Riddler costume and name also don’t get shown in the book. The Riddler makes his appearance to Two-Face without those scenes.

I don’t know why Peter David omitted those scenes from the movie in the book, since it would help to establish how Nygma became aware of Two-Face before he became the Riddler. It’s an interesting choice and I’m not sure if Peter David found those scenes weak when translating the film into book.

In the book, Edward Nygma builds his Nygmatech Industries stuff with ‘the box’ on Claw Island. I know that’s indicated in the film too, but from watching the film it wasn’t very clear to me. Also, I don’t think Claw Island gets mentioned a lot in the film. I could be wrong of course, but I did miss it.

Dick Grayson’s background gets explored more in the book as well as his determination to kill Two-Face for revenge on his parents’ death. There’s a reinserted deleted scene where Dick’s working out with a punch-bag and expressing his anger on it, as Bruce enters and attempts to connect with him.

It was interesting to read in the book why Dick gets so reckless with getting his revenge on Two-Face and how he tries to be manipulative in getting to be Batman’s partner. This is the case when he informs Bruce he won’t kill Two-Face, accompanying him to Claw Island to fight him and the Riddler.

More gets explored about Bruce Wayne’s supressed memories and whether he made the right choice on becoming the dark knight. This is explored when Batman is being buried alive in the abandoned subway as he’s wondering whether he’s been seeking death to reunite with his parents.

There were times when I could envisage scenes from ‘Batman Begins’ as well as the 1989 ‘Batman’ movie when Bruce had flashbacks to his parents’ death. I liked it when Bruce heard his killer say ‘by the pale moonlight’; keeping the link that Jack Napier killed his parents before he became the Joker.

Another deleted scene from the movie reinserted in the book is when Bruce gives Chase a phone-call and she asks “Who is this?” when he doesn’t speak. He hangs up and asks Alfred, “Who am I?” This explores more of Bruce’s psyche which should have been added more merit to the film as intended.

The scene where Batman meets up with Chase and she tells him she loves another is handled differently in the book. Batman actually goes inside Chase’s apartment rather than just kissing her at her windowsill. He also sees the photos of himself replaced by ones of Bruce Wayne on Chase’s desk.

After Batman is gone, Chase takes out a tape recorder and reveals that she figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Chase also realises she’s been manipulative in spending time with Bruce before throwing her tape recorder into the fireplace. Bruce sees this with Chase from another building top.

The section where Two-Face and the Riddler invade Wayne Manor with Bruce and Chase inside is handled differently in the book compared to the film. There aren’t any Halloween scenes with the kids and no trick or treating. I feel that works better in the book compared to what was in the movie.

There’s also another reinserted deleted scene after the Two-Face/Riddler attack on Wayne Manor where Bruce suffers amnesia and rediscovers the Batcave. Apparently there’s another cave underneath the Batcave that the Riddler knew nothing about when he blew it up which is intriguing.

Bruce finds the red journal and it gets revealed why he blames himself for his parents’ death before discovering it wasn’t his fault. There’s also a moment when Bruce confronts a human-sized bat (which I found ludicrous, even on YouTube) before he comes out of the cave with his memory back.

The prototype Batsuit that Bruce Wayne would wear as Batman in the climax of the movie gets hinted at now and again during the ‘Batman Forever’ plot in book form. This seems to work compared to the film, as we were shown the prototype suit after the Riddler destroyed the Batcave.

Two-Face’s death is handled differently in the book compared to the film. In the film, Batman throws up coins in the air to confused Two-Face before sending him to his death. In the book, Batman uses his Batarang to knock the coin out of the way before Two-Face reaches out and he falls to his death.

The book ends as usual with Chase seeing Nygma in his cell in Arkham Asylum before coming out and telling Bruce Wayne that his secret is safe as Batman. The book ends differently with Chase asking Alfred, “Does it ever end…?” and Alfred responding “No, Miss. Not in this lifetime.” to finish it.

I have much more to say about the ‘Batman Forever’ novelization by Peter David, but I think it’s now time to stop. Simply saying, I enjoyed reading the ‘Batman Forever’ novelization. Is it better than the movie though? Yes it is! Peter David clearly does well with enhancing the characters and the storyline.

I’ve seen ‘Batman Forever’ more than once now and still consider it to be one of my favourite superhero movies. I know that won’t agree with everyone, but it’s a guilty pleasure. I’m very pleased I read the book of this movie and discovering more with new scenes and changes to make it better.

Will I read the ‘Batman & Robin’ novelization next? Well…you’ll have to wait and see! 😀

‘Batman Forever’ (Novelization) rating – 9/10


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6 thoughts on “‘Batman Forever’ (Film)

  1. You don’t want me to go into a angry rant about Jim Carrey & his over the top hammy borderline cringeworthy bad performance as The Riddler do you? Lol

    I agree Val Kilmer was a excellent Batman but was hampered by being in a Schumacher Batman film although to be far this has one of my favourite openings to a Batman movie & Robins backstory was brilliantly done but again to much focus on the villains & not on Batman & his inner turmoil, you’ll notice this was dealt more in depth in the deleted scenes & they should have been included in the film & have Jim Carreys scenes taken out.

    I liked Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face but he’s overshadowed by that hyperactive imbecile Jim Carrey.

    The tone is uneven as well, there’s some dark moments merged with pure campiness & i don’t think the different tones contrasted each other particularly well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen your angry rant about Jim Carrey’s Riddler already, so you needn’t worry about that! I don’t want you to turn into the Incredible Hulk on my blog anyway! 😀

    I wish there were more films with Val Kilmer as Batman as I found him really good in this. I think it’s fair to say that Val Kilmer was the saving grace of this movie, as he took the part seriously whereas everyone else (except Chris O’Donnell, Nicole Kidman and Michael Gough) went bonkers. 😀

    Yeah I like the opening to this ‘Batman’ movie as well. Have you noticed that Joel Schumacher uses the same trick again with his opening for ‘Batman & Robin’ as he does for this one. I prefer the opening to ‘Batman Forever’ better than ‘Batman & Robin’. 😀

    I’ve not seen the deleted scenes of ‘Batman Forever’, since I don’t have the 2-disc special edition DVD for this movie. But that’s interesting in that they showed more of Batman’s inner turmoil. It would have been interesting to have seen that in the film.

    I think that is the problem with these ‘Batman’ movies. The tone does become uneven and whilst it’s an interesting attempt to merge both dark and light, the results are debatable as to whether they really work.

    Thank you for your thoughts and comments on this ‘Batman’ movie, Simon. I still consider it one of my favourites, but I can still your point of view on why you don’t like this movie as much as I do, especially with Jim Carrey. 😀

    Tim. 🙂

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    • I will have to check them out, thanks Simon. They should be interesting.

      I hope one day to read the movie novelization of ‘Batman Forever’ by Peter David someday. I love Peter David’s novelizations of the three ‘Spider-Man’ movies with Tobey Maguire. Perhaps the movie novelization of ‘Batman Forever’ will be better than the film.

      Tim. 🙂

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  3. Great review on the novelisation, Batman Forever could’ve been really good if it weren’t for Carreys mug overacting & chewing the scenery, it needed to focus more on Bruce Waynes inner turmoil rather than the Jim Carrey show, thankfully the novel remedies this somewhat, I think the giant bat was more symbolic that Vruce now embracing being Batman rather than having to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on the ‘Batman Forever’ novelisation.

      I don’t mind Jim Carrey’s over the top performance as the Riddler in the movie. I accepted it as part of the Riddler’s insane wacko character. There are times when I heard Jim Carrey’s performance as the Riddler in the book and other times when he could be toned down. The scene where the Riddler gets tips on punching a guy by Two-Face is handled differently in the book compared to the movie version. I am glad the jokey stuff where Edward Nygma watches the circus on TV and decides to become the Riddler are removed from the film in the book, but it was odd the Riddler was established with no set up to him by the author Peter David.

      I enjoyed the book’s extra stuff on Bruce Wayne’s. journey in the story compared to the movie. I suppose if that scene with the giant bat was symbolic like you said and more dreamlike in Bruce’s head, then maybe I could accept the plausibility of that scene even if it was deleted.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Simon. I enjoyed reading the novelization. I won’t be reading the ‘Batman & Robin’ novelization next, as I’ll need to purchase it first from Amazon and I have other books to read first. I hope I’ll get onto read it someday. I want to know if the book’s better than the film.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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