Batman Forever

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 Hours and 2 Minutes

Reviewer: Dale
Grade: D

Comparing this movie to the first "Batman" is rather like comparing "Ernest Goes to Camp" to "Casablanca". No, actually, I take that back. That's an insult to "Ernest Goes to Camp" a movie that, while not exactly brilliant, at least includes a scene in which turtles wearing parachutes fly through the air. "Ernest Goes to Camp" is no "Citizen Kane", but at least there were no nipples on Ernest's outfit.

Yes, I said "nipples". They put nipples on the Batsuit. Was this a major issue? Were there people out there who looked at the Batsuit of the first movie and decided to boycott the series until nipples were featured? If so, then the world is in a sicker state than I previously thought. I knew there were some slimeballs around, but Jeez! From the instant that we see the affending aureoles protruding from the leather outfit that Batman dons in the first scene of this movie (the Batcave must be pretty cold or something) we know that trouble is afoot. Say what you will about the first movie, but at least we weren't treated to good, long look at Batman's leather-clad ass within the first ten minutes. Just what kind of sick, fucking Batman movie is this anyway?

And it doesn't stop with the nipples! If you thought I were giving this movie a "D" simply because of some nipple action, you are wrong. The nipples are just the tip of the iceberg. It isn't long before things go even further downhill. I have a laundry list of complaints about this movie, my amigos, so just hold onto something while I make them known.

The script is pretty bad. Did I say bad? I mean atrocious. And most of the critics that I heard from actually applauded the dialogue. Well, I guess I must have seen a totally different movie than those folks. Because where they heard great lines, I heard howlers like "I'll get drive-thru" and "The Bat signal is not a beeper". Clunk! Yikes! Jim Carrey must have written his own lines, because they are actually witty.

The villainous plot was lifted straight out of a Monkees episode. Manipulating the brainwaves of Gotham City's populace? Seen it! Excuse me while I go to the lobby and look at the pretty posters. It's not even that good of an idea in the first place.

Who asked them to redesign the car? The first Batmobile was actually cool. This one just looks dorky. Actually, the whole movie looks lame. The first two were unfairly bashed for being too dark. What the hell was that all about? The man is a BAT! Bats are nocturnal creatures! What led people to believe that this would be a bright movie? Instead of that dark, mysterious and eerie motif we are instead treated to some sort of half-assed Tommy Bartlett light show. Neon lights and crazy colors emanate out of nowhere. They don't brighten the movie up, they just clutter the screen and give the whole thing the production design of a cheesy Las Vegas casino.

Nicole Kidman and Val Kilmer have been good in other movies but neither of them do anything remotely interesting here. They stand around looking vaguely lost. Who can blame them? There is nothing here for them to sink their talents into and, therefore, no reason for them to be here. Nicole's career has never quite recovered from this and Val's hasn't recovered at all. Before this he had done fine, understated work in movies like "Tombstone" and "The Doors" and had even livened up the movie "Willow". After this it was on to dreck like "The Island of Dr. Moreau". Chris O' Donnell hasn't climbed out of the sinkhole this movie sent him into either. He looks like he's in a gay pride parade here. Someone outted him without his even knowing it. Poor Chris. Then again, Robin has always been a lump on the ass of the Batman story anyway. Batman doesn't need the putz. He serves no purpose. He proves nothing. Lose him.

The only bright spots of this movie are the acting by Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones. Sure, they were in a pile of crap, but no one seems to have told them. They didn't get that memo. Carrey is hilarious whenever he's onscreen and Tommy Lee Jones is truly unhinged. They aren't great performances, but at least they're amusing. It's more than you can say for the rest of the film. And Michael Gough again does an admirable job as Alfred. He attempts lend class to this turd and instead just reminds you what worked so well about the first two.

Ultimately, these three things are not enough to make Batman Forever work. Some of the fight scenes are vaguely interesting, but they only go to show that Batman has been pussied out. He doesn't kill people. He doesn't really even hurt them, and that's what is wrong here. Batman succeeds only when he is almost as ruthless as the people he is after, only when you aren't sure whether or not to trust him. He doesn't work when he has been neutered.

But I'm sure that this one is better than "Batman and Robin". I never saw that one, but I heard the R. Kelly song from its soundtrack and I think I know enough.