Batman Forever

Batman Forever ★★½

"Can I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, sir?"
"I'll get drive-thru."

The first lines spoken in Batman Forever do a good job of framing the kind of movie that it is. This is the McDonald's of Batman movies. It's not really "good" food. But it's not exactly horrible. You eat it, it tastes well enough for the moment, then you move on with the day. Which, hey, I've had rough experiences with it the past couple of times, but generally, I can go for McDonald's. But, when I have something like a steak I can eat, or any other kind of heartier and healthier meat like Batman or Batman Returns, why get Mickey D's? Overlong analogy aside, I don't think this is a bad movie. Joel went for his own thing with the Batman mythos. I honestly like the visual aesthetics for the most part. Even if they can get a little too rough on the eyes, it's so bombastic and simultaneously overtly masculine and extremely feminine that I have to be impressed in some way. (Fun fact, this movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography.) Val Kilmer as Batman is pretty alright. I think Jim Carrey basically doing a performance of a performance as The Riddler works more than it doesn't. Chris O'Donnell is passable. Nicole Kidman is a pretty face but that's about it here. Tommy Lee Jones doesn't bother to hide that this is a phoned-in performance. I feel like there is something interesting here about the psychology of Batman, why Bruce feels the need to wear the cowl and dedicate his life fully to being a vigilante, but it all gets lost in the meandering with the plot and the silly tone. Nothing to take serious really remains when we get straight-up Looney Tunes sound effects in some moments. I am glad I gave this a revisit after several years of not really even thinking about it, yet even though I think this is a substantially better movie, there is something about even Batman & Robin that I find more captivating than this. Shoots for the stars, but winds up in the middle of the road. ("Kiss from a Rose" rules, at least.)


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