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Read this hilarious review on IMDB of 'Batman and Robin'

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Read this hilarious review on IMDB of 'Batman and Robin'

Old 06-16-05, 03:59 PM
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Read this hilarious review on IMDB of 'Batman and Robin'

To each their own I guess.

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Old 06-16-05, 04:09 PM
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I want to watch his movie. Someone give him some money to make it.
Old 06-16-05, 05:21 PM
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I've read quite a few of this guy's reviews. Here's his review for Batman Forever, with which I agree entirely. Until Begins, Forever was my favorite of the series.

Series note: The Batman films largely stand on their own; they are only continuations of the same story in some very minor details. It's not at all necessary to watch them in a particular order.

Maybe it's because I love the Adam West "Batman" (1966) series so much, but I like Batman Forever better than the two Tim Burton Batman films--this despite the fact that I usually love Tim Burton. But there's more to it than the simple fact that director Joel Schumacher didn't turn a blind eye to the campier past instantiations of the character.

Batman Forever has Batman (Val Kilmer) battling two different villains--Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler (Jim Carrey). The film tells of the villains' origins (Two-Face's is told much more briefly, through a flashback). It also features yet another tortured romantic entanglement between Batman and a blonde--this time it is Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), a published psychiatrist whose work Batman has read, and who has a kind of obsessive fascination with the caped crusader (and other deviant or psychotic personalities). The villains are both working on world-domination plans, naturally enough (although starting locally), and the film eventually introduces the origin story of Batman sidekick Robin (Chris O'Donnell).

One thing I like better about Batman Forever is that Schumacher decides to spend a lot more time with Batman. In interviews that Tim Burton has given, including those in the book Burton on Burton (first published in 1995), he seemed to not know what to do with the character. Burton expressed concern that Batman needed to be grounded in reality, and there needed to be some justification for him dressing up as he does to fight crime. It's a problem I'm not sure Burton ever solved for himself, and as a result, he spends much more time on other characters.

Schumacher, on the other hand, seems very comfortable with the character. He still gives him the same kind of "reality grounding" and the same kind of dark disposition with a touch of sarcasm/smarminess (Keaton's Batman had this as well), but Batman Forever gives the audience a chance to emotionally step into Bruce Wayne's world. At the same time, Schumacher loses none of the focus on the film's villains. There is a fine balance. Plus, the villains seem better constructed here. We have a clear sense of who they are, what their goals are, and why they are doing what they're doing. That combination didn't exist for Burton's Joker, Penguin or Catwoman, who all had some cloudy aspects in terms of motivation and goals. These factors make for a more engaging story.

Stylistically--when it comes to production design, cinematography, and overall atmosphere--Burton can't be beat for what he does, but Schumacher has his own admirable approach. Just as our entry into Batman's world is a bit more open here, so is our entry into the world of Gotham City. Schumacher often uses brighter colors, occasionally almost garish (I like that look--just check out my own artwork), and he has much more broader expanses of architecture, occasionally with a much more open feel. Much of the darkness and claustrophobia of the Burton production design is still present, but in patches. Schumacher takes a more varied approach--heck, there's even a scene here shot in bright, clear daylight. Schumacher's cinematography is also more varied in terms of a greater breadth of exaggerated comic book angles and perspectives, and he occasionally gives us sequences of very quick and glossy insert shots that almost have the feel of a slick, high-budget television commercial. For my money, that works well in this context.

The Riddler and Two-Face are far better integrated here than were The Penguin and Catwoman in Batman Returns--both with the film overall and with each other. Carrey and Jones are given a chance to play off of each other's energy and style, and as different as they are, their chemistry is excellent. For viewers who aren't normally fans of Carrey's comic work, his performance might be a bit difficult to take at times, but he's really just giving a superbly satirical take on Frank Gorshin's Riddler--he's just cranked up both the camp and psychosis levels to 11.

And speaking of psychoses, this is the first Batman film in my view where there is an effective sense of danger from the villains. It may be because Burton has said that he rarely sees anyone in terms of just good or evil, but his villains tend to come across more like Clive Barker's Nightbreed (1990) monsters--you'd just as likely want to hang out with them as with Batman (although don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Nightbreed and Burton's lovable freaks, too). Schumacher directs Carrey and Jones to project visceral, out-of-control menace, yet he still manages to make them multi-faceted.

Even though Burton's films can't escape camp--I'm skeptical that it would be possible (and it certainly isn't desirable, in my view) with Batman--Schumacher differs by giving a number of strong nods to the intentionally campy past Batmans, including Carrey's Riddler and Robin giving us a "Hol(e)y rusted metal, Batman" near the end. I suppose your opinion of the merit of this would be correlated to your view of the Adam West Batman. As I mentioned, I loved West's version, so I'm not at all bothered by the nods to it here. I'm a huge fan of camp.

But the bottom line for me is that Batman Forever just flows better than the two previous films. There's a flow to the story, sequences, and scenes that makes the film coherent, captivating and relatively taut. I know it's not cool--I'll lose any chance of Batman fanboy membership--for saying it, but I love this film. Now it's off to re-watch Batman & Robin and see how many people I can make furious with me about that one!

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