Batman Forever (1995)

(Second viewing, on DVD, September 2009) In retrospect, the post-1989 Batman movies neatly fall into a trio of pairs, with Batman Forever being the first of the Joel Schumacher duo that would reach such a nadir with Batman & Robin.  While Batman Forever is noticeably worse than Burton’s Batman Returns, it still carries itself with flashy colourful blockbuster grandeur, with ridiculous set-pieces that nonetheless show a certain breadth of conception.  As a result, it hasn’t aged all that badly… but don’t expect much: there are still plenty of ridiculous moments in the mix, and Jim Carrey as the Riddler now feels like Ace Ventura in costume: his tics are so recognizably his that they don’t mesh all that well in the bigger tapestry of the movie.  The rest often feels overlong and underthought, with a campy atmosphere that never completely meshes with the rest of the film.  The special edition DVD is both interesting and disappointing in that it does present a number of interesting deleted scenes that deepen the film (and those themes would later pop up in the Nolan-era Batman movies) but almost never acknowledges its troubled production history.  Even Schumacher’s commentary presents a rosy view of Batman Forever’s production: it’s not an uninteresting commentary, but it seems to skirt around essential material.  The rest of the features aren’t much above promotional fluff.

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