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- The 90s were a different time.
(1995): Normally I'd be annoyed at the sort of public-opinion retconning that pretends no one liked Batman Forever
upon its release in 1995; as I recall, it got some enthusiastic reviews about its lightness of tone (similar to the constant oscillation between "finally, a dark one!" and "finally, a fun one!" that goes on with today's comic book movies) and made a chunk more at the box office than its pure-Burton predecessor. But it's hard not to join in on the retro-bashing, in large part because what seemed like a slightly cartoony but still acceptable version of Batman when I was fourteen now feels like the Batman & Robin
warning sign we all chose to ignore. Even as a teenager, I understood that hiring Tommy Lee Jones to play Two-Face and then encourage him to participate in a ham-off with Jim Carrey is not productive, although Carrey himself makes an agreeably spindly Riddler, doing that thing where he's not always so much funny as just physically impressive (in an alternate universe, by the way, Semi-Serious Carrey totally could've played the Scarecrow!). There are aesthetic pleasures in Batman Forever
: Carrey's green-suited figure, the fascinatingly hideous neo-Tokyo production design, Nicole Kidman in a bedsheet. But the movie—gutted of subplots and psychology that were probably not much better than the rest, but at least would've helped it make more sense—is a dispiriting Bat-simulation, resting on the peculiar notion that a few sessions with a shrink would render Bruce Wayne a well-adjusted crime-fighter. Val Kilmer, playing the faux-conflicted Wayne, might seem miscast if you could remember that he was in this movie or what he does in it (which is to say barely; not much). Grade: C+