Monday, July 11, 2011

Give Us Your Worst, Part 7: Batman Forever

It would not be accurate to say that we remembered Batman Forever fondly, however our recollections were not altogether negative. Sure, we remembered this as a bad movie - a very bad movie, in fact - but we also remembered a sort of campy charm, of parts that were fun enough to offer some consolation despite how bad the rest was.

Our memory, it seems, is not infallible. This movie was, start to finish, an abysmal waste with no redeeming aspects whatsoever, aside from the song that plays during the closing credits (one of just two U2 songs we've a soft spot for). None of the moments we recalled favorably held up. Jim Carrey's Riddler, while almost a functional homage to Frank Gorshin, falls short and comes off as cheap, cartoonish schtick. The "Holy-rusted-metal" line: no longer funny.

Picking out individual flaws while watching this movie is akin to looking for a needle while swimming in a vat of needles (easy to find, because there seem to be needles sticking into your eyes). Tommy Lee Jones's Two-Face (renamed, for no conceivable reason, "Harvey Two-Face") is nothing more a facsimile of Nicholson's Joker, with all of Dent's psychological complexity thrown out in favor of maniacal comic relief. Chris O'Donnell's Dick Grayson is even worse: far too old for the role, he makes no sense whatsoever.

Meanwhile, Val Kilmer (who, by rights, could have been an inspired casting choice, were this a far better movie) as Batman acts without any degree of logic or reason. His motivation is ground into the dirt by a director who clearly lacks any comprehension of the character.

The love interest, Dr. Chase Meridian, is potentially more insane than any of the villains. In fact, the overall portrayal of women in this movie is outright sickening. As is the movie itself.

Ultimately, these complaints are trivial in the scheme of things. With good movies, character, plot, setting, dialogue, direction, cinematography and dozens of other factors are of paramount importance. But, we are learning that only a single question matters when it comes to bad films.

Was this interesting to watch in the least?

And, in the case of Batman Forever, the answer is no. It is a boring, pointless exercise in camp that is neither fun nor funny.

Soon we'll have to confront another question: is Batman and Robin actually worse?

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