Director Joel Schumacher
Written by Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman
Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Drew Barrymore, Debi Mazar, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley Jnr (unbilled).
With a fresh ‘mid 90s’ take on the Batman saga, a new director, new Batman, and a much more colourful almost pulp noir type Gotham.
The movie shows that Batman (now played by Kilmer, more on his performance in a moment) has been going up against new villain Two Face (Jones, hamming it up to the nth degree).
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has unknowingly made an enemy in one of his employees Edward Nygma (Carrey) after shutting down his idea within WayneTech – a device that could beam television signals directly to people’s brains, fearing it could manipulate minds.
This causes him to snap and become The Riddler. Soon these two antagonists are teaming up to bring down both Bruce Wayne and Batman!
Elsewhere in the overloaded script is the love triangle between new psychologist to Gotham Dr Chase Merridian (Kidman), who is in love with Bruce Wayne and yes Batman. As much as I am a fan of Kidman, she is totally wrong for this role. She was too young to be really taken seriously and it is distracting, especially since the previous film had such a strong female lead.
O’Donnell, who at 25 when he made this, was the opposite of the previous issue too, he was far too old to play the character of Dick Grayson. He too is completely miscast considering some of the dialogue said about him (Child services amongst others).
Kilmer is fine as Bruce Wayne, but sadly makes a poor Batman – he is stiff and this might be the result of a bulky suit. One very strong and positive part of the movie is the relationship between himself and Alfred (played again by the late great Michael Gough, being one of two actors to appear in all three movies so far). The flashbacks of Bruce’s youth, and his broken psyche is one of the strongest elements of the film (and even has some gothic nostalgia from the first two films.
Schumacher did a fine job with this film, it’s not anywhere near as good as #1 & #2, but it is an admirable effort by almost all who worked on the film.
Followed by Batman and Robin in 1997