When Batman Returns was released, it took a lot of heat from
critics and parents for being too dark and violent. In fact, the
biggest gripe everyone had about Burton's films was that they
were too violent. Taking this into consideration, Warner decided
that if there was to be a third film it would have to be
different. As a result Joel Schumacher took over for Tim Burton.
Schumacher said that he would provide a lighter approach to
Batman. The director wasn't the only change that happenend. Val
Kilmer replaced Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Elliot
Goldenthal did the music replacing Danny Elfman.
The Story begins as Batman answers to a call from Jim Gordon
about Two-Face. Two Face had recently escaped from Arkham and was
beginning his reign of terror. Meanwhile, former Wayne Tech
employee Edward Nygma schemes to get back at Bruce Wayne.
Apparently Nygma is upset that his invention, a box which turns
imagination into virtual reality, was shelved by Bruce due to
safety reasons. Bruce also meets Chase Meridian, a psychologist
who is in town to study Batman. Bruce, in an effort to know Chase
better, takes Chase to a circus. Two Face holds up the circus and
threatens to bomb it if Batman doesn't step out. Bruce stands up
and says he's Batman but is unheard. The Grayson trapeze family
tries to help out by getting rid of the bomb but they pay for their actions as Two Face causes them to fall to their deaths.
Meanwhile Edward Nygma creates a name for himself as the Riddler.
He sides with Two Face and as Edward Nygma sells his box on his
own. The two rogues discover Bruce's secret and trash Wayne Manor
and take Chase to an island base. Battered and defeated, Bruce
begins his plans to save Chase. He starts by using an
experimental Batsuit. Next Dick Grayson, in his own suit, comes
to help out. Dick has chosen the name Robin, a name which his
father once referred to him as when he helped his brother. Batman
accepts Dicks offer of help and they make their way to the base
by air (Batwing with Batman) and sea (Batboat with Robin) Robin
is captured by the Riddler who gives Batman an opportunity to
save only one. As Batman he can save Robin. As Bruce he can save
Chase. Batman outsmarts the Riddler by destroying his power base
and saves both. This damage to the power bases causes Riddler to
go bonkers. Two face tries to stop Batman but he plunges to his
death when Batman throws a handful of silver dollars to confuse
his coin toss.
This was a good movie. despite the lighter (and sometimes irreverent) approach Schumacher keeps the dark aspect of Batman.
The Interactions between Alfred and Bruce and Dick are the strong
points of this movie. Schumacher wanted to establish a close bond
between Bruce and Alfred and does a darn good job. Tommy Lee
Jones' Two-Face was terrible. Jones was more of a Joker clone
than a Two Face. Nicole Kidman wasn't that bad. Jim Carrey was
pretty darn good as he played a Riddler which mirrored Frank
Gorshin's 60' s version. Overall it was the character
interactions that made this movie good. Chris O Donnel' and Val
Kilmer were solid as Batman and Robin. The sets were ok though not as good as Burton's. The
Visual effects were done by Video Game company Acclaim (which
made a really terrible game of the movie)
The film does have its downsides. First off, the silly one liners slowly
began to sow the seeds of worry amongst many fans. Fans feared that the
franchise was shifting back to the 60's show again. Bruce's character was poorly
written. Having Bruce walk away from Batman and shouting his secret in a crowded
secret showed nothing but lack of knowledge among the writers. This however
doesn't stop the movie from being a total waste and is an improvement over the
poorly written Batman Returns.