"Who's Afraid of the Big, Black Bat?"
Superhero movies seem to always be a little extra and Batman Forever, with Val Kilmer as Batman, is no different.
I’m working on giving only what you need to know about the plot to make my breakdown of it make sense.
On the second anniversary of the accident that turned Gotham City’s District Attorney Harvey Dent into “Harvey Two-Face” (this is the only time I’ll call him Harvey Two-Face, though that is how he’s addressed and credited in the movie. He’ll just be Two-Face from here on out), Two-Face tries to kill Batman with an elaborate ploy that fails. It’s in this opening that we meet Dr. Chase Meridian, a psychologist brought in by Commissioner Gordon to help with Two-Face. She’s fascinated with Batman and blatantly has the hots for him, almost inappropriately.
Bruce Wayne is taking a tour of a division of Wayne Enterprises where he meets Edward Nygma. Nygma introduces Wayne to a prototype of “The Box”, a device that he believes to be the future of Home Entertainment. The Box works by connecting the TV signal directly into the brain, creating an immersive experience, and is hoping that Wayne will approve additional funding for human trials. Wayne seems impressed but not convinced. He tells Nygma to call his secretary and arrange a meeting, but Nygma wants an answer now. Being put on the spot, Wayne says no, claiming that a device that, as Nygma said, manipulates a person’s brainwaves, would raise too many questions.
Eddie didn’t like this answer and vows that Wayne was supposed to understand him, but he’s going to make Wayne understand.
Wayne starts getting mysterious riddles. Having called the police, Commissioner Gordon suggests asking Dr. Meridian for insight and advice. In that meeting, Wayne becomes smitten with Meridian and takes her to the Gotham Charity Circus featuring the Flying Graysons where Two-Face causes chaos in hopes to draw out Batman, who he blames for the accident that scarred him, though it wasn’t Batman’s fault the movie would later clarify.
During the chaos, the Flying Graysons attempt to save the crowd from a bomb that Two-Face set. Richard “Dick” Grayson manages to get rid of the bomb, but not before Two-Face destroys the rigging where the rest of Dick’s family was standing in the rafters, where they fall to their deaths, leaving Dick an orphan.
Bruce Wayne takes him in and with some convincing, gets him to stay.
Edward Nygma, now calling himself the Riddler, wants to outdo Bruce Wayne. Two-Face wants to kill Batman. Riddler makes a deal with Two-Face - If Two-Face and his goons can steal enough start-up capital so that the Riddler can start NygmaTech and put The Box in every home, Riddler can use the data he draws in from that two reveal the identity of Batman for Two-Face’s killing pleasure.
Also, Grayson breaks into the Batcave and armed with Batman’s secret demands to be partners so that he can kill Two-Face for the murder of his family.
Nygma gets the money, starts the company, debuts The Box, and eventually does find out that Wayne is Batman. They manage to kidnap Grayson, now Robin, and Dr. Meridian to challenge the duality of Wayne/Batman. Batman, of course, saves the day and the bad guys are defeated.
That’s about as barebones as I can run down the plot to make it make sense, so definitely watch the movie.
One of my favorite Batman movies, Jim Carrey as the Riddler was a flawless choice. He was one of the top comedic actors at the time and played “the crazy genius” a little too well! While not my favorite Batman (or Bruce Wayne - you have to judge those separately), upon the rewatch, he didn’t do too badly. Robin was great and a movie with Nicole Kidman AND Drew Barrymore can’t go wrong. Of course, it’s about the Rating Scale, and with careful thought, I gave the movie a 9, losing a point for story.
The opening was wacky. There’s no reason why the business with the safe would make sense would work. Even in a superhero movie, it’s a stretch. Remember, Batman isn’t a hero with superpowers, so it’s a rare superhero universe in that you still can’t bend reality too much. Aside from that, the timetable seems way too rushed. Nygma was an employee at Wayne Enterprises and then get the capital, produces The Box, distributes The Box, builds the lair on the remote island in the harbor, and sets all that up, in a couple of weeks?! The facility would be months to build, at minimum!
Also, Batman discovers that the video that showed the “suicide” of the manager was faked, but we do nothing else with that? Nah. Could have at least charged Nygma or something, though they didn’t even investigate who would have faked it.
And Grayson randomly leaves, Alfred said he ran away, but he just walks in at the right time in the brand new Robin suit that Bruce knew nothing about?! Okay.
It is a comic book superhero movie, so this wasn’t so bad that it took all the points away and just one of these wouldn’t be so bad, but all of them warranted the removal of a point. So it's a 9 and not a 10.