By Andrew Blumetti
Na na na na na na na na …. SATIRE!!!
Congratulations Ben Affleck, you broke the freakin’ internet.
THE BAD NEWS: It’s been nearly three weeks since comic book fanboys’ heads simultaneously exploded into a giant pile of goo upon the news that Ben Affleck would don the black cowl as beloved superhero, Batman, in the 2015 follow-up to Zack Snyder’s Superman tale, Man of Steel.
THE GOOD NEWS: Shockingly, not one date with an actual girl had to be cancelled because of it.
All hoopla aside, Affleck honestly doesn’t seem like a terrible choice per say, but perhaps it’s just a bit too soon to let another Bruce Wayne into our lives.
So, since we all have to live together for the next two years, maybe there’s hope yet to temper all those Batfans’ historical hissy fits and uncalled-for attacks against the innocent Aflac Duck.
How will I accomplish this daunting task you say?
Well, thank you for asking, this article would go nowhere without it. Here, take my hand (you don’t actually have to) and follow me for a walk down Bat-movie memory lane. Look a little closer, and you’ll see, when you don’t reminisce with rose-colored glasses, it could be worse…
Let’s take flight with Batman: The Movie, the 1966 film adaptation of the popular Adam West Batman series. It’d be over two decades before we’d see the Caped Crusader on the big screen again, as 1989 brought us Tim Burton’s Batman, the original big-name blockbuster with Michael Keaton as the title character and anchored by Jack Nicholson’s landmark performance as The Joker. Its sequel, 1992’s Batman Returns, was the darker and disturbingly satisfying follow-up to the Gotham tale. Things took a massive turn to Stupidville with 1997’s Batman & Robin— the jalopy clunker on a massive scale, an all-too obvious red-headed stepchild that all involved are still trying to sever ties with.
The franchise rebooted eight years later in 2005 with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, a critically-celebrated origin story of Bruce Wayne’s ascent to Gotham’s dark savior. 2008’s follow-up, The Dark Knight, was the golden goose of the bunch– a box office sensation, an across-the-board success with critics, and Academy Award winner, bringing home an Oscar for the late Heath Ledger’s hypnotic performance as the clown prince of crime. The last piece of the puzzle was revealed with 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, an epic and interwoven rollercoaster ride which capped off Nolan’s gritty and uncompromising trilogy.
In just five short years, The Dark Knight has been regarded as the apex of what comic book films can aspire to be, but on the other side of the coin, it’s Batman & Robin that is universally vomited at, the true rotten tomato.
The 1997 flick was a flop of Gigli proportions (I’m looking at you again Affleck), complete with bat ice skates, a “Bat Visa card”, and more putrid Mr. Freeze puns than you can shake a frozen stick at. A turd in the punchbowl of such epic proportions, it literally cancelled Batman Triumphant, the proposed fifth film in the series. Unfortunately, Speed 2 had already tested the public’s already-thin patience on garbage sequels that year, and Planet Earth was not amused, giving the film the ultimate cold shoulder.
(Crap! Now I’m freeze-punning.)
But let’s not forget, the Fonz needed to ramp up speed before the big launch… in other words, you gotta find that launching pad to jump over the shark somewhere.
Enter 1995’s Batman Forever.
Released in the heart of the steamy ’95 summer film season, it was the third film of the Tim Burton-established series, but the first that he was not the director of, and the first to not feature Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. The film was seen as a blatant 180-degree turn from 1992’s austere Batman Returns with its noticeably heightened levels of campiness and slick coating in a healthy sheen of bubblegum comic book whimsy.
While not necessarily a bad film, but Forever?? Really?
Let’s hope that title isn’t literal, because Father Time already has already flipped the off-switch on the bat signal of this lemon.
First hurdle– How to fill those giant fan-favorite Keaton boots?
Hurdle solver– When all the boards of lumber in Home Depot kindly turned down the part, Schumacher found the next best thing– Val Kilmer.
V-Kilm was the lucky actor cast to fill the bat-void following Michael Keaton’s displeasure with the direction of the film following Tim Burton’s exit. He accepted the part, script unseen, and Warner Bros. signed him with little hesitation as Kilmer’s name came with a strong resume and proven box office results– His role as Jim Morrisson in Oliver Stone’s The Doors earned universal critical acclaim, as did his portrayal as cowboy gunslinger, Doc Holliday, in the 1992 hit, Tombstone.
Considering I played Batman for nearly half the film, you owe me half your paycheck. You’ll hear from my lawyer soon.
Foam head in a Batman mask”
Harsh? Maybe, but c’mon, rarely has a more stiff on-screen performance been given by just a visible pair of lips and a chin. Granted, historically, a bubbly personality has never been The Dark Knight’s forte, but propped-up corpse, Bernie, from Weekend at Bernie’s had much more panache.
It’s also been reported Kilmer was allegedly a terror on set, often butting heads with Schumacher and crew.
…and the batsuit created for Batman and Robin often gets the blame for the infamous and very unnecessary “bat nipples”, but this Batman Forever bat-nip-slip-pic’s worth a thousand words.
RIDDLE ME THIS!!
– What’s sillier and less necessary than Bat nipples?
Well that answer is Robin nipples.
– Now riddle me this! What’s sillier and less necessary than Robin nipples?
Well, that’d be the dingus attached to them, Robin.
There’s a reason Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale both stated their strong stance against including the Boy Wonder in the grittier Dark Knight trilogy.
He lays an egg.
Between acting and reaching things on high shelves for then-husband, Tom Cruise, the 90’s were a crazy whirlwind for Nicole Kidman.
Given that fact, she’ll only get half the blame for playing Dr. Chase Meridian, a psychologist who falls in love with both a billionaire playboy and his black rubber suit secret persona.
Through only minor fault of Kidman, the weak-written Chase Meridian was instantly forgettable, as she lacked the sultry charisma of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle or the ear-shattering vocal pipes of Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale.
Blumes note: According to Wikipedia, “Her name is a play on words; as a psychologist in love with Batman/Bruce Wayne, she is constantly “chasing” the psychological “middle” of her lover, Bruce Wayne/Batman, seeking to reconcile his two halves into one complete lover.”*
*I am not responsible for any vomit that may have hit your computer while reading that drivel.
Here is the first of the two Bat-foes in
Foe-ever Forever– coin-flippin’, split personality ruffian, Two-Face, portrayed by Academy Award winner, Tommy Lee Jones.
Yes, this was the man deemed exciting enough to play a villain that wore a “Peg Bundy on crack” suit, complete with a tie that all too closely resembles Fred Flintstone’s giant cheetah-print moo-moo.
Blumes Trivia: To make said half of said animal-print suit, costume designers broke into a zoo, captured and killed:
1. A leopard
2. A zebra
3. A different kind of pink zebra
Decked out with a freakishly sour makeup job that resembles something out of Troll 2, Two-Face represents the ying and yang of the human psyche and the criminal mind, blah, blah, blah…
Secretly, what we were all wondering is how Billy Dee Williams (who played Harvey Dent in 1989’s Batman) magically turned into a white guy to play the evil Two-Face in this film.
“We’re upset we weren’t considered for Two-Face’s neon-gun toting, spandex wearing thugs.”
-The Village People
BREAKING NEWS! With 95% of the precincts reporting, we can confidently report that the winner of this year’s “Most Painfully Flamboyant Costume” goes to:
(wait for it…)
THE FLYING GRAYSONS!
Come up and accept your award! You’ve earned it!
Ohhhhhhhh no. Cut to commercial!
A glow stick?!? Get out of Gotham and go back to your rave Drew Berrymore.
Batman Forever Topps candy!
This was the second highest selling snack of the year, right behind “Showgirls Snickers”, but just ahead of “Se7en’s What’s in the Box?!? Milk Duds”.
Blumes Note: If you can stomach 18-year old novelty candy, a cool four bucks will currently score you a set of these on eBay.
… and last but certainly least, every red-blooded female’s dreamboat in spandex, Mr. Jim Carrey, as the puzzling punctuation-printed prince of poppycock, The Riddler, who almost lost the part…
To this guy…
Jason Vorhees may have slaughtered camps, and Ernest may have gone to one, but in Batman Forever, Jim Carrey brought the camp, and he brought it hardcore. His slapstick shtick, madcap Robin Williams-on-caffeine antics, and overall Jim Carreyness seemed miles and miles away from the monochromatic, gray gothic world Tim Burton erected during his tenure manning the USS Batman .
…and just in case you forgot The Mask, Ace Ventura, or Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey wants to remind you he can make Silly Putty-ish faces…
Lemons, brace yourself… you’re about to become lemonade…
It’s often been said a blind squirrel will occasionally find a nut, and lucky for us, Batman Forever’s soundtrack was an acorn hiding under a soggy leaf.
Despite rampant overplaying on radio and MTV, Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” was the marquee song, but between U2’s hit “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”, plus tracks by PJ Harvey, Sunny Day Real Estate, Mazzy Star, Massive Attack, The Flaming Lips, The Offspring and Nick Cave, who had time to listen to Mr. Ex-Heidi Klum anyway?
Well, that’s it folks.
Despite the blogular swirley it just received, perhaps we should be thanking Batman Forever. Without it causing the proverbial wheels to fall off the original franchise, we wouldn’t eventually have been rewarded with Christopher Nolan’s superb Dark Knight trilogy a decade later.
And if you think I’m being a bat-bully and too hard on the movie, don’t worry… Confession time- I still own it on VHS.
– Will there ever be another Bat film like it?
– Will we ever have to suffer through Robin again?
– Are Billy Dee Williams and Tommy Lee Jones related? Are Tommy Lee Jones and Tommy Lee related?
– Will Ben Affleck call Val Kilmer for advice on the role?
– Will anyone buy the old eBay candy?
Find out next time… SAME BAT TIME, SAME BAT CHANNEL…
BAM! POW! KAPLOP! ZWOG! GNOSH! STINKAROO!