Franchises of All Time
The Batman Films
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman (1989) | Batman Returns (1992) | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997) | Batman Begins (2005) | The Dark Knight (2008) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1943) - serial | Batman and Robin (1949) - serial | Batman, The Movie (1966) | Catwoman (2004)
Batman Forever (1995)
Film Plot Summary
The hyper-active film opened with Batman (Val Kilmer) leaving his Bat-Cave in his Bat-mobile when signaled, and arriving in Gotham City, where a 2nd Bank of Gotham robbery was taking place in a high-rise skyscraper. The deadly heist was led by physically and emotionally-scarred criminal Harvey "Two-Face" Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) - on the 2nd anniversary of the day Batman had captured him. One half of Two-Face's visage was hideously repulsive, magenta-colored and scarred from acid.
The Police Commissioner James Gordon (Pat Hingle) was assisted with the case by famed, beautiful psychologist Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), who specialized in multiple personalities. The homicidal, psychotic, and amoral Two-Face had taken hostages in the bank. Batman confronted and subdued Two-Face's armed thugs, but found himself trapped in a bank vault with a security-guard hostage. The vault was dragged out through a hole blasted in the outer wall, by a chain attached to a whirring Blackhawk helicopter above. As the vault was suspended in mid-air, it was filling up with boiling acid. Batman managed to open the safe and escape to save the hostage, but he was left dangling from the heavy chain as the helicopter flew off. Eventually, Two-Face escaped by parachute as the helicopter crashed into Lady Gotham (aka The Statue of Liberty), while Batman dove into the harbor's river to save himself.
While Bruce Wayne (also Val Kilmer) was touring the electronics division of his successful Wayne Enterprises, he was detained by crackpot, nerdy researcher Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) who was obsessed with brain waves - he had devised an elaborate, computerized invention that "beams any TV signal directly into the human brain. By stimulating neurons, manipulating brain waves if you will, this device makes the audience feel like they're inside the show." For his pet project, Nygma demanded immediate funding for human trials, but was rejected by Wayne: "Tampering with people's brain waves, mind manipulation, it just raises too many questions." Crushed, Nygma vowed: "You were supposed to understand. I'll make you understand."
The Bat-Signal again summoned Bruce Wayne/Batman, and to his surprise, he had been personally sought out by the mischievous Chase Meridian. He reacted negatively to her sultry invitation: "The Bat-Signal is not a beeper" and he asked: "You trying to get under my cape, doctor?" She removed her outer garment and propositioned him: "Do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?" and tartly suggested she was the "right woman" for him, but they were interrupted by the arrival of Comm. Gordon.
The insane Nygma's project was terminated, although he feverishly worked on it. Caught in his cubicle late at night by his angered supervisor Fred Stickley (Ed Begley, Jr.) and threatened with expulsion, he used Stickley as a guinea pig for his experiment on brain waves. When Stickley ordered him fired ("You demented, bizarre unethical toad! It is brain manipulation"), Nygma pushed Fred (still wearing the intelligence-sucking head contraption) in his swivel chair through the side window to his eventual death ("You are fired, or should I say terminated?"), while grabbing the device from his head at the last minute. The next day, Nygma produced a suicide note ("Goodbye Cruel World"), and the tampered security tape showed Stickley jumping to his death.
Backstory on Two-Face was revealed in a CNN News report - he was formerly Gotham City's District Attorney who was horribly scarred by underworld kingpin Boss Moroni. Although Batman attempted to save him from having acid thrown in his face, Dent's left-brain damage transformed him into a violent criminal "who blamed Batman and who has vowed to destroy the Dark Knight." Nygma soon became psychologically-obsessed and sent his first riddle to the office of Bruce Wayne, his idol: "If you look at the numbers on my face, you won't find 13 anyplace." (The answer: a clock). His second riddle was stuck onto the outer gate of Wayne Manor ("Tear one off and scratch my head. What once was red is black instead") - (The answer: a match). Dr. Meridian interpreted the riddles as coming from a "wacko" with obsessions and "potential homicidal tendencies...His only escape may be to purge the fixation"). Bruce invited love interest Dr. Meridian to Gotham's Charity Circus event held at the Hippodrome.
At the circus (a charity for the Children's Hospital) attended by Gotham's richest and finest (and largest single donor Bruce Wayne, accompanied by Chase Meridian), the aerial-acrobatic family, named The Flying Graysons (in colorful red and green outfits with yellow capes), performed in the center ring. While the youngest member of the troupe, named Richard (Dick) Grayson (Chris O'Connell), was performing, Two-Face and his armed gang stormed the event, with Two-Face (as the new Ringmaster) announcing the new act - "Massacre Under the Big-Top." Two-Face stated his main objective: "Batman. Bruised, broken, bleeding, in a word, dead!" - unless the real Batman revealed his true identity. The entire Flying Grayson family fell to their deaths while attempting to save everyone - except for Dick, who prevented a radio-detonated bomb (composed of 200 sticks of TNT) from exploding by rolling it into the river. Afterwards, Bruce Wayne invited the newly-orphaned Dick to stay with him at Wayne Manor, but Dick declined due to his vengeful feelings: "Get a fix on Two-Face. Then I'm gonna kill him." However, he was persuaded to remain a while longer and work on Wayne's collection of Harley motorcycles.
Edward Nygma chose a new name and costume for himself, a skin-tight green bodysuit covered with question marks, and was known as The Riddler (rejected name choices included The Puzzler and Captain Kill). He became allied with Two-Face in a quest to kill Batman: "Kill the Bat! Sounds like a good idea...I can help you get Batman." He demonstrated his mind-controlling and intelligence-stealing invention on Two-Face's two doppelganger sexpot henchwomen: the good Sugar (Drew Barrymore) and the bad Spice (Debi Mazar). The Riddler then proposed: "You will help me steal production capital so I can put a Box on every TV in town and become Gotham's cleverest carbon-based life form. And in return...I will help you solve the greatest riddle of all. The mother of all riddles: Who is Batman?" To raise cash, the pair began robbing jewelry stores and casino banks, and left Bruce Wayne with another riddle ("The eight of us go forth, not back") (The answer: Chess pawns). Nygma began to make speeches on the benefits of his brain-sucking device (a 3-D Box) and company, NygmaTech, although "critics claim the Box turns Gothamites into zombies."
Dick Grayson accidentally stumbled upon the Bat-Cave and took off with Batman's Batmobile (for a joy-ride in Gotham City where he fought off a gang of thugs in Arkham Square), while Bruce Wayne (with a "scarred psyche") spoke to Chase about how his parents were murdered when he was a child. He revealed to her his own feelings, while seemingly jealous of her fascination and interest in Batman and his "life of nightly torture" - "We're all two people. One daylight and the one we keep in shadow." She responded: "Rage, violence, passion" - before kissing him.
When notified of the car theft by Alfred (Michael Gough), Batman left Chase and came to Dick's rescue. Batman revealed his secret identity as Bruce Wayne, telling Dick: "If Bruce Wayne could have given his life for your family, he would have." Bruce was reluctant about having Dick become his partner to seek the life of Two-Face responsible for the murders of Dick's family members, when Dick vowed: "You gotta help me find him. And when we do, I'm the one who kills him." Bruce reminded him about the price of vengeance, and then stated: "We're the same," because both of them had their parents killed by a maniac.
At a business party on the roof of the Ritz Gotham, attended by Bruce Wayne and Dr. Chase Meridian and other guests - a dining/dancing gala was held to unveil Edward Nygma's New Improved Box (with "fully-interactive holographic fantasies"). The party was ruined by an old-fashioned robbery assault by Two-Face, prompting Wayne to change into his Batman costume and subdue the thieves - he also kissed Chase Meridian who purred: "My place, midnight." Batman's life was seriously threatened when Two-Face set a trap in an underground subway construction area, and filled the area with burning gas. When he survived, Two-Face screamed: "Why can't you just die?!" He unleashed a gigantic pile of rock and sand from the collapsing ceiling that completely covered Batman. Robin, who had donned his acrobatic costume earlier, came to Batman's rescue (with his green-gloved hand grabbing Batman's hand) and saved him from being buried alive.
Later that night, Batman entered into Chase's bedroom doors where she greeted him wrapped only in her bedsheet. Although she couldn't believe his sexy presence, she revealed that she had another boyfriend - Bruce Wayne ("I'm wishing you were somebody else. I guess a girl has to grow up sometime. I've met someone...He's not you. I hope you can understand"). Batman secretly smiled to himself as he left.
Later, the Riddler showed Two-Face how his device from the party (with a recorded brain schematic) had revealed that Bruce Wayne had "bats on the brain" - and was probably Batman. On Halloween evening, while Chase and Bruce were having dinner and he was sharing deep memories of his parents' death, Two-Face and the Riddler arrived trick-or-treating at Wayne Manor to "Seize and Capture. No killing." The Riddler broke into the Batcave while twirling his cane, and used tiny green bombs to blow up most of Batman's equipment and the Batmobile, boasting: "Joygasm." Meanwhile, Two-Face's thugs kidnapped Chase, and Two-Face shot Bruce, giving him a concussion with a grazing bullet wound to the forehead. A final riddle was left at the Manor: "We're Five Little Items of an Everyday Sort. You'll find us all in a Tennis Court." (The answer: "Vowels"). The four clues were a clock, a match, chess pawns, and vowels, with the numbers 13, 1, 8, and 5 in each riddle, or 13, 18, 5. Each number stood for a letter of the alphabet: M-A-H-E, or M-R-E (or "Mr. E" or "Mystery" or "Mr. Enigma" or "Mr. E. Nygma" - the villain).
The Riddler held Chase captive in his Riddler's lair on Claw Island - using her as bait to attract Batman. Robin, in his own 'bat-suit' with the letter R, partnered together with Batman to combat the "lethal combination" of Two-Face and the Riddler; they traveled separately to the island in the Batwing/Batsub and Batboat, where they were fired upon by a holographically-generated electronic game of Battleship, being played in the Riddler's Control Center.
When struggling against Two-Face, Robin nobly saved him ("I'd rather see you in jail"), was captured - and was made a second hostage. In the Riddler's Control Center, Batman was presented by the power-crazed Riddler with a choice of saving one or the other from a "watery grave" ("Which one will it be, Batman? Bruce's love? Or the Dark Knight's junior partner?") but the super-hero saved both Robin and Chase after tossing his Batarang at the antenna on the Riddler's brainwave-sucking device - destroying it and warping the Riddler's brain at the same time. Two-Face fell to his death when he lost his balance on a girder while tossing his coin (disfigured on one side), outsmarted as Batman threw multiple coins into the air.
The madly-insane Riddler was incarcerated at Arkham Asylum, where Chase became his consultant. Although the jailed Riddler revealed to her his knowledge of the Batman's identity, he was mistaken in believing himself as Batman (he flapped his strait-jacketed arms like a bat: "I AM BATMAN!!!"). Outside, Chase told Bruce: "Your secret is safe. He is definitely a wacko." He thanked her for her counseling help: "Thank you for giving me a new dream" and they kissed. The film ended with Batman and Robin - silhouetted with the Bat-Signal behind them - running toward the camera until the image filled to complete black.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
A campier, lighter, more mainstream film. The third film in the Warner Bros.' series of Batman films.
With three Academy Award nominations (and no wins): Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.
With a box-office gross of $184 million (domestically), and $336 million (worldwide), and a budget of $100 million.
The film was received with mixed reviews.
Also Worth Your Attention...
Dr. Chase Meridian
Harvey "Two-Face" Dent
(Tommy Lee Jones)
(Ed Bagley, Jr.)
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