Nov 17, 2008
Batman Forever (1995) (part 11 of 14)
A jump cut later, and it’s presumably the next night, and there’s some kind of party going on. Trite Voiceover Woman informs us that all of Gotham has turned out to see the gala unveiling of Ed’s new and improved Box, here at the “glamorous” Ritz Gotham. This sentence is particularly funny if you live in the UK, where a “box” is a term used to describe a male athletic supporter.
Inside, it’s the sort of garish mess you’d expect, and Ed is getting his ass kissed by the press. Dangling on his arm is Drew Barrymore’s Sugar, so presumably Two Face has lent him one of his chicks. How rock and roll is that? I wonder if the guys in Judas Priest ever did that.
As soon as Bruce walks in, the press converges on him, and Ed gets all pissed that his thunder’s been stolen. Sugar points out that Bruce is much better at being Bruce Wayne than Ed is. Ed tells her to shut her pie hole, because when no one’s around, he’s a red flat-top sporting, rouge-wearing, green leotard-clad badass.
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Bruce is soon getting roundly trounced by the press, because Ed’s new brand “Nygmatech” is outselling Wayne Enterprises 2:1. Bruce weathers this with good grace (or he could be seething with rage, who can tell?). Ed then shows up to twist the knife a little, and starts blatantly hitting on Chase. I know, trying to get Chase to put out is like shooting fish in a barrel, but Ed doesn’t know that. Bruce tries the same thing with Sugar, but she’s a loaned out gangster’s mol, so getting her in the sack would hardly be an achievement either.
Ed then goes on to tell the press about how he’s pre-empted The Matrix, because his new Box creates “fully interactive holographic fantasies” downloaded right into the brain. He then decides it’s time for a demonstration.
A fat, greasy gentleman, who looks strikingly like Mr. Creosote walks into a booth. We see him on a screen, and he’s suddenly teleported into a matte painting of Hawaii. He’s then flanked by hot women who hand him a cocktail and kiss him. It’s a good thing this guy has such PG-13 fantasies, huh?
Gossip Gertie appears, and asks Ed how he creates these images, but Ed ain’t telling. A middle-aged lady enters the booth and she’s fantasizing about diamonds, because, hey, she’s a woman. It’s funny, I have gay friends, and they don’t seem to show any pathological hatred towards women, so I don’t know where Schumacher’s grudge comes from.
Bruce says that only a “high frequency carrier wave beamed directly into the brain could create such images”. So I guess on top of everything else, Bruce is a neurologist now.
Ed accuses Bruce of having a bad case of sour grapes, and invites him to step inside his magical mind-reading machine. But Bruce has his doubts.
Bruce: If you can introduce images into the mind, what’s to stop you from extracting images out of the mind?
Well… science, for one thing. Common sense, for another.
Brainwaves are nothing but electrical impulses created by the brain. (And I’m pretty sure this was common knowledge by the early 1990s.) Let’s just say that Ed could channel brain power from people. The only possible thing that could be extracted is bioelectricity, which would be impossible to translate into pictures and words.
But I digress. Ed calls Bruce a big mincing, prepubescent girl for not wanting to have his innermost thoughts revealed to a room full of strangers. He then invites Chase to dance, and because we all know she’d give it up for a pound of grapes, she obliges.
While Ed does some “hilarious” dancing, Bruce saunters over to the machine’s ’60s Trek control panel. Sugar catches him red-handed, and Bruce says he just wanted to know how the machine is turned off.
Sugar reveals that, like all sophisticated machinery, it’s powered by tubes of glowing green liquid. She pulls out the power source out and hands it to him, because I guess she’s down with corporate sabotage.
For appearance’s sake, Bruce decides to go into the booth, happily assured that it’s deactivated. Is Bruce Wayne really that socially insecure? Who cares if people think he’s too chicken to try out the Box? He can afford to have them killed!
Predictably, Ed gives Sugar the nod, and she slips in the replacement power source she was carrying in her purse. Sigh.
The machine springs to life, and Bruce obviously thinks it’d be a real neat idea to stand around like a dumbass while his mind is read.
Now, was anyone thinking that it’s been a while since we’ve had some explosions? You weren’t?
Well, tough, because Two Face, Spice, and a legion of leather clad morons crash the party. Two Face opens fire on Ed’s new Box, and it explodes in a shower of sparks. With friends like him, eh, Ed?
Bruce exits the booth and sees Two Face getting all shooty, so he leaves Chase alone in the company of two insane master criminals and their armed goons. He goes to change into his Bat-duds, while Dick, who’s obviously been schmoozing with the band, also realizes that it’s time for a (far less impressive) change in wardrobe.
Unconcerned about letting a room full of reporters see him chit-chatting with a known felon, Ed barges his way over to Two Face and asks him what the shizzle the dizzle is. Two Face says he got bored waiting for Ed to suss out Batman’s identity, so he’s shooting the place up in order to coax Batman out. And sure, we’re aware of the irony of Two Face blowing the holy hell out of a machine that was about to give up exactly the information he wanted, but Two Face isn’t.
It turns out Bruce has had a remarkably quick costume change, because moments later, Batman comes crashing through the skylight. While Chase stares lustfully up at him, some bespectacled middle-aged idiot yells out, “Batman, yaaay!” All I can say is, he had better be very drunk.
Batman then kicks off the second most improbable fight scene in film history, by somersaulting clean over two guards, and clothes-lining them to the ground—while they’re shooting at him at close range with machine guns.
Batman then proceeds to go toe to toe with a bunch of other armed goons who are too dumb to shoot him at point blank range. All the while, spectators are gathering ’round and cheering Batman on, instead of doing the sane thing and taking cover. I mean, they’re only in a room full of gun-toting sociopaths, right? But then, as has already been established, the people of Gotham really aren’t that bright.
Outside the (ugh) Ritz Gotham, Dick runs to the car and informs Alfred, as Bruce did previously, that there’s an emergency. Alfred mournfully fetches Dick’s circus acrobat costume from the trunk, along with his only dreadful one-liner of the entire film.
Alfred: I could be fired for this, sir. Perhaps they’ll have me back at Buckingham Palace.
Oh, poor, poor Michael Gough. They’ve gotten to you, too?
Back inside, one of Two Face’s goons is getting a little fresh with Chase, so Batman sees him off. In gratitude, the good doctor thrusts her tongue down Batman’s throat and invites him to her place, tonight at midnight. Christ, woman! Have you no shame?
Two Face, who really should know better by now, doesn’t shoot Batman in the head while he’s preoccupied with Chase, and instead runs for the elevator. Maybe he’s off to prepare an incredibly long conveyor belt to tie Batman to, with something nasty at the end. Then, perhaps, he could leave Batman unattended for a few minutes while he gets a latte and… you get the idea.
Batman clambers up a pile of boxes (which are actually boxes of Nygma’s “Boxes”, hah!) and makes for the roof. The morons of Gotham just stand around and applaud, when they really should be dying painfully right now for their lack of self-preservation instinct.
Two Face and his entourage leave the (ugh) Ritz Gotham. Two Face is now shooting off rounds into the air, just for the hell of it. Now, Harvey, don’t you remember that chat we had about your irresponsible use of your firearms?
They climb some sort of scaffolding, and lift the lid of an access hatch to an under construction subway. And Batman can see all this from his vantage point up on the roof, because he has telescopic vision or something. Two Face blows Batman a kiss, and hops into the tunnel.
Batman follows, seemingly unfazed by the 900 foot drop in front of him. He’s obviously CG at this point, because his rate of acceleration actually decreases the longer he falls. Sorry, physics.
Two Face’s boys have somehow anticipated this, because they’ve prepared a giant rubber chute to guide Batman’s fall. He tumbles down the chute into the middle of an underground chamber, and Two Face’s boys open up the valves on a conspicuously large gas main.
Natural gas—which as we all know is both visible and purple—floods the chamber. Two Face has a line about gas that I’d really rather not repeat, and then he lets rip with some sort of grenade launcher. This creates a giant fireball that, curiously, doesn’t roast Two Face or his buddies even though they’re all in the same damn room .
Come to think of it, if Two Face is packing this kind of heavy artillery, isn’t the whole gas thing kind of unnecessary?
Batman sees the fireball coming just in time to react. He wraps his cloak around himself and flicks a switch on his belt. Suddenly, he goes all shimmery and obscure like the T-1000 as the flames engulf him.
Even granting that this film is free of logic, I can’t for the life of me figure out what just happened. Joel Schumacher obviously can’t, either. On the commentary, he simply says that Batman “uses his cape”. Yeah, thanks!
Two Face and his Merry Men assume that Batman’s been wasted, and decide to celebrate through the art of dance.
But their hopes for a nice rubdown and a mug of cocoa are dashed when Batman comes sprinting out of the fire, looking pretty peeved. Two Face wails melodramatically for a change, screaming, “Why can’t he just die?!?“
And then it dawns on Two Face that shooting at things with weapons might make them dead. He picks up his grenade launcher, and demonstrates that he has all the marksmanship prowess of your average Imperial Stormtrooper. He misses Batman completely, but manages to hit the scaffolding upon which Batman happens to be posing. The scaffolding and the entire construction site come crashing down, bringing Batman with it.
Well, that just rendered all the dicking around with vaults full of acid and magic helicopters utterly pointless, didn’t it, Harv?
So, Harvey and his goon squad assume that the job’s all done, and they needn’t trifle with little things like making sure Batman’s dead. After all, the whole place is collapsing in on them, and Two Face barely has time to do a celebratory jig!
And now we’re staring at a pile of purple-tinted rubble, so obviously there’s no way Batman is getting out of… Ah! A gloved hand dives into the pile of debris, and fishes out a dazed and confused Batman. A POV shot reveals a mysterious masked stranger. Hmm. I wonder who this elusive figure could be. The Lone Ranger? No, wait. It’s Dick!
Back in the Batcave, Bruce is totally tearing Dick a new one for putting himself in danger. Dick reminds him that he almost suffocated under a shitload of rubble, and maybe Bruce should be a teeny, tiny bit grateful.
Dick then suggests he might become Batman’s sidekick, and starts to toss off possible sidekick names. Bruce says, “I’ll tell you what’s a good name, Fuck You is what!” Or words to that effect. Dick tells him that he’s his sidekick now, whether he wants one or not.
Bruce makes a thinly veiled death threat, so Dick sidles off again, looking smug. Bruce then chews Alfred out for “encouraging him”. Alfred suggests that maybe if Bruce got laid every once in a while, he wouldn’t be such a prick about everything. Well, he sort of says that. I’m kind of replacing the dialogue with my own at this point. Personally, I think it’s a major improvement.
Bruce turns on a monitor and watches random footage of Chase. And I guess Chase moonlights as a Pantene model, because in this video she’s tossing her glossy hair all around in slow motion, and looking directly at the camera in a sultry way. And I’m not exaggerating about this at all. Exactly how many women in Gotham does Bruce keep voyeuristic footage of, I wonder? Is this more of that family-friendly tone that the studio execs were so keen to introduce?
Bruce complains to Alfred that Chase is hot for Batman, not Bruce Wayne. Alfred is kind enough to explain, in the nicest possible way, that Bruce is staring at a win-win situation here. Alfred basically says he should stop being a bonehead, and just let the lady pick an ego.
Cut to Chase’s apartment, and an aerial shot of her naked form sprawled beneath silken sheets. As you or I would be, if we were expecting company. She’s awoken by nothing in particular, but she gets up just in time to see Batman stride across her balcony in slow motion. She’s all shocked and wide-eyed when she sees him. Chase, you invited him over! Come on, get your shit together.
With typical restraint, she lunges at him and plants another lip sandwich on him. But just as Batman’s about to mentally carve another notch on his Bat-post, Chase admits that she’s actually in love with someone else.
See, it turns out that Chase has undergone something of a character arc. After many years of thinking she was attracted to wild men, it turns out what really gets her hot and bothered is emotionally distant cardboard cut-outs.
It’s a good thing for Chase that Batman is also Bruce Wayne, otherwise he’d have been well within his rights to call her out for being a shameless cocktease. As it is, he simply slinks off looking dejected. But on the way out, he stops to look at the camera. He smiles so wide that his face looks like it’s about to crack.
She’ll get bored of you, Bruce. They always do!