Batman Forever (1995) (part 13 of 14)

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Down in the remnants of the Batcave, Bruce asks Alfred if all his Batsuits have been destroyed. Alfred replies that the only functioning costume left is an untested prototype that has “sonar modifications”, whatever that may mean. Bruce yanks the tarp off this untested prototype, leading to yet another suiting up sequence.

Oh yes. You know it’s coming: The lingering and completely superfluous butt shot.

Caption contributed by Dan

Look at it! Look at it! Can’t you just feel your sense of self eroding?

Now Batman’s fully suited up. Honestly, I can understand why he’s never worn this costume out in public before. It looks pretentiously retro-futuristic, it’s not intimidating at all (which is supposed to be the whole point of Batman’s costume), and it’s just plain terrible. It’s also partially silver. Silver!

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Undeterred by this costuming misstep, he gazes upon his Batwing. This is his bat-shaped aircraft, which is currently suspended impossibly from the ceiling. Upside down. It’s so high up I can’t even begin to guess how he’d get into the thing, much less take off without crashing it straight into the ground.

He also regards his far more modest and safer-looking Batboat, and asks Alfred if he suggests an approach by sea or by air. A voice from off screen suggests they do both. Batman turns to see an enormous codpiece coming down the stairs. This is followed shortly after by young Mr. Grayson, now in his Robin outfit.

Batman looks Robin up and down, and asks who made his costume. Alfred admits that he “took the liberty”, because a costume this intricate can easily be made by an octogenarian in his spare time.

Batman spies his accomplice’s logo, and asks what the “R” stands for. So… many… jokes!

Dick says he’s calling himself Robin, and offers to help take down Riddler and Two Face. So for no real reason, Batman decides to reverse his stance on the whole sidekick issue. Seriously, he just makes a complete U-turn without the slightest provocation. And then he all but gives his consent to Robin murdering Two Face, saying “a man’s gotta go his own way”.

Fucking hell, Bruce, this isn’t the Wild West! I can’t believe Batman’s suddenly this indifferent to cold blooded murder. I know Batman has taken lives in the previous films, but it’s always been either accidental, or a kill-or-be-killed situation. But to give a vengeful young man the green light to commit murder? In what way is this making the franchise more family friendly?

Regardless, the heroes leave the Batcave in their respective bat-vehicles, off to apprehend some bad guys.

Caption contributed by Dan

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk?

On the roof of police headquarters, Commissioner Gordon and his slow witted friend are still moping around on the roof. Because when there are two violent madmen on the loose, it’s always good to stand around waiting for a freelance vigilante to show up.

Gordon mournfully says that Batman’s not coming, and tells his friend to shut the signal down. Cool your jowls, Gordon, help is on the way. In a ridiculous costume! And also, a ridiculous vehicle.

Gordon hears the sound of a turbine, and a triumphant Batwing flies straight through the Bat-Signal. Gordon starts jumping up and down and shaking hands with his moronic coworker. He waves at Batman like a groupie, and cheers for him to “Go! Go! Go!”

Sickeningly, Batman gives Gordon a thumbs up. He jets off, leaving the police officers to go pig out on donuts, or play blackjack, or whatever it is policemen in Gotham City do when they’re not waiting around for an outlaw to do their jobs for them.

And it seems Batman and Robin are the only people smart enough to follow the trail of green mist in the air (which I guess is visible, after all) to the Riddler’s hideout. Both the bat-vehicles close in on Nygma’s base, which is on a place called “Claw Island”. And the base is hardly inconspicuous, seeing how it’s 500 feet tall and glowing green.

I must say, it’s remarkably convenient that a supervillain was able to find and purchase an island as insidiously named as Claw Island. And so close to Gotham, too. Any subsequent supervillains will have to make do with building their bases on Gumdrop Island, or Fluffy Bunny Atoll.

And by the way, Edward Nygma’s criminal hideout appears to also be his “Box” factory. So his legitimate business concerns and his nefarious deeds were all being planned in the same building. Apparently, nobody told Ed the rule about not shitting where you eat.

Inside the stronghold, Riddler and Two Face are somehow alerted to Batman and Robin’s presence. So, what better time to test the hideout’s preposterously elaborate defense systems?

The two sit on opposite sides of a game of Battleship, placing model Batwings and Batboats (purchased God knows where) on a glass grid. Somehow, this releases mines in the water that explode around the Batboat. It’s not so much clever, as it is preposterous and overly elaborate.

It seems to work, though. Within minutes, Robin’s Batboat has been blown out of the water. He ejects with a wail of, “Aww, maan! Bruce is gonna kill me!” I’m joking, of course. That’s the one teen cliché this movie will spare us.

Back at the base, Riddler throws up his hands in mock outrage and says, “Aaagh! You’ve sunk my battleship!” That’s not a witty one-liner. That’s a description of what just happened.

Batman, flying over the blazing wreck of the Batboat, looks vaguely concerned. Though, whether it’s concern over Robin, or over his expensive boat is anyone’s guess. Underwater, Robin detaches from his ejector seat, and it seems he’s pulled a rebreather out of thin air.

And now that I see him in silhouette, his codpiece is so disproportionately massive that he looks like a starfish. Advancing on him is a group of scuba thugs. Or passing marine biologists. Either way, they’re in for an indiscriminate vigilante beating.

Caption contributed by Dan

Robin’s attempt to replicate the cover to Nevermind was poorly timed, to say the least.

Batman’s still hovering in the Batwing, wondering whether or not to pull his finger out, when the Riddler pushes a button that’s about to make Brucie’s decision for him. An enormous shaft of green light lances from the base, and we find out here that the base is shaped like a giant version of Nygma’s Box, of all things. The green light strikes the Batwing and sends it tumbling. Because… green light is harmful to small aircraft?

The Batwing hits the surface of the water and reaches Robin, who’s getting his rubber clad behind handed to him by scuba thugs. Batman pulls a lever marked “disengage” and the Batwing’s wings drop off, turning the aircraft into a submersible. Yes, Thunderbirds are go!

Then, and I can’t for the life of me figure out how or why, Batman fires himself out of the newly formed Bat-sub like a human torpedo. Surely, such a measure would flood and depressurize the vehicle, rendering it utterly useless, right? If that’s the case, how on God’s green earth do the Dysfunctional Duo ever hope to get back home?

So Torpedoman goes hurtling into the human miasma of scuba thugs and inept crime fighter, and fishes Robin out. And then he fires a giant net at the bad guys, which he attaches to a floating buoy. So the thugs will presumably experience a thoroughly unpleasant death by either asphyxiation or drowning. Again, way to lighten up the series, Joel!

Batman and Robin swim to Claw Island. They climb maybe four or five yards, when Robin starts beating on the scenery. He declares the following.

Robin: Holy rusted metal, Batman!

Now that’s how you shoehorn a redundant cultural reference into an already flabby, wheezing script. Batman is confused by this, so Robin clarifies that the ground is “all metal and it’s full of holes, you know? Holey!”

That Akiva, he’s a card! Too lazy to even conform to the flimsy logic of his own script. Seriously, what in the blistering blue fuck would be the point of telling the world’s greatest detective what the ground is made out of?

Any more nuggets of observational genius for us, Robin? Maybe next up is “Holy oxygen rich atmosphere, Batman!” or perhaps even, “Holy two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, Batman!”

Whatever. Let’s move along to “Holy uninspired and generic third act showdown!”

The whole island suddenly starts moving, prompting Robin to tell Batman, “The whole island’s moving!” Dick, he’s right there with you. Enough with the redundant observations. Batman yells at Robin to stay put, but the little dumbass has become like a willful Alsatian puppy, and he wanders off on his own.

Then the piece of rock that Dick happens to be standing on rises on a hydraulic pedestal, and shoots up 200 feet in the air. What a marvel of form and function this island is.

What possible use could this giant rock/metal shaft have? Other than separating vengeful crime fighters, of course.

Batman fires a grappling hook at the rising landmass, but it glances off the rock. I guess the magic grappling hooks are in his other suit. But Batman needn’t be downhearted, because the giant metal cylinder actually has a door in it. And the door has an enormous question mark for a handle. Fortuitous, eh?

So I guess Bruce isn’t the only one who needs a bit of schooling on how to keep secret identities. Did Ed really think it would be wise to incorporate the motif of a local question mark-themed villain into his factory?

Batman makes his way into the enormous metal shaft (you’ve reduced me to this, Schumacher!), and what he finds inside is so stupid I can barely put it into words.

There are question marks everywhere. Thousands of them. They span the entire length of the vertical tunnel, and as if that weren’t incriminating enough, there are gobos projecting them onto the walls. Who the hell did Ed subcontract to build this place? Those people have to be either monumentally stupid, or very good at keeping secrets. Maybe they’re the same guys who dug Bruce’s underground tunnel from Wayne Enterprises to the Batcave.

Back up top, Robin’s scrambling around on his nugget of floating rock. And there’s so much obnoxious green light up here, it’s a miracle he doesn’t stumble blindly off the edge. Suddenly, Two Face leaps over to Robin. What? Can Two Face fly now? How the heck did he get up here?

He asks Robin, “Looking for us?” I don’t know if that’s supposed to be funny, but since Robin clearly was looking for him, the whole thing’s moot anyway.

Robin proceeds to attack Two Face with a few high spinning kicks. Which is exactly the fighting technique I’d choose on uneven terrain, hundreds of feet in the air, in windy conditions. Nonetheless, Two Face gets his middle-aged crybaby ass handed to him. He slides off the rock face, dangling on the edge of the rock nugget.

Back inside, Batman’s scrambling to the top of the giant shaft (that’s the last phallic joke, I promise). He hears gears whirring and notices that, en homage to the ’60s TV show, a giant circular iron lattice is descending from the ceiling.

Would it be redundant to point out that the ceiling is bedecked with glowing green question marks?

It turns out the giant iron lattice is lined with barbed knives. Batman looks below to see that his only alternative involves a long fall onto some decidedly jagged rocks. The agony of choice, eh, Bruce?

Dan Laurikietis

Dan is an actor, playwright, theatre director and writer of dubious literature. In order to feed his many substance dependencies, he also teaches high school drama. He lives in Northwest England with his fiance Lauren and his dog Molly. In his spare time Dan likes to squander his cash on books with pictures in them, DVDs and video games. He wishes he was more bohemian.

Multi-Part Article: Batman Forever (1995)

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