So, it's time to face it: We won't see any solo Batman movie for the next, maybe, 5 years. The highly expected Dawn of Justice will give us a new vision of a Batman who shares a filmic universe with other DC giants. So far so good, but we can't deny, that deep inside of us, we all wish again for a stand-alone production for Gotham's greatest detective.
With no doubt, it's clear that in some point, and to help himself create a new Batman, Zack Snyder watched all the previous films made for this wonderful character. Yes, even the Schumacher ones. Now that we have the Nolan Trilogy fresh in our memories, it has become even more entertaining to talk about those 2 movies every DC Comics fan hates: Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
There are plenty articles talking about and analyzing every single part our dear Joel did wrong with his vision, but it can't be all that bad, right... Right? So, even when I know how awful these films are, I have made a great effort to watch them again and save 10 elements Schumacher should be proud of, and that weren't repeated or improved by his successor: Christopher Nolan.
Difficult? Hell yeah! But definitely not impossible.
10. Batman recognizes Superman's existence.
Maybe in that time the line "That's why Superman works alone" wasn't a big deal, but just imagine what would happen if the same words were repeated by Christian Bale in the bat-suit today: everybody would freak out! In a simple, sarcastic dialogue, Schumacher creates a expended DC universe that supports the idea of having Kal-El around Gotham. Yes, it only makes sense if we over think about it, but it is still awesome.
For those hardcore fans, the director had already given a hint to the Superman's mythology in Batman Forever. Remember when Val Kilmer asks where Dick is heading after visiting the Wayne Manor? Dick answers he could arrive in a few hours to a near city called... Metropolis.
9. Opening / Ending Scenes.
From Burton to Nolan, and dismissing which one is our favorite, ALL Batman movies have cool ending scenes, ALL of them. Burton started with a magnificent view of the Caped Crusader watching the Bat-signal in the top of a building, an element that was present in every ending sequence in Batman movies until The Dark Knight.
However Schumacher created a very iconic picture of the Bat-team running towards the camera and giving us the feeling of protection, that somewhere, Batman is not alone anymore and he has new and powerful allies.
But what about the opening credits? Yep, they were bad, but since the very beginning of the film, you could realize Tim Burton was out, it was the time for Schumacher to give us his version of Batman, for better or for worse, it doesn't really matter, but the new style was established.
And of course, Batman has to suit up sometime, right? This is the only film we see Bruce Wayne putting on the costume.
Again, a brilliant move in the script that got to be in the final cut. When Dick Grayson realizes he can be a good partner for Bruce, he starts to throw random names he could take for his sidekick role, and one of them, is Nightwing. This easter-egg was dedicated to all those 90's fans in the cinemas.
7. Arkham Asylum
The design for the house of the most feared Batman villains was very cool, it's like a premonition of the Arkham City style. Creepy, rainy and very dark, way better than the hospital-look that Nolan chose.
6. The Batman and Robin conflict.
For all those who have basic knowledge of the Batman comics, it has always been interesting to see Batman and Robin arguing. These two films are the only way until now to see in cinemas how these two characters struggle to build an effective partnership. Yes, they share a painful past, but maybe they were not even meant to work together. These problems would eventually take the dynamic duo to split and choose different paths. Dick would become Nightwing and Batman would find his second Robin: Jason Todd.
5. The multiple Bat-Suits idea.
Ok, maybe it was a very dumb idea thinking Batman had a suit specially designed for an ice age, but still, it's logical to think Batman could make some improvements to the suit with the passing of time. After this, we only saw Batman changing his armor once, in The Dark Knight when he goes to find Lau in Hong Kong.
4. Jim Carrey
Maybe not the best villain in Batman movies, but at least the best one of Schumacher's reign. Casting Jim Carrey was good because he was the perfect actor for the kind of Riddler that these films demanded: Coloring, crazy, funny and very talkative. I have never been a fan of Jim, but I can say this one is one of my favorite roles he has had, among his work in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.
3. The Bat Symbol
It's very strange, but I think Joel has his 5 minutes of lucidity when he shot the flashbacks in Forever. The sequences are very well made, and one could easily say that those were done by Tim Burton Instead. Schumacher never denied the connections of his plots with Batman and Batman Returns, but it seems that the idea of rebooting the saga with Val Kilmer crossed his mind at some point.
Burton never really explained the origins of Batman, which was cool and brave for a first superhero movie, so Schumacher filled that empty space. Maybe not in a literal way, but the bat coming out of the darkness towards Bruce is a very clear reference to the comic books, when this animal breaks a window of Wayne's Manor giving the idea of the symbol to our detective.
2. U2 makes the song.
The idea of Batman having a official promo song has been lost, but back in those days, U2 making the song for Batman Forever was the best example of the 90's generation. No other movie has reached this level with Batman lyric songs, U2 was -and will always be- the best we could get in Dark Knight movies music. But... do we really like the song?
1. Teaser Posters
Just, put yourself in a cinema lobby in 1994, you look up and there it is, an intriguing, simple, but cool bat-signal hanging on the wall with a green question mark encircling it. It's quite mesmerizing, right? The teaser posters for these movies were very exciting, and made you think you were about to see an epic third part of the Batman saga and with brand new actors too! However, the idea was repeated in the next movie, and even when it set the style for all the merchandise campaign that came after, it did not have the same impact.
While writing this, I conclude there are more things to rescue from Batman Forever than from Batman & Robin. It's sad these films will always be remembered badly, but without them perhaps we would not have Nolan's wildly acclaimed version.
Did I miss something? Comment, vote & share people!