Sometimes a movie is so bad that the only redeeming quality is its soundtrack. Queen of the Damned is one of those movies. But then sometimes there’s a movie so bad that just one song on the soundtrack is the entire high point of the movie. That’s where we find ourselves with Batman Forever. Holy crap, is this a bad movie. Start to finish mediocre at best, but the strong highlight is Seal’s opus Kiss From A Rose. That is not only the best, but it is legitimately the only good part of Batman Forever.
In addition to being an excellent song, Kiss From a Rose did create one very fun moment. My good friend and fellow comedian Jacob Rubin and I used to work at a bar in Berkeley called Kip’s. Jacob ran a weekly trivia night, I ran the security team, and we both attended karaoke once or twice every week. I have no idea how, but somehow between the two of us we decided it would be a good idea to serenade girls we didn’t know on their birthdays with Kiss From A Rose. Obviously the first couple times this happened, the girls were very confused and uncomfortable. But over time it became a thing and people would tell us in advance about birthdays. So even if we acknowledge that Batman Forever is an inferior movie, we still have to thank it for many fun nights at Kip’s.
As usual, I plan to break down the primary villain scheme and explain why it’s a terrible plan. Riddler’s plan is unique in that it’s actually really terrible even before we get to the actual application of his plan. Riddler is a moron even before he really comes up with his scheme. There’s no crazy transformation like with Joker, this is just an eccentric nerd who doesn’t want to lose his job. As he somehow, for some reason, transforms into a costumed supervillain, his entire motivation is to steal enough money to put his product into production. First of all, there is no reason this slightly kooky nerd suddenly turned into an evil Ace Ventura. But second, he somehow found the location of Two Face, the only costumed super villain/gangster active in Gotham at the time. And after finding Two Face, this genuine genius thinks it’s a good idea to show up uninvited into this murderous psychopath’s lair.
The pitch Riddler goes with is unimportant, what matters is that he convinces Two Face that the only way to kill Batman is to fund his operation and use this automated mind reader that so far has really only shown us that it can let you watch cartoons without a television. That’s a stupid plan. I get that Two Face is unhinged, but he’s a former District Attorney. He isn’t stupid, and there’s no way he falls for this stupid, stupid plan. But even if the plan wasn’t stupid, we’re supposed to believe Two Face is patient enough to conduct several heists, secure factory space and a staff, launch the schematics, file a patent, and go into production on this device and put one in every home in Gotham . . . all before any progress whatsoever into the identity of the Batman? And during all of this, Nigma is sending riddles to Bruce Wayne that aren’t remotely threatening, but they’re being sent in a super threatening manner. Spoiler alert: I’m not Batman. But if I were dark vigilante by night and a rich eccentric by day and I started finding weird riddles taped to my front gate, I’d probably investigate pretty quickly, and then put the sender in the hospital.
So we’re supposed to accept that Riddler’s cartoon watching box lets him read minds enough to figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. After that, Riddler and Two Face conduct a home invasion, destroy the batcave and abduct the pretty girl and . . . DON’T kill the guy they know is Batman? The entire reason Two Face was helping Riddler was to get to this moment, and now he doesn’t do it because Riddler wants to give Bruce another puzzle and hope he figures it out? Absolutely not. I love steak, and if Tirumari comes to me with a plan to get the best steak ever, I’m definitely on board. And look, Tirumari is one of my best friends. But if Tirumari takes me to a steak house, we order the steak, pay for it in advance, and there is nothing stopping me from eating that steak, and then Tirumari says “wait! Don’t eat the steak now! Let’s just set up a weird scenario and hope the steak comes to us later, and eat it then!” If that happens, Tirumari can go straight to hell. At this point I’m ready to tell Tirumari to go to hell in real life just based off this hypothetical scenario where I don’t get steak when I want it.
As we build up to the final battle, Riddler and Two Face somehow have a weird fortress made of . . . ugh . . . holey rusted metal. Surrounding this fortress is a sea of underwater mines and anti aircraft guns. These all fail to kill Batman, but somehow that’s still part of the plan. Then, as the Youtube channel CinemaSins points out, Two Face captures Robin and puts him in a bottle to give Batman a choice of who to rescue. Even Batman didn’t know Robin was his new sidekick up until about fifteen minutes ago. How did Riddler figure out there would be a second person to put in that jar? Was Commissioner Gordon stashed off to the side as soon as there was someone else to put in there? Probably not. And what if Robin hadn’t hesitated to kill Two Face? Then Riddler loses the only member of his team with any confirmed kills, and is facing two vigilantes while only having one hostage. I’m saying that even at the endgame, this is a shitty plan.
Even at the execution of the final step, the big choice, Riddler fails. The point of making an impossible scenario is to make it actually impossible. Riddler could have taken some lessons from the Heath Ledger Joker. If you want to create a trap where only one person can be saved, it’s probably a good idea to actually make sure that only one person can be saved. Batman manage to save both Chase and Robin without too much difficulty, then still beat Two Face. And he does this all after trashing Riddler’s big brainwave machine, so there’s no actual drama at the end of the movie. “You can only save one, and if you do that you won’t be able to catch me!” Yeah, no. That turns into “you’re gonna catch me, then save both of them, and still successfully defeat my partner. The final scene, the climax of the movie, is such poorly manufactured tension that they may as well have not made any movie at all.
I don’t need much from my movies. All I want is a villain plot that couldn’t be derailed simply by people applying basic logic. I want villains who behave like real people, and heroes who don’t stumble their way into the plot. I want a climax that feels real. That came off more sexual than I planned. It might not have been sexual, but I’ve had a lot of whiskey so it seemed that way. Whatever, I think that’s it for now. See you next week, love and kisses!
For anyone who is interested in the other projects I’m working on or wants to be more involved in the creative process, I’ve created a Patreon account! This blog will remain 100% free, so there is no obligation to sign up, but there are exclusive members-only rewards. Check it out! http://www.patreon.com/danwestcomedy