Batman Forever

Batman Forever is a 1995 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. The third installment of Warner Bros.' initial Batman film series, it is a sequel to the 1992 film Batman Returns, starring Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne / Batman, alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell, Michael Gough, and Pat Hingle. The plot focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face and the Riddler in their villainous scheme to extract confidential information from all the minds in Gotham City and use it to learn Batman's identity and bring the city under their control. In the process, he gains allegiance from a young, orphaned circus acrobat named Dick Grayson, who becomes his sidekick Robin, and meets and develops feelings for psychologist Dr. Chase Meridian, which brings him to the point to decide if he will lead a normal life or if he is destined to fight crime as Batman forever.

Batman Forever
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byJoel Schumacher
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Lee Batchler
  • Janet Scott Batchler
Based on
  • Characters appearing in magazines published
    by DC Comics
  • Batman characters
    by Bob Kane
Music byElliot Goldenthal
CinematographyStephen Goldblatt
Edited byDennis Virkler
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Running time
120 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[2]
Box office$336.6 million[2]

Schumacher mostly eschewed the dark, dystopian atmosphere of Burton's films by drawing inspiration from the Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, as well as the 1960s television series, but without the campiness of the later film. After Keaton chose not to reprise his role, William Baldwin and Ethan Hawke were considered as a replacement before Val Kilmer joined the cast.

The film was released on June 16, 1995. Batman Forever grossed over $336 million worldwide and became the sixth-highest-grossing film worldwide of 1995. The film received mixed reviews, with criticism directed towards the CGI, Kilmer's performance, costume designs and tonal departure from previous films, but praising the visuals, action sequences and performances of Carrey and Jones. The film was followed by Batman & Robin in 1997, with Schumacher returning as the director, Chris O'Donnell returning as Robin, and George Clooney replacing Kilmer as Batman.


In Gotham City, the vigilante Batman defuses a hostage situation orchestrated by a criminal known as Two-Face—formerly district attorney Harvey Dent, who was disfigured with acid by mobster Sal Maroni, which Batman failed to prevent—but Two-Face escapes. Edward Nygma, an eccentric researcher at Wayne Enterprises, approaches his employer, Bruce Wayne—secretly Batman—with an invention that can beam television signals into a person's brain. Bruce rejects the device, concerned the technology could manipulate minds. After killing his supervisor and staging the death as a suicide, Nygma resigns and plots revenge against Bruce, obsessively sending him riddles; as a favor to Bruce, criminal psychologist Chase Meridian diagnoses that his stalker is psychotic.

Bruce invites Chase (who is obsessed with Batman) to a circus. Two-Face hijacks the event and threatens to detonate a bomb unless Batman surrenders himself. Acrobat Dick Grayson, the youngest member of the Flying Graysons, manages to throw the bomb into the river, but Two-Face kills his family. Bruce persuades the orphaned Dick to live at Wayne Manor as his ward, and Dick discovers Bruce is Batman. Taking the Batmobile for a joyride, Batman saves Dick from thugs; determined to avenge his family, Dick demands to join Batman in crime-fighting and kill Two-Face, but Bruce refuses.

Nygma, inspired by Two-Face's raid at the circus, adopts a criminal persona, the Riddler, and forms an alliance with Two-Face, promising to uncover Batman's identity. They commit a series of robberies to finance Nygma's new company and mass-produce his brainwave device, the “Box”, which secretly steals information from users’ minds. Nygma hosts a party where he goads Bruce into using the Box, before Two-Face unexpectedly arrives. As Batman, Bruce pursues Two-Face and is nearly killed, but is rescued by Dick.

Batman visits Chase, who explains gradually that she has fallen in love with Bruce. He invites her to the manor and reveals his secret identity, while Dick runs away after taking parts from one of Bruce's Batsuits. The Riddler and Two-Face, having discovered Bruce's secret through the Box, arrive and blow up the Batcave, shooting Bruce and kidnapping Chase. As Bruce recovers, he and his butler, Alfred, use the riddles to deduce that Nygma is the Riddler. Bruce dons a new Batsuit and Dick joins him as Batman's partner, Robin.

Batman and Robin reach Riddler and Two-Face's lair on Claw Island, where they are separated. Robin encounters Two-Face and nearly kills him, but spares his life and is captured. Batman confronts the Riddler, who reveals Chase and Robin trapped in containment tubes above a deadly drop, giving Batman the chance to save only one hostage. Instead, Batman destroys the Riddler's brainwave receiver with a Batarang, overwhelming the Riddler's mind and allowing Batman to rescue Robin and Chase. Two-Face corners the trio and determines their fate with the flip of a coin, but Batman throws a handful of identical coins in the air, causing Two-Face to stumble and fall to his death.

Committed in Arkham Asylum, Nygma claims to know Batman's secret identity and is visited by Chase, but it is revealed that the delusional Nygma now believes he is Batman. Chase tells Bruce that his secret is safe before parting ways, and Bruce resumes his crusade as Batman with Robin as his partner.


  • Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne / Batman: After coming across the journal of his father, Wayne starts questioning his act of vengeance. He struggles with his dual identity as a crime fighter, becoming romantically involved with Dr. Chase Meridian.
  • Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent / Two-Face: Formerly the good district attorney of Gotham City. Half of Harvey's face is scarred and his brain is also damaged with acid during the conviction of a crime boss. Driven insane, he becomes the criminal Two-Face.
  • Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma / The Riddler: A former Wayne Enterprises employee, Edward resigns after his newest invention is personally rejected by Bruce Wayne. He becomes the villainous Riddler, leaving riddles and puzzles at scenes of crime.
  • Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian: A psychologist and love interest of Bruce Wayne. Chase is fascinated by the dual nature of Batman. She's held as a damsel in distress in the climax.
  • Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin: Once a circus acrobat, Dick is taken in by Bruce after Two-Face murders his parents and brother at a circus event. Bruce is reminded when his parents were murdered when he sees the same vengeance in Dick, and decides to take him in as his ward. He eventually discovers the Batcave and learns Bruce's secret identity. In his wake, he becomes the crime fighting partner, Robin.
  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth: The Wayne family's faithful butler and Bruce's confidant. Alfred also befriends the young Dick Grayson.
  • Pat Hingle as James Gordon: The police commissioner of Gotham City.
  • George Wallace as The Mayor: The mayor of Gotham City.
  • Drew Barrymore as Sugar: Two-Face's "good" blonde assistant. Wears a white corset bodysuit. She shows more of a sweet attitude more than she shows a sinister side to her.
  • Debi Mazar as Spice: Two-Face's "bad" assistant. She is clad in a black leather corset with fishnet stockings on her legs and black leather gloves and appears as of a dominatrix. She wears her brunette hair up with red highlights. Shows a twisted sense of humor and vile nature.
  • Ed Begley Jr. as Fred Stickley: Edward Nygma's ill-tempered supervisor at Wayne Enterprises. After Stickley discovers the true nature of Nygma's invention, Nygma kills him and makes it look like suicide. Begley was uncredited for this role.
  • Ofer Samra as Harvey's Thug
  • Elizabeth Sanders as Gossip Gerty: Gotham's top gossip columnist.
  • René Auberjonois as Dr. Burton: Head Doctor of Arkham Asylum.
  • En Vogue as girls on the corner who are hoping to see Batman.
  • Joe Grifasi as Hawkins: A bank guard and Two-Face's hostage during the opening scene.
  • Jon Favreau as Assistant

Additionally, President pro tempore of the United States Senate and self-admitted Batman fan, Patrick Leahy makes an uncredited appearance as himself.[3]



"I always hated those titles like Batman Forever. That sounds like a tattoo that somebody would get when they're on drugs or something. Or something some kid would write in the yearbook."

—Producer Tim Burton[4]

Batman Returns was released in 1992 with financial success and generally favorable reviews from critics, but Warner Bros. was disappointed with its box office run, having made $150 million less than the first film. After Batman Returns was deemed too dark and inappropriate for children, with McDonald's even shutting down their Happy Meal tie-in, Warner Bros. decided that this was the primary cause of the film's financial results and asked Burton to step down in favor of another director; Sam Raimi and John McTiernan were considered, Joel Schumacher was selected by Burton. Husband-and-wife screenwriting couple Lee and Janet Scott-Batchler were brought on to write the script, and agreed with Burton that "the key element to Batman is his duality. And it's not just that Batman is Bruce Wayne."[5]

Their original script introduced a psychotic Riddler with a pet rat accompanying him. The story elements and much of the dialogue still remained in the finished film, though Schumacher felt it could be "lighte[ne]d down". Keaton initially approved the selection of Schumacher as director and planned on reprising his role as Batman from the first two films.[6] Schumacher claims he originally had in mind an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and Keaton claimed that he was enthusiastic about the idea.[6][7] Warner Bros. rejected the idea as they wanted a sequel, not a prequel, though Schumacher was able to include very brief events in Bruce Wayne's childhood with some events of the comic The Dark Knight Returns. Akiva Goldsman, who worked with Schumacher on The Client, was brought in to rewrite the script, deleting the initial idea of bringing in the Scarecrow as a villain with Riddler, and the return of Catwoman. Burton, who now was more interested in directing Ed Wood, later reflected he was taken aback by some of the focus group meetings for Batman Forever, a title he hated. Producer Peter MacGregor-Scott represented the studio's aim in making a film for the MTV Generation with full merchandising appeal.[7]


Production went on fast track with Rene Russo cast as Chase Meridian but Keaton decided not to reprise Batman because he did not like the direction the series was headed in and rejected the script.[8] Keaton also wanted to pursue "more interesting roles",[9] turning down $15 million.[10] A decision was made to go with a younger actor for Bruce Wayne, and an offer was made to Ethan Hawke, who turned it down but eventually regretted the decision.[11] Schumacher had seen Val Kilmer in Tombstone, but was also interested in Keanu Reeves, Alec and William Baldwin, Dean Cain, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes (who would later voice Alfred Pennyworth in The Lego Batman Movie), and Johnny Depp.[12] Cain was scrapped as he was well known for starring in the TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Kilmer, who as a child visited the studios where the 1960s series was recorded and shortly before had visited a bat cave in Africa, was contacted by his agent for the role. Kilmer signed on without reading the script or knowing who the director was.[13]

With Kilmer's casting, Warner Bros. dropped Russo, considering her too old to be paired with Kilmer.[8] Sandra Bullock, Robin Wright, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Linda Hamilton were all considered for the role, which was eventually recast with Nicole Kidman.[14] Billy Dee Williams took the role of Harvey Dent in Batman on the possibility of portraying Two-Face in a sequel, but Schumacher cast Tommy Lee Jones in the role, although Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Martin Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Nicolas Cage and Robert De Niro were considered,[15] after working with him on The Client. Jones was reluctant to accept the role,[7] but did so at his son's insistence.[16] Mel Gibson was offered the role, but he had to turn it down due to his commitment to Braveheart. Robin Williams was in discussions to be the Riddler at one point but eventually turned down the role, resentful he was used in 1989 as bait for Jack Nicholson to play Joker, and also because of his contractual issues with Jumanji.[17][18] In a 2003 interview, Schumacher said Michael Jackson lobbied hard for the role, but was turned down before Jim Carrey was cast.[19] Other actors considered were John Malkovich, Brad Dourif (considered before by Burton to portray Scarecrow, and was his original choice to portray The Joker, before being rejected by the Studio), Kelsey Grammer, Micky Dolenz, Matthew Broderick, Phil Hartman, Steve Martin, Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider. Mark Hamill was going to get the role, but had to turn it down due to contract issues. Robin appeared in the shooting script for Batman Returns but was deleted due to the use of too many characters. Marlon Wayans had been cast in the role, and signed for a potential sequel, but when Schumacher took over, he decided to open up casting to other actors.[20] Leonardo DiCaprio was considered, but decided not to pursue the role after a meeting with Schumacher. Matt Damon, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Worth, Toby Stephens, Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Alan Cumming, Christian Bale (who starred as Batman/Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight trilogy), and Scott Speedman were considered also.[21] Chris O'Donnell was cast and Mitch Gaylord served as his stunt double, and also portrayed Mitch Grayson, Dick's older brother, created for the film.[14] Schumacher attempted to create a cameo role for Bono as his MacPhisto character, but both came to agree it was not suitable for the film.[22]


Filming started in September 1994.[23] Schumacher hired Barbara Ling for production design, claiming that the film needed a "force" and good design. Ling could "advance on it". Schumacher wanted a design in no way connected to the previous films, and instead inspired by the images from the Batman comic books seen in the 1940s/early 1950s and New York City architecture in the 1930s, with a combination of modern Tokyo. He also wanted a "city with personality," with more statues, as well as various amounts of neon.

Schumacher had problems with Kilmer, whom he described as "childish and impossible," reporting that he fought with various crewmen, and refused to speak to Schumacher for two weeks after the director told him to stop being rude.[24] Schumacher also mentioned Tommy Lee Jones as a source of trouble: "Jim Carrey was a gentleman, and Tommy Lee was threatened by him. I'm tired of defending overpaid, overprivileged actors. I pray I don't work with them again."[25] Carrey later acknowledged Jones was not friendly to him, telling him once off-set during the production, "I hate you. I really don't like you ... I cannot sanction your buffoonery."[26]

Design and effects

Rick Baker designed the prosthetic makeup. John Dykstra, Andrew Adamson, and Jim Rygiel served as visual effects supervisors, with Pacific Data Images also contributing to visual effects work. PDI provided a computer-generated Batman for complicated stunts.[27] For the costume design, producer Peter MacGregor-Scott claimed that 146 workers were at one point working together. Batman's costume was redesigned along the lines of a more "MTV organic, and edgier feel" to the suit.[28] Sound editing and mixing was supervised by Bruce Stambler and John Levesque, which included trips to caves to record bat sounds.[29] A new Batmobile was designed for Batman Forever, with two cars being constructed, one for stunt purposes and one for close-ups.[30] Swiss surrealist painter H. R. Giger provided his version for the Batmobile but it was considered too sinister for the film.[31]

Deleted scenes

Batman Forever went through a few major edits before its release. Originally darker than the final product, the film's original length was closer to 2 hours and 40 minutes, according to Schumacher. There was talk of an extended cut being released to DVD for the film's 10th anniversary in 2005. While all four previous Batman films were given special-edition DVD releases on the same day as the Batman Begins DVD release, none of them were given extended cuts, although some scenes were in a deleted scenes section in the special features.[32]

Schumacher Cut

After Joel Schumacher died on June 22, 2020, media outlets starting reporting the possible existence of a "Schumacher Cut", with the first rumors being thrown in by American journalist Marc Bernardin. This version was believed to be darker and contain less camp than the theatrical cut. Some of the differences include Bruce facing off against a human-sized bat, the darker, more serious tone, less of an emphasis on Dick Grayson, and a focus on Bruce's psychological issues with Chase. In total, the cut uses about 50 minutes of footage. Warner Bros. confirmed the cut exists after an interview with Variety, although they have no plans to release it and are unsure about whether what, if any, footage remains. Some of the aforementioned deleted scenes make up a portion of this footage.[33][34] On August 7, 2020, Kilmer's appearance at DC FanDome fueled fan speculation about the release of the "Schumacher Cut".[35]


Elliot Goldenthal was hired by Schumacher to compose the film score before the screenplay was written. In discussions with Schumacher, the director wanted Goldenthal to avoid taking inspiration from Danny Elfman, and requested an original composition.[36] The film's promotional teaser trailer used the main title theme from Elfman's score of 1989's Batman.[37]

The soundtrack was commercially successful, selling almost as many copies as Prince's soundtrack to the 1989 Batman film. Only five of the songs on the soundtrack are actually featured in the movie. Hit singles from the soundtrack include "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" by U2 and "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal, both of which were nominated for MTV Movie Awards. "Kiss from a Rose" (whose video was also directed by Joel Schumacher) reached No. 1 in the U.S. charts as well. The soundtrack itself, featuring additional songs by The Flaming Lips, Brandy (both songs also included in the film), Method Man, Nick Cave, Michael Hutchence (of INXS), PJ Harvey, and Massive Attack, was an attempt to (in producer Peter MacGregor-Scott's words) make the film more "pop".


In addition to a large line of toys, video games and action figures from Kenner, the McDonald's food chain released several collectibles and mugs to coincide with the release of the film. Peter David and Alan Grant wrote separate novelizations of the film.[38][39] Dennis O'Neil authored a comic book adaptation, with art by Michal Dutkiewicz.[40]

Six Flags Great Adventure theme park re-themed their "Axis Chemical" arena, home of the Batman stunt show, to resemble "Batman Forever", and the new show featured props from the film. Six Flags Over Texas featured a one-time fireworks show to promote the movie, and replica busts of Batman, Robin, Two-Face, and the Riddler can still be found in the Justice League store in the Looney Tunes U.S.A. section. Batman: The Ride opened at Six Flags St. Louis to promote the movie. At Six Flags Over Georgia The Mind Bender rollercoaster was redesigned to look as though it were the creation of The Riddler and some images and props were used in the design of the rollercoaster and its queue.


Box office

Batman Forever opened in 2,842 theaters in the United States on June 16, 1995, making $52.8 million in its opening weekend,[2] breaking Jurassic Park's record for highest opening-weekend gross of all time (it was surpassed two years later by The Lost World: Jurassic Park's $72.1 million).[41] The film went on to gross $184 million in North America, and $152.5 million in other countries, totaling $336.53 million. The film earned more money than its predecessor Batman Returns,[42] and is the highest-grossing film from 1995.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 39% based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief."[43] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[44] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[45]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said "Batman Forever still gets in its licks. There's no fun machine this summer that packs more surprises." Travers criticized the film's excessive commercialism and felt that "the script misses the pain Tim Burton caught in a man tormented by the long-ago murder of his parents" seeing the Bruce Wayne of Kilmer as "inexpressive".[46] James Berardinelli of ReelViews enjoyed the film. "It's lighter, brighter, funnier, faster-paced, and a whole lot more colorful than before."[47] Scott Beatty felt "Tommy Lee Jones played Harvey Dent as a Joker knock-off rather than a multi-layered rogue."[48] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times both gave the film mixed reviews, but with the former giving it a thumbs up and the latter a thumbs down.[49] In his written review, Ebert wrote: "Is the movie better entertainment? Well, it's great bubblegum for the eyes. Younger children will be able to process it more easily; some kids were led bawling from Batman Returns where the PG-13 rating was a joke."[50] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle had a mixed reaction, concluding "a shot of Kilmer's rubber buns at one point is guaranteed to bring squeals from the audience."[51] Brian Lowry of Variety believed "One does have to question the logic behind adding nipples to the hard-rubber batsuit. Whose idea was that supposed to be anyway, Alfred's? Some of the computer-generated Gotham cityscapes appear too obviously fake. Elliot Goldenthal's score, while serviceable, also isn't as stirring as Danny Elfman's work in the first two films."[52]

Some observers thought Schumacher, a gay man, added possible homoerotic innuendo in the storyline.[53] Regarding the costume design, Schumacher stated, "I had no idea that putting nipples on the Batsuit and Robin suit were going to spark international headlines. The bodies of the suits come from Ancient Greek statues, which display perfect bodies. They are anatomically correct."[53] O'Donnell felt "it wasn't so much the nipples that bothered me. It was the codpiece. The press obviously played it up and made it a big deal, especially with Joel directing. I didn't think twice about the controversy, but going back and looking and seeing some of the pictures, it was very unusual."[53]


At the 68th Academy Awards, Batman Forever was nominated for Cinematography (lost to Braveheart), Sound (Donald O. Mitchell, Frank A. Montaño, Michael Herbick and Petur Hliddal; lost to Apollo 13) and Sound Effects Editing (John Leveque and Bruce Stambler) (also lost to Braveheart).[54] "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" by U2 was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song (lost to "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas), but was also nominated for the Worst Original Song Golden Raspberry Award (lost to "Walk Into the Wind" from Showgirls). At the Saturn Awards, the film was nominated for Best Fantasy Film (lost to Babe), Make-up (lost to Seven), Special Effects (lost to Jumanji) and Costume Design (lost to 12 Monkeys). Composer Elliot Goldenthal was given a Grammy Award nomination. Batman Forever received six nominations at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards, four of which were divided between two categories (Carrey and Lee Jones for Best Villain; and Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" and U2's "Hold Me" in Best Song from a Movie). However, it won in just one category—Best Song from a Movie for Seal's "Kiss from a Rose".

Home media

Batman Forever was released on VHS on October 31, 1995, DVD on February 10, 2009;[55] on Blu-ray on April 20, 2010;[55] and on Ultra HD Blu-ray on June 4, 2019.[56]

See also


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