A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Batman Forever is the 1995 installment of the Batman movie franchise. This movie goes into the deaths of both Bruce and Dick's parents, with flashback scenes showing Bruce's father shot and killed on the street while a young Bruce watches in horror. Batman and his pals are placed in jeopardy several times; at one point, the Caped Crusader is believed to have been buried alive, and that when Batman finally does catch his opponents, he kills them rather than bringing them to justice. Vengeance is a recurring theme to the movie. Some of the imagery (directed by Tim Burton) might be too scary for younger and more sensitive viewers. The Riddler brags of how he can now read the sexual fantasies in the minds of everyone in Gotham thanks to his latest invention. "Hell" is used occasionally. The Riddler uses the word "Joygasm."
What's the story?
In BATMAN FOREVER, Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell) discovers that his family was killed by evil villain Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), and the young man becomes Batman's (Val Kilmer) crime-fighting partner, Robin. The Dynamic Duo has their hands full when Two-Face teams up with The Riddler (Jim Carrey), who wants revenge against Bruce Wayne and also sets out to unmask Batman. The Caped Crusaders meet another formidable match in sultry psychiatrist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). The cast also features Drew Barrymore as Two-Face's girlfriend, Sugar, and Ed Begley, Jr. as the manager of Bruce Wayne's company.
Is it any good?
The third entry in the live-action movie series avoids the grim tone of its predecessors, and Val Kilmer makes a heroic Caped Crusader. But this third installment in the series is more interested -- unfortunately -- in the ridiculous villains. Younger viewers will become restless during the dramatic moments, which are simply prolonged interludes between the numerous action sequences. The entire movie, in fact, seems to resemble a video game, thanks to an emphasis on bright colors, grandiose settings, and repetitive fight scenes.
Though younger kids may not warm to Robin's tired teen-rebel pose, director Joel Schumacher emphasizes O'Donnell's sex appeal for those who are interested. Val Kilmer physically suits the role of Bruce Wayne better than his predecessor Michael Keaton, but the superhero is still the same driven yet dreary soul of the first two movies. Operating at full throttle, as always, are the movie's villains. Tommy Lee Jones transforms the fascinating Two-Face into a mere Joker clone, while Jim Carrey offers his usual hyperkinetic shtick as The Riddler.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about superheroes. How does Batman compare to Superman or other famous crime fighters? Is Batman always a good guy? What's the difference between vigilantism and justice?
What do the backstories of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson do for the overall Batman story? How do these stories make the two more "human," and give them a clear motivation for what they do?
Who are some of the actors who have portrayed the heroes and villains in Batman? How do other actors represent these characters? How have director's styles, such as Tim Burton, the director of this movie, affected the style and sensibility of the movie?
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