Rated: PG-13 for violence and some intense, frightening-looking characters. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: June 16, 1995 Released by: Warner Brothers
Val Kilmer (Tombstone) does the black tights and cape and takes over the avenger role from Michael Keaton. Although Kilmer's B atman still has nightmares of the night his parents were murdered when he was a child, he's not as tortured as his predecessor.
Batman has two evil foes to contend with in this third film in the series. Tommy Lee Jones plays a cackling psychotic called Harvey Two Face, dedicated to killing Batman -- whom he blames for disfiguring him. One half of his face is terribly scarred by acid which he emphasizes by dressing in garish colors and styles on that side of his body, while the other side remains normal-looking.
Jim Carrey (The Mask) plays the other whacky bad guy - Nerdy E. Nygma. He's an inventor who works for Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne's corporation. Nygma transforms himself into The Riddler when Wayne refuses to fund him "mind Manipulation" machine. Sporting a bright red crewcut and lime green jumpsuit with flashing question marks on it, he's certainly the most outrageous of the Batman characters, and he steals the limelight right from under Tow Face's nose.
Millionaire Wayne has to compete against himself in the guise of Batman for the attention of sexy criminal psychologist, Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). She's intrigued by B atman's dangerous, mysterious side, yet attracted to Wayne's vulnerability.
Chris O'Donnell plays Dick Grayson, a young circus performer who is taken in by Wayne when his family is killed by Two-Face. Grayson elbows his way into joining Batman to avenge the death of his family. With the help of Wayne's trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Gough), who whips up his nifty outfit, Grayson becomes Robin, in his first film appearance.
The enormous sets are amazing. Huge computer generated buildings rising up what seems like hundreds of feet in the air, makes Gotham City appear as elaborate and complex as Wayne/Batman himself. In fact every gadget, from the Bat-mobile and the helicopter to the Batman boomerangs, are detailed and well thought out.
Although the action takes place at night or inside, the use of neon colors contrasts with the black backgrounds, giving them the appearance of popping off the screen.
Joel Schumacher has taken over directing duties from Tim Burton. The result is a film with more action and a lighter look. Kilmer is up to the physical task and he seems a more romantic, mysterious figure. I like the change.
Batman is big, shiny, bold and exciting, and the film's title assures that this isn't to be the last in the series. I, along with Batman's millions of fans, am looking forward to the next one.