I’m frankly surprised that “Batman Forever” doesn’t show up often on lists about homoerotic mainstream films. In the annals of homoerotic cinema, “Batman Forever” is right up there. While Joel Schumacher pretty much does what Warner asked by making Batman less menacing, less violent, and a lot more family friendly, it’s also incredibly homoerotic. That doesn’t hinder the experience, but it’s worth discussing how Batman goes from fighting with a Latex covered sex zombie to building romantic tension with a young man he takes in seemingly out of nowhere.
Batman returns to action now facing off against the disfigured Mobster Two-Face, a former friend of Bruce Wayne’s who turned to crime. Batman gains the fascination of sexy psychiatrist Chase Meridian who bears a weird obsession and infatuation with the Dark Knight. Meanwhile scientist Edward Nigma develops a machine that can read the darkest secrets of its users while gradually destroying their brains. After being turned down by Bruce Wayne to develop it, he gets revenge by re-emerging as the genius The Riddler and teams with Two-Face to take over Gotham.
“Batman Forever” was genuinely a pop culture sensation in 1995 despite being a genuine downhill slide from the previous films. Joel Schumacher’s film teems with style, but that’s about all it has going for it. Along with an uneven tone that varies between dark violence and light hearted camp, Schumacher plays a huge emphasis on sex and sexuality. Along with sexualizing Batman a great deal, there’s so much innuendo between Nicole Kidman’s busty Chase Meridian and Bruce Wayne that it outshines the action. Along with that, Schumacher paints the Batman persona as an allegory for Bruce Wayne struggling with his sexuality, as with Batman he’s turned on by Chase Meridian, while Bruce builds and evident tension with Dick Grayson. Along with stiff performances by the leads, and Jim Carrey chewing the scenery, “Batman Forever” is a swing and a miss.
Gotta love that soundtrack, though.
The release from Warner comes with a 4K disc that only garners one audio commentary from Joel Schumacher. There’s a Digital Copy, and the Blu-Ray, which includes all the features from the Batman anthology set released years prior. There’s an audio Commentary with Joel Schumacher who is often apologetic and discusses a lot of production aspects. There’s the twenty nine minute “Shadows of the Bat, Part 5” which looks at Forever’s big tonal shift, the contributions of its cast and crew, the major redesign of Gotham, introducing so many characters and much more.
“Beyond Batman” is a forty five minute batch of featurettes skim over the film’s costumes and make-up effects, the new look of Gotham, the cast’s stuntwork, visual effects, and the musical score. “Riddle Me This” is a typical Made for TV EPK mainly glossing over the more superficial aspects of the Riddler. “The Heroes and the Villains” is a sixteen minute group of profiles hones in on Batman, the Riddler, Two-Face, Robin, and Dr. Chase Meridian. There are seven deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer. There’s finally the music video “Kiss From a Rose” from Seal. Sadly missing is U2’s song from the soundtrack isn’t included, which is a downright crime.