"Riddle Me This... riddle me that... who's afraid of a big, black Bat?"
Edward Nygma: I'm having a breakthrough! And a breakdown? MAYBE!
Dick:[surrounded by a street gang] I'm Batman! [gangbangers all laugh] Dick: Hey, I forgot my suit, alright?!
After the release of Batman Returns, Warner Bros. was in something of a difficult position. While they wanted to wallpaper their holiday mansions with $100 bills and Batman was the franchise to bet on, the extremely dark storyline of Batman Returns made it a harder sell to the intended audience, namely entire families. By now, they wanted something different for the next film, limiting Tim Burton to the role of producer and hiring Joel Schumacher to take over directing duties. And for good or for ill, Batman Forever was certainly different.Batman (nowVal Kilmer) is battling Harvey Dent / Two-Face (nowTommy Lee Jones), a struggle that gets tougher when Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Jim Carrey) enters the picture, as both have personal vendettas against the Bat. Batman finds an ally in orphaned acrobat Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell), who discovers Bruce Wayne's secret and becomes Robin with the initial intent of taking revenge against Two-Face, who killed his family. As a sub-plot, Bruce deals with a budding romance with psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), something that naturally causes some problems because of his double-life.The movie is brighter and the tone is softer but other than that it is considered to still be an entertaining film. One of the elements it's praised for is trying to further explore the character of Batman, giving him an arc the previous films lacked. Kilmer's Bruce Wayne is generally comparable next to Keaton, but some fans have argued that he has a better build and physical resemblance to Batman — in fact, Bob Kane himself thought that Kilmer was the best Batman yet. Chris O'Donnell was a strong choice as Dick Grayson, mixing in elements of both the older Nightwing and the Jason Todd Robin. It's obvious that the film was attempting to appeal more to a broader audience, especially with the casting of Jim Carrey, who at the time was extremely bankable with children, and the broader attempts at humor and overall goofier plot. However, Carrey still played up the Riddler as a Large Ham, and his interpretation was considered rather favorable — except by critics who were tired of seeing Jim Carrey. In fact, Carrey was becoming so overexposed that in 1995, he lampshaded it in his SNL monologue.Ultimately, the film proved somewhat divisive - die-hard fans of the darker Burton films rejected it outright, but Warner's gambit to cater to a larger audience paid off, and the box office results were $70 million higher than those of Returns. In general, the film was regarded as flawed but still entertaining. Unfortunately, the flawed aspects (cartoony villain personalities, over-dramatic action set pieces) were taken to the extreme and permeated Batman & Robin, the final film in the original Batman film series.
Batman Forever provides examples of:
90% of Your Brain : In the novelization, when the Riddler shows off his neon jacket, Chase gets an extra line where she warns Nygma that he's frying his mind with information: "There's a reason we only use twenty percent of our brains." (This was a common-known "fact" in 1995, later debunked.)
Many superhero movies (especially sequels) have a hard time managing the villains' origin and Evil Scheme while still making it feel like it is the hero's movie (even The Dark Knight has been criticized on that part). This movie actually dedicates a good portion to specifically Bruce Wayne and not just "Batman stops the bad guy."
While the Tim Burton movies are for the most part praised and loved, many people were unnerved with Batman's willingness to kill. Batman Forever manages to set up Batman's "no kill" rule rather plausibly, strongly suggesting that after killing the Joker for killing his parents, Bruce wasn't satisfied and kept killing criminals before he realized he had become a monster and learned to let go of revenge.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Bruce Wayne has consistently been portrayed in comics and other adaptations as dark haired (or at the least with brown hair). Kilmer isn't quite as blonde as in his other films but he is certainly much more fair haired than the regular.
Dick Grayson also usually has black/dark hair in the comics, but here his hair is more brown.
The Riddler also typically has either black or brown hair in the comics, yet here he goes back and forth between red/orange hair and brown hair.
Two-Face has pink hair, which is a first for him. Typically his scarred side's hair is either greying or white (that is when he has hair at all.)
Ambiguously Gay: Carrey plays the Riddler as a nerdier and somewhat more bloodthirsty Paul Lynde. He'd played creepy stalker roles before, most notably in The Cable Guy, so nobody asked any inconvenient questions. He does show a modicum of interest in Chase, though his primary motivation is to make Bruce jealous (he actually has to deepen his voice when inviting onto the dance floor).
Ambiguously Jewish: The bank guard taken hostage by Two-Face. Think you can kvetch a little more, guy?
Asshole Victim: Fred Stickley. There's dealing with a difficult employee and there is going out of your way to verbally put him down at every opportunity you can find. No wonder Nygma snapped.
Jerkass Has a Point: However, it can be said that Stickley is the most heroic example of this you can find, considering he had good reason to do so; he suspected that Nygma's project was an example of unethical brain manipulation, and when Nygma used him as a guinea pig, those suspicions are confirmed, and he pulls no punches in telling him exactly what's in store for him on account of his use of the company's resources for something as unethical as brain manipulation. Nygma does not take it well. However, it's not explicitly clear which came first: The abuse, or the unethical brain manipulation.
Author Appeal: Joel Schumacher saw fit to include shots of Batman's and Robin's asses when trying on the new suits, zeroing in on rubber nipples and a wedgie. Schumacher is utterly unrepentant on his commentary track, advising viewers to "get out more."
Gotham City is simply littered with ripped guys with well-oiled torsos. Every last one of Two-Face's Mooks, for instance.
Schumacher is apparently also quite fond of black lights, pastel colors and rave lighting. Both of his Batmobiles (Forever and Batman & Robin) were tricked out with LED undercar lights, much like an illegal street racer, and the mooks are all wearing neon in some form or fashion (the Neon Gang's clothing, makeup, graffiti and glowsticks, as well as the "Yin Yangs" on Two-Face's SMGs).
And then there's the Riddler's factory, which doesn't pretend to be anything besides an evil discotheque.
Gotham itself is a lot more colorful than in Burton's day, brightening more and more as the night goes on: at dusk, the city is cloaked with pastel light fixtures, suggesting a Japanophile's take on the Dark Knight. (Indeed, the exterior shots of the Second Bank of Gotham borrows liberally from Blade Runner.) Even The City Narrows — where no light can even penetrate — is wallpapered with glow in the dark paint.
Badass Family: The entire Grayson family immediately and without question springs into action to successfully save the circus. Unfortunately, it costs most of them them their lives.
Badass Normal: Dick earns his stripes well before he becomes Robin.
Badass in Distress: But he's still new to crime fighting, and has to be rescued by Batman in the climax.
Ballroom Blitz: Two-Face gets itchy feet and crashes Edward Nygma's gala, to Nygma's consternation — He had been carefully luring Bruce Wayne into an expo booth to read his mind. The electricity shorts out as soon as the goons arrive; it's just dumb luck that Bruce didn't leave the booth in time.
Bat Deduction: Bruce discovers who the Riddler is through a series of riddles left to him, which he discovers is meant to indicate a series of numbers corresponding to letters of the alphabet. They spell out "M-R-E", which Bruce deciphers as "mystery" and "Mr. E", leading to the conclusion of Edward Nygma. However there was more to his conclusion than just the riddles, not the least of which is that Nygma started up a company to rival Bruce's in the wake of a crime wave from the Riddler and Two-Face, and combined with the circumstances under which he left Bruce's company, the leap wasn't hard to make.
The Riddler gets his own variant, presumably using The Box on various crooks around town in order to glean the location of Two-Face's hideaway. In the novel, the explanation makes a bit more sense: He simply traced back the anonymous orders of custom two-toned suits, half-and-half pizza, and the like.
Benevolent Boss: Bruce Wayne is shown here as being a little less dotty and reclusive. In the wake of Stickley's death, he personally canvasses the scene and insists on full insurance converge for Stickley's surviving family.
Betty and Veronica: Bruce/Batman is this for Chase, and forms her character arc through the film.
Sugar and Spice fill these roles for Two-Face. Sugar is a stereotypical Prohibition-era moll, and Spice is a whip-crackinggoth dominatrix. Later, at Nygmatech's launch party, Sugar hangs on "Eddie's" arm while Spice crashes the party with Harvey.
Big Damn Heroes: Batman gets a few, with Robin later repaying him by saving the Caped Crusader's bacon in the subway.
In fact, Nygma unflatteringly compares Batman's cool skylight leap with his partner's trademark entrance: shoot guns in the air like Yosemite Sam.
Near the climax of the film, Commissioner Gordon finally gives up on Batman after patiently waiting beside the Bat-Signal all night. He sadly tells a nearby cop to "shut it down"... whereupon the Batplane suddenly appears out of the clouds.
Big Bad Duumvirate: Two-Face and The Riddler. Who's in the dominant position (as well as who chews more scenery) varies over the course of the movie. At first, the Riddler is subservient to Two-Face, relying on his mooks and somewhat limited criminal resources to fund his Box ventures. However, as he grows legitimately richer and smarter, the Riddler begins to overtake the Big Bad slot. By the third act, the Riddler has his own island lair, death laser, mines, scuba henchmen, and elaborate deathtraps while Two-Face more or less plays The Dragon off to the side as Riddler goes into ham overload.
Big Guy, Little Guy: The film flat-out lampshades this when Riddler asks Two-Face for a lesson in how to throw a punch. Two-Face lays out a security guard with one jab, while another guard barely flinches when Nygma swats him.
Bling Bling Bang: One of Two-Face's guns (the one he menaces the Riddler with) is a chrome-plated Benelli MP95. This is an exotic pistol which doesn't appear in many films. He also lugs around a silver-plated grenade launcher at one point.
Bloodless Carnage: The Graysons lying dead on the circus floor. Also, Bruce's head wound.
Body Horror: Riddler's facial warping after Batman destroys his Box hub. It's not just a funny-looking effect. When Batman retrieves him after his defeat, his skull is lumpier than it was before, and his left ear is a full length lower than it should be. And people claim this movie isn't dark...
Bond One-Liner: The Riddler whacking his boss with a coffee pot. "Caffeine'll kill ya."
Book Ends: It's implied the Riddler winds up in his partner's old cell at Arkham, but the prologue featuring Two-Face's escape was cut.
Bowdlerise: In the original draft, Two-Face's henchwenches were nicknamed "Leather" and "Lace" (instead of "Sugar" and "Spice" in the final draft). Plainly, this was a little risque for a superhero film.
Two-Face's logo was censored in the console game, with the bleeding side replaced with a scrawled line, like the ones on his famous coin.
Brains and Brawn: Jones' Two-Face is a rabid dog, prone to violent mood swings and howling at the moon. He's intrigued by possibilities offered by the Box, while admittedly not grasping how it works or the logistics of Riddler's plot. By the end, he finally has enough of Nygma's silly games and resorts to old-fashioned gunplay.
Broken Ace: This film emphasizes Bruce Wayne as this. Everyone wants to be with him and Ed Nygma wants to be him. Deep down, he is an emotional train wreck.
Broken Aesop: Bruce spends the entire movie telling Dick he can't kill Two-Face because it's wrong and won't fix anything. Finally, towards the end, Dick (as Robin) learns his lesson and saves Two-Face from dying even though it means getting captured. And then Batman kills Two-Face anyway.
In the novel it's different; Batman attempts to stymie Two-Face by knocking his coin away. He catches it anyway, and then Robin calls him out on never turning the coin on himself. He checks the coin in his fist, and lets go of the girder he was clinging to. Robin then says he didn't mean to kill him, and Batman says that Two-Face just made his first choice in a long time.
Another person put it nicely as being a "kill or be killed" type of situation, since they were all trapped on a ledge while Two-Face has them at gunpoint, and Batman probably had no other options since he had to keep him from hurting Robin and Chase. Or maybe he didn't intend on making him fall to his death.
Though it is notable that he makes no effort to try catching him, either via grabbing or grapnel. He might have been out of grapnel lines after his final rescue, but you'd think Batman would at least try a lunging grab.
Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Two-Face holds the entire circus hostage with the (fairly reasonable) logic that, since the audience is filled with the richest and most notable citizens of Gotham, one of them must surely either know Batman or be Batman—and sure enough, Bruce is watching the performance. He immediately stands up and tries to give himself up, but no one can hear him in the panic.
Two-Face: Surely one of you knows who Batman is. Hell, odds are one of you pasty-faced twits is Batman!
Bullying a Dragon: Fred Stickley threatens to haul Edward Nygma before a federal tribunal and have him incarcerated in an insane asylum after Nygma has not only disobeyed a direct order from Stickley, but also hit him in the head with a coffee pot, tied him up, and subjected him to a highly unethical and potentially life-threatening neurological experiment. And on top of all that, he fires Nygma; Edward does not take this well, and his reaction is swift and terrible.
Calling Your Attacks: There wasn't a particularly good reason for Dick to exclaim, "Now!" just before leaping from the balcony to try getting into the Batcave.
Camera Abuse: Probably the film's creepiest moment is Nygma grinning into a Waynetech camera as he cuts the feed.
Camp: This put Joel Schumacher's love for camp on display, which was a breath of fresh air after the extremely grim overtones of the previous film. By and large, the camp was mostly the good kind - there was a lot more restraint than the next film, as the story, villains' plan, and Batman's issues were still taken seriously enough to care about.
Batman himself is noticeably the same character as the previous films; he takes the job seriously, doesn't joke around (besides deadpan quips) and patiently mentors Dick Grayson. In truth, besides the color scheme the only difference between this film and Batman Returns is that Forever seems far more aware of itself while Returns takes everything much more seriously (compare Penguin's circus-themed gang to the neon-paint gang in this film).
The Cameo: Dick attracts a couple of curious hookers while joyriding in Batman's car. These ladies of the night are played by the nineties R&B group En Vogue.
Dick: I could definitely get into this superhero gig.
Gossip Gerty is portrayed by Elizabeth Sanders, Batman co-creator Bob Kane's wife.
Canon Foreigner: Chase Meridian was created for the film. Also, Dick Grayson never had a brother (not that his brother lived very long in the movie).
Sugar and Spice are more or less Two-Face's answer to Harley Quinn. They were later made Canon Immigrants in the Arkham Origins #1 comic (suggesting further use for the duo), though they don't appear in the game itself.
Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Nygma's has four different Riddler costumes over the course of the film: green suit w/ bowler, green spandex, black jacket with light-up question marks, and silver-and-glitter bodysuit based on 1970's David Bowie (with a question mark in place of the lightning bolt); even his hairstyle keeps changing color and length, beginning with wacky Einstein Hair before progressing a flattop (switching intermittently with a GQ haircut like Wayne's), and then back to a longer, electrified 'do reminiscent of Gozer the Gozerian. The last two costume/hairstyle combos occur minutes apart during the climax.
To be clear, his fire-engine-red Riddler hairstyles are clearly meant to be wigs, which could be quickly swapped. His real hair only changes once, from the longish auburn mop he sports as a Wayne Tech lab geek to the dark, deliberately Bruce Wayne-ish coif he gets after becoming a multimillionaire entrepreneur.
Collapsing Lair: Lobbing a Batarang at the Riddler's antenna makes the entire base go up in smoke.
Complexity Addiction: Addressed; when The Riddler offers to help Two-Face kill Batman in exchange for money to manufacture his Box devices, he convinces him that just offing the hero quickly and simply wouldn't be as emotionally satisfying as ensuring he was humiliated first by having his true identity revealed and used against him. Also referenced when Two-Face shoots Bruce Wayne, knocking him down, and as he's going to give a fatal shot, the Riddler stops him.
Riddler: "Don't kill him... If you kill him, he won't learn nothin'." Two-Face cackles in sadistic agreement.
Composite Character: Strangely enough, the Riddler is a unique combination of the hyperactive spandex trickster of the Silver Age and the suave businessman-like personality of the Bronze Age. This was partially explained in the novelization by having his mind getting fried from using The Box; he is the trickster when in the Riddler costume and the businessman when acting as the CEO of NygmaTech.
Before he dons the bowler, Ed going postal on his supervisor is more reminiscent of Post-Crisis Scarecrow than anything.
Also, brainwashing the people of Gotham with high-tech headgear seemed more like a job reserved for the Mad Hatter (who more casual fans often mistake for Riddler, given the latter's fondness for bowler hats in the comics), and discovering that Bruce Wayne is Batman by using a machine that creates visuals of a person's mind was move made famous by Professor Hugo Strange on Batman: The Animated Series.
Robin's origin is actually a composite of two comic-book Robins; in the comics, Two-Face killed Jason Todd's parents, and that element (along with Jason's desire for revenge) were imported into Chris O'Donnell's Dick Grayson character.
Conspicuous Consumption: Bruce has stockpiled a fleet of ultra-rare, unused vintage motorcycles in his garage in case he ever needed to tempt an orphaned acrobat not to embark on a life of vengeance.
Bruce also subtly alludes to killing The Joker in the first movie when he tells Dick, who is adamant about killing Two-Face for the deaths of his family, that he knows from experience that killing for revenge won't bring him any peace.
Cool Guns / Guns Akimbo: In keeping with his odd personality, Two-Face wields a pair of German-made revolvers, one blued, one stainless, when he crashes the Riddler's reception. The stainless revolver has pearl grips. Two-Face proves to be quite the gun nut, packing everything from an RPG-7 (in a baby carriage!), to a grenade launcher, to a minigun mounted onto the hood of his car.
Crazy-Prepared: After The Riddler has his way with the Batcave, we find out the Bruce doesn't keep all his wonderful toys on the main floor, but there's actually more underneath in the depths of the cave, including the Batplane and Batboat. In the comic novelization, Alfred explicitly calls it "The Cave Under The Cave". Not to mention the Batmobile comes equipped with grappling hooks of its own so it can escape dead ends by climbing walls.
Create Your Own Villain: Bruce Wayne created the Riddler by turning down Nygma's brainwave manipulation ideas. In addition, Batman couldn't save Harvey Dent from getting a glass of acid in the face and becoming Two-Face.
He also threatened to crush Edward's "bones into batter" if the dreaded coin landed on tails. Then again, he was pretty hungry.
Cut Edward Nygma a Check: Played with. He tries to make money honestly but after being rejected and funding it with Two-Face's crimes he still makes billions on "The Box" technology. If he wasn't obsessed with Bruce Wayne and Batman he could have lived a very comfortable, lavish life.
Assuming nobody eventually looked too close at the company's initial books...
This is the same Gotham City that allowed Jack Palance's Carl Grissom and Christopher Walken's Max Shreck to come to prominence, and where Oswald Cobblepot was damn near voted Mayor in a recall election. Plus, through the Box network, Nygma surely soaked up some political secrets that would have been leverage against inquiries.
Darkest Hour: Say what you will about the "lighter and softer," but in this film Batman comes closer to defeat than he does anywhere else in the series.
Alfred: They've taken Dr. Meridian. Master Dick has run away. The Batcave has been destroyed. And there's another riddle.
Deadly Game: The Riddler wheeling out his two hostages, Chase and Dick. He reads off smarmy, game show-like biographies of each (using his cane as a microphone) while Harvey does his Ed MacMahon impression in the back.
Death by Secret Identity: Both Two-Face and Riddler aren't able to do much with their information, which is disappointing since The Riddler had all that tech to broadcast Bruce's secret, but he went insane instead. And Two-Face was even unluckier. However the film doesn't explain why none of their cronies leak word of Bruce's identity, as they were present during the raid on his manor.
Death Trap: The interior of the bank safe is filled with acid nozzles, which will kill Batman (now locked inside it) but keep the money pristine and secure, which is actually clever. Later on, the Riddler rigs an elaborate pit with sharps rocks and a descending ceiling, all of which ends up claiming Two-Face instead.
Didn't See That Coming: The Riddler asking a coin-flipping, duality-obsessed, indecisive crazed killer to become partners with him. Can't see where that could go disastrously wrong. (Lucky for him, Two-Face always slaps the coin on the back of his hand, reversing the verdict.)
Distracted by the Sexy: After Batman coolly rebuffs Chase's advances on the rooftop, there is a moment of being taken aback when Chase opens her coat, revealing a negligee underneath. All he can manage is a "Direct, aren't you?"
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Bruce spends much of the film trying to dissuade Dick from getting involved in the vigilante lifestyle.
The film as a whole could be seen as an early attempt at deconstructing the character of Batman/Bruce Wayne by showing that despite how heroic and downright awesome he can be, he is still a lonely, troubled man who wishes he could have a peaceful life.
He finally gets a happy ending at the end of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, made a little more than a decade later.
A pretty blatant product placement tie-in ("I'll get drive-thru" was on every channel in 1995), but still in-character from Alfred.
Edward Nygma unveiling his pet project: a blender full of Styrofoam peanuts! Stickley looks ready to gnaw on his knuckles in embarrassment, while Edward holds it aloft like the Holy Grail.
Bruce mistaking Chase's punching bag for a rapist. It rivals "C'MON, LET'S GET NUTS!" as his dorkiest moment ever.
False Reassurance: Nygma wheels Stickley straight into an office window, but as he's still connected to a God helmet, he dangles precariously from the ledge. Nygma, seeing this, rushes over to save the day — but only to retrieve his helmet.
Nygma: You were supposed to understand. (furious) I'll make you understand.
Fantastic Drug: Taking hits from Nygma's machine is apparently quite addictive. The Riddler himself spends hours on a stylized throne shaped like "The Thinker", jittering like a coke fiend as he sucks up more energy.
Form-Fitting Wardrobe: First appearance of the bat-nipples. Good God, the frikkin' bat nipples. As one critic pointed out, whose idea were those supposed to be, Alfred's?
The bat buns. Apparently, the bat-suit comes with a bat-wedgie.
Jim Carrey's Riddler spandex is a little TOO form fitting...
Frozen Face: Fitting for a movie franchise which kept trying to reinvent Jack Nicholson's Joker, the corner of Two-Face's mouth is twisted into a permanent 'smile.'
Gang of Hats: The glowstick gang. (Also colloquially known as the Neon Gang or Blacklight Gang.) Their skull makeup and tassels call to mind a Voodoo Cult as filtered through a modern lens.
And then there is Two-Face's gang, which is sizable. Each mook is a variation on the standard leather vested, heavily-pierced biker type, with a Deathstroke-style ski mask to complete the picture.
In the game version, Two-Face has a separate set of mooks in orange zoot suits, to match his unblemished side.
Gatling Good: The 1950 Buicks with pairs of miniguns on their hoods.
Giver of Lame Names: Nygma struggles while coming up with a gangster persona for himself: among the rejected names are "the Puzzler" (themed around crossword puzzles, groan), the "Gamester" (wearing a giant chess piece outfit) and "Captain Kill."
A God Am I: The Riddler quotes these words exactly in regards to the power his mind-reading "Box" devices have granted him. (He then does some lampshading: "Was that over the top? I can never tell!")
Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: One of the perks of being a dual-themed supervillain is that you can do both. Sugar lights up Harvey's cigarette like he's a gumshoe detective, while Spice (on his opposite side) uses a blowtorch.
Green-Eyed Monster: The Riddler, fittingly enough. At first, his fixation with his boss seems like simple hero worship, but it becomes evident that what Edward wants is to Kill and Replace Bruce in Gotham's social circle. Even at his launch party, after Nygma sculpts his hair to watch Bruce Wayne's, the press still flocks around the Waynetech CEO; Edward is shown standing off the side, absolutely fuming.
Sugar: Oh, Eddie, he is too cute. ...Why don't you look as good in that suit? Nygma:Shut up.
Harmless Lady Disguise: During a Batmobile chase with Two-Face's cars, Two-Face himself steps out into the street wearing a ratty shawl and pushing a baby carriage(!). This causes Batman to slow down a bit, like a good Gotham citizen, before Two-Face pulls a rocket launcher.
Batman smashes the Ridder's giant box, causing his brain to overload with information. The novelization shows Nygma Brought Down to Normal again, unable to remember how his gadgets worked and feebly trying to piece them together.
"... but your pain doesn't die with Harvey, it grows. So you run out into the night to find another face, and another, and another, until one terrible morning you wake up and realize that revenge has become your whole life. And you won't know why."
Humorously averted by Riddler: "No! Don't kill him! If you kill him.... he won't learn nuthin'!"
Ignored Confession: Two-Face is about to detonate the bomb in the circus when Bruce Wayne stands up and proclaims that he's Batman in order to stop the murder, but the audience has erupted into a frenzy and nobody notices Wayne's confession.
Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Harvey Two Face, natch. His half wears a variety of two-toned suits throughout the film: a patchwork of garish animal prints (in pastel, no less); a Judas Priest getup with leather and chains; and his comparatively mild ringmaster outfit and tuxedo. The left side of the tux is patterned to resemble blood streaks.
Leitmotif: "Nygma Variations (Ode to Science)", especially the last part of it which utilizes a One-Woman Wail. As the movie progresses, you can hear his theme music transition from a trashy carnival medley (reflecting the "Guesser" arcade game in his loft) to a full-on Frankenstein dirge.
Licensed Game: A 2-player Beat 'em Up with Batman and Robin, each with their own moves (although the game offers only two at a time, as selectable "gadgets" before each level). The game follows the example of Mortal Kombat et al. by using digitized actors as sprites. Due to the dearth of memory on offer, there are about 5 or so regular enemies total, with two (the inmate and the clown) appearing only in their respective stages. Hence, Two-Face is fought twice, promptly keeling over once his stamina is drained (only for Batman to fail to apprehend him for some unexplainable reason), while the Riddler is fought countless times thanks to Nygma's "holograms." Two-Face's henchwenches also appear as sub-bosses, although Sugar is, depressingly, a palette swap of Spice. So much for kick boxing with Drew Barrymore in an SNES game.
Interestingly, Two-Face does not have an Ambidextrous Sprite: his moves vary depending on which side is facing the screen.
There was also an arcade cabinet version. This one utilized more conventional graphics akin to the earlier Batman Returns beat 'em up, plus a few gimmicks nicked from the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
There have actually been arguments put forward that, in many ways, this movie is as dark as the Burton films. Bright neon makes the city look garish and ugly, at least as much as the gothic look of the older films. In many ways the Gotham shown in this film is an almost Blade Runner-esque dystopia obsessed with looking glamorous and getting away from reality. One comic artist specifically complimented the use of neon and bright colors, figuring that a town run entirely by greed and crime would look like Las Vegas, ie Sin City.
It's also more psychological than the first two, going into greater depth on why Bruce is Batman, his realization of what the superhero lifestyle has done to him, and the possibility that he might give up the mantle.
List of Transgressions: Shortly before Edward boots him out a window, Stickley lists off about a million federal agencies that will soon known of his illegal brain tampering. During this tirade, Eddie prances around shivering and biting his nails in mock terror.
Loads and Loads of Characters: A common complaint regarding the Schumacher films was trying to work in as many villains and good guys as possible (apparently trying to top the 3 villains in Returns), often with little rhyme or reason.
Madness Mantra: Bruce Wayne's verdict on the Box technology is that it raises too many ethical "questions." This remark definitely shook Nygma up; he's heard repeating it to himself while sitting amidst his smoldering lair.
Magical Security Cam: Bruce has archive footage of Chase doing a slo-mo Hair Flip. He has even more screens in Batman & Robin, prompting Bill Corbett to wonder how many security cameras Bruce Wayne has secretly installed around Gotham to get all this footage.
Maroni's murder trial must have been an even bigger media circus than O.J. Simpson's: The cameras perfectly capture the acid attack, Batman's intervention, and even a close-up of Dent getting splattered in 800 ISO. (A similar narrative device would be used for Mr. Freeze's origin story in the following movie.)
Male Gaze: Nicole Kidman's, erm... interesting pose on the movie poster.
Man in White: The Riddler starts channeling Ziggy Stardust in the finale.
Meaningful Name: Chase (she chases Batman) Meridian (the balancing middle). Also openly acknowledged by the characters with Edward Nygma as in..E. Nygma or... enigma. Also Mr.E or Mystery
In the comics, his birth name was Edward Nashton and he changed it to Nigma(/Nygma) himself, for both the pun and to distance himself from his abusive father.
Merchandise-Driven: A big reason the films decided to lighten up was to make it easier to sell them and related products to families. Some also think the growing character count was due to this.
Monumental Damage: Two-Face crashes a helicopter into Lady Gotham (more precisely, a replica of the Statue of Liberty), making its face look a lot like his.
Mood-Swinger: To the Riddler's chagrin. When the District Attorney side is in control, Two-Face speaks in an oily voice—that is, until something irritates him. Then he immediately snaps back in a decibel-blasting roar.
Mood Whiplash: It can be for some viewers. The film bounces back and forth between the zany antics of Riddler and Two-Face and the Dark and Troubled Past of Batman and Robin. It's no wonder Schumacher vocally decided to jettison the seriousness of Wayne Manor in the next film.
Ms. Fanservice: Nicole Kidman in her hottie prime naked under a silk bedsheet, and using the Batsignal to strip in front of Batman and try to seduce him.
Chris Sims: She does everything but strip right down in front of Commissioner Gordon in that first scene, and gets progressively naked every other time she meets Batman until sheï¿½s making out with him in a sheet. David Uzumeri: Really, sheï¿½s your self-insertion character. Chris: ï¿½Chase Meridianï¿½ is an anagram for ï¿½Chris Sims.ï¿½
Drew Barrymore as Sugar and Debi Mazar as Spice, or as the script originally referred to them, Leather and Lace. Of all of Barrymore's screentime, she has exactly one scene that is not spent in lingerie, and except for a sheer coat, Mazar spends the entire movie in a dominatrix getup that would make Dr. Frank N. Furter jealous.
My Brain Is Big: The Riddler grows steadily smarter as he robs neural energy. It backfires on him when Batman destroys the machine, leaving his skull warped into an ugly shape.
Mythology Gag: There are a few of these regarding Robin. The "holey rusted metal" bit is a reference to the '60s show, and when pondering what his superhero alias should be, Dick Grayson considers "Nightwing". The Flying Graysons outfits are a combination of the original Robin costume and the one from Batman: The Animated Series (which was in turn based on Tim Drake's Robin costume in the comics).
Also one to the greater DCU, when Bruce mentions the circus must be half way to Metropolis.
Robin's conflict with Two-Face is a reference to Jason Todd, the second Robin in the Bat-comics, who was confronted with the same decision.
One of the alter-egos Nygma came up with was "The Puzzler", who was a villain in the 1960's Batman series.
The exterior shot of Nygma's apartment shows that it's located next to a sign advertising the Criss-Cross Cleaning Company. In his first comic appearance, the Riddler hijacks a similar sign to pose a riddle to Batman.
The character of Dr. Burton was intended, visually and name-wise, to be a shout out to previous Batman director Tim Burton.
Negated Moment of Awesome: In a deleted scene (retained in the novel), Riddler hacks into the Batmobile, causing Batman to crash headlong into a 'crime scene'... which turns out to be an all-night hair salon. Cue much chortling and sarcastic offers to "trim the ears" as he stomps off, furious.
In the novelization, Batman has apparently heard this line so many times he starts listing off the taxonomic ranks of a bat so he can specify exactly where a bat stops sharing similarities with a rodent.
Riddler's jibe to Two-Face, "That's never gonna heal if you don't stop picking." Ho ho ho! *cocks gun*
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bruce flakes off on Nygma to answer the Bat-Signal, which turns out to be another come-on by the amorous Dr. Meridian. A criminal career and megalomaniacal plot to enslave Gotham could have been avoided here!
The Nicknamer: Nygma enjoys referring to Harvey as, "O segregated one", and "bifurcated one".
No Guy Wants Tobe Chased: Geddit? Seriously, though, Bruce mostly seems pained that Chase is only interested in the Batman.
Television's often called "the idiot box," isn't it? Also, "The Box" is just a brand name... it's nondescript enough to be the most talked-about item on the shelves. Besides, who would buy it if it was called something like "the Mind Blender"?
Not-So-Harmless Villain: On the one hand, The Riddler is played by Jim Carrey at the height of his Large Ham comedy days, he looks ridiculous in the Riddler outfits, and he's just plain weird. On the other hand, he terminates his boss by letting him drop hundreds of feet into the ocean out of a glass window, blows up the Batcave and most of Bruce's equipment with it (including the Batmobile and his suits), founded and built a hugely successful company and made a fortune from it, became a super-intelligent genius with his invention and used it to discover Batman's true identity, and if not for his need to have Bruce live so he could show him up, he could have flat killed him. Until the Nolanverse brought in Bane, none of the other film villains before or since have done so impressively. The only reason Batman and Robin even make it to his base is because he didn't anticipate Batman having a Batcave under the Batcave.
Oh, Crap: The Riddler, when he realizes Batman has foiled his plan. "Bummer."
His first scene with Two-Face, when the split-faced villain deliberates on whether he lives or dies:
Two-Face: You have broken into our hideout. Riddler:(giggling and nodding like a goon) Two-Face: You have violated the sanctity of our lair. Riddler:(crushing realization hits)
Old Media Are Evil: The Riddler's device feeds on idle, middle-class families staring droolingly at a television all day. That is literally his entire base of power.
One-Winged Angel: It would have been played with. Original drafts of the script called for the Riddler to have become grossly muscled and huge when Batman finds him on Claw Island at the end. Batman assumes it's a side-effect of the Box process, and pities him. Then it's subverted; the Riddler hasn't been changed at all, he's just wearing a big muscled suit to mess with Batman some more, and he steps out of it. This was cut from the final draft, but was cut late enough to make it into the Novelization and the video game adaptations.
It's also why Nygma is abruptly wearing an (admittedly rather awesome) white Riddler suit for the film's final scene: the muscle suit was colored as such. In said novelization and video games, the Riddler's suit under the muscle suit is still his trademark green.
"Open!" Says Me: Bruce confuses Dr. Meridian's workout regimen with an intruder, and 'heroically' kicks down her office door. Chase drolly comments that Bruce Wayne, CEO can probably afford to buy her a new door, and Bruce feebly tries to prop it back onto its splintered frame, like that fixes it.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Dr. Chase Meridian is apparently proficient at boxing with a punching bag and succeeds in keeping off Two-Face's goons for some time, but still has to be rescued by Batman like ye olde Damsel in Distress.
Personal Arcade: Edward keeps a carnival fortune teller booth in his home, upon which he bases his Riddler costume. It's dubbed "The Guesser" in the novel, and is based on an old children's TV show puppet.
Police Are Useless: Take a close look at Stickley's "suicide note". Maybe Gordon's getting a bit long in the tooth for this job...
To whom it may concern GOODBYE, CRUEL WORLD! -Stickley Gordon: Yep. Definitely suicide.
In the establishing shot of Two-Face's hideout, we see a number of police cruisers roar right past it, sirens blaring all the way.
Gotham Police Officer: (Pointing to a giant green question mark above the Bat Signal) "Who the hell's doin' that?"
Race Lift: A very strange example. Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in the first film, which was in itself a race lift from the comics where Dent was nominally white (his exact appearance depended on the artist, sometimes he was vaguely Italian). This movie is supposedly set in the same continuity as the first film but Tommy Lee Jones was cast to play the character. So this is an example of a reversed race lift in the same continuity.
Ready for Lovemaking: Parodied. In the Riddler's inner sanctum, Chase is chained to a (question mark-embroidered) chaise lounge, trapping her in this pose.
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: In comparison to the earlier films where Bruce Wayne was much more reclusive, this film has him as a charismatic socialite who actually pays attention to his company.
Rule of Funny: Commissioner Gordon hurrying over to the Bat-Signal rooftop in his nightgown. He didn't even get dressed?
Seeing as he's probably the only one allowed to light the signal, he likely figured something even more dire than usual was up, and felt he needed to hurry.
Sadistic Choice: The Riddler poses one to Batman at the climax: either save Chase or save Robin (a choice that also represents his two personas: Bruce and Batman). Obviously, he manages to rescue both, although the movie tries to admit a bit more realism by having Batman make the second catch damn close to reaching the Spikes of Doom.
The novelization, by Peter David, subverts it entirely. Batman catches the unconscious Chase, then looks for Robin, only to not find him entirely. He wonders if he could've fallen all that way, that fast, and calls out "Robin!" in despair. Robin, having braced himself on the inside of the tube, replies "Whatcha want?"
The comic adaption actually merges the two: Robin initially braces himself in his tube so that Batman can catch Chase, but either can't hold on or falls on purpose, allowing Batman to catch him in turn.
The Scream: Once the Riddler is bloodied and broken, Batman good-heartedly offers to help him to his feet — only for the Riddler to recoil in abject terror. All he sees is a giant bat.
The Neon gang recoil when they see the Batmobile roll up, and rightly so. ...But they all share a laugh when a not-so-bright Dick exits the car, which gives their female victim a chance to run. Later, Batman shows up for real, and they all flee like little girls.
See You in Hell: Two-Face says this to Robin while hanging from a ledge. Robin responds by rescuing him and saying, "I'd rather see you in jail!"
Sexy Coat Flashing: Chase wears a black negligee and garters in anticipation of her liaison with Batman.
She lists the the suspect's actual symptoms- ie. homicidal obsession. She has no plans of killing either Bruce or Batman, at all, nor is she anywhere near that obsessive or self-centred, so no, her fixation is completely different.
Sigil Spam: The Riddler's question marks, obviously, but Two-Face has his own unique insignia: A stylized Yin-Yang, with the "white" side dripping with blood. His giant explosive device is emblazoned with the symbol, as are his parachutes(!).
Skyward Scream: Each time Batman gets away, Two-Face takes it a little more badly. During the car chase, the Batmobile drives up a vertical facade, leaving Harvey at street level and hopping mad. Later, when the Riddler hands him a newspaper reporting Batman's escape from the subway, he literally rears his head back and bawls like a baby.
Sophisticated as Hell: Inverted; Chase, in a hurry to be rid of Bruce, dismisses his riddle-loving stalker as a "total whacko." Bruce asks whether that's a term they teach in academia, and Chase retorts with a long, professional-sounding diagnosis.
Stalker with a Crush: Chase Meridian is a rare heroic example. Edward Nygma/The Riddler can be seen as one of these, too - at least if you believe the Foe Yay theory.
Chase is just intellectually curious (maybe more than normal) and romantically attracted; Nygma is an actual stalker, posting sinister mail to his target, having photos and newspaper clippings of them all over his office and home, and dealing with their rejection by plotting to show up, humiliate and eventually kill them. The worst Chase does is hijack the Batsignal, which she semi-justifies by talking about Two-Face's psychological weaknesses.
Straw Nihilist: Two-Face's coin speech at the beginning of the film. This is about as faithful to the comics as Tommy Lee Jones is going to get, so fans will savor it.
"One man is born a hero, his brother a coward. Babies starve, politicians grow fat. Holy men are martyred, and junkies grow legion. Why? Whywhywhywhywhy?....LUCK!"
Supervillain Lair: Two-Face's base is hidden in the fixtures of a bridge, and is split down the middle between an art deco suite from the 1960s and some kind of S&M dungeon. Nygma, starting his criminal career from the ground up, gradually builds himself a throne room filled with all the questions marks his heart desires.
Tap on the Head: Justified with poor Alfred, who gets beaned with Riddler's metallic cane.
Technical Pacifist: This is actually the first film of this series to portray Batman as this, rather than someone who is outright killing mooks.
Tested On Humans: Edward previously asked Bruce to allow him to conduct human trials, but the boss said no way. Stickley is the first (unwilling) participant in the Box experiments.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Bruce and Alfred are devious when they work together. Bruce shows off his motorcycle showroom to Dick, and the youth suddenly takes a shine to his new dad. On cue, in waltzes Alfred with a platter of food:
Alfred: Is the young master leaving? Pity. I'll just throw this away then. Perhaps the dogs are hungry.
Whatever happened to Sugar and Spice's ridiculously lavish, six-course dinner that they prepared before Riddler turned up? Maybe Harvey invited Eddie to join them at the table after all. (That must have been a sight to see.)
'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: During the siege of Wayne Manor, Bruce's forehead is grazed by Two-Face's bullet, causing him to tumble off a marble staircase. The fall seems to inflict more harm than the gun did.
Trap Door: Rather than waste time trekking all the way to the Batcave from his plant, Bruce has a manhole installed directly under his office chair. Once in freefall, he gets deposited into a sarcophagus which travels at high speed until it reaches the cave.
Tuxedo and Martini: While Batman brawls with his posse at the Ritz Gotham, a tuxedo-clad Harvey is nonchalantly sipping (yes) two cocktail martinis, watching the scene with amusement.
Maybe. As seen on the Fridge page, there's a theory that he was counting each clear shot at Bruce as a separate attempt deserving a separate toss.
In the end Two-Face forgets his shtick entirely, and Batman has to remind him of it before he Just Shoots Him.
Un-Confession: Bruce Wayne tries to announce his identity as Batman to a circus tent full of people in order to stop Two-Face from releasing his massive bomb, but nobody hears him over the screams of the panicked crowd. He also spills the secret to Nygma, who later loses his mind and declares himself Batman when questioned by the Asylum staff.
Dick: I just saved your life! You owe me! Bruce: You were way out of control, you're gonna get yourself killed!
Vengeance Feels Empty: The film references this trope when Batman tries to persuade Dick Grayson not to pursue his revenge against Two-Face. The Riddler also uses this as a way to goad Two-Face into joining forces with him.
Victoria's Secret Compartment: When Bruce gives the Box a whirl, Sugar swaps out a component from the booth for another one hidden in her cleavage. The replacement allows Nygma to spy on Bruce's innermost thoughts.
Villain with Good Publicity: Edward Nygma becomes this when he uses the profits from his alter-ego's crime spree with Two-Face to start his own company and his "Box" devices become hugely popular.
Villainous Breakdown: Due to various circumstances, Edward Nygma/The Riddler gets increasingly loopy throughout the film. Not that he wasn't clearly demented at the start...
Nygma:(after his hero rejects his Box) You were supposed to understand. I'll make you understand.
Two-Face continuously has these throughout as a bit of a Running Gag whenever he fails at killing the Bat. And toward the end, when he has his Disney Villain Death screaming frantically falling to his death reaching desperately for his coin.
Walk In Chime In: As if breaking into Two-Face's hideout wasn't enough, the Riddler interrupts him during dinner!
We Have Reserves: When his chopper pilot helpfully points out the black-clad superhero on their windshield, Two-Face simply shoots through him. (Yep, he literally shoots the messenger.) Later, his RPG misses the physics-defying Batmobile and slams into a carload of his own mooks, instead.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Edward Nygma is clearly one at first, since he only wants to patent and market his virtual-reality invention - without approval from his superiors, if necessary - to spare the people of the world from "being brutalized by an uncaring reality" (which is a correlative to his own loneliness and sense of worthlessness). It's not until he accidentally discovers that "The Box" can extract information from human minds that he decides to go down the criminal route.
The Riddler also offers a plausible explanation why Two-Face shouldn't just shoot Batman.
Riddler: Kill The Bat! Sounds like a good idea! Just think of it, a few bullets hit home, a quick splash of blood, And Then What? Wet hands... and post-homicidal depression. *blubbering sounds*
Why Won't You Die?: After Batman survives Two-Face's attempt to incinerate him (in one of the most awesomeNot Quite Dead moments Batman has ever had, as he comes running out of the fire, leaving Two-Face and his mooks jaw dropped), Two-Face, now mad with frustration screams: "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST DIE!?" and fires a grenade at the support Batman was standing on, causing the entire structure to collapse and bury him. This might have actually worked, had Dick not come along to pull Batman out of there.
Then there's The Riddler at the end, defeated and slowly going insane from his Box overload.
Riddler: Why can't I kill you? Too many questions... too many questions...
Besides the villains, Bob Kane's widow Elizabeth as Gossip Gerty, Gotham's resident Joan-Rivers-up-to-eleven.
Gossip Gerty: OHHHHHH! There's Bruce Wayne! Brucie!
Dick cruising for babes in the Batmobile. Or as he puts it, his "LURRRVE MACHINE, WOOO!"
The uncredited Ed Begley, Jr. is also quite over the top as Stickley ("WHAT THE HELLLLLLLL IS GOING ON HERE?"). Perhaps he didn't take the movie very seriously. Nicole Kidman gets her slice of pork as well.
The Bank Guard, with his over the top observation, "OH NO!!! IT'S.... BOILING ACID!!!!" The whole scene with him was a Ham Chowder Feast.
"Batman! YAAAAAAAY!" — adult man.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: According to the latest science, there is no precedent for acid damage causing root follicles to grow electric purple hair; so this was also likely an aesthetic choice made by Schumacher in keeping with the film's color schemes.