Batman Forever has long been my favorite movie about the Dark Avenger. Long, as in more than ten years. To me, Val Kilmer is Batman. Chris O'Donnell is Robin. I've seen Batman, Batman Returns, and Batman and Robin as well, but none of them struck the same responsive chord on my heartstrings. I could imagine no better representation of the Dynamic Duo than that put forth in Batman Forever.
Until I saw Batman Begins tonight, that is. Of course, there's no Robin, and that's quite the downside for me, since traditionally I like him better than Batman. And while Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson are great as the badguys, I like them much better as goodguys...
But those are my only two complaints. Christian Bale is broodingly brilliant as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Some actors only pull one side off: I think Michael Keaton was better as Bruce Wayne than as Batman, and I feel the reverse about George Clooney. Only Val Kilmer and Christian Bale have worked as both sides of the coin for me.
SPOILAGE ALERT! Read no farther if you haven't yet seen Batman Begins, intend to, and don't want stuff spoiled!
I love seeing the early days of Batman, before he got good at his gig. He makes mistakes. Not a lot, but some. And he doesn't get the girl in the end, which is A-OK with me because I don't care much for Katie Holmes anyway (a crooked smile is enchanting when worn by Indiana Jones, but it does nothing for her). In fact, when I thought they were gonna end up together, I didn't get the warm cuddlies--I got the screeching alarm that sounds in my head every time someone makes me watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. The "this relationship will not work!" alarm. I nearly cheered when they didn't hook up!
But enough about the gooshy stuff...this movie is full of solid butt-kicking action that I mostly loved, except when the camera got in too close and things got confusing (I have a similar complaint about the light-saber battles in Revenge of the Sith; I want to yell at the cameramen, "Back up! Back up! I can't see what's going on!").
My only other complaint is a minor one: the Batmobile looks funny. It's supposed to be sleek and shiny and sexy. It's not.