- "You see, I'm both Bruce Wayne and Batman, not because I have to be, now, because I choose to be."
- ―Batman to the Riddler[src]
Batman Forever is a 1995 film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a sequel to Batman Returns and the third film in the Motion Picture Anthology, starring Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman, who replaces Michael Keaton from the previous two films. The plot focuses on Batman halting Two-Face and the Riddler's scheme to extract information from all the minds in Gotham City so they may use it to learn the identity of Batman and bring the entire city under their control.
The film was released in theaters on June 16, 1995. Batman Forever grossed over $336 million worldwide, making it the sixth highest grossing film of 1995. While the film received mixed reviews, Batman Forever was followed by a sequel, Batman & Robin, in 1997. Joel Schumacher returned as director and Chris O'Donnell reprised his role as Robin, however the role of Batman was recast a second time with Val Kilmer being replaced by George Clooney due to scheduling conflicts.
With the release of Batman '89, an alternate comic continuation of Batman Returns, both Batman Forever and its sequel Batman & Robin have been placed in a branching timeline, making the original Batman film series minus the first two films directed by Tim Burton an alternate timeline within the Burtonverse.
In Gotham City, Batman stops a hostage situation in a bank caused by Two-Face. Unfortunately, Two-Face escapes. Edward Nygma, a researcher at Wayne Enterprises, develops a device to beam television directly to a person's brain; Bruce Wayne (with whom Nygma is obsessed) rejects the invention, noting that it "raises too many questions", and Edward angrily resigns from his position.
After meeting psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian, Bruce invites her to a charity circus event. There, Two-Face and his henchmen storm the event in an attempt to discover Batman's secret identity, and in the process murder The Flying Graysons, a family of acrobats. The youngest member, Dick Grayson, survives and throws Two-Face's bomb into the river. Bruce assumes responsibility for Dick and allows him to stay at Wayne Manor. Dick then declares his intention to kill Two-Face and avenge his family's murder, and when he discovers Bruce's secret identity as Batman, he insists on becoming his sidekick, "Robin".
Meanwhile, Edward becomes a criminal known as the "Riddler", the master of puzzles and quizzes and forms an alliance with Two-Face. Using his invention that Bruce had rejected earlier, Edward can read and control people's minds, and steal their intelligence quotient. At a business party, Edward discovers Bruce's secret identity. Two-Face then attacks the party and nearly kills Batman, but Robin arrives just in time to save his life. However, Two-Face and the Riddler later converge into Wayne Manor. The Riddler enters the Batcave and destroys most of the equipment, and he and Two-Face kidnap Chase, while leaving Bruce another riddle.
After solving the last riddle, Batman and Robin locate the Riddler's lair, Claw Island, where both are separated upon reaching the island. Robin then encounters Two-Face and manages to beat him to the ground; realizing that he does not have it in him to commit murder, Robin helps the villain back up. Two-Face gets the upper hand and captures Robin. Meanwhile, Batman manages to make his way into the Riddler's lair, where Robin and Chase are revealed as hostages, bound, gagged with duct tape and held over a watery chasm, giving Batman a choice of saving just one hostage. Batman finds a way to save both hostages, and manages to destroy the brainwave-collecting device, driving the Riddler into a mental breakdown in the process. During the battle, Two-Face falls to his death. The Riddler is finally sent to Arkham Asylum, and Chase is asked to consult on his case. Edward Nygma offers to reveal the identity of Batman to her, but he thinks himself Batman. Chase then meets Bruce Wayne outside and tells him his secret is safe. Batman and Robin then continue to protect Gotham City from crime.
- Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
- Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma/The Riddler
- Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian
- Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
- Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
- Pat Hingle as James Gordon
- Drew Barrymore as Sugar
- Debi Mazar as Spice
- Ed Begley, Jr. as Fred Stickley
- René Auberjonois as Dr. Burton
- Joe Grifasi as Hawkins
- Elizabeth Sanders as Gossip Gerty
- Kimberly Scott as Margaret
- David U. Hodges as The Shooter
It was directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Peter MacGregor-Scott. The film's tone was different from the previous installments, becoming more family-friendly since Warner Bros. considered that the previous film, Batman Returns, underperformed at the box office due to its violence and dark overtones.