‘Batman Forever’: Celebrating 25 Years Since the Smash Hit Almost Killed Comic Book Movies

Perfection only comes along once in a great while, perhaps even once every 25 years. But Batman Forever isn’t that movie, merely setting up the flawless disaster that would follow in George Clooney’s Batman and Robin. (More on that another day.) For this third installment in the DC franchise’s beloved knight, a smirking Michael Keaton was replaced by a wooden Val Kilmer who brought little of his vagabond zest to the role. The bat suit added nipples, a codpiece, and buns of steel. And the world of Gotham underwent a renovation that would see cartoonish smears of color defile a city with no basis in reality.

The movie studio felt it was time to pull out all the stops, bringing in Batman’s sidekick, Dick Grayson and saddling the caped crusader with not one, but two villains to contend with. Unfortunately, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face lacked the bipolar mood swings the part called for while Jim Carrey’s elastic performance took on awkward shadings in the context of a true villain. Still, the movie smashed it at the box office, dethroning Jurassic Park as the biggest opening weekend of all time. And it gave us Seal in all his glory. Nominated for three Academy Awards, it won zero. But still, it will always be a reminder of Nicole Kidman sleeping nude in silk sheets and a glistening bat mobile shaped entirely like a burnt hotdog topped with Ruffles. And for that, we rejoice. Relive the action with all the best Batman Forever GIFs below.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

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