Appreciating Joel Schumacher's Batman

Joel Schumacher

A year before Joel Schumacher passed away, Patrick Willems made a video retrospective on his movies and why we should learn to appreciate them for their attention to campness.

For 20 years, Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies have been considered cinematic travesties—”abominations” in the words of George Clooney—the movies that killed the Batman franchise. But what if I told you that they’re not actually that bad, that they’ve gotten better with time? What if I told you that it’s time to give them another shot?

I’ll admit, I enjoyed Batman Forever when I was a kid (I went to see it at the cinema and even owned the sticker book which I loved). I also loved Batman & Robin as a 7 year old. But then I grew up and found out everyone hated it and seemed to join in with it?

Patrick Willems reminded me why I enjoyed Forever and & Robin so much. They were fun, camp, and unlocked another piece of the Batman lore I adored as a child: Adam West’s Batman. I watched it religiously and Schumacher’s Batman movies were the stylistic bridge between that series and the darker version of the Caped Crusader that Tim Burton gave us with his two adaptations.

Anyway, stream the video below and make up your own mind.

Learning to Appreciate Joel Schumacher's Batman

18 Minutes of Batman Forever Mistakes on YouTube

The Riddler and Two-Face in Batman Forever

I remember going to see it at the cinema back in 1995. I even collected the sticker book that came with it. But Batman Forever has not aged well. In my twentysomething wisdom, I started spotting inaccuracies and considered writing them down… until I found someone on YouTube who’d got there first.

Jeremy Scott is a writer and entertainer from Nashville and his CinemaSins series on YouTube is hilarious. For this episode, he flicked through a host of plot holes in Batman Forever in “18 minutes or less”. There’s also a mistake from Jeremy amongst his own corrections but you’ll have to watch to find out what it was.

In defence of Batman Forever, there were some good elements. Val Kilmer was actually a decent Batman/Bruce Wayne. Not as dark and monosyllabic as the GOAT Michael Keaton in Batman and Batman Returns, but not as George Clooney-y as George Clooney in Batman and Robin. Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler was pretty good too. As camp as you’d expect from a Joel Schumacher movie and a stylistic nod to the 60s TV series (which I also loved as a kid).

Stream Everything Wrong With Batman Forever via the YouTube player below.

Everything Wrong With Batman Forever In 18 Minutes Or Less

Everything Wrong With Batman & Robin In 17 Minutes

Everything Wrong With Batman & Robin In An Awful Lot Of Minutes

In case you weren’t aware of the horror that is Batman & Robin, CinemaSins has it covered with a 20-minute video detailing all the mistakes and continuity errors. I’ll admit to enjoying this film when I was seven, not least for the inclusions of Alicia Silverstone and Uma Thurman. I know better now.

Acting in the pre-Nolan Batman movies was never stellar. It pretty much peaked at the start with Michael Keaton’s brilliant performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson as The Joker, and Kim Basinger as Vicky Vale.

Ah well, at least Batman Returns is intact. Oh wait, maybe not.