The entertainment world has been mourning the passing of director Joel Schumacher for a few weeks now, with many looking back at his exemplary body of work. For better or worse, one of the movies that Schumacher is best remembered for is 1995's Batman Forever, and intriguingly, according to writer and podcaster Marc Bernardin, there exists out there somewhere in the cinematic ether a 170-minute director's cut.
"I have it on pretty good authority that there exists in the Warner Bros. vault a 170-minute cut of Batman Forever. I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like 'it's too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so maybe let's not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We've got Jim Carrey, let him do some s--t."
Following director Tim Burton's darker takes on the Caped Crusader in Batman and Batman Returns, Schumacher's Batman Forever took things back to the silliness of the 1960s television series. But, from the sounds of this, he did craft something a tad more gloomy than what audiences got to see in theaters. The theatrical cut does hint at psychological elements, with Bruce Wayne exploring his psyche and the death of his parents, but these are never fully explored. So, the potential of an alternate cut that does flesh out these ideas is surely something that fans would want to see.
Bernardin's co-host Kevin Smith certainly seems to think so saying, "In a world where Joel Schumacher just passed away, what an interesting, wonderful testimony that would be to his work, to get to see a totally different version of Batman Forever."
Batman Forever follows Val Kilmer in his first and only appearance as Batman/Bruce Wayne, as he ponders strange dreams about his parents' death and escapes his own near-demise at the hands of Two-Face, a former district attorney driven insane and turned into a master criminal when a gangster throws acid in his face. Meanwhile, as psychologist Chase Meridian tries to analyze and seduce both Bruce Wayne and Batman, Wayne Enterprises employee Edward Nygma reacts badly to getting fired, using his self-invented mind-energy device to transform into the super-intelligent Riddler. The Riddler teams up with Two-Face to bring down Batman and drain the minds of Gotham City residents with his device, while Batman gets some much-needed help in the form of circus performer Dick Grayson, out for vengeance after being orphaned by Two-Face.
Batman Forever stars Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent / Two-Face, Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma / The Riddler, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian, Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson / Robin, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth, and Pat Hingle as James Gordon. The movie is largely remembered for Carrey's unstoppable scenery-chewing, but with the recent announcement of the release of The Snyder Cut, could The Schumacher Cut be next in line for HBO Max. This comes to us from The Fatman Beyond podcast.