Gene Siskel: "Val Kilmer replaces Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight in Batman Forever battling Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones in the third adventure in the series."
Roger Ebert: "Batman Forever is part of the enormously successful series of films that attempt to cross a comic book superhero with the shadows and mystery of film noir. The Batman is Val Kilmer who finds he's very attractive to Doctor Chase Meridian, an abnormal psychologist played by Nicole Kidman. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Gotham City two villains lay their plans. Two-Face, a former DA gone wrong, is played by Tommy Lee Jones. And the Riddler is Jim Carrey looking a lot like his character in The Mask here. He explains his plans to drain the city of it's collective IQ, straight into his own brain. The original comic books were about Batman and Robin, but the first two movies had no Robin. This one does. An orphaned acrobat played by Chris O'Donnell, who's taken in by a well-meaning Bruce Wayne, and soon discovers that his host has a secret life as Batman. Meanwhile, the budding attraction between the sexy Doctor Meridian and Batman continues to grow, maybe because she's attracted to his costume. Batman Forever is a great looking movie and it's entertaining, but somehow this series keeps on missing boat. Batman is the most fascinating and mysterious of all the comic book superheroes. Batman's about more than simply action and special effects and colorful villains. Batman Forever is basically just a very good looking comic book movie. I think Batman deserves more and better."
Gene Siskel: "I have been having a strange reaction to this motion picture. I liked it while I was watching it and as soon as it was over, it didn't mean anything to me and as the days have gone on it's meant even less. I'm recommending the motion picture because I can't deny that while I was watching it I thought the dialogue was very funny, I thought that Jim Carrey was funny. Sometimes he goes over the top but that's Jim Carrey. Also, I thought Nicole Kidman's scene were really appealing and they do hint at the fetishistic side of Batman. There is a little bit of that going on there. So I'm sort of caught in the middle, but I liked it while I was watching it. The way that they juggle the five characters is pretty impressive because their all given enough screen time except maybe Tommy Lee Jones."
Roger Ebert: "One thing that happened, maybe because Jim Carrey is so hot right now, the Riddler kind of takes over the picture and maybe even has as much screen time as Batman himself. I cannot quiet recommend this movie, and yet I do think it's better than the previous one, Batman Returns. It's kind of in that middle area and it doesn't really have any resonance."
Gene Siskel: "A lot of good scenes but no substance. A split vote on Batman Forever. I liked it more than Roger. Good characters I think but in a forgettable story."
Roger Ebert: "George Clooney takes over as Batman and Robin, played by Chris O'Donnell, joins him in combating Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mister Freeze in Batman & Robin."
Gene Siskel: "Boy was I shocked by Batman & Robin. It's so over produced and every scene is so action filled that the movie does all of the thinking and emoting for us and you just sit there looking at dazzling effects but you still feel bored. Add to that an unending parade of leering double entendre jokes centered on the male antimony, and you have an extravagant, often tasteless bore. I saw plenty of walk outs at a public screening I attended. In the opening action scene Batman and Robin first encounter Mister Freeze in the Gotham Museum of Natural History and he's trying to steal a giant diamond. Batman has another adversary in this film. A loathsome creature known as Poison Ivy played by a langurs Uma Thurman. Part of the byplay between Batman and Robin involves jealousy. The action sequences are over stuffed, their burdened by wall to wall music. The joking is all below the belt. George Clooney is a bore in his role. Boring is the last word I would have expected to have used so often in describing a Batman movie."
Roger Ebert: "I didn't like Batman & Robin, either. Although I guess I liked it a little more than you did. I would give it 2 stars. It is true that the action sequences are so busy, that you can't get involved in them. As for Clooney as Batman, I realized this time that it doesn't matter who plays Batman. I think they cast him according to the chin, which is all you can see when he has the costume on. There's no real interest in the Batman and Robin characters. It's all always the villains. These villains are not really up there with Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito and Tommy Lee Jones. There are so many questions about Batman and Robin that would be interesting to answer if the movie had any serious interest in it's characters."
Gene Siskel: "Tim Burton is another level of filmmaker than Joel Shumacher. Tim Burton puts a psychological approach in his filmmaking that is at least interesting. I liked the other motion pictures. Here with Batman & Robin there is nothing. There's no human element. When the butler is the one thing you respond to emotionally because he may die, that's a sad commentary."
Roger Ebert: "Alfred's niece comes from England, Alicia Silverstone, without a British accent and is kind of a disappointment as Batgirl."
Gene Siskel:"Yes, she sure is a disappointment!"
Roger Ebert: "I did like Uma Thurman, though, as Poison Ivy. Two thumbs down for Batman & Robin, which despite it's special effects and visual pyrotechnics, tells a flat footed story."
Roger Ebert: "Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero is an animated made-for-video spin-off of the animated television series. It has an energy and pacing that makes it compare very well with the top heavy live-action Batman films. This one involves Mister Freeze, the man who's health requires him to live a refrigerated lifestyle, but this time he doesn't want to conquer the world, he only wants to save his beloved wife. She has an illness that has no cure and he's keeping her cryogenically frozen until medical science finds a way to revive her. But then her capsule is broken open and he desperately needs an organ transplant to preserve her. A transplant that can come from only one person - Barbara Gordon of Gotham City, also known as Batgirl. The freedom of animation allows the film to create Batman's film noir universe with a lot of style and atmosphere. And for once Robin comes across as a fully realized character, not simply an awkward sidekick."
Unfortunately Gene Siskel was in the hospital after his surgery to remove the cancerous brain tumor at the time in 1998, so he didn't participle in this Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero review. Gene Siskel passed from complications after another surgery on February 20th, 1999. He was 53. Roger Ebert had surgery to remove cancer in his salivary gland in 2003. Roger Ebert had another surgery in 2006 to remove cancer in his jaw by removing his jaw and his voice box, needing a prosthetic jaw, leaving him unable to speak, eat and leaving his mouth hanging open. Roger Ebert passed from a painful hip fracture that made it difficult for him to walk and was revealed to be cancerous on April 4th, 2013. He was 70.
Links to the televised Batman reviews: