Batman Forever

I was watching Batman Forever last night, mostly just because I hadn’t watched it in a while, and noticed something I thought was interesting. There’s a lot of circle imagery, especially surrounding Harvey Dent, or Two-Face. This is most obviously seen first in Harvey’s coin, as well as in the Bat Signal. We see early in the film a circular shape rotating over Commissioner Gordon and Dr. Meridian, marking them almost immediately as important characters, even possible targets for Two-Face. Next, we see Harvey and the security guard framed by the circular form of the vault he will use to trap, and attempt to destroy, Batman. A wrecking ball enters the shot just as Two-Face reveals his plan, further tying the circular imagery to Two-Face and his plans to destroy Batman. Later, in one last attempt to destroy Batman, Two-Face slams a helicopter through a neon advertisement for eye drops, in the shape of a giant eye (yet another circle/oval!). Later, at the circus, Harvey’s entrance is preceded by a shot of a red drum with a smaller, yellow circle in the middle with an oval shaped spotlight on it. The bomb that Two-Face brings to the circus is also circular, and its appearance marks the beginnings of a partnership between Batman and Robin, again seemingly tying Two-Face’s actions directly to Batman. The link between the two is seen especially at the beginning of the film, where, as Two-Face flips his coin, for a moment it is superimposed over the Bat Signal. Now, I don’t think this imagery reveals this about the film, I think the connection between Batman and Two-Face is made explicit throughout the film, particularly when the film explains how Harvey Dent was first transformed into Two-Face. I was simply surprised to find such a depth of imagery supporting this in one of the later two Batman films, which in my opinion, as well as that of many other Batman fans, went quite town-hill in terms of confronting Batman’s past and “issues,” and simply in the story and visual elements. I wish I had seen more of Joel Schumacher’s movies, to see if he uses the same careful imagery in other films. Maybe I’ll make that a new project. And, in the mean time, I’m all set to re-watch all six of my Batman films to see what new, wonderful, and subtle elements I can unearth! In the meantime, check out clips of two of the above mentioned film clips.

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