Schumacher brings the camp back with a scene chewing Tommy Lee, and Jim Carrey doing his usual thing. Val is serviceable as Bruce and has the right jawline for Batman - but the movie is a convoluted mess.
Schumacher made the films kinetic and vibrant; many strengths despite some camp creeping in.
They took some time on developing Bruce Wayne - Kilmer brings a level of believability to the conflict within and an emotional depth that was lacking in the first two.
Joel Schumacher's two Batman films are often maligned, but this first has many things to recommend it.
To be fair, he fixes many of Burton's mistakes, with kinetic energy, chroma, and scope. Where Burton's Batman was a stolid golem hobbled in rubber armor, this Batman is immediately a fluid and acrobatic dervish in the first scene. Where Burton's palette was BlackWhiteBlue and cold, this world has a saturated color range. Instead of feeling confined in a city block set, we feel let loose in a widescreen cityscape. There is a vitality and range here that opens everything up out into a vibrant world instead of within a goth fever dream. Bruce Wayne seems far closer to himself, and the adult Robin proves a solid partner. It's as if the better parts of Burton's films and Timm's animated series have mated and the baby is born running.
That praise said, the first signals of corrosion are already there. The scene-guzzling Riddler, the superfluous Two-Face, the florid neon, and the first suspicious whiff of camp are all harbingers of how disastrously wrong things are about to go. Perversely, the vitality that carries the film—Schumacher's contagious zest and panache—will careen it straight off a cliff on the next go-round.
Still and all, while most are partial to the first of the '90s films (the shock of the new), it is the dark poetry of the second film and the electric verve of this third film that actually stand out as the best of the four.