Two-Face (Batman Forever)
Okay, before I go any further, I have to acknowledge that this is not a great film. The nineties saw a stretch of Batman installments that were increasingly corny and careless, which was mostly Joel Schumacher’s fault. However! I think it’s important to remember the villains in these installments because in certain ways, they have merits all on their own, and they speak to the original comic book character.
Tommy Lee Jones takes on Two-Face (aka Harvey Dent) in this chapter, and boy does he bring the crazy. Unlike the Christopher Nolan/Aaron Eckhart depiction, we know little about Two-Face’s past as Harvey Dent, aside from the acid-throwing incident that scarred him (but not why he’s suddenly not Billy Dee Williams, who had the role in the 1989 movie) so unlike The Penguin and The Joker before him, there’s little grounding him in reality — besides the fact that he’s ruthlessly killing people. But even that at times is not enough to make Two-Face a character with any gravitas.
In spite of that, I commend Jones on his portray of Two Face because it has so much bravado. Up until that point, we were seeing Jones in steely cop roles and other dramatic parts throughout the eighties and nineties. Two-Face was an opportunity for a potentially refreshing departure. In some ways it’s great — Jones is super-committed to this villain. He’s just somehow under-utilized because he is a little one-dimensional, like a cartoon.