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"One man is born a hero, his brother a coward. Babies starve, politicians grow fat. Holy men are martyred, and junkies grow legion. Why? Why, why, why, why, why? Luck! Blind, stupid, simple, doo-dah, clueless LUCK! "
―Two-Face[src]

Half man and half madman, Two-Face was the alias of former Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent. After he received brain damage by a mobster's acid, Dent became a bloodthirsty, eccentric, and homicidal maniac with a penchant for using a coin that determined all of his actions. Two-Face targeted Batman for his apparent responsibility in the event and for capturing him.

Biography

Becoming Two-Face

Dent at the trial where he would get scarred.

"For your dying pleasure, we are serving the very same acid that made us the men we are today!"
―Two-Face to Batman and the security guard.[src]

Once Gotham's District Attorney, Harvey Dent worked to arrest and convict Sal Moroni, a prominent mobster in the city. During a trial, he questioned mob boss Sal Moroni in court. Unknown to anyone, Moroni managed to smuggle a hidden flask of acid into the court and threw it on Dent. Though able to protect the right side of his face in time, the acid splashed against the left side of Dent's face and horribly disfigured it. Batman had learned about the plot, but arrived too late to save him.

According to news reports, the acid burned far enough through Dent's head that part of his brain was damaged. This damage made him develop a second personality that psychotic and homicidal, who was dubbed "Two-Face". Going on a crime spree, Dent was eventually arrested by Batman and committed to Arkham Asylum.

Batman Forever

Escape from Arkham Asylum

Two-Face escaped from his cell on the second anniversary of his arrest, and his escape was discovered by Dr. Burton, who then contacted the GCPD. Two-Face and his thugs robbed the Second Bank of Gotham. They took hostages and looked like they were going to get away when Batman intervened and stopped the robbery. Two-Face trapped him and a guard inside an acid filled safe, but Batman escaped and saved the horrified guard. Batman pursued Two-Face by boarding his helicopter. However, Two-Face escaped before he crashed his helicopter into the Statue of Justice over Gotham Harbor.

At his new hideout, which had decor split in half like his personality, Two-Face had two molls, Sugar and Spice, who worked for him. Spice favored his 'dark', scarred side, while Sugar favored his 'good' side.

Murdering the Flying Graysons

The coin tells Two-Face to murder the Graysons

Two-Face traveled to the circus looking for Batman. The circus held a fundraiser that was attended by Gotham's elite, and Two-Face concluded that the odds were excellent that at least one of them knew The Dark Knight's identity if they weren't Batman himself-, and he threatened to blow the place up unless his enemy turned himself over (although the subsequent riot in the circus prevented Bruce Wayne from obeying his order). Two-Face was responsible for the origin of Robin because, when a family of acrobats known as the Flying Graysons tried to stop him, they were all killed by him apart from Dick, the youngest Grayson, who went on to join Batman as Robin after he stopped his bomb.

At his hideout, Two-Face met Edward Nygma, who adopted the mantle of the Riddler, where Two-Face initially wanted to kill him for invading his lair, but the Riddler stated his case, and Two-Face decided via coin flip whether he killed or allied with him. After his coin landed on heads, Two-Face stole enough money to fund Nygma's company, and the two gained knowledge through the Box and discovered Batman's true identity at Nygma's party. Following that, they traveled to Wayne Manor and the Riddler destroyed the Batcave. Two-Face, on the other hand, had his henchmen attack Bruce and Dr. Chase Meridian while he flipped his coin, which kept landing on the good side, and prevented him from doing any wrongdoing. As soon as the scarred side came up, Two-Face fired his pistol at Wayne, which grazed him in the head. Two-Face wished to finish him off, but the Riddler intervened, then they left, kidnapped Dr. Meridian, and left behind a riddle.

Battle on Claw Island

Two-Face falling to his death.

At Claw Island, where Two Face hid, Batman and Robin got separated. Robin had the opportunity to kill Two-Face, but didn't want to be like him. Two-Face used that to capture Robin. Two-Face and the Riddler then tried to make Batman choose between Chase and Robin, but Batman destroyed The Box, which permanently defeated the Riddler, and saved them both. Two-Face showed up, and was poised to kill them, but Batman reminded him of his coin. Two-Face flipped his coin to decide if he would shoot Batman, but Batman tossed a handful of identical coins into the air. Two-Face panicked and tried to find his coin but stumbled and fell into the pit on a watery bed of spikes. His exact coin then fell good side up into Two-Face's open palm before he sunk underwater, dead.

Legacy

Two-Face's outfit in Arkham Asylum

One of Two-Face's costumes was seen hanging from a shelf when Bane broke into Arkham Asylum's storage room. It was unclear if it had been left over from his last escape or taken into storage after his defeat. Some also speculated that he had survived his fall and was captured, the suit being confiscated after being committed.

Behind the Scenes

Jones' Two-Face was originally intended to be the same character as the version of Dent seen in Tim Burton's Batman film. The actor Billy Dee Williams was originally intended to reprise his role, though he was subsequently recast to Tommy Lee Jones at the insistence of director Joel Schumacher.

Two-Face's responsibility in Robin's origin has drawn similarities with Tony Zucco, the murdered of the Flying Graysons in the comics. This also drew similarities with the character's involvement in Jason Todd's origin in Post-Crisis continuities, who's father he had murdered over a gambling debt. This element was also recycled for the DC Animated Universe's version of Tim Drake, who father also worked for Two-Face and was later implied to have been murdered by Dent.

Baker's original red paint test

Two-Face's design was originally going to be more graphic, with a bulging eyeball and exposed teeth on the left side. Rick Baker wanted to portray these iconic qualities early in the design process. However, these were quickly vetoed to make the film more family friendly.

According to Jones, he'd accepted the role as a request from his children, who wanted him to star in a superhero movie. According to Schumacher, he'd also been difficult behind the scenes and not gotten on with Riddler actor Jim Carrey. Carrey claimed he'd tried to meet him behind the scenes, where the actor had told him "I hate you. I really don't like you. I cannot sanction your buffoonery".[1]

In a deleted scene, Two-Face would have captured a guard whilst escaping Arkham and used him in his place, leaving a message written in blood. The scene in question would have followed Dr. Burton as he discovered this. The scene was cut from the final film, likely due to concerns about how dark it was and the attempt to make it more family friendly.

Reception

Two-Face's portrayal in Batman Forever has faced large amounts of criticism over the years, particularly for the manic style and more jovial personality compared to the comic's usual depiction. He is also portrayed as less reliant on the coin, in one scene placing a hostage in peril despite it landing on sparing them whilst another shows him flipping it continuously until he got the desired outcome. Some have accused Jones of either trying to outdo Jim Carrey's Riddler or emulate Jack Nicholson's portray of the Joker in Batman. The recasting from Williams to Jones has also received backlash, due to the change from a "black" to a "white" actor. Prior to Batman '89, this was often been used in arguments against the shared continuity between Burton and Schumacher's films.

Trivia

  • "Harvey Two-Face" played up the "two" gimmick to the point where Two-Face even referred to himself in the plural, except for two instances when he said: "I'll call you dead, is more like it!" in response to the Riddler's introduction when he broke into his hideout, and in the film's climatic showdown, when he told Robin: "I'll see you in Hell." while he hung on the edge of a cliff. The other "two" themes of half white and half black were: his hideout; his guns (one automatic and one revolver); his suit, and his two molls Sugar and Spice. His Henchmen guns have a Yin-yang symbol.
  • Unlike with the Joker and Penguin deaths previously, Two-Face was intentionally killed by Batman's direct agency. Although he attempted to kill Joker by punching him off the building, the resulting death is accidental and happens by chance much the like the Penguin stepping backwards into his toxic waste.
    • In audio commentary, Schumacher claimed that Two-Face survived the fall. However, given the distance and implications on screen, it's very likely he died in the fall and the comments weren't meant to be taken seriously.
  • Two-Face's trademark costume was seen in storage at Arkham Asylum in Batman & Robin.
  • The scene where Batman threw multiple coins in the air was similar to one from the episode "Two-Face Part II" from Batman: The Animated Series.
  • In Mark Protosevich's script Batman Unchained, Two-Face reappeared as a hallucination of Scarecrow's Fear Gas. Dent would've appeared in court with the other supervillians testifying against Batman.

Gallery

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References

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