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Movie Review: "Batman & Robin" (1997)

Updated on January 20, 2012
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DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

R.I.P. "BATMAN" FILM SERIES

Born: June 23rd, 1989.

Died: June 20th, 1997.

Resurrected: June 15th, 2005.

As I said in my review for the 'Batman' film that preceded "Batman & Robin", "Batman Forever" was the precursor to all that garbage that was to be dumped on us in "Batman & Robin". So many people dismiss the third 'Batman' film when it's not even the slightest bit innocent. Both were made by Joel Schmaucher, but this fourth film is the epitome of 'The Toxic Duo' that is "Batman Forever" and "Batman & Robin".

"Batman & Robin" sees our heroes battling Mr. Freeze, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. His name might as well be Mr. One-Liners because that's pretty much all he does throughout the film, drop a one-liner at any chance he can get. He's out to steal Gotham City's diamonds because it helps to keep him alive in his specialized suit. See, he was working on a cure for his wife who was very sick, but the experiment went awry and Freeze became the result of it.

Then there's Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman. She's just as one dimensional as Mr. Freeze. Her story is the typical "worker kills head scientist and takes over" (The Riddler in "Batman Forever", anyone?). Her boss pushes her into a table filled with a wide assortment of deadly chemicals, then she instantly returns as Poison Ivy. Every kiss from her is deadly. It's too bad she didn't give one to Joel Schmaucher or the idiots at Warner Bros. who were responsible for all that transpired after "Batman Returns".

Last but not least, there's Bane, who's played by Nobody Really Important. He's even more one dimensional than Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy combined. In fact, I think his character is Half-Dimensional (WTF!?). The man didn't even get any face time on the movie's poster. Thankfully, Christopher Nolan seems to have redeemed this character in "The Dark Knight Rises", but in "Batman & Robin", Bane was nothing but a freakish mutated wrestler who does dirty work for Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze.

So we have one idiot who wants to freeze everything and another who wants to make plants the dominant species on Earth, plus a retarded wrestler thrown in the middle of all this. Wow, that sounds like a match made in the loony bin (or should I say Arkham Asylum?).

On the allied front, Robin is whining about having his own car instead of a motorcycle, plus he wants his own signal in the sky. Say, why doesn't Robin just ride in the passenger seat of the Batmobile? Isn't that the way it was done in the '60s TV show (especially since this movie looks up to it so much)? Why does he even need a motorcycle?

Also, their good friend Alfred is sick and dying, plus his granddaughter has come to visit Wayne Manor. She later becomes Batgirl in the movie. But wait, wasn't this movie called "Batman & Robin"? I think "Batman Forever" should have held that title while this one should have been called "Bat-Threesome".

Holy TV Show, Batman!

"Batman & Robin" brings with it more campiness than "Batman Forever" presented us with. More campiness puts it more in line with the '60s TV show. Now, there's nothing wrong with that show, but the films deserve a more grounded approach to the Batman character. Let's face it, he's a dark and tragic hero, you don't really grasp this when watching the TV show or let alone the Schmaucher movies.

In "Batman & Robin", we have plenty of neon lights, colorful sets and costumes, one-liners, plot convenience, and even the fights themselves could blend really well with some '60s Batman music.

Chill Out

While watching "Batman & Robin", one simply can't help but feel as if there's so much being shoved into this movie at once. Look at it this way, in the span of only two movies -- We're introduced to Robin who becomes Batman's partner, he gets his own vehicle, then we're introduced to Batgirl who soon signs up with the dynamic duo after she discovers their secret identities, and even she gets her own damn vehicle.

Throw all that together with Mr. Freeze's plot to destroy the world, Poison Ivy's plot to rule the world, and Bane's stupidity to go along with these two idiots. It's just all too much at once. We don't even have time to really get to know Mr. Freeze, being that he is already Mr. Freeze from the opening credits of the film. His backstory is just shoved down our throats in the span of a few seconds.

Speaking of which, one can't help but wonder what different approach could have been taken with Mr. Freeze's character. Can you imagine how dark Tim Burton would have made him? Or perhaps how gritty and realistic Christopher Nolan could have turned him into?

Heck, three villains alone is a bit too much to cram all into one movie. It was done so forcibly here that they had to ditch one of their backstories and dumb him down into a lowly henchman.

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • Robin bursts through the wall on his motorcycle, leaving behind him an unbelievably perfect carving of his symbol embedded into the wall.
  • Batman and Robin's boots come equipped with skiing capabilities? Hmm, I wonder why Batman had no use for this in "Batman Returns" which did take place during the winter.
  • Why would Mr. Freeze's suit come with metallic wings hidden behind it? This is not Man-Bat for Christ's sake, we're talking about Mr. Freeze.
  • In order to escape a bomb thousands of feet above Gotham City, Batman and Robin use the metal doors of the capsule containing the bomb to 'surf' their way back down. I can understand if this were a situation like 9/11, but in the context of this scene, it was way too over the top. Why not use Bat-Parachutes? Mr. Freeze has wings embedded into his suit, so why can't the dynamic duo have parachutes hidden?
  • "Batman & Robin" establishes that Mr. Freeze likes to spend his downtime watching Christmas sing-alongs on TV with his henchmen while wearing white teddy slippers. WTF?
  • Nipples on Batman and Robin's suits. Need I say more? Better yet, why are we continuously treated to close-up shots of their rear-ends whenever they suit up?
  • Why on Earth would Batman need his own credit card? If this were a normal millionaire's credit card, that would be one thing. But Bruce Wayne is not going to go shopping at Bergdoff Goodman with his Batman credit card, now is he?
  • By the time the climax of the film comes around, we learn that Mr. Freeze had the cure for his frozen wife the entire time. So what was the point again?

Remedies for "Batman & Robin"

  • Quite simple. Just lock this stinker in the freezer and never open it.

Comments

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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      I have to say I agree with all your points, as this truly was one of the worst superhero movies of all time. And Freddy is right that Clooney might've been a great batman had he'd been given more to work with.

      However, there is ONE good thing about this movie that came out it's creation. To quote Avi Arad and many of the Marvel Studios executives, "The one thing that a film like "Batman & Robin" taught us was that Hollywood needed to reevaluate how to handle superhero films, and forced many film makers to take the genre more seriously than in day's past."

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 6 years ago from The Garden State

      Such an awful movie. The sad thing is that I really think George Clooney might've made a decent Batman. He just signed up for the wrong film.

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