Batman & Robin (1997)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 33%
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Ranked #578
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Connections: DC: Batman DC: Poison Ivy

Mr. Freeze plans on taking Gotham City hostage by freezing the town into a permanent winter. In the meantime, a new seductive villainous, Poison Ivy, has appeared to cause a rift in the partnership of Batman & Robin. While all this is happening, faithful butler Alfred is dying. Mr. Freeze holds the key to save his life. Enter Batgirl to help save the day. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: January 27, 2008
Two years after Batman Forever, Joel Schumacher returns to the director's chair with Batman & Robin. Now, I did enjoy his first effort helming a Batman film, but I'm hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with me. Even so, we can all agree that this movie is downright abysmal.

Batman and Robin are now a well established team, but all is not well with the two. Batman doesn't fully trust Robin's abilities, and he often makes the young hero hang back while he goes into the thick of things alone. Naturally, Robin takes exception to being treated like a child and the team spirit isn't exactly stellar. Still the two are going to have to push that aside because a new villain is terrorizing Gotham City. Mr. Freeze was a medical scientist whose wife was diagnosed with McGregor's syndrome, a terminal illness with no cure. Knowing that time was not on his side, he put his wife into cryogenic suspension until he could find the cure. However, he is accidentally blown into the frozen liquid, and when he emerges his body has been altered and must be kept at zero degrees. To overcome this, he develops armor that uses a diamond-powered laser technology to keep his body temperature regulated; he plans on using this technology to freeze Gotham and hold it ransom for the funding needed to finish his research and cure his wife. He has his first encounter with the Dynamic Duo while stealing one of the giant diamonds needed to power this weapon, and proves himself a formidable foe, getting away with the diamond and leaving Robin a frozen statue. Meanwhile, environmentalist Pamela Isley is working in South America to crossbreed plants with poisonous snakes so they can protect themselves from the evils of mankind. However, her overly keeps on stealing her chemical, Venom. Upon further inspection, she finds that he is using it to create a super-soldier to auction off to criminals. Unfortunately for Isley, he catches her snooping and throws her through a shelf full of chemicals; leaving her sinking into a smoking hole in the earth. As it turns out, instead of killing her, the toxins fuse her with nature itself; giving her poisonous lips, the ability to secrete an aphrodisiac dust, and in true bad movie fashion, she took her glasses off which made her hot all of a sudden. With her newfound powers she kills her boss, takes on the one super-soldier, Bane, as her lackey and heads to Gotham to try and persuade Bruce Wayne to finance her plan to save the environment. When he denies her request, she takes on the persona of Poison Ivy and crashes a charity drive; which was actually a trap for Freeze. Things don't quite go as planned as Ivy is able to align herself with the icy villain and use her feminine wiles to exacerbate the tension between the two heroes. Fortunately for the good guys, their butler's niece has come to visit, and after stumbling into the bat cave, she dons the rubber as Batgirl, giving them a fighting chance.

Wow, where to start? Well, hell you read that synopsis, can anything good possibly come of that? The answer is a resounding no. Schumacher took the few decent parts from Forever and tossed them aside, leaving all the bullshit that was left to fill in the holes. Gotham has gotten even gaudier, with blacklights lighting every square inch, and the gothic statues that decorated the streets last time are now thousand foot tall monuments, thrown in haphazardly wherever they aren't needed. Plus, the whole tone of this one has returned to the camp that defined the old '60s show. Now we got batbombs, batlasers, batsnowmobiles, It's all batbullshit. This is all capped off nicely with the astounding lack of originality that further kills this film. Notice how both villains' origins are virtually identical. Notice how Robin's whining about the exact same shit he was last time. Notice how Batgirl ends up whining about the exact same shit Robin was last time. Notice how Bane, one hell of a villain in the comics, is reduced to a mindless thug who's biggest contribution is the line "Monkey work." After all, we want big and bad, but fuck writing anything intelligent with the character. No, the intelligent writing was saved for...well, nevermind. Mr. Freeze's story was taken from the character's episode from Batman: The Animated Series, which was a damned fine episode, but the combination of Arnold's trouble with emotions and the dozens upon dozens of cold puns and the entire effect was ruined. "Chill." "You're not putting me in the cooler." "I'm cold hearted." I mean, I love bad puns, but Jesus Christ was this pushing it. And of course, this was all rounded off nicely with the line, "First Gotham. Then, the world!"

Continuing this trainwreck, Schumacher has stocked this movie with a cast list of failure. When you think of Batman, you think dark, you think scary. You most certainly do not think George Clooney. Obviously, he fares well in the Bruce Wayne half, but the Caped Crusader was just never a character meant to be played by him. His partners, Robin and Batgirl, are Christopher O'Donnel and Alicia Silverstone respectively. Both of them were able to get the job done without too much collateral damage, but they sure didn't do anything to help the film either. Our villains, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Freeze), Uma Thurman (Ivy), and Jeep Swenson (Bane), are the true albatross around Batman & Robin's neck. Like I alluded to before, to play Mr. Freeze well, you have to be able to handle emotional material. And to be frank, Arnold can't. His place was in the '80s, blowing shit up and dropping one liners. Apparently, Patrick Stewart was among the running for Freeze, and it's a damned shame he didn't get the part, I think he could have nailed the character. Although, it's also refreshing to know an actor of his caliber doesn't have to be associated with a film like this. Uma Thurman's enthusiasm for this role was a solid ten. We needed her at around a six and a half. Seriously, she brought overacting to an art form here. Now, I've seen her in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. I know the woman is capable of a lot better than this, so I'm going to have to put the blame on Schumacher's shoulders. Besides, I'm still a little peeved that he hired a woman who stands at six feet to play a character who barely breaks five. Oh well, at least there's an upside to all of this. We didn't have to put up with Jim Carrey this time.

While the positive is far and few between, there's a few silver linings here and there. First of all, I thought Mr. Freeze's costume looked pretty cool; it was a few steps up from the usual scuba-esque costumes he gets. Second of all, Alicia Silverstone in tight rubber. And finally, and perhaps most important of all, even though the movie isn't really good, it doesn't really drag. The plot moves at a decent pace, and considering the running time is just a few hairs shy of two hours, this is a big deal.

And so ends the first series featuring the Caped Crusader. It started out strong, but saying it had a "weak finish" would be quite the understatement. Hopefully, Nolan's series fares better over the years. As for Batman & Robin: pbbbbbbbttt! 2/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 01/28/2008, 12:04 PM
Schwarzenegger gives one of the most laughably bad performances...ever. Uma Thurman is almost as awful as Poison Ivy in the worst performance of her career. Alicia Silverstone -- right of par with them. I do, however, think George Clooney made a good Bruce Wayne/Batman. 2/10.
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 01/29/2008, 06:58 PM
Yeah, I can never seem to hate George Clooney, but this was horrible on all sides.. I guess the Seal song on the soundtrack was cool though?
1.5/10 haha
BuryMeAlive #3: BuryMeAlive - added 01/29/2008, 07:21 PM
Sorry, the Seal song was on "Batman Forever" - but how about that Smashing Pumpkins song?
grain of sand #4: grain of sand - added 01/29/2008, 07:27 PM
oh yeah :(
Luminaire #5: Luminaire - added 01/30/2008, 10:44 AM
Uma Thurman was hot though, so i give her a free pass, and Clooney will always get a free pass because hes Clooney. 2.6/10
Rik #6: Rik - added 07/03/2008, 12:19 PM
Look at that poster.

Batman smiling? I'm surprised they didn't include the Batphone for this movie.
Vash #7: Vash - added 07/27/2008, 07:25 PM
that pumpkins song totally rules. works better in the watchmen trailer, though :)
The Red Clover #8: The Red Clover - added 07/27/2008, 10:36 PM
Clooney's performance may be the only redeeming factor concerning this steaming pile of crap.

Is it just me or since "The Dark Knight" has anyone else had a perverted fantasy involving Ledger (as the Joker) beating the utter crude out of Chris O'Donnell (as obviously, Robin?)

PS: I am aware that the Robin the Joker demolished and killed had been Jason Todd, and not Dick Grayson who had become Nightwing by then, but the fantasy is still a delightful one.
Tristan #9: Tristan - added 07/27/2008, 11:30 PM
Weird that you'd mention the Pumpkins song Vashy, as I just hunted it down after seeing the Watchmen trailer. While this movie does stink, it was still great when I was a kid. 5/10
The Red Clover #10: The Red Clover - added 07/28/2008, 01:10 AM
You know, this movie led to aother redeeming factor. If it wasn't for this movie's poor box-office performance, then we could have had "Batman Triumphant" in theaters at some point.

Thank God for "Batman and Robin" in that aspect.
Crispy #11: Crispy - added 07/28/2008, 01:15 AM
I'm a glutton for punishment. I'd have been down for Quinn and Clayface.
AttnDefDis #12: AttnDefDis - added 07/20/2009, 11:06 AM
I agree, the movie failed on all levels. George Clooney was the most God awful Batman to date. Alicia Silverstone was terrible, Uma Thurman in no way fits the "femme fatale" role that is Poison Ivy and as for Arnold, that "chill" line was enough for me. His whole performance is laughable and they didn't do Bane justice at all. They just made him Poison Ivy's bitch. However, I too love the Smashing Pumpkins song and the video for it.
Lucid Dreams #13: Lucid Dreams - added 07/20/2010, 09:51 PM
I don't know why they would have wanted to ask Joel Schumacher to make another one after the last one. Attn is also right with the female roles on here. 3/10
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