By Will Barber – Taylor
Batman is 75 years old this year. To celebrate I shall be posting a Bat Cave full of reviews and articles dedicated to The Dark Knight. The fifth in the series is a review of the 1997 flop, Batman and Robin. After some slight success with Batman Forever, Joel Schumacher was given the reins of power once again and produced what would be the last live action Batman movie for eight years.
Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) are back working side-by-side to stop the villains of Gotham City, but is there tension appearing between them, especially when one villainess who calls herself Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) can make anyone fall in love with her…literally. Along with Poison Ivy, the icy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is freezing anything which gets in his way from achieving his goal. Batman and Robin must put their differences aside so that they can defeat Freeze and Ivy and save both Alfred and Gotham from destruction.
Oh boy, here it is the worst of the worst. From the off Batman and Robin is a terrible film, indeed from Robin’s first line of whining dialogue about wanting a car, similar to the Batmobile you can tell that the film is going to be bad. Instead of getting better at trying to juggle the campy nostalgia and the serious storytelling that we saw in Batman Forever it has got worse.
Schumacher has gone for all out camp and you can tell. Everything oozes silly capes and ridiculous designs. Instead of taking Batman from being camp and silly to being serious and gritty Schumacher has gone the other way and completely wrecked any amount of investment an audience could have in the film. At the end of the first scene, Alfred who is suffering from a disease linked to one of the main villains, Mr Freeze, nearly collapses. It is hard to tell if the great, late actor Michael Gough was acting or had just digested how awful the film is.
After this we see some ridiculously camp fighting sequences including Batman and Robin skating around the Gotham Museum of History. You can almost hear the 1960s Batman TV sound effects as they bash Mr Freeze’s minions. The whole thing feels unreal and as an audience you can’t connect to the story because for a good 20 minutes of the movie there really isn’t any story, just a collection of scenes strung together.
The acting in the film is pretty mediocre. George Clooney tries his best as Batman but the character of The Dark Knight doesn’t really go with Clooney’s style of acting and so leaves the audience feeling more disconnected than before.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr Freeze is pretty weird even by the standards of the movie and we never really feel that he is that upset about his wife having an incurable disease.
Thurman actually comes off quite well as the femme fatal of Poison Ivy considering the part is horribly written though she isn’t nearly good enough to save the movie. O’Donnel’s whinny Robin is just plain annoying and Alicia Silverstone as Bat Girl is pretty dull.
Batman and Robin proved to be the last nail in Batman’s coffin and we wouldn’t see The Caped Crusader back on our movie screens in a live action format until 2005. However, between Batman Returns and Batman Forever, an animated film was released based on the popular TV series Batman: The Animated Series. Deciding to not interrupt the order the 90s films were in, I decided to review this film after Batman and Robin and before Batman Begins.
BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM