Overview: Batman, Robin, and Batgirl fight Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy to sell toys. You all know how bad this movie is. Warner Bros.; 1997; Rated PG-13; 125 minutes
Let’s Get This Over With: Since its release in 1997, Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin has been embedded into the public and geek consciousness as one of the worst movies in cinematic history. Justifiably so. I remember watching this movie for the first time: My brain checked out with the close up of butts in the opening minutes of the movie, followed by Chris O’Donnell’s Robin saying “I want a car. Chicks dig the car.” Even now, I have to hold myself back from regurgitation while typing those lines. It doesn’t just spit in the face of Batman mythos, it doesn’t work on any level as a movie.
The Tim Burton Bat-films were never masterpieces, but they had a sense of story, some character, and the world was flooded with a gothic architecture unlike anything seen in a superhero movie. Schumacher floods the screen with any color that looks good in neon and finds a way to make it look like an explosion of neon vomit (The sets would probably make for some fun laser-tag arenas). The characters don’t fare much better. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze only speaks in one-liners, and each line is related to, you guessed it, ice. Uma Thurman gives such an awful performance that it ruins any of the goodwill she had left from Pulp Fiction. George Clooney is serviceable as Bruce Wayne. His Batman is mediocre, but in the hands of another director, writer, everything, he’d probably have given a
stronger good performance.
I’d try to explain the story but there isn’t much to cover besides Mr. Freeze stealing diamonds to power a machine to hold Gotham hostage for a large sum of money, all so he can pay to help his wife. My first thought is always “Why not just sell the diamonds?” but that would imply any thought went into this movie beyond marketing toys. All the outfits, weaponry, and vehicles illogically constructed – all the weight of the batmobile might actually inhibit it from its full, historical capabilities. You can practically hear the studio decisions.
So Bad, It’s Good?: If there’s anything remotely enjoyable about this movie, it’s how unintentionally hilarious it is. Apparently, there’s even a “Mr. Freeze drinking game” where the objective is to take shots whenever Freeze says a one-liner (Don’t do that. You will die before the midway point of the movie). The fact that this movie actually exists and people put money into making it makes me feel sorry for everyone involved. Joel Schumacher has gone on record to apologize for his milestone atrocity. George Clooney admitted that this movie killed the franchise. *sigh* At least this torched landscape allowed fertile ground for Nolan’s trilogy.