"Batman & Robin" Film Review

Batman & Robin (1997) - IMDb

"Batman & Robin" Film Review

Rating: 0.5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever" totally changed everything good about Tim Burton's two films centered around the caped crusader, releasing a mediocre film that tries to be more goofy and comedic over anything. However, it worked for the box office, grossing more than $336 million worldwide, passing what "Batman Returns" brought in. Because of that, Warner Bros. brought Schumacher back to make another Batman film, this time with George Clooney under the mask. They made a film that only had the purpose of selling toys, admitted by both the filmmakers and actors. Because of that, this movie is awful, and could easily fall among the ranks of one of the worst superhero movies ever made. 

    The film opens with Batman and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) protecting Gotham together as a duo, using Batman's wit and slew of electronic gadgets and Robin's flexibility and agility. They journey to stop Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who has plans to freeze all of Gotham and kill everyone inside. While they are working hard to defeat the menacing foe, a new villain is rising after being the victim of an attempted murder and being poisoned by the plant venom in the greenhouse where she works, Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). 

    When Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze team up, they seem unstoppable, especially since Batman and Robin are having some compatibility issues. Together, the stained duo must now figure out a way to come together and save Gotham once and for all. This honestly sounds like a pretty good setup and story for a Batman film, adding in two new foes and putting Batman and Robin together for a whole film. Yet, this is not the movie we received. 

    The movie that actually came out is literally painful to watch. On a story perspective, it is awful. The entire story is bland and boring, with no real big events happening and no real stakes for either of our protagonists. Then, when we do get action sequences, they are over-the-top corny and unrealistic for a superhero film. Consider the scene where Freeze traps Batman and Robin on a ship going into space. Not only can they breathe normally that high up and crack jokes the entire time (which I'll get into in a little bit), but they use doors shaped like surfboards to ride down onto the streets of Gotham, completely unharmed. It's absolutely ridiculous, and I would go as far as to say the corny Batman sequences found in the Adam West television show were better and more entertaining than the ones here. 

    Now, scenes like that could be considered fun-bad if you are watching with friends. But, most of the movie is not like this. They introduce these horrible embodiments of iconic villains. Poison Ivy is the only one that isn't horrible, but check out Freeze and Bane (Michael Reed MacKay). They are so stupid looking, and neither of their acts or personalities are that threatening. We literally get a scene of Freezer trying to lead a chorus of freezing henchman to sing the song from "The Year Without a Santa Claus". It's frustrating because this could have been great, but it's absolutely awful in every sense of the word. 

    Let's turn our attention to the screenplay, which quite possibly might be the worst screenplay in any film I've ever seen. Every line of dialogue here is horribly written, and contains an over-generous abundance of corny quips and puns that never work. It seems like the filmmakers tried their hardest to make a horrible film, and if that's what they were trying to do, I genuinely applaud them because it would be hard to make something genuinely this bad. 

    Even our protagonists are unlikable. Robin is a whiny little brat the entire film, and Batman spends the whole movie wondering if he is unlikable. Like come on, why is this the main focus for our character arcs here? Then, when they bring in Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl, I think the movie gets a little worse. I like Silverstone; I think she is great in "Clueless". But this film makes it seem like she's never had an acting class in her life. Besides, it seems like our movie is more focused on showing off the crotches and butts of our heroes than it is on giving our characters actual stories and arcs. 

    George Clooney has mentioned in an interview that he always apologizes for "Batman & Robin", and I honestly don't even think that is enough. It amazes me that audiences would even want to go see another superhero film after this absolutely abysmal excuse for a movie. Thankfully, Christopher Nolan comes in a few years later and delivers the astonishing "Batman Begins" to help rid the stain this movie has on Batman's legacy.