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Western Animation: Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero

The second movie spun off from Batman: The Animated Series. If you were looking for the time Batman actually met Sub-Zero, that didn't happen for a few more years (and Mister Freeze wasn't involved).

Victor Fries alias Mister Freeze has made a home for himself in the Arctic, where he has the peace to continue working on a cure for his cryonically preserved wife, Nora, in the company of Inuit boy Kunac and two fully grown polar bears. As you might expect, this doesn't last long a luckless submarine crew has the misfortune to surface right in the middle of his home, shattering Nora's preservation chamber. Enraged, Victor turns his freeze gun on them all before returning to Gotham in search of help.

The good news: He finds an old colleague, Dr Gregory Belson, who is heavily in debt and desperately in need of a windfall which Victor can provide, having discovered a large vein of gold in the Arctic. The bad news: The only thing that can save Nora is an organ transplant, there aren't any deceased donors with her rare blood type, and any living one would die. Victor is undeterred, and the two of them quickly pick a target: Barbara Gordon.

While it lacks the near-cult status and awesome soundtrack of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm this movie was a critical and commercial success and is currently the third-highest rated Batman film on RottenTomatoes.com, with 90% to The Dark Knight's 94% and Batman: Under the Red Hood 100%.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • AB Negative: The plot involves Mr. Freeze kidnapping Barbara Gordon because she shares the AB- blood type with his wife. Barbara even brings up that he could use any negative blood for a blood transfusion, but it turns out that it's not her blood that he needs. This is Shown Their Work in that organ transplants are ideally done between people of the same blood type to reduce the risk of rejection, and Mr. Freeze is obsessive enough over getting his wife back that he'd try to be as exact as possible.
  • Action Girl: Barbara, obviously.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Barbara gets out of her cell this way, only to discover that they're on an abandoned oil rig.
  • Almost Kiss: Dick and Barbara at Shaugnessy's, but they're interrupted by a supervillain and his pet polar bears. Just another night in Gotham.
  • Animation Bump: Compared to the original series, with much smoother and clearer animation.
  • Anti-Villain: Mr. Freeze, again.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Two polar bears, trained to obey Mr. Freeze and assist him as muscle.
  • Billy Needs An Organ: They make it through the entire movie without ever specifying which one(s), only that the donor cannot survive after removal.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Barbara not only is rescued, but she is able to save Nora's life without losing her organs. But Freeze is believed dead - he isn't, but he cannot return to society due to his crimes. He's last seen crying Tears of Joy as he learns that Nora will live on, and quietly leaving with his polar bears.
  • Call Back: Towards the beginning of the movie, Commissioner Gordon is discussing Barbara with Dick intercut with scenes of Batgirl beating up some muggers much the same way Batman foiled a prison getaway while Harvey Dent discussed Bruce with Pamela Isley in "Pretty Poison."
  • Conspicuous CGI: Most notably the submarine at the beginning. And it really doesn't mesh with the art style.
  • Contrived Coincidence: That they picked the police commissioner's daughter, instead of the 17 other people on that list.
  • Cool Plane: Batman's plane. Although he doesn't get to use the tech toys much this round.
  • Defiant Captive -> Damsel out of Distress: Barbara does her best to defend herself at first and only agrees to go with Victor after he starts threatening innocent bystanders. She then not only enacts multiple escape attempts and won't go quietly even if there's no apparent way off the oil rig, but she empathizes to a degree with Freeze's motivations (despite obviously not wanting to lose her organs) and befriends his Kid Sidekick Kunac.
  • Description Cut: Three in a row when Commissioner Gordon's talking about Barbara at the beginning.
  • Determinator: Dick does impressively well trying to save Barbara in his civilian identity. He only loses in the fundraiser when attacked by polar bears, and only loses when pursuing the truck after Freeze ices the road. He actually outlasted the police, and Commissioner Gordon even thanks him for his efforts.
  • Dirty Coward: Belson leaves Freeze to die out of fear for his own safety. The heroes then risk their lives to save him while Belson gets fatally smacked with karma.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. When Freeze makes it clear to Belson that he's planning to kill Barbara to save Nora, the scene begins to play out like a typical Even Evil Has Standards moment.... and then it's shown that Belson actually is acting disgusted and reluctant about doing it because he feels Mr. Freeze isn't paying him enough for it. He happily goes along with it once Freeze ups the payment.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: See above. Belson dies screaming as the burning oil rig collapses on him.
  • Groin Attack: During her fight against a couple of thugs from within the park, Batgirl kicks one of them in the groin, leaving him aching in pain as he falls to the ground.
  • Gunship Rescue: Batman and Robin do this with Batwing to save Barbara Gordon.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Kunac
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Dick Grayson takes a random guy's motorcycle while pursuing Freeze, but gives him the keys to his Corvette in exchange.
  • If I Do Not Return
    Batman: If I'm not back in time go without me!
    Robin: What?! Wait!
  • Jerkass: Belson is willing to go along with Victor's plan just so he can get himself out of debt, regardless of whatever happens to Barbara. See the Even Evil Has Standards subversion.
  • Karma Houdini: Mr. Freeze. He kills a submarine crew for accidently wrecking his Arctic hideout, and was the one who instigated the plan to kidnap Barbara to harvest her organs, yet he not only achieves his goals, but also survives in the end free of prison and with the knowledge that Nora is cured. Averted in the rest of the series proper, however, as there's still a lot of pain and misery in store for him.
  • Lighter and Softer: While this film is still not a lighter hearted kids' cartoon, it is not nearly as dark as the previous film, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Mr. Freeze will do anything to save Nora, even kidnapping and murder.
  • Magic Skirt: Barbara zips down a line on the burning rig, and her skirt billows up only as high as her thighs.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: In a unique application of this trope, the commercials for this movie consisted entirely of scene from Mr. Freeze's previous appearances on Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Mugging the Monster: Out of the 18 possible donors in Gotham, Belson picked the superheroine. She also happens to be the Police Commissioner's daughter, which Belson should have known.
  • The Other Darrin: Melissa Gilbert was replaced by Mary Kay Bergman as the voice of Barbara Gordon. Tara Strong would replace her when B:TAS became The New Batman Adventures.
  • Opera Gloves: Some of the ladies at the fundraiser are wearing these.
  • Out of Order: The film was released in the middle of The New Batman Adventures, but takes place before or during the Time Skip and uses the original art style. It was originally meant to be released before The New Batman Adventures in mid-1997 as a tie-in to Batman & Robin (which also features Mr. Freeze), but that film's overwhelmingly negative reception caused the studio to delay SubZero's release by almost a year.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kunac.
  • Plucky Girl: Barbara
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of the socialites at the fundraiser are wearing fur wraps.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Notchka and Shaka, Mr Freeze's two loyal polar bears.
  • Say My Name
  • Save the Villain: All three heroes help Freeze after he gets pinned by debris. He then helps them rescue Nora and Kunac, and Batman tries to save him even when the oil rig is about to go up in flames.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Barbara at the fundraiser.
  • Shipper on Deck: Commissioner Gordon is very obviously a Dick/Barbara shipper.
  • Shrug of God: Is this film set before or after Batman and Robin find out Barbara is Batgirl? It was constructed so as not to contradict either possible answer.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Bruce and Dick. It came up in the actual series, but as an inconsistent coloring error.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Batman and Robin. They do this the way the rest of us breathe.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Gregory Belson, Mr. Freeze's sidekick. His first moment of stupidity is when he selects Barbara Gordon — the police commissioner's daughter — as an organ donor for Freeze's wife. When Barbara escapes before the operation can begin, Belson pulls a gun and accidentally shoots several fuel tanks (despite Babs warning him not to), starting a fire that destroys Freeze's lair.
  • Tranquil Fury: Robin is noticeably quieter than his usual DCAU appearances, but after Barbara is kidnapped he's really, really pissed off.
  • WHAM Line: "If I'm not back in time go without me!"
  • You're Insane!

Batman: Mask of the PhantasmDC Comics AnimatedBatman: Mystery of the Batwoman
Batman: Mask of the PhantasmFranchise/DCAUBatman: Mystery of the Batwoman
BarnyardAnimated FilmsBatman Gotham Knight
Batman: Mask of the PhantasmThe Renaissance Age of AnimationBeavis and Butt-Head
Batman: Mask of the PhantasmSuperheroBatman: Mystery of the Batwoman
Batman: Mask of the PhantasmFranchise/BatmanBatman: Mystery of the Batwoman
Batman: Mask of the PhantasmFilms of the 1990sBeauty and the Beast

alternative title(s): Batman And Mister Freeze Sub Zero
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