I'll be blunt at first. Batman and Robin is insulting when you compare it to the darker Tim Burton adaptations and the more recent Christopher Nolan adaptations. It, and by extension, Joel Schumacher's work on the series, took everything dark and menacing, everything emblematic of the revolutionary storylines which brought Batman back from the campy laughingstock that the silver age had turned him into, and forgot about it. This is a movie that decided the bronze age never happened, and that "the killing joke" and "year one" never happened either. Make no mistake about how bad this movie is. It is garish. It is laughable. It is over the top. But it is perfect, once you understand what it really is. This movie is the silver age. That's what it really is at its heart. It's the Adam West Batman movie if it actually had a budget. All the bad, far-fetched puns are there. All the overacting, and all the underacting, is there. Any pretension you had over watching something serious is shattered in the opening scenes. Whatever nonsense Batman Forever didn't live up to, this movie fulfilled. Nay, it took the flag carried by the last movie and ran the last few miles, finishing well past the finish line and leaving an indent in the shape of the batsymbol on a nearby wall. Because watching this movie is like watching a cartoon. Hell, the environments look cartoony. Gotham City is caked in neon, looking like how a camp gay man would decorate ancient greece. Interior scenes are awash in clashing colors, as if the gaffer's were all colorblind. Even the extras are awash in clashing colors, like they've been painted on; dressed for the set of a kids show from the 60s set in the future. The total set design, from costumes to gadgets, perfectly capture the hilarious stupidity of the 1960s comic book style. Even the batmobile looks like a toy. It all seems so fake and unreal that you're convinced whatever you're seeing was not intended to be seen by someone your age. Batman and Robin is a child's dream and an adult's nightmare. This movie is bad, but if you can just pretend it was a modern remake of the 60s series, a silver age comic book brought to life, then you might find it just a little bit fun, while you're inner child will be shrieking with inane joy. All that was missing was shark repellent.
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