Reviews: Batman And Robin
Unintentionally Fun but Still Flawed
I heard a little about this notorious film while browsing the Ink-Stain Adaptation page, so when it came on Encore channel recently, I decided to watch it myself. And like Pixels, I ended up enjoying it more than I thought. Sure, it's bad, but it does have it's fun moments. Pros:
- Arnold's portrayal as Mr. Freeze is hands down the best character in the film. He manages to combine the campiness of the Silver Age while still portraying him as the tragic Anti-Villain we know and does it in a way that makes him incredibly fun to watch, even with his constant ice puns.
- Likewise, Uma Thurman does a good job as Poison Ivy, managing to nail the character's seductive personality.
- The subplot involving Alfred dying helps give the film some surprisingly emotional depth and helps flesh Alfred out more. It helps that Alfred's actor does a pretty good job with him.
- The music is fun to listen to, especially the music that plays during Ivy's dance.
- Being a movie that was made in the 90's, the fight scenes aren't that good.
- George Clooney doesn't really do a good job as Batman. There's no real emotion in his performance and it feels like he's just going through the motions. Also, the subplot of him learning to trust people is pretty moot as he doesn't seem to learn his lesson.
- Robin in this film is nothing but a whiny brat. Sure, he has a point about Batman's trust issues, but it doesn't excuse him being an obnoxious asshole.
- Having Batgirl in this film? Okay. Making her Alfred's niece? No, no, no, and NO! It's Barbara Gordon, not Barbara Pennysworth!
- Bane's portrayal is the worst aspect of the film. Listen Joel, I don't give a flying fuck how So Bad, It's Good your film is, you do not, repeat, DO NOT get to turn my favorite Batman villain into a mindless brute! You wanna make him Ivy's dragon? Fine. But you could've easily done so without butchering his character. Thank God Rises undid that stain on his character.
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.
I loved Alicia Silverstone's portrayal of Batgirl w hat I had a problem with was her backstory. We all know that Batgirl is the daughter of the police commissioner as well as being a librarian which gives her access to information that no one has. It made no sense to make her the niece of Alfred the Butler with no explanation as to how or why she chose to become Batgirl. Also, she should have been introduced earlier in the movie to get us to know her more.
Tragically This Movie Almost Did It Right
Year:1997 Directed by: Joel Schumacher Starring:George Clooney,Arnold Schwarzeneggar,Uma Thurman,Chris O'Donnell,Alicia Silverstone,Michael Gough,Pat Hingle Grade: D I'm sorry but this just isn't the worst movie ever,it's not even F material becuase ya' know what,it actually had a lot going for it.The plot was excellent and under better direction and tone [like lets say Sam Hamm wrote it and Tim Burton directed it or Chris Nolan helmed it] it could've gone far with Alfred dying [although since the actor playing him just died recently,it makes those scenes a little harder being Too Soon and all] and Mr. Freeze trying to cure his wife.The problem was it was overshadowed by Bad Writing,the Bat-Credit card and like Batman Forever it was clearly trying to decide between Tim Burton's duo and the 60's which results in Mood Whiplash. Except when it goes campy,it feels forced rather than natural like Adam West and it's disjointed. Clearly you can tell no one was trying except for Michael Gough who did a fantastic job,for the little bits he got.Also the Not-the-same-as-89-but-played-by-same-actor Gordon was minimalized after sucking in Forever. The killer though to this was Batgirl who neither developed as a character nor did anything useful,actually she just made sure no one else could do anything meaningful and the discovery of the cave was a Wall Banger.Yeah Alfred seemed to be as sharp as a tack a second ago,yet the password. Good thing there were shots of Silverstone's butt,but then I guess those were cancelled out by Clooney's and O'Donnells.And then if those butts aren't enough,Gotham has plenty more statues and neon to showcase.What is this? The only part of the main plot worth anything was Mr. Freeze reaction to what happened to his wife,except the tear froze making it Narm,which is sad.Not as sad however as seeing the otherwise Fan Service Poison Ivy be ruined by Uma Thurman's facial expressions,the very few decent lines in the whole movie,.....murdered. If this movie had focused more on camp,got rid of the homoerotic NOT-subtext,and the actors actually tried this could've been Batman66 again,instead of being so lifeless,so close but not there and don't watch unless you have to. Thank goodness Batman Begins happened.
No one tried
I have to feel bad for Joel Schumacher. He wanted to make an adaption of Batman Year One. Warner Brothers made him make Btman Forever, and then this. I have to wonder if he was really trying, because none of the actors were and he let them all get away with it. I really liked Batman and Robin when it first came out. I was very small at the time. When I saw it again as a teenager, I was enjoying it for the first few minutes. Then something happened. Batman and Robin clipped their feet together, and out of their boots came....ice skates. The movie had just out Admam Wested the Adam West Batman, and not in a way that was cute or funny like the 60s show. It stinks. It makes no sense. Robin is a beepity beep. Arnold is the best part, being unintentionally funny, though in a bad way. Bane is just insulting, though also at times unintentionally funny. I wouldn't say that it 'raped my childhood,' but it is near impossible to enjoy for anyone over the age of seven. Batman and Robin is the most glorified toy commercial ever, and it rightly killed the franchise. If you see it, be sure to have a rifftrax commentary playing.