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YMMV / Batman & Robin

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  • Accidental Innuendo: Any time Bruce Wayne calls his sidekick "Dick", but the crowning example is probably "She's trying to kill you, Dick." Given how George Clooney delivers the line, it might not be accidental.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Robin's interaction with Ivy at her lair and the reason he kisses her. Has he snapped out of his love for her and is just playing along to learn her plan and only kisses her to keep his cover, or does he still hope that there is a chance she really loves him and uses the kiss between them as a Secret Test of Character to see if her love is real or a lie?
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  • Angst? What Angst?: Robin spends a majority of the film in love with Poison Ivy and ignores Batman’s warnings about her. When he finally learns once and for all though that she was lying about loving him and tried to kill him, he doesn’t seem to dwell on it at all. Even after their relationship ends after a single kiss and she dumps him by trying to drown him he gets over her immediately and focuses on Freeze.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The comic book adaptation attempts to justify the campiness of the film by framing the story as a movie about Batman being filmed in the first page, so that the events aren't even "real" (so to speak) within the context of the story. It also gets rid of the more ridiculous aspects, like the Bat Credit-Card, the closeups of the Batsuits being put on, Mr. Freeze's polar bear slippers, minimizing Bane's role even more by making him The Voiceless, and even featuring a panel of Batman punching Robin in the face.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Bile Fascination: It would not be as well-remembered today if it hadn't been declared one of the worst movies ever made upon its premiere.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Latin American Spanish dubbing of the film actually seems to think that when Bruce says "Dick", he means the insult instead of the character's name, which turns all the Accidental Innuendo into reality.
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  • Cliché Storm: This film pulls out numerous clichés of superhero films of its time.
  • Critic-Proof: Despite being blasted by critics, it did end up making over $230 million!
  • Discredited Meme: The Bat Credit Card is on its way to becoming this, especially since its main proprietor (The Nostalgia Critic) got absolutely sick of the joke and retired the gag for good in one of his later episodes after Linkara gave him a lengthy rationalization about how the bat credit card could actually work.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Poison Ivy, of course. Uma Thurman in skintight or cleavaged suits, what's not to like?
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: All of them. For starters, Mr. Freeze is the image of that page by wearing a bathrobe with polar bear slippers! Bane looks more like a Mexican luchador, and Poison Ivy has both the unexplainable "horn hair" and an outrageous final costume.
  • Fetish Retardant:
    • The Bat-Nipples and Bat-Butts. Brain Bleach may be required after viewing.
    • When Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy dresses like this, she's hot. But like THIS? Nooooot so much. And she looks like that for most of the movie!
    • Also, the dead, open-eyed face Poison Ivy always makes when she kisses her victims is a notable turn-off when it should be the opposite (before the guy dies anyway).
    • Also, Poison Ivy's first evil entrance has her dancing erotically in a gorilla suit before revealing herself.
  • Fight Scene Failure: Batman uses the Force Kick technique on one of Mr. Freeze's henchmen in the fight for the Wayne Diamonds.
  • Fountain of Memes: Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, what with his being a hammy Hurricane of Puns and all.
  • Genre Turning Point: Superhero movies as a whole became a lot less campy after this came out. It also ultimately allowed DC's Arch-Enemy Marvel Comics to take a commanding lead in the comic book movie genre when DC wound up taking a 7-year hiatus from this movie and Steel, and their first movie back, Catwoman (2004), tanked. It took Batman Begins to put DC films back on the map.
  • Ham and Cheese: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman. They overact like their lives depend on it, and it's widely regarded as the only reason to watch the movie, if not the only good thing on it.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The fictional MacGregor's Syndrome suffered by Nora Fries and Alfred has since been expanded via the Arrowverse into a disorder with ties to drug abuse. This can potentially cast the backgrounds of both Nora and, more meaningfully, Alfred, in a much darker shade.
    • Robert Swenson who played Bane in this film died of heart failure, like Freeze's wife.
  • He Really Can Act: While his casting may have launched a thousand internet debates, Schwarzenegger's actual performance in the role borders on Took the Bad Film Seriously: his surprisingly emotional portrayal manages to merge the hammy cartoon supervillain Mr. Freeze and the deeply pained Anti-Villain Victor Fries. All other things aside, Arnold clearly "gets" the character, and it shows.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Ivy, in her guise as Pamela Isley, is about to kiss (and kill) Commissioner Gordon, she stops and tells him "On second thought, you're way too old for me." At one point in her life, Uma Thurman was married to Gary Oldman, who portrays the younger Gordon during his early career in Christopher Nolan's Batman series.
    • In this film, Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to kill Batman. In Terminator Salvation, he gets a second chance to kill Batman.
    • Robin's costume in this film looks like Nightwing's, except with the emblem in red and a cape. The New 52 reboot didn't give Nightwing a cape, but changed the bird symbol's color from blue to red.
    • Bane falling in love with the female Big Bad and becoming her mook is very similar to The Dark Knight Rises.
    • Two decades after this movie came another movie in which Batman is a major protagonist, in which starred the other actor who played Conan, this time as an ally instead of the Big Bad.
    • In the films comic book adaptation, Batman and Robin's fight has a panel where Bruce slugs Dick, with the composition being eerily similar to the famous "Batman slaps Robin" meme, which became a very popular meme several years after the movies release.
    • You can apply Bane in The Dark Knight Rises saying "Do you accept this man's resignation" to Joel Schumacher.
    • Batman would presumably have to use the Bat Credit Card to make withdrawals from Wayne Enterprises. Assuming Bruce has a separate account for his Bat Credit Card, it would show up one Wayne Enterprises' computers that Batman was making cash withdrawals from Bruce Wayne's joint account. Guess that explains how Coleman Reese put two-and-two together in The Dark Knight. Amazing nobody cottoned on sooner really.
  • Hollywood Homely: Pamela Isley is "ugly" before becoming Poison Ivy because she has glasses, a ponytail and frumpy clothes, all of which disappear when she is turned into Poison Ivy, who looks and sounds more like a Drag Queen than a villainous vixen. This is all the more remarkable when considering that she is played by Uma Thurman. To be fair this is more a case of Beautiful All Along.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: While the film averts this by never pointing it out, Alicia Silverstone had noticeably put on weight since her fame peaked, and the press had a field day with it at the time of the film's release. One article noted that Silverstone essentially refused to manage her weight in any way whatsoever during the filming, which is already a problem when you're shooting a movie and need continuity, but is rather more important when your character wears a skintight bodysuit (that apparently had to be almost completely redone several times to accommodate her).
  • Ho Yay:
    • Undertones of it are pretty much undeniable between the title characters. Supposedly, George Clooney retroactively claims he played Batman as gay (although it seems more of a Take That! against said undertones than anything with truth in it).
      Dick Grayson: You're just saying that so I can't kiss her, is that it?
      Bruce Wayne: Listen, Dick, it's a poisonous kiss.
      Dick Grayson: A poisonous kiss? You don't understand. She understands how I feel.
      Bruce Wayne: She has clouded your mind and you're not thinking straight.
      Dick Grayson: I am thinking straight. For the first time in a long time.
    • This got to the point that Clooney and O'Donnell were actually nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Onscreen Couple.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "YOU LIE!!!"
    • Pretty much anything that Schwarzenegger says, due to the sheer lameness of his puns. As a subset of this, it's taken as a given that any mention of the movie whatsoever (or at times mention of Schwarzenegger by himself) will require at least ten posts of ice puns before any other discussion can happen.
    • The Bat Credit Card. "A BAT CREDIT CARD?!!"
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Many of the elements people disliked about the film were the result of Executive Meddling and not Joel Schumacher's fault:
      • Bane's characterization wasn't written by Schumacher, and the decision to include him came after DC Comics pressured Warner Bros. to include him in the film (Bane had just debuted in the comics in a controversial storyline a few years before, and DC thought that being in the movie would help him look better with fans).
      • The Batnipples were his call (having been carried over from Batman Forever, the costumes for which he had a hand in designing), but any of the hated costumes here weren't. The campier direction in general came from someone in the Warner Bros. marketing department noticing that Batman Forever had sold more childrens' toys than either of the Burton films, so there was pressure to move further away from the dark tones those movies set, and include more costumes, vehicles and characters (this was also why Batman had a one-seater car and Robin had a separate motorcycle).
    • The film is often misblamed for derailing Chris O'Donnell's career. In reality (while he does consider it a career low), he took temporary retirement because he had recently become engaged / married and wished to start a family (he now has five kids). He later had a Career Resurrection as the lead of one of TV's highest-rated shows, NCIS: Los Angeles.
    • The film also often gets blamed for 'killing' the superhero genre for 'years' in a manner that suggests superhero movies spent decades languishing. In reality, while Hollywood had been struggling to replicate the success of the first Tim Burton film throughout the 90's and Batman and Robin was seen by many at the time as the final nail in the coffin for the superhero genre, it was really only a few years before the first X-Men and Spider-Man films came along in 2000 and 2002 respectively, and the real superhero boom began in earnest.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Poison Ivy crosses it with trying to kill Mr. Freeze's wife out of pure jealousy. To further rub salt into the wound, she then lies to Mr. Freeze about Nora's fate. When Mr. Freeze finds out who really pulled the plug, he's not very happy.
  • One-Scene Wonder: John Glover as Jason Woodrue. He hams it up as much as anyone in the film, but still manages to be funny and a bit scary.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Like the previous film, Tim Burton wasn't in the director's chair, but the last film still had him as a producer. Here, he wasn't even involved in that capacity.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The PlayStation got a sandbox-style action game published by Acclaim that was panned for crappy controls; it also featured obviously synthesized renditions of pieces from Elliot Goldenthal's score in the movie. A beat-em-up was also released for the portable Game.Com, and it fared similarly to its 32-bit counterpart with critics.
  • The Scrappy: Chris O'Donnell's performance as both Robin and Dick Grayson in this film compared to Batman Forever?? Let’s just say people aren’t exactly fans of how annoying, stupid and bitchy they made him in this film and many people consider his whining and moaning one of the things that contributed to the movie being as bad as it is.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Jason Woodrue is introduced as this film's Expy of Max Shreck, being a corrupt villain who tries to murder his beautiful, assistant when she finds out more than she should about his plans, resulting in her turning into a supervillain and killing him. Not only is Jason Woodrue (aka: the Floronic Man) an absolutely Nightmare Fuel packed villain in the comic books, he's played here by Lionel Luthor, so he probably would have made a better villain for this film than Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze or Bane combined, unless of course they'd been done well.
  • Sequelitis: The fourth and last film in the continuity that started with Tim Burton's classic, this is the installment in the entire Batman film series that's viewed with the most disdain and mockery, and froze any ideas of more campy Batman dead in its tracks, as well as being part of a bad spell that DC still has yet to fully recover from. It also happened to be one of at least three films in 1997 that succumbed to Sequelitis; Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Speed 2: Cruise Control are the other two.
  • So Bad, It's Good: For the sheer Narm Charm and semi-intentional comedy value of the performances (especially Mr Freeze), as well as the somewhat poignant turn of Michael Gough's last and most fleshed-out turn as Alfred, this isn't a totally unwatchable movie. Gotham City is visually distinct and looks pretty damn good, the music is great, and its rep means that you pretty much have to see it even if you are obligated to make fun of it. Also, kids will probably still enjoy it (and to be "fair", they were the target audience). It also makes one hell of a trivia / Hilarious in Hindsight movie (e.g. seeing Lionel Luthor as Jason Woodrue).
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • There are several obvious bluescreen shots and lots of rubber icicles, as well as at least one example each of cheesy miniatures and stop-motion (in 1997).
    • None of those effects compare to the fact that there are certain scenes in the movie that are just played backwards and forwards.
    • Combined with Freeze-Frame Bonus: There is one scene where Batman is typing on a keyboard which can only be seen for a few seconds, but if you pause or watch carefully (as this screenshot shows),you can see its a ridiculous prop, as the layout is completely messed up (and doesn't even include all 26 letters!) the space bar is on top, there's an on button but no off and more. The oddest thing is it would obviously be a lot easier and cheaper to simply buy a real keyboard rather than design some weird prop, so you have to wonder why they didn't just do that.
    • While innovative at the time of release, the digital stunt doubles used during the skydive sequence really don't hold up all that well, and Mr. Freeze using his ray to slow down his fall is hilariously cartoonish.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Defenders of the film will sometimes claim this film is one of the 1960s series due to how colorful and campy it is, noting that Clooney's take on the character is more akin to Adam West's than Keaton's or Kilmer's. And Freeze is not dissimilar to Egghead (Vincent Price) as a Pungeon Master.
  • Squick: Alfred had a Batsuit made for Barbara... in her exact, form-fitting measurements.
    Barbara: Suit me up, Uncle Alfred!
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Bane's depiction in the film is regarded as one of its worst flaws. For instance, unlike his comics counterpart, he is depicted as a mindless killing machine with no role whatsoever aside from being Poison Ivy's assistant. Also, his origin story in the comics is turned on its head when he is revealed to be an experiment of a Mad Scientist with the intent to auction him off to world dictators. A more mature, menacing Bane appearing in The Dark Knight Rises only added to the hatred of this depiction.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Jeremy of CinemaSins complained that Coolio should have been cast in the movie as one of Mr. Freeze's henchmen instead of his cameo in the beginning of the motorcycle racenote ; after all, with the ungodly amount of ice puns Mr. Freeze spews, why not take that to a meta level?
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • Michael Gough, despite very limited screen time, gives a genuinely heartwarming performance as a terminally ill Alfred Pennyworth. It is one of the few things about the movie that can be enjoyed at face value. It helps that he had goodwill built up from his presence in the previous three films.
    • While he is in full Ham and Cheese mode for most of the film, Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze has some surprisingly powerful emotional moments when we see how much he truly misses his wife.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Yes and no. Opinions of this movie remain unfavorable, but since Christopher Nolan's reboot gave fans some peace of mind that this was not the be-all, end-all Batman movie, the consensus has changed from the the greatest insult to humankind to a hot mess that's worthy of a few chuckles. Also, in the years since this film was released, both Catwoman (2004) and Fantastic Four (2015) have provided competition to Batman & Robin's formerly-unanimous position as the worst comic book movie adaptation ever made. At the very least, no matter what your opinion of the film, most will at least agree that after you watch it, you won't soon forget it.
    • After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave us an extremely violent Batman that openly murders criminals and established a world so utterly depressing that it was dubbed the "Murderverse", people's view of Batman & Robin softened somewhat. Many found themselves preferring the color, fun, and campiness of this film versus the washed-out grays and oppressively dark-just-for-the-sake-of-being-dark tone of Batman v Superman. And the very next movie after Batman v Superman was considered by some to be a Batman & Robin revival, if only for the garish colorful look.
  • Wangst: Robin seems to spend a good chunk of the movie complaining about something or other.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Dr. Woodrue. He just let Poison Ivy take his face and kiss him without resisting, complaining, or noting something might be wrong, and making contact with her would be a bad idea.
    • Hey, Freeze. Considering that you can only survive in extremely low temperatures, and you clearly don't make much of an effort to keep your mooks warm... why do you even have a "Cold/Heat" switch in your own hideout?
    • Poison Ivy boasting about killing Nora Fries for no logical reason except to set up her Engineered Public Confession later in the movie.
    • A double example back to back. After Robin and Ivy kiss and Ivy tells him that he'll die, proving Batman right and her love to Robin a lie, Robin removes the rubber lips that protected him and kept him safe from Ivy's kiss, as they are sitting right next to each other, instead of tackling her and arresting her while she's distracted or leaving immediately. Then Ivy, instead of grabbing him and forcing a second kiss on him, instead angrily shoves him off her throne and into the pond to drown him, then tries to leave while tauntingly saying bye, treating it almost like she's breaking up with Robin for tricking her instead of trying to kill him for knowing too much or humiliating her. Though the last one is somewhat justified as no one had survived a kiss from Ivy up to that point and she might have been too angry and humiliated to think straight and do the simpler task.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • George Clooney as Batman. He was phenomenal as Bruce Wayne and was great match for the role. But with his portrayal of Batman, he can't separate the character and the actor, so instead of having a dark, menacing Batman, you simply just have George Clooney in a Batman costume.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Schumacher wanted a man who looked like he was "chiseled out of ice," so Arnold was high on his list, but those with familiarity with the source character tend to have this reaction. Especially due to Bane being in the same film, who many feel would've been a better role for Arnold (or at least a comic accurate Bane).
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • The Batnipples are this trope's poster child. Some like to jokingly deride the Double Standard at play when Batgirl's costume sports none.
    • Some of Poison Ivy's costumes. How are green tights and an Odango hairstyle sexy?
    • Averted with Mr. Freeze, who arguably has the coolest costume in the movie, which was even an inspiration for his design in Injustice 2.


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