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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Fans debate over Poison Ivy's nature. Did Pamela Isley become Poison Ivy due to having the power to use violent means? Or did her transformation warp her mind or even kill her original self and caused a different consciousness created by the chemical mixture to take over her body?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Robin spends a majority of the film in love with Poison Ivy and ignores Batmanís 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 doesnít 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.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: A very infamous example. This film is hated partly for causing many to think the Batman film series in general was very campy and made solely to appeal to kids, even though the earlier films were much darker in tone and aimed more towards older audiences (though not to the same extent as The Dark Knight Trilogy).
  • Award Snub: In a negative version of this trope, the film was nominated for a whopping eleven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, and only won one of them (Worst Supporting Actress for Alicia Silverstone); most of the other Razzies went to another Warner Bros. flop, The Postman.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: While the movie generally isn't that aclaimed by fans and critics alike, the suit-up-scene by Batgirl as well as the seductive dance of Poison Ivy are among the most popular scenes of the movie thanks to the tight outfits of their actresses.
  • 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. Ripping on this film is pretty popular. Many snark sites have dedicated time to it. The film was also nominated for a whopping eleven Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, though it only won for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone).
  • Broken Base: It's probably the weirdest example of hot topics: most people agree that it's far from a good movie, but everybody has different reasons for it to think so. Is it because the movie tries too hard with its Camp? Is it because it's ashamed of being campy and has a serious subplot with Alfred dying? OR is actual existence of Camp in Batman the problem? Should movie go into full camp like the 60s show or full dark like newer Batman films? Does the movie have any redeemable qualities or is it irredeemable garbage? Is it So Bad, It's Good or just plain unenjoyable? Or maybe its actually not bad at all, and most of movie's problems are exaggerated? And most importantly - is Bat-Credit Card actually a funny joke, or the final straw that breaks the camelís back?
  • Common Knowledge: This was a giant Box Office Bomb that derailed Uma Thurman's career in particular? Yes, it wasn't that profitable, but despite the terrible critical reviews - and getting a Worst Actress nomination at the Razzies - Uma Thurman's performance was mostly praised. In fact, some reviews stated she was the only reason to watch the movie. The Avengers (1998) was the bomb where her performance was panned, but the reason she took a hiatus was because she'd given birth, and she was still considered a bankable star - as she was in fact offered the role of Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings because producers wanted a Hollywood star in at least one part amongst the character actors in the cast (they ended up getting Liv Tyler for Arwen). It's also often forgotten that she starred in the acclaimed Gattaca later on in 1997, as well a very well-received adaptation of Les Miserables and got a Golden Globe nomination for Hysterical Blindness in between this and Kill Bill.
  • Complete Monster: Poison Ivy, formerly Dr. Pamela Isley, relishing in her newfound power, declares herself Mother Nature and wishes to start anew for the world. Delighting in murdering numerous men with her painful poison kiss, Ivy tries to turn Batman and Robin against one another with her pheromones, seemingly murdering the sleeping Nora Fries to provoke Nora's husband, Mr. Freeze, to true despair. Deciding to help him kill every living thing in the world after freezing Gotham solid, Ivy intends to enact her own fantasies of creation upon the new world she creates.
  • Critical Backlash: More and more people have begun to reevaluate their view on the film in recent years and see it in a more positive or at least considerably less harsh light, feeling its status as a critical punching bag wasn't entirely deserved and it does have genuinely strong elements. Some also appreciate the more light-hearted approach to the character these days, especially as some later Batman adaptations went so far in the opposite direction it sucked any joy out of the story. Even those who see it as one of the weakest Batman films have found they can get some enjoyment out of it by embracing the ridiculous parts and not taking it too seriously.
  • Discredited Meme: The Bat Credit Card, especially since its main perpetrator(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.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Michael Gough was always well liked as Alfred, but he gets particular love for his work here, as despite the series hitting it's lowest low, he continues to give the role his all. In the unlikely event you hear someone genuinely compliment this movie, they're almost certainly talking about his poignant turn.
    • Dr. Jason Woodrue due to John Glover knowing exactly what kind of movie he was in and hamming it up like there's no tomorrow, showing Schwarzenegger and Thurman how dastardly camp is done.
  • 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.
  • 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. This video says that he plays the villain as a Sad Clown.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the film's 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 movie's release.
  • 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).
  • 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 children's 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).
      • Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has gone on record saying that he and Joel were both focused on actually trying to get as much seriousness out of the script as possible against the studio's demands for more campy dialogue and wacky setpieces.
    • 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. In fact, the film credited with truly starting the current superhero movie-boom, Blade (1998), came out just over a year after this one. Batman & Robin didn't really kill the superhero movie, more just gave it a mild flu if anything.
      • It's more accurate to argue that it merely killed DC Comics film adaptations for a while, as Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man kept Marvel Comics adaptations alive and (mostly) well until the latter struck gold with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • 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.
  • Narm Charm: The Bat-Credit Card. Widely mocked on release and over the internet, it's recently gained something of a genuine appreciation over the years when many fans (notably Linkara) pointed out that it actually makes sense for Batman to have a bank account he can use to solve crimes with his colossal wealth instead of his fists without also compromising his secret identity.
  • 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.
    • Lee and Janet Scott-Batchler, who co-wrote Batman Forever with Akiva Goldsman, weren't involved as well.
  • Presumed Flop: In spite of a terrible reception and ending a Genre-Killer for comic book adaptations, it made its money back with $238 million worldwide on a $125 million budget (no matter if that sum is the lowest of the Burton-Schumacher tetralogy), and that's not counting all the merchandise.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The PlayStation got a sandbox-style action game developed by Probe and 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition: It comes as a surprise to some people when they see that Elle MacPherson was in this film as Bruce's girlfriend, Julie Madison.
  • The Scrappy:
  • 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 Successor: 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, in the sense that there's not really that much difference between "Bruce" and "Batman" and there's overall less brooding. And Freeze is not dissimilar to Egghead (Vincent Price) as a Pungeon Master. Though of course, by their very nature these directions were divisive among modern Batfans who have the darker Batman as their baseline, especially when the movie first came out, and Clooney keeps getting slammed for not playing it like other Bat-actors.
  • 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 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 John Glover, 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.
    • Given the iconic status of Bane in the comics as "The man who broke Batman", being reduced to an Elite Mook for the main villains seems like a huge waste.
  • 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.
    • Most of the time George Clooney is clearly half-assing it, but when acting opposite a bedridden and dying Alfred, he suddenly turns in a shockingly sincere and tender turn.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Poison Ivy's over-the-top friendliness towards every man she meets makes watching her character more of a chore than anything else. Granted, that is a part of her original character, but she is also flanderized to the point of it overshadowing her other, more genuinely threatening and intellectual aspects. As such, many people forgot how she fatally poisoned Dr. Woodrue and unplugged Nora Fries from her life-support system out of jealousy.
    • The way the film more or less laughs away Ivy's concerns with nature would be a lot more controversial since the 2010s and renewed concerns about global warming and man-made climate change. Wayne mocking Ivy for wanting Wayne Enterprises to stop damaging the environment in particular would come across as downright malicious today.
  • What the Hell, Casting Agency?:
    • 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).
    • Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. Even leaving aside the whole debate as to whether or not she was physically suited to the role — though in fairness, many prior forms of Batman media had depicted Barbara as a Pint-Sized Powerhouse — many saw it as just a "flavor of the month" casting, as Silverstone's career until that point had mostly been spent playing Rich Bitch characters. Sure enough, when the film was released, one of the key complaints was that Silverstone's attempts to look tough and Street Smart fell flat. Adding on to the criticism is the fact that Silverstone is portraying a a Brit but doesn't even attempt to put on an accent.
    • George Clooney as Batman is a more frustrating example. The actor is perfectly cast as suave playboy Bruce Wayne, but he's almost universally considered sub-par as the caped crusader, making seemingly no effort to differentiate between the two identities or give any substance to his performance.
  • What The Hell, 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? What's especially bad is that her first outfit is agreed to be her best, but it's quickly abandoned for laughably bad costumes.

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