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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.
  • 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?
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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.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: A very infamous example. This film is hated for causing many to think the Batman film series in general was very campy and made to appeal to kids.
  • 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. 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).
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  • Cliché Storm: This film pulls out numerous clichés of superhero films of its time.
  • "Common Knowledge": This was a giant Box Office Bomb that derailed Uma Thurman's career in particular? Actually, as noted under Critic-Proof and Presumed Flop below, the film was very profitable. And 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 a very well-received adaptation of Les Misérables 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 seen it a more positive or at least considerably less harsh light, feeling the initial reaction and it's status as a punching bag was massively undeserved and that it did have genuinely strong elements and it's light-hearted approach to the character is now seen as more valid than it was regarded at the time.
  • Critic-Proof: Despite being blasted by critics, it did end up making over $230 million!
  • Discredited Meme: The Bat Credit Card, 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 on 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.
    • The Smashing Pumpkins' song "The End Is The Beginning Is The End" would later have it's remixed version played in the trailer for Watchmen, a film whose style and tone is the polar opposite of this film.
  • 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).
      • 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.
  • 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: Oh so very much. Almost every serious moment is rendered funny. Applies to the jokes as well, as the jokes are so unfunny that they circle around to getting laughs over just how horrific they are.
  • 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: The film is regarded as one of the worst superhero movies of all time. While some people today enjoy it for its cheesy nature, it is regarded as an enormous flop that severely damaged the careers of Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, Chris O'Donnell and Arnold Schwarzenegger (George Clooney was lucky enough to be spared), and killed the Batman franchise for almost a decade until Batman Begins. However, while it wasn't as successful as the first three in the series, it did make a profit, with a $238M worldwide gross against a $125M budget, and sold a ton of merchandising to put them clearly in the black.
  • 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.
    • Likewise, Alicia Silverstone as Barbara/Batgirl is widely considered a very poor adaptation of the character, particularly due to the change of making her Alfred's neice and contributing little to the movie beyond having a Designated Girl Fight with Poison Ivy, with Silverstone's performance being derided as try-hard and unconvincing.
    • This version of Bane also has very few fans, being portrayed as a lumbering, monosyllabic, brain-dead stooge for Poison Ivy instead of the Genius Bruiser Magnificent Bastard from the comics.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Bane is, canonically, one of the few serious villains of color who encounters Batman and is portrayed as a Genius Bruiser who famously broke the Caped Crusader's back. Here he's reduced to a voiceless Dumb Muscle playing second fiddle to Ivy.
    • Women in general in the film are seen as little more than eye candy or a Damsel Scrappy (i.e., Julie Madison is just Bruce's pretty girlfriend, Nora Fries is comatose, the female auction that served little interest other than to introduce Ivy, etc.). Even the arguably strongest female character, Batgirl, decides to street race for some reason and had to be eventually rescued by Robin.
  • 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 decades 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).
    • 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.
  • 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? What's especially bad is that her first outfit is agreed to be her best, but it's quickly abandoned for laughably bad costumes
    • Averted with Mr. Freeze, who arguably has the coolest costume in the movie, which was even an inspiration for his design in Injustice 2. With that being said, the sight of Victor in a robe and polar bear slippers is just too ridiculous for many.


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