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Honestly, I thought this movie was OK. I do have my share of complaints, but I also feel like there are quite a few positives that don't really justify the film's infamous reputation.
This film came out on home release when I was 11 years old. I'd grown up watching the '89 Batman and Forever, and I'd seen Returns but it horrified me so I couldn't enjoy it much (although I love it now as an adult). Forever was my favorite, so I was able to enjoy a good mix of darkness and camp. This film, however, throws all the good storytelling of the first three films out the window and takes a fat dump all over the Batman name.
I was pretty excited to watch this movie since I enjoyed Forever so much, so when I was at a friend's house and they popped it in, I was ready for some awesome dark knight action. Then the film starts...with Batman riding down the back of a dinosaur statue like he's surfing, Mr. Freeze seemingly unable to utter a single word or sentence that isn't laced with the most putrid puns, Batman and Robin both apparently having ice skates built into their boots, and playing literal ice hockey against the enemy for possession of a MacGuffin.
I didn't even make it ten minutes into the film before I had to walk away and go do something else while the rest of the kids watched the movie. I felt utterly insulted by the film. It was painfully obvious that it was trying so hard to pander to "the kids," my demographic, that it became a Saturday morning cartoon in live action. This was NOT the Batman I knew and loved. This was a load of garbage trying to sell action figures, not tell a story.
Imagine my surprise and therapeutic validation when I finally watched it from start to finish for the first time a month ago as a 30-year-old man and afterward watched some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, only to hear Schumacher himself state that during filming he kept beating the actors and crew over the head with the notion, "REMEMBER PEOPLE, THIS IS A CARTOON!" if anyone started taking it seriously. It turns out my childhood assessment that this felt like a crappy Saturday morning cartoon was dead on, admitted by the director himself. Then, at the end of the behind-the-scenes snippet, he offered a sincere apology to anyone who loved Batman Forever and felt betrayed by this film. Talk about quieting childhood demons.
Thank you for the apology, Schumacher. It was much-needed and much-appreciated to the scorned 11-year-old boy who still lived somewhere inside of me.
I will give credit where it's due and say that the subplot with Alfred's health declining is nice and offers the only hint of intelligence and heart this film has, but other than that, it's just a soulless action figure commercial. As for those who say the film works as a revival of the '60s Batman, that may have worked as its own film, but that "99% comedy" style had no place tarnishing this particular film canon, an otherwise great trilogy in which each film had a fair balance of darkness and camp. As part of the continuity it takes place in, this movie flat-out sucks.
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.
Overall, it's not the worst superhero film I've seen, but hardly the best. That said, it's still fun... In a Narm Charm kind of way.
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.
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Starring:George Clooney,Arnold Schwarzeneggar,Uma Thurman,Chris O'Donnell,Alicia Silverstone,Michael Gough,Pat Hingle
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.
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.
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