“Batman & Robin” was directed by Joel Schumacher and was released in 1997, starring Mr. Freeze’s ice puns, dutch angles, more puns, and of course, the infamous “batnipples.” I love this movie, I really do. It’s absolutely hilarious. Even though it is an abysmal mess that fails at everything it tries to do, it accomplishes something unintentionally great. “Batman & Robin” truly is a movie that is so bad that it’s good.
Direction – Joel Schumacher proved he knew absolutely nothing about the Batman character or his rogues gallery. Every criticism and direction he gave to his actors were clearly detrimental because all of the performances were atrocious. Schumacher even knew this movie is bad. He once stated in a featurette, “If there’s anybody watching this that, let’s say, loved Batman Forever [the prequel to “Batman & Robin”] and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation — If I disappointed them in anyway, then I really want to apologize, cause it wasn’t my intention. My intention was just to entertain them.” The worst thing about his direction, however, is that he failed so spectacularly despite his talent. He did actually direct decent, well made movies before this film, like “Falling Down” and “The Client.”
Writing – The movie immediately tells the audience that they are about to watch a nightmare of a film when it legitimately opens with a montage of Batman and Robin putting on their anatomically correct costumes. The camera literally zooms into their chests (to display the brilliant nipple designs of course) and other parts of their body that I won’t say for the sake of keeping this review somewhat PG. Then they leave to fight Mr. Freeze and stop him from stealing obvious prop diamonds while Poison Ivy emerges with her sidekick Bane, a pickle dressed in a wrestling costume that’s also on steroids. Oh, and Alfred is dying of some random disease. And Batgirl shows up. And Robin is mad at Batman. The point is, there are way too many subplots in this movie. The film is an absolute mess, and that is due to completely incompetent writing.
Casting – Whoever decided to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the main antagonist of the film, “Mr. Freeze,” is a genius. I love how distracting his accent is, how silly he looks in the costume & makeup, and most of all, his chilling puns. I counted 248 puns given from Mr. Freeze, but I could have missed twenty or so. My favorites include: “You’re not sending me to the cooler,” “Allow me to break the ice,” “Alright everyone, chill,” “Let’s kick some ice,” and “What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!” That last line is my favorite because it is (*very*) factually incorrect. Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s most tragic and compelling villains, and to see him so misrepresented in this movie was super enjoyable, just because of how ridiculous the character was portrayed.
Besides Arnold, the rest of the actors are miscast as well. George Clooney played a boring and goofy (but not in a cheesy & fun Adam West way) Batman, Uma Thurman was too over-the-top as Poison Ivy, and Chris O’Donnell was annoying as Robin. The film also introduced its strange version of Batgirl, played by Alicia Silverstone. She was some sort of biker and her name wasn’t even Barbara Gordon like it is in the comics and television shows; Batgirl’s name was Barbara Wilson. That’s “Batman & Robin” for you; it never fails to fail.
Bat-Credit Card, Crazy Gadgets, & a Butterfly – That’s right, in this movie, Batman has his own credit card. Brilliant! It has the bat symbol, his singular name in all caps, but no expiration date and no 16-digit code. In fact, there aren’t any numbers at all! Every time I watch this clip I can’t breathe. The fact that Batman even carries this thing around is absurd, but then the film doubles down on the stupidity by inserting a “ka-ching” sound effect! Watch the video for yourself below:
The credit card isn’t the only ridiculous item Batman & Robin carry around with them. They also have hockey skates built into their boots and rubber lips! But the dynamic duo aren’t the only ones with convenient tools; Mr. Freeze has some tricks up his sleeve too! At one point in the movie, Mr. Freeze tries to escape from Batman and Robin in his own rocketship (which doesn’t make sense, because he didn’t have a space station on the moon or anything even near that), and when that fails, he flies away by turning into an icy butterfly. How wonderful.
Dutch Angles – Something about filmmaking that casual moviegoers don’t realize is the complexity and importance of cinematography in films. With poor camera angles and poor colorization, a movie looks ugly and off putting. That’s the exact problem “Batman & Robin” has. The movie overuses a type of camera angle called the “Dutch Angle,” in which the camera is turned in a way to make the images on screen appear sideways & uncentered. Those angles look absolutely disgusting and they are one of my biggest pet peeves in movies.
I implore you, please watch this catastrophe of a film. Even if you don’t care about Batman, you will still enjoy a lot of it. The movie is an abomination on every level and it’s enjoyable for both comic book fans and people who never read a comic book in their lives.
My review of “The Dark Knight”, another Batman film: https://reel-opinion.com/2020/08/30/the-dark-knight-is-not-a-batman-movie-overrated-movies-1/