Batman & Robin

PLOT:

The film begins with Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) stopping Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from a robbery attempt, but he escapes. In South America, Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) is working under Dr. Jason Woodrue (John Glover), experimenting with the Venom drug. She witnesses Woodrue use the formula to turn a diminutive convict into a hulking monstrosity dubbed “Bane” (Jeep Swenson). Woodrue and Isley argue over the use of the drug and Woodrue kills her by overturning a shelf of various toxins onto her and she sinks into the ground. She transforms into the beautiful and seductive Poison Ivy before killing Woodrue with a poison kiss. She finds that Wayne Enterprises funded Woodrue, thus she takes Bane with her to Gotham City. Meanwhile, Alfred Pennyworth’s (Michael Gough) niece, Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone), makes a surprise visit and is invited by Bruce Wayne to stay at Wayne Manor until she goes back to school.

Wayne Enterprises presents a new telescope at a press conference interrupted by Isley. She proposes a project that could help the environment, but Bruce declines her offer, as it would kill millions of people. That night, a charity event is held by Wayne Enterprises with special guests, Batman and Robin, and she decides to use her abilities to seduce them. Freeze crashes the party and steals a diamond from the event. However, he is captured and sent to a chamber prison in Arkham Asylum, but escapes with the help of Ivy and Bane. Batman and Robin begin to have crime fighting relationship problems because of the presence of Ivy’s seductive ability with Robin. Ivy is then able to contact Robin once more, but fails to seduce him. Robin becomes trapped, but rescued by Batman. Batgirl arrives and traps Ivy within her own plants, while Freeze and Bane flee. Batgirl reveals that she is Barbara and knows the location of the Batcave.

Batman, Robin and Batgirl decide to go after Freeze together. By the time they get to the lab where Freeze and Bane are, Gotham is completely frozen. Robin and Batgirl confront Bane and defeat him by disconnecting his venom hose, while Batman and Freeze begin to fight each other, with Batman winning in a cliffhanger battle; Freeze tries to kill Batman by destroying the telescope platform but only succeeds in crushing Bane. Batgirl and Robin unfreeze Gotham and Batman shows Freeze a recording of Ivy during her fight with Batgirl. Freeze learns that Ivy has betrayed him over the death of his wife. Ivy blamed Batman for Nora’s death, but she informs Batgirl that it was her idea. Freeze is angered by the betrayal and is informed by Batman that his wife is not dead; she is restored in cryogenic slumber and has been moved to Arkham waiting for him to finish his research. Batman proceeds to ask Freeze for the cure Freeze has created for the first stage of MacGregor’s Syndrome, the disease that Freeze’s wife is suffering from, for a friend (Alfred) who is dying. Freeze atones for his misunderstanding by giving him medicine he had developed. Nearly insane Ivy is shown imprisoned in the cold beam in Arkham and Freeze walks in and announces he will make her life a living hell of winter. Alfred is eventually healed and everyone agrees to let Barbara stay at the mansion. The film ends like (Batman Forever) with the image of the Bat-Signal, with Batman, Robin and Batgirl appearing as if running from the signal itself towards the camera.

REVIEW:

I’m sure that we’ve all heard how this is the film that caused the demise of the Batmanfranchise. I wish I could disagree, but I just can’t. While the film isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be (it’s not that great, either), it doesn’t come close to the level of the previous films.

I read that director Joel Schumacher chose George Clooney to replace Val Kilmer as Batman/Bruce Wayne because he wasn’t as serious as Kilmer or Michael Keaton. Hello! This is Batman, he’s suppose to be serious. The jokes and such are meant for Robin and Batgirl. Having said that, Clooney did what he could with a subpar script and less than stellar directing.

Chris O’Donnell returns as Robin. Unlike in Batman Forever, he’s not whining, complaining, and feeling sorry for himself the entire film. Although he is obviously more in tune with Dick Grayson/Robin in this film, I still have to say that he is too old to play him. That really is my only issue with him.

Alicia Silverstone enters the franchise as one of the most underrated characters in the Bat-universe, Batgirl. First, Batgil is supposed to be Barbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon, not niece of Alfred. Whoever wrote this, royally screwed up, or at least didn’t fully read the source material. Next, Alicia Silverstone, while being a total cutie, just wasn’t meant to be Batgirl. Had they have made up some random girl for O’Donnell to date, then she would have been perfect for that, but she just doesn’t pull of Batgirl. I’m not sure what it is, but something about her performance doesn’t sit right with me.

Uma Thurman holds her own as Poison Ivy. She seems to have taken a page out of Jim Carrey’s book, and makes the character a tad eccentric, but at the same time, she keeps Ivy faithful to the comic, which I, as a fan, really respect her for. I’m not sure if I cared for her speaking like a 50’s era vixen, but there are a lot of worse things she could have done.

Arnold Schrazenegger should not have been Mr. Freeze. No one will ever mistake Arnold for a master thespian such as Laurence Olivier, but his performance here was painful to watch. On top of the fact that he bears no resemblance to the character in the comic, this just was not inspired casting, but rather bad comedy.

Whoever it was that designed the costumes for this film needs to be drug out into the street and shot. Ok, so they did an awesome job with Poison Ivy and Bane. They seemed as if they jumped straight from the pages onto the screen. However, why did Mr. Freeze seem like a giant flashlight? Was that really necessary? Then of course, the issue that everyone who has ever seen this film has, why are there nipples on the Batsuit? It is still a mystery as to why men have nipples in the first place, why put them on the Batsuit (and Robin)? They were noticeably absent from Batgirl’s costume, though. Not trying to be perverted, but Batgirl’s costume is just a female version of Batman’s, so she should have everything he has. It’s just fair.

The plot for this film has problems, but what film doesn’t? I liked that they made you feel sorry for Mr. Freeze becuse of his wife and the accident (as if you didn’t watching him lug around that costume), but I didn’t really get the reasoning for making Alfred fall ill.

I’m not going to sit here and condemn this film the way others have. I think it’s a good watch, especially if you’re a fan of lighter Batman films like I am. However, in terms of film, it isn’t that great, and very well may be the worst of all films in the Batman cannon. Only you can make a decision about whether it is good, bad, or average, when all is said and done, though.

3 out of 5 stars

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3 Responses to “Batman & Robin”

  1. […] back up where he left off. The problem here, though, is that his one-liners are as bad they were in Batman & Robin. I can’t give him a pass for being rusty on this one. He needs to do better, and the writers […]

  2. […] This is a very small thing…hardly worth mentioning. You may remember Batman & Robin where a botanist was responsible for much of the evil that was happening. Well, this botanist […]

  3. […] see the comparison but, given the way he becomes Electro, I would throw in a hint of Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin in there, as well. At any rate, bringing this character to the big screen was a huge undertaking and […]

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