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Rating: 4 stars

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Seen on: 07/12/2020 (rewatch)

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Batman & Robin (1997)

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Action | Science Fiction | Crime

Most recently watched by sleestakk, Angjonesy, danfinn, themarc, CoffeeEater

Overview

Along with crime-fighting partner Robin and new recruit Batgirl, Batman battles the dual threat of frosty genius Mr. Freeze and homicidal horticulturalist Poison Ivy. Freeze plans to put Gotham City on ice, while Ivy tries to drive a wedge between the dynamic duo.

Rated PG-13 | Length 125 minutes

Actors

Uma Thurman | Ralf Moeller | Arnold Schwarzenegger | Jesse Ventura | George Clooney | Kimberly Scott | Vivica A. Fox | Michael Gough | Pat Hingle | Chris O'Donnell | Elizabeth Sanders | Alicia Silverstone | John Glover | Elle Macpherson | Doug Hutchison | Jim Palmer | Michael Paul Chan | Corey Haim | Nicky Katt | Dick Shawn | Jack Betts | Eric Lloyd | Sandra Taylor | Coolio | Jim McMullan | John Ingle | Harry Van Gorkum | Alex Daniels | Julie Michaels | Jeep Swenson | Peter Navy Tuiasosopo | Dean Cochran | John Fink | Greg Lauren | Joe Sabatino | James Kim | Jean-Luc Martin | Michael Reid MacKay | Simon Kim | Matthew Hurley | Michael Bernardo | Patrick Leahy | Tobias Jelinek | Johnathan Brownlee | Ellen Dunning | Christian Boeving | Earnest Hart Jr. | Khristian Lupo | Steve Boyles | Dennis Keiffer | Vendela Kirsebom | David Novak | Greg Bronson | Elizabeth Guber | Chris Sayour | Howard Velasco | Stogie Kenyatta | Steve Blalock | Valentina | Gloria Koehn Straube | Jeff Podgurski | Ryan Allen Carrillo | Steven Ito | Eva Ford | Spitfire Brown | Mark Chadwick | Christopher Caso | Paul Sklar | Isaac Mayanja | Todd Matthew Grossman | Robert Powell | Mark Leahy | Danny Costa | Uzi Gal | Jon Simmons | Andy LaCombe | Jay Luchs | Roger Nehls | Anthony E. Cantrell | Marc Glimcher | Lucas Berman | Bruce Roberts | Azikiwee Anderson | David Cardoza | Jim Hardy | Stephan Desjardins | Dennis Lefevre | Cory M. Miller | Chris C. Mitchell | Christopher Nelson | Don Sinnar | Takis Triggelis

Viewing Notes

RIP Joel Schumacher August 29, 1939 - June 22, 2020

When Joel passed away last month I wanted to watch and revisit a few of his films to celebrate his career. I checked off PHONE BOOTH and requested BATMAN FOREVER and BATMAN & ROBIN from the library.

Forgot how dreadfully bad this movie is. Like, I knew it was bad but wowza. I think I’ve only seen it once or twice definitely on release in theater and recall thinking it was just the worst thing then maybe… maybe I saw it once more when it hit dvd or HBO or something. I do know I’ve seen so many clips from this film it feels like I’ve it seen it more than I have. However, I have not b/c I didn’t recall the subplot w/Alfred dying, at all. And I mostly forgot that ridiculous motorcycle race w/Alicia Silverstone’s Barbara and all the wacky gangs.

That sequence among many other things really illustrates how far they stretched the fantasy and hyper comic book styling from the first film in 1989. It’s absurd and often looks like a Broadway musical that was filmed for a movie release. Nearly everything looks fake and like actual theatre sets. Most of all the ice looks fake. It’s just so bizarre to see in a big blockbuster franchise film. Almost like they were parodying themselves (maybe they were?).

Even the opening w/the quick glimpses of the rubber suit specifically the shot of the bat nipples, codpiece and rear. It’s as if Joel said, “oh so you’re going to criticize my vision of Batman in BATMAN FOREVER? Well I’m gonna go full gay Broadway this time!” The overacting is bad but i get the sense that Schumacher wanted these villains even more over the top from what Carrey and Jones did in FOREVER. Both Schwarzenegger and Thurman are caricatures and come off so silly.

Still amusing that Schwarzenegger was top billed over George Clooney but I’m sure that was in his contract. Also weird that Clooney doesn’t have that much screen time. Perhaps a good thing b/c I don’t care for his Batman. He’s got too much of a wise guy smirk that he carried early in his film career. Like nothing he says you can take seriously. Of course maybe if they were going for a serious take he could have done it differently and been effective. Just an odd shift from Val Kilmer’s serious take to this one.

I totally get what Schumacher was going for: a homage to the original Batman television show. There are several obvious nods to this besides the dopey dialogue. But it doesn’t work. Perhaps because the scope is so big and that this is following three much better sorta more serious films in the franchise. I dunno if there’s a book about the production and reaction to this film but I’d love to read it. This movie killed that franchise and I cannot imagine what kind of movie they could’ve made to follow this one.

All that said, this is absolutely an entertaining watch in the way you can’t look away from a train wreck. It just keeps topping it self getting worse as it goes. For that I give it a 1-star rating bump bc I could not look away. But my god is this a bad movie. It’s honestly no wonder why Clooney has always trashed this film.

Comments

avatarsleestakk
3 weeks ago

Was watching the extras and there’s the music video for Foolish Games by Jewel, which I don’t think is even in the movie. But goddamn talk about a nostalgia bomb. The movie did nothing for me but viewing that video took me right back to 1997. Such a wild feeling and it’s crazy to me that it’s that old now. Damn