The 90’s Batman Anthology are a hidden gem for any long-time Batman fan, showing a quirky-yet-dark version of the dark knight. However not all of the films hit the mark. I am, of course, talking about the final film in the anthology: Batman and Robin.
I tried to sit down to re-watch the film but I could not get past the first five minutes as the horrible memories came flooding back and I was reminded of the reasons why I hated this movie in the first place. It’s no secret that this film is bad – trying to find a single good review online is impossible. If you do want to sit down and watch this film, I recommend doing so with a friend so you can both just laugh at how ridiculous it is. From the opening scene, we catch a glimpse of George Clooney‘s new bat suit, from the Bat-nipples right down to the butt shot. If this does not throw up immediate red flags, I don’t know what does.
The film follows Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) who attempt to prevent Mr. Freeze (Arnold Shwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Therman) from freezing Gotham and attempting to overflow the city with mutant plants. With such a star-studded cast, accompanied by fan favourites like Bane (Robert Swenson) and Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), surely it has to be good? Not true – the creators of the film got just about everything wrong, turning a potentially interesting take on the caped crusader into an awkward and confusing adaption of the beloved dark knight.
I think the biggest problem with the film was the plot itself. The film was made in a time before the only Batman villain people wanted to see was The Joker. They had a good idea that suited the typical Batman universe. Yet everything fell short of their potential. They had the villains, they had the plot, but working everything into a fully-fledged script with rounded plot points and character arcs did not go according to plan. Advancements in the storylines seemed to be achieved without much detail as to how they discovered them, with badly told explanations and reasoning that made no sense. Most of the revelations made by our heroes were miraculously found simply to drive the plot along, leaving an unrealistic and confusing story that doesn’t make any sense at all. Even Batgirl’s presence seemed pointless.
Batman himself was a disappointment also. Clooney took a large leap away from the dark and broody knight we have grown used to over the years. The actors even apologised years later and it comes as no surprise why. It wasn’t just Clooney who fell short: Therman‘s overacting made it hard to appreciate Poison Ivy in all her glory. Schwazenegger‘s ice puns were stuffed into almost every single one of his scenes and were delivered so poorly, I spent most of the time rolling my eyes at them.
With the fairly recent release of Batman VS Superman, I tried to figure out which version of Batman frustrated me more. As much as I disliked Batfleck, at least the CGI and special effects were good enough to distract me. But in Batman and Robin? The costumes and sets were a bit of a disaster. I think the set designing team tried a little too hard to bring the comic book look into the real world and it just did not work. Sets were too bright and mismatched with colour to be part of a Batman movie and the cartoonish sound effects were out of place and made it too difficult to try and take this film seriously. You wouldn’t mind, but the film had a budget nearing $140 million! The aforementioned batsuit did not look right and Mr. Freeze’s costume made his movements awkward and clunky, taking away from any bit of seriousness left in the villain. Not to mention Batman and Robin conveniently had skates built into their costumes before they even knew they would be facing an ice-villian. Now I don’t ask for a lot of realism in superhero films, but come on.
I honestly cannot think of a single thing that could save this film. I strongly advise staying away from it, especially since we have the more recent Christopher Nolan adaptions and some excellent animated Batman films to save us from this nightmare!
Doing a little of this, a little of that. If you see me holding a camera, run!