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TAC Reviews...Batman & Robin

 

Gotham City’s resident heroes Batman and Robin are fighting the Ice Cold Villian Mr Freeze. Their problems escalate when Poison Ivy, who literally has a kiss of death, and can control men through use of pheromones, arrives in Gotham. Once again Joel Schumacher returns to direct, George Clooney takes over from Val Kilmer, who is apparently very difficult to work with in Hollywood, and Chris O’Donnell returns to reprise the role as the rather old Boy Wonder.

 

Batman & Robin Poster

 

Following on from Batman Forever which abandoned the gothic style of Burton we step once more into the world of Batman as created by Schumacher. The world is over the top and the villains even more so…the Dynamic Duo have to contend with a wealth of problems and not just from the villains in the story but also because this film is totally and utterly SHIT!!!!!!!!!

 

How was this concept so royally fucked??

 

Allow me to explain…

 

Batman (Clooney) and Robin (O’Donnell) are hot on the trail of Mr Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The Frosty Villain is stealing diamonds to power the suit that keeps his mutated body at the required sub-zero temperature in order to keep him alive. His robbery is foiled but he is able to escape after freezing Robin and Batman must remain behind to thaw him out, and the subsequent search for Mr Freeze goes cold.

 

At the same time in South America, Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) is working under Dr. Jason Woodrue (John Glover), experimenting with a drug called Venom. She witnesses him giving it to a man to create the huge monster ‘Bane’ (Jeep Swenson). Pamela and Woodrue argue and Woodrue attempts to kill her by throwing a shelf load of various toxins over her, this naturally doesn’t kill her, it instead transforms her into a "seductive" femme fatale named Poison Ivy.

 

Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough returning again) is dying of the same disease that Mr Freeze’s cryogenically frozen wife had, when without warning Alfred’s niece Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone) arrives from England for a surprise visit.

 

The rest of the film involves Barbara’s discovery of Batman’s true identity, trying to find a cure for Alfred and Poison Ivy teaming up with Mr Freeze as they try to destroy the dynamic duo.

 

You may have noticed that I have not really spent much time discussing the story as I did in the previous reviews and that is because there is very little actually story here, and the plot is a complete mess anyway. Two villains teaming up to take on Batman and Robin, blah, blah, blah. There is some treachery and the two heroes must overcome conflicts in order to save the day and so on…

 

Like its predecessor this was designed to be kid-friendly and yet surprisingly it does something that no Batman film to date has been able to do…it actually kills Batman, that’s right, this is the film in which Batman dies…

 

Now sadly I don’t mean that this film actually kill him off because that could have been epic if done right, no, this film is so Bad, so Terrible, so unimaginably Shit that it kills the franchise that had been going for almost ten years since 1989 with Tim Burton’s film.

 

The blame for this utter GARBAGE comes down on to director Joel Schumacher’s shoulders who stopped the Batman franchise dead in its tracks. Up until this point the Batman films had gone from being gothic under Tim Burton’s direction, to more comic book with Batman Forever, which I'll remind you, Schumacher also directed. To be fair that was entertaining enough to have mass appeal. However this is without a shadow of a doubt the worst Batman film ever, worse than the cheesy 60s show, and not worthy to lick the shit off the original Batman’s boots.

 

How is this so bad you say, well, let me sum it up for you with this image…

 

 

Can you see it??

 

Well aside from the fact that the two leads look completely gormless, both of their suits have nipples. Yes nipples. Why the fuck have their suits been designed so that they include nipples, what possible purpose does it serve?? It just looks so stupid. Are we supposed to believe that the suits are merely covering the torsos of our heroes and that their own nipples are poking through?? Who the hell was going to believe that?? What the donkey-bollocking hell was Schumacher thinking of when he approved of both the Batsuit, Robin’s costume and later Batgirl’s outfit coming complete with nipples?? I was amongst many who saw this film and absolutely hated the design of the suits because it looks so stupid and serves absolutely no purpose.

 

This is just one example of the many, many, many things that Schumacher should NEVER have been allowed to do.

 

There is a scene in the film in which Batman and Robin attend a charity event, yes, a charity event. Batman is supposed to be the Dark Knight, a figure shrouded in darkness and mystery, not turning up at charity events. Bruce Wayne attends (or hosts) charity events, Batman doesn’t attend them, not ever...EVER. The event is auctioning off people for charity and people are bidding on the Dynamic Duo. I feel sorry for whoever gets Robin, they couldn’t get Batman so they get lumbered with the Boy Wonder. It is also during this sequence that Poison Ivy makes her appearance in Gotham and using a pheromone to hypnotise the men in the audience actually gets Batman and Robin to bid on her. In the comics Batman has an iron will that protects him from her influence so again why are we seeing him lose control and offer millions of dollars for Poison Ivy?? After he does this, is NO-ONE questioning how Batman could possibly afford to pay millions of dollars for her...did none of them ask who in Gotham has that kind of money and the motivation to become a crime fighter?? Would their thoughts have travelled to Bruce Wayne?? Although I supposed that would indicate anyone in this film has a brain and could think for themselves, which obviously none of them have.

 

Plus I absolutely loathed of Thurman’s portrayal of Poison Ivy, check this out…

 

 

So we have costumes for our heroes that come complete with nipples, and yet the best the costume designers could come up with for the beautiful, seductive and sexy as hell Poison Ivy was that.

 

Why exactly could the outfit not have looked more like this…??

 

 

Or this…??

 

 

Or THIS…??

 

 

There are literally thousands of pictures on the internet that show women dressed as Poison Ivy and so many of them just ooze sex appeal. Okay, you could argue that this film is intended for younger audiences so having a scantily clad woman on screen might let the little whippersnappers wonder what happens if Poison Ivy used those pheromones of hers to make men do something a little more interesting to her than just get them to follow her around aimlessly. Poison Ivy is supposed to be beautiful and seductive but Uma Thurman doesn’t really seem to be especially interested in her character, she doesn’t play her with the same over-the-top relish that Tommy-Lee Jones and Jim Carrey put into their portrayals of Two-Face and Riddler respectively and she is obviously just going through the motions. If Poison Ivy was not going to be a given a more adult treatment then why include her in the film at all, there are plenty of other Batman villains that could have been chosen instead.

 

Mr Freeze is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and even for him the one liners in this film are just terrible and each one is more ridiculous than the last. I am a huge fan of Arnie and God bless him because everyone knows that Arnie has had some bad one liners in his time, but these take the biscuit. "All right, everyone Chill!" and "The Iceman Cometh" are the better ones, and if they are the better ones then imagine what the bad ones are like. His motivations for being evil are rooted in trying to cure his wife of a terminal illness but everything about him, from his look, to his costume, is like the rest of the outfits, it is ridiculous and stupid.

 

 

I mean just look at that outfit…how could anyone have possible thought that it would look good on the big screen??

 

Perhaps it would be hard to make Mr Freeze look badass but they managed to do just that in Batman Arkham City, which admittedly was a game, but again if they couldn’t do justice to the character on film then why include him??

 

Clooney looks gormless as Batman and is not even a shadow of the brooding Batman Keaton or even Kilmer played. Chris O’Donnell spends the majority of his time complaining about being in Batman’s shadow all the time. Alicia Silverstone is given the duel identity of Batgirl (a character that was played by Commissioner Gordon’s daughter in the comics) and Barbara Wilson but even before she dons Batgirl’s skin tight outfit she races motor bikes in another skin tight leather outfit. Aside from throwing her in for fan service what is the point of her presence?? Besides if it was done for fan’s service then why was it done in such a half-assed and shockingly bad way that takes the character of Batgirl and fucks up her back story??

 

Obviously Thurman and Silverstone are supposed to be the eye candy but neither of them get to grips with the characters they are playing. This is a film that really doesn’t have anything going for it, and whilst Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are present and still being played by Gough and Hingle they probably wish they had bowed out after Batman Forever when the franchise still had some dignity

 

Joel Schumacher effectively did what no super villain has been able to do…he…killed…Batman.

 

Considering that Batman was one of the most realistic portrayals of a superhero giving us a great brooding hero and a psychotic villain that was one of the best superhero films to date, this is one of the worst films ever made. None of the cast seem to be interested in the characters that they are playing. Clooney looks bored and a complete idiot in the suit, O’Donnell is just a whiny bitch, Thurman is not in the least bit sexy or seductive, Silverstone is just there, and I honestly think that Schwarzenegger is at least trying but whilst he is capable of going toe-to-toe with a Predator or a T-1000 here he is powerless to do anything to save this insult to Batman fans young and old.

 

People often compare boring or tedious things to being about as fun as watching paint dry, in this case, instead of watching Batman & Robin, paint a wall and watch it dry or slice your own heart out with a spoon because it’ll be less painful and a better way to spend a couple of hours of your time.

 

My Thumb is so far Down that it is in danger of burrowing its way into the centre of the Earth, Batman & Robin is just complete and utter garbage from the opening second to the closing one. Schumacher should have been dragged out into the street and publically executed on Hollywood Boulevard for subjecting Batman fans to this atrocity. He should also just be grateful this film wasn’t showed to the inhabitants of Brian, because if it had been then a public execution would have been the least of Schumacher’s worries.

 

In fact a single Thumb Down is not a strong enough rating, so this film gets a very rare 2 Thumbs Down because it is just that bad and I hate to see an icon being portrayed this way by Hollywood.

 

 

1/10 – Not just one of the worst superhero adaptations of all time, this is one of the worst films of all time. There is literally no reason to actually watch it unless you are really into self-harming and want something that will cut deeply into your very soul…maybe that was too dark…the point is the film is shit and no one should watch it…did that come across??

 

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© Chris Sharman