Batman & Robin

Certificate: PG
Running time: 125 mins
Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell
Genre: Comic book, Action, Adventure
Country: USA

Batman Forever proved to be a success at the box office thanks to it’s family friendly tones and lower certification.  More of the same please?!  Well that’s what came along.  Kilmer’s ever changing mood and anger management issues were enough for Schumacher to opt on recasting.  Out went the Heat star to be replaced by E.R and promising movie start-to-be George Clooney with a voice and jaw line that seemed to fit the cowl perfectly.  The terrible Chris O’Donnell returns, alongside an even more sidelined Pat Hingle and Michael Gough.  Joining the alumni is Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone and most preposterously Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The family ties in Wayne Manor are strained as Poison Ivy turns them against one another and Mr. Freeze sets about returning Gotham into a modern day ice age.  Can Batman and Robin prevent the evil duo or will their feud and yet more neon foil their efforts?  Like Batman Forever there’s an early strike in this film, the third strike…the critical blow to the Caped Crusader.  “I want a car, chicks dig the car” “This is why Superman works alone”…oh dear Christ, strike three…before there’s even a hint of Bat-nipple…wow!  That’s it really.  If you’re looking for positives (as I generally try to offer up positives in all my reviews) you might as well stop reading now.  The fact that the film eventually ends is pretty much the only positive I can find.  It is truly God awful.  One of the worst atrocities ever committed to celluloid.

Schwarzenegger is terrible, it’s not his fault…only a moron would cast him as Mr. Freeze.  Any scientific dialogue (there’s not much) is stumbled over, the rest is 75% pun.  His actions are laboured and presence is tiring to watch.  Clooney looks good in the Batsuit, though the suit is now significantly heavier than it’s ever been.  He can’t move his neck or the rest of his body and it seems to be incredibly shiny…how are you meant to skulk in the dark?  Trick question, Gotham is so filled with neon there’s no such thing as dark anymore.  Out of the suit he’s yet to find his feet, having improved as an actor thanks to directors like David O. Russell (Three Kings) and Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight) and is horribly out of his depth in a role that’s been seemingly written by throwing alphabetti spaghetti at a wall and making a note of the words that stick.  Chris O’Donnell is even more annoying than in Batman Forever, his smugness is almost cripplingly bad but he’s not the only one.  Alicia Silverstone, a dreadful piece of casting, as Barbara Wilson (aka Batgirl), her facial expressions terrifying, her presence pointless.  Having rewritten Barbara’s origin to give Alfred more to do, and by default Hingle less, her purpose in the film is to throw a little bit of disorder into Wayne Manor (much in the same way Dick’s appearance in Forever did).  She’s terrible, talks out of the side of her mouth.  Her presence is awkward, difficult to watch and when on screen with O’Donnell (which is most of the time) will make you want to kill yourself and everyone you’re sitting with you.  Uma Thurman is wasted, given little to do other than pun her way through the two plus hours of the movie like a green fingered Carry-On character…but that’s not the worst bit.  Again Schumacher showcases his complete lack of knowledge of the Batman universe and ruins a perfectly good character.  Bane is a killing machine, a one man army, he doesn’t feel pain and works on a results based fighting style.  A child of hard knocks, raised in a prison serving the sentence of his Father and becoming the most complete warrior there's ever likely to be.  He’s a mercenary and unlike any foe Batman has ever had to face…but not here.  In Schmacher’s Batman & Robin he’s reduced to a mindless thug, good for little more than saying his own name, carrying Ivy’s bags and having big green veins.  Why introduce a character like Bane if you’re going to completely change his essence and leave him to fill the background?  Only someone truly out of the depth could let that happen.

The scripts no better than the casting.  The dramatic arches and turns are tired and can be seen from many miles away.  There’s no innovation at all, all danger and problems can be solved by firing a Batarang and swinging to safety.  There’s also no dialogue, simply exposition and puns.  The vast majority of dialogue emanating from the villains are shit jokes, it gets incredibly tiring ridiculously quickly, the sets are like neon clad sex clubs.  There’s simply nothing likeable about this film.  I tried so many times to want to like this film, telling myself that it had qualities, they were just being overlooked because it was counter-contemporary but the truth is I was a fool.  I love Batman and don’t understand how something so terrible could be allowed to get to the stage where it was on a cinema screen in front of me and nobody said “wait a minute, this is fucking terrible”...because everything is.  Script, direction, sets, the Batmobile, score,'s all combines to create a film that shits in the face of the fans.

Batman & Robin is probably one of the worst films you’ll ever have to sit through, ever aspect of the film is amateurish in quality and lazy in execution.  Clooney would later apologise for the film, Schumacher would seek a third film behind the camera in an attempt to give Batman fans a “real Batman film”, Warner (thankfully) refused and the New York born director who gave us nipples and the worst casting since Neil McCaul in Heil Honey I’m Home! became the franchises ultimate super villain.  For almost a decade Batman (in live action form) was dead to the big screen.

Movie Bar HEROES! featuring a foursome of fantastic yet forgotten Superheroes including The Champions of Justice and 3 Supermen Against Godfather can be booked by clicking [here].


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