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Batman & Robin appreciation/hate thread


Mr. Seven

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In celebration of the How Did This Get Made? episode every fan has been waiting for, and the fact that ITV2 screened it last week and I caught the last hour of it, let's talk about...

 

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Camp classic or childhood-raping nightmare made flesh?

 

My first Bat-related cinema experience was Batman Returns, a movie that largely went over my head because I was eight years old at the time. By the time Batman Forever hit screens, I was old enough to remember what happened in the duration of a film and I also didn't have any great connection to the character other than The Animated Series, and I was 11 so I pretty much loved every frame of the thing. Skip forward two years and the above comes out, fully embraces Joel Schumacher's neon-tinted vision of what Batman should be, and everyone went mental.

 

I remember not hating it, but not thinking it was anything amazing. In fact, I never hated it. Over time, it was roundly accepted as one of the worst films ever made, and it is complete trash, but is it worth of pure, hot, sexy hatred? I contend that no, it isn't. Here's five reasons why:

 

1: Arnold Schwarzenegger gives the most incredible, "I don't give a fuck" performance of all time, and they paid him twenty-five million dollars to do so.

 

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Can you really hate on this? Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones camped it up big time in Forever, but they were clearly trying to be The Joker and steal the movie away from everyone else in a shameless show of egotism. Arnie, on the other hand, dives in with reckless abandon (literally in his hilarious origin scene), sending himself up in a way not seen before, or since. And yes, this man made Junior and did the, "Talk to the hand" bit in Terminator 3.

 

There's something utterly maniacal going on in this performance. Arnie's no stranger to bugging his eyes out and making ridiculous noises...

 

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...but this is something else entirely. We all know that

(a disappointing act, if you ask me) and George Clooney loves to remind anyone who will listen that they "killed the franchise" Still, Clooney isn't so bad, all things considered (those things being the atrocious dialogue that not even Welles in his prime could make sound pretty). He's not this guy:

 

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But nobody is, because he's the goddamn Batman. Clooney's biggest crime in this is that he's a bit boring and never really feels like Bruce Wayne. People like to hate on Val Kilmer but he was perfectly acceptable, lisp and all. Back to Freeze though. Even his introduction is bizarre. Gordon pops up on Batman's in-car video screen to announce that, "There's a new villain in town!" which is high camp, not to mention lazy writing, but is it really any more eye-rolling than the ending of Batman Begins where The Joker is teased? It's almost the same scene, word for word. Freeze, though. I mean, in the cartoons and the comics he's kind of weedy, affects an accent, has terrifying red eyes thanks to the goggles he wears and, ultimately, he's sympathetic.

 

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He just wants his kids wife back.

 

 

But, you know, fuck that.

 

 

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Look at that design. Who came up with that? It's like something out of Flash Gordon, something that would get rejected from Flash Gordon, actually. It's the icing (boom boom) on the biggest orgy cake to come out of Hollywood, maybe ever. It's deranged. Put Arnie in it and you get your money's worth. And if you dispute that, well,..

. Finally, his character is essentially given permission - by Batman, no less - to torture and presumably rape Poison Ivy at the end of the movie.

 

Hulk Hogan was apparently third choice, btw.

 

2: Alicia Silverstone: Borderline retarded, filthy hot, or both?

 

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There are some very mean people out there who think that Ms. Silverstone is/was fat. She might be a weirdo who reguritates food for her kid, but there was a time when she was smoking. Her first scene is an odd one, given that she shows up in full porn star schoolgirl regalia leading to the clearly gay Robin throwing the "fuck me" eyes at her. Whatever you think about her look (she's hot, get over it), it cannot be argued that this isn't the single worst performance in anything Batman-related, ever. She was never going to win an Oscar, but sweet jesus, I'm convinced that she suffered some serious head trauma right before this thing started shooting. Every line delivery sounds confused, every facial expression slightly askew, and body language that would make a virgin want some space. It's a monumental, soul-destroying turn that should be studied.

 

Jaw-droppingly horrible moment #1: "Well, they don't have fax machines on elephants..."

 

Jaw-droppingly horrible moment #2: "Suit me up, Uncle Alfred!"

 

Jaw-droppingly horrible moment #3: "Bruce, it's me! Barbara! [smug, awful facial expression straight out of Clueless] I found the Bat-cave."

 

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3: The credit card.

 

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Never leave the cave without it!

 

4: Alfred dies.

 

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A corpse, yesterday

 

There are people who believe that there's an Inception-esque degree of ambiguity to the conclusion of The Dark Knight Rises, despite it clearly not being the case. Batman & Robin, however, is as dark as it is deceptive. At the end, we see a rejuvenated Alfred, apparently cured overnight thanks to a miracle serum that Mr. Freeze was carrying around with him the entire movie, throw his arms out and accept a loving embrace before throwing out the worst closing line of all time.

 

Only, it didn't happen. Think about it. Batman, destroyed by his inability to save the only person he's ever loved, concocts a magical euphoric ending to his journey in which all the principal good guys hug and run off together towards the camera, ready for the fight. This elaborate construct hides the truth:

 

Alfred is dead.

Barbara has gone off the rails and fallen in with Coolio.

Robin becomes a rent boy and learns to love rough, humiliating sex with older men.

Batman/Bruce Wayne lives in his mansion, alone, for the rest of his days.

 

It's all in the direction. For two films, Schumacher has ramped up the colour tone to the point that the film literally resembles a cartoon. However, this was brilliant misdirection. When "Alfred" waltzes into the living room all smiles at the end, the entire setting is drenched in hellfire red. It couldn't be more clear. Bruce is in hell, forever.

 

5: batmanandrobin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Discuss.

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Well, I think I made my feelings on the film clear in the UKFF's 10 Most Hated Films:

 

This is a truly, truly awful film.

 

It's probably the apex of the cynical, cash-cow, big-star tie-in Hollywood crapfest that really picked up steam in the 90s. The script has clearly been re-written a thousand times by a thousand script doctors shoe-horning in lines thought up by coke-snorting producers as they empty their balls into a hopeful young actresses reluctant mouth.

 

The director has bared his anus to every want and desire of the monolithic stars that phone in their performances from their acre-wide trailers in between rounds of golf and opening their latest fast-food restaurant. I imagine Schumacher weeping openly on the set as he thought of his work on Lost Boys, while they set up the 100th take of Arnold telling Batman's nipples to "chill". This hurt him so badly he had to make 8mm just to erase the memory if this cartoon nonsense.

 

The marketing men have inserted as much profitable advertising as they can, to the extent that it wouldn't surprise me if Batman's male diapers were embossed with CK. If there was an opportunity to create a toy line, a new shitty CGI effect was rammed in. Which is weird seeing as large chunks of the film are openly homo-erotic to the extent that even Joss Whedon might baulk at it.

 

Oh yeah, and Chris O' Donnell. Clearly a likeable, hard-working guy, but just a terrible actor. Last seen dragging down the tv series The Company with his unconvincing take on a Smiley-esque CIA spook.

 

I've always fancied Alicia, and to be honest I had always assumed her character was MEANT to be slightly retarded, so she gets a pass. Otherwise I stand by my analysis of how it came to be made. Some films literally make themselves out of the ether; this is one of them.

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Batman & Robin is utter fucking drivel. Shite from start to finish. The only worthwhile parts are Freeze's puns and even then they're only funny as part of a

.

 

If you've watched that, congratulations, you've now see anything remotely worth watching for your own amusement that is part of Batman & Robin.

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Batman and Robin is pretty whack but at least it's fun to watch and it had Batman in it which is more than I can say for Dark Knight Rises.

 

But seriously, it's not great, clooney was horrible and I remember him burying it in the promotional interviews before it even came out. Plus Alicia silverstone put on 40lbs between getting the part and filming and Joel Schumacher said it's the only film he ever made where toy company executives were telling him what to do, mental. I won't hear a word against arnie as Mr freeze though.

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I love this film, saw it in the cinema when I was a kid, bought it on VHS as soon as it came out and watched it to the point the tape was wrecked and watch it everytime it's on tv. It's almost certainly because I was just a kid but this film is a fond memory of my childhood and I always enjoy it.

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Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy is out of this world hot in this. The rest of the film is silly nonsense. Also has Bane played by Jeep Swenson. The Ultimate solution. Except he wasn't. Hogan and Macho were.

 

However. Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Wow!

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