Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Batman & Robin: Ice to See You
In honor of The Dark Knight Rises release this week, I am continuing my series of reviews of bad superhero movies. The question I am asking is, "Are they truly as bad as I remember?" Today's entry is the Creme de la Creme. The movie that almost destroyed the Batman movie franchise, Batman & Robin. Much has been said about this film, but does it deserve the reputation it has?
First a little back story. I cannot wait for The Dark Knight Rises, so in order to prepare myself for the awesomeness that is to come, I thought it would be fun to watch one Batman movie a week until July 20th. I began with the original 1966 movie Batman, starring Adam West. I then worked my way down the list until I arrived at this 1997 film, in which the dynamic duo take on the dastardly Mr. Freeze, the seductive Poison Ivy, and the meat head known as Bane. (Side note, Bane will not be a meat head in Dark Knight Rises.)
So what were the conclusions I came too? Drum roll please....
Short answer yes, it is absolutely one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my entire life. Long answer, no, it is kind of a fun cartoony ride. Let me explain. The main problem that Batman & Robin faces is that it takes itself seriously. Very seriously. At the same time, the schemes of the villains are like the schemes of villains you would see on Saturday morning cartoons. I mean come on, Mr. Freeze turns a telescope into a freeze gun, and then our heroes, after a quick costume change, unfreeze the entire city of Gotham by using sun light. This is all accomplished in about 8 seconds.
Additionally, George Clooney is quite possibly the worst Batman ever!!!!! He talks in his normal Bruce Wayne voice when he is Batman. So much for a secret identity I guess.
Now I could go on and on about the utter crap of this movie (the dialogue anyone), but there are some redeeming factors in this movie too. The Alfred dying story arch I found to be very heart felt, and brought out a side of the Batman character we have never seen before. As a fan of the Batman universe, I for one never think of Alfred actually dying. I see Alfred as always being there, providing wisdom and guidance to Batman. But what would Batman's reaction be to his closest confidant's death? I find this to be a really interesting question. If this story arch was done seriously, it could be the driving force for an entire movie that would be different from every other Batman movie we have ever seen.
Secondly, Uma Thurman's performance as Poison Ivy. Given the material to work with, and the universe that her character resides in, Thurman's Poison Ivy is pretty menacing. And brings out a long brewing feud between Batman and Robin. In the comics, Ivy is known using sexual charms to manipulate individuals, and to enact her plans against our heroes. Poison Ivy does actually that in this film. Not only that, I do not believe any red blooded American male will complain about seeing her in tight green leather.
So ultimately my conclusion for Batman & Robin is, if you are looking for a film to watch with your friends and crack jokes about, Batman & Robin is your movie, and you will have a lot of fun doing it. When you watch this movie, think of it as a continuation of the Adam West Batman or as a Saturday morning cartoon. If you view it like this, you will not be disappointed. If you are looking for a serious Batman movie, DO NOT WATCH THIS!!!! Watch The Dark Knight or Batman Begins or Batman Returns. These would make a far better choice. Until then, three day until the epic conclusion!