Posted by: ckckred | July 17, 2012

Batman and Robin: A Dreadful, Yet Watchable, Mess

In preparation for The Dark Knight Rises, I review the final chapter to the previous franchise

In my title, I said that Batman and Robin was “a dreadful, yet watchable mess.”  I’m not saying the film is good in any way (far from it actually), but it’s a fun movie to watch because how awful it is.  It reminds me of flicks like Plan 9 From Outer SpaceTroll 2, or Santa Clause Conquers the Martians.  All of these movies are terrible, but they’re fun to see them fall apart.

Batman and Robin really can’t be taken seriously on any level.  It makes more mistakes than imaginable (and seeing the previous installment, Batman Forever, that’s saying something).  The film has a high profile cast, with names like George Clooney, Arnold  Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Silverstone.  But the actors mainly serve under Joel Schumaker’s dreadful direction, and just about everything in the movie is laughable.

The villain in this movie is Mr. Freeze (Schwarzenegger), who was distorted after trying to save the life of his wife.  Freeze has to fight against our hero Batman (Clooney) and his beloved sidekick Robin (Chris O’Donnell).

Later two new villains come in: Poison Ivy (Thurman) and Bane (Robert Swenson), both of which help Mr. Freeze fight the superhero duo.  Meanwhile Robin fights with Batman, Alfred’s (Michael Gough) niece (SIlverstone) come to Wayan’s mansion, and Alfred is dying of a disease.

None of these story-lines work as intended, which is one of the movie’s greatest weaknesses.  Robin becomes smitten between Silverstone’s and Thurman’s character so much so that it’s impossible to tell which one he actually cares about.  Batman is so two dimensional in the movie that it doesn’t matter who played him, the performance still would be terrible.  The only real drama of the movie comes from Alfred, but the movie still fails on every level.

Another notable thing about the movie is Mr. Freeze.  Schwarzenegger is a good action star, and he’s been great in the first two Terminator movies, which require him to shoot bad guys and hardly say anything at all.  But when it comes to speaking roles, Schwarzenegger’s awful and unbelievable.  Freeze is given multiple puns that are so bad they’re good (here’s a video below).  How can you not laugh at bad quotes like “let’s kick some ice,” “the Ice Man cometh,” and “do you know what killed the dinosaurs?  The ice age!” (that last one makes no sense whatsoever in any context).

But perhaps the most absurd thing about the film is Schumaker’s obsession with the bat suits.  He takes a lot of shots of the enlarged codpieces, and gives many shots of (errr…) Batman’s private area.

It’s a shame really.  Both Clooney and Thurman are talented actors.  But the movie is killed by its giddiness.  Batman and Robin isn’t an action film.  It’s a lame family comedy that feels like a live action cartoon.  I’d call it the worst superhero movie if it weren’t for Catwoman.

Fortunately Christopher Nolan saved the series with his much darker reboot.  Batman and Robin is worth watching for some laughs as an incredibly bad film.  That’s the best I can say of it.  Easily one of the worst films ever made.

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