Few movies in the last couple of decades are the butt of more jokes than this one. Few movies are more famous for more bad reasons than this one. And I can’t imagine a single mainstream, family targeted movie that has more plastic nipples and gratuitous ass in tight leather shots than this one. I made it almost 20 years, but I have now seen Batman and Robin and am now forever unclean.
I’ll start by saying this, every terrible thing you’ve heard about this movie is an understatement. Director Joel Schumaker somehow took one of the darkest grittiest popular comic characters out there, and turned him into Mardi Gras float.
It’s hard to remember a time when George Clooney wasn’t a showbiz king, nominated for Oscars in acting and or directing categories most years, and making some of the most interesting mainstream movies on offer. But in 1997, it still looked like he’d made a Caruso sized mistake, quitting ER to pursue a movie career that just wouldn’t take off. So I guess taking the title roll in a massive budget superhero franchise seemed like a no brainer. Unfortunately, absolutely everything about Batman and Robin is completely lacking in brains.
Clooney takes up the Bruce Wayne / Batman mantle, vacated by Val Kilmer. Chris O’Donnell returns as Dick Grayson / Robin and the same old dudes who played Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are still hanging around, all those years after Tim Burton cast them in the 1988 franchise starter. This time around, Alicia Silverstone arrives as Alfred’s niece who becomes Batgirl, and the bad guy roster is filled by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.
There’s a story, I assume, I just never bothered to pay attention to any if it. Why would I, when there was a perfectly good blank wall above the TV to stare at while I waited for Batman and Robin to end?
I did notice this much, I think Arnie’s dialogue consists entirely of terrible, terrible puns.
Of course, watching this in 2013, I have the hindsight of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to compare it too. But if you ignore the Nolan / Christian Bale lead series, even the Burton movies look dark, serious and gritty compared to Schumaker’s bullshit.
Batman and Robin is less like a movie and more like the biggest budget high school musical you’ve ever seen. Even then, it’s like that musical was still written and directed by the school’s dodgy drama teacher, and they spent all the money on the sets and a designer from the local theme park.