Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Exactly Is Wrong With Batman & Robin?

The Good: Alicia Silverstone is fine, Clooney does okay, Moments of Michael Gough’s performance and Alfred’s character.
The Bad: Most of the acting, Terrible special effects, Atrocious writing, Crappy characters, Predictable plot
The Basics: Batman & Robin is easily one of the worst films of all time.

Every now and then, I try to experience something I previously experienced and did not enjoy. I like to see if the thing was as bad as I recall it being or if it was just a reaction at the time. So, for example, watching Zoolander (reviewed here!) with my wife, years after panning it, I probably did not hate it as much as I originally did. One of the first films I reviewed, back when I was writing for my college newspaper as a reviewer, was Batman & Robin. I remember it being unspeakably bad and my review rated it as such.

So, I took the flick in again, fifteen years later, to see if it was just horrible on the big screen or if, now that I have a more refined palate and standards, it was still just rotten. It was.

In fact, Batman & Robin is so bad that I can’t muster up the enthusiasm to go through one of my usual reviews of the film. The only things that really grabbed me about the movie were Alicia Silverstone (and if you just want Silverstone, there are plenty of pictures online or other, vastly better, films she is in to enjoy her actual acting ability) and a few moments of Michael Gough’s performance as Alfred. Unfortunately, though, it is also Gough who sets the pace for the movie. One of the first lines in the film is Alfred saying that he’ll have to cancel the pizza order and Gough rolls his eyes while delivering the line. It is very much as if Gough knew it was a shit line and he would be going through the motions of saying any of them throughout the film.

So, rather than go through the usual plot, character, acting, and special effects analysis of the film, I decided that I would just list the twenty-five most preposterous things in Batman & Robin. Enjoy!

25. Every line of Mr. Freeze’s sounds like a lame attempt to make an “Hasta la vista . . . baby”-style catch phrase,

24. During the proposal scene, George Clooney looks like he is reading his lines off a note on his lap,

23. Bane has no character or character development,

22. Poor John Glover! One of the most talented villain character actors appears as a ridiculous mad scientist and doesn’t pull it off convincingly,

21. Of all the characters to recur, the fact that the social newsmagazine hostess comes back is ridiculous,

20. Commissioner Gordon’s outfit makes him look more like a third world dictator than a police commissioner,

19. After the claim is made that Bruce has been dating his current woman “forever,” when she proposes, she says they have been together a year. Even for tabloids, a year is hardly “forever,”

18. Alfred ill and dying has more color in his cheeks and skin than Alfred healthy. What the hell?! Is he a reverse vampire?!,

17. Coolio has an even worse role than he does in Daredevil,

16. The computer voice changes from a stiff, mechanical computer voice into a pornstar voice when Barbara gets access to the file Alfred made,

15. Bruce Wayne witnesses Pamela Isley at a party in her mundane form when she could easily be apprehended, but does nothing,

14. Gotham’s newsmedia must be absolutely terrible. After multiple attacks and his apprehension, when Mr. Freeze attacks the observatory, one scientist has no idea who he is and the other’s solution to seeing a guy with a big freeze gun come in is to scream in comic horror. Yeah, most of the supplemental characters in this film are idiots,

13. Mr. Freeze refers to himself consistently as a villain, yet is supposed to be motivated by love,

12. Poison Ivy’s grand plan to save the plant world is to kill all of it, except her ridiculous mutants. This is not just a crazy or stupid idea, it completely nullifies what little characterization there is for the character,

11. Mr. Freeze’s henchmen are about a thousand times more ridiculous than the Penguin’s penguins,

10. After trying to get by most of the movie by performing Bruce Wayne with only his amazing smile, George Clooney gets into one of the stiffest cinematic arguments with Chris O’Donnell ever when he insists he will go after the villains alone,

9. When Barbara is hanging off the bridge, it is one of the absolute worst bluescreen shots of all time,

8. Batgirl is used to take out Poison Ivy so none of the guys punch a woman in the face,

7. The car race scene over the giant statues look like a bunch of Matchbox cars driving on a miniature,

6. The mutant plants of Poison Ivy’s are exactly what they look like: cheap puppets,

5. The introduction of Poison Ivy at the charity event is supposed to be erotic, but is executed as preposterous and anything but titillating (which is hard to do when the director is pretty much assraping Uma Thurmond with the camera,

4. Robin waits for Poison Ivy to blow her dust in his nose/mouth not once, but twice!,

3. The freeze ray special effect is so bad it looks just like what one assumes would be used in the porn parody of the film,

2. The giant statues in Gotham City have no real-world application, except to be driven over for action sequences,

1. All of the writing seems like it was done on cocktail napkins and given to the actors moments before they had to deliver each line.

There are more, but I cannot muster up the enthusiasm to waste my time writing them down.

For other live-action DC superhero works, please check out my reviews of:
The Dark Knight Trilogy
Green Lantern
Jonah Hex
Superman Returns
Wonder Woman


For other film reviews, check out my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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  1. Hi !

    It's strange how everyone I know hates this movie.

    Well, I didn't saw it again recently. But I went to the movies to see it when it was released and I liked it but my sister (even though she is a major Terminator and E.R. fan) almost walked out and left before the end of the movie.

    I remember that I liked it, but since I was so young, I'm not sure I would like it again today.

    But I'm a Uma Thurman fan anyway, so obviously, I loved her as Poison Ivy.

    1. I'm not going to be the one to defend it! :)

      I watched it in order to review it (again) and found it to be almost without any redeeming aspects, though I did find one or two.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!