Batman & Robin (1997) Movie Review

details
Title: Batman & Robin.
Rated: PG-13.
Director: Joel Schumacher.
Writer(s): Akiva Goldsman.
Release Date: 1997.
Runtime:  2h5min.
Genre(s): Action, Crime, Drama.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, Michael Gough, and many more!
Budget: $125 million (estimated).
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Previously in the Batman series:
Batman (1989).
Batman Returns (1992).
Batman Forever (1995).

With director Tim Burton completely out of the picture, Warner Bros. mandates director Joel Schumacher to dish out another sequel like none other, further descending into the flashy and neon-crowded Gotham City depicted so far in the Batman live-action movie franchise, with the only condition that it must be apt for the toy-ification of its characters and their gadgets, as money-making remains the driving force doctrine of this cinematic production. With lead roles now given to other famous 90s actors and some already-introduced characters reprised by talentless actors, the final movie of the initial Batman film series will be one for the history books, and not for the best of reasons. However, some might say that the world needed this movie if only to change the future and make way for something better for all fans of the Dark Knight and his beloved city.

What is Batman & Robin (1997) about? Upon learning about a robbery in progress, Batman (George Clooney) and his sidekick Robin (Chris O’Donnell) race against time to stop their new foe, Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who seeks large diamonds for his own delusional scientific projects. While their first encounter won’t be their last, later on, the botanist Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) witnesses the birth of Bane at the hands of the lunatic Dr. Jason Woodrue and is then assaulted by him to keep her mouth shut only for her to accidentally mutate into the plant-manipulating seductress Poison Ivy. As if they didn’t have their hands full already, the lives of both Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy will intersect as they set themselves on course to bring forth a plan of world domination, unless Batman and Robin can do something about it.

(c) IMDb.

Forget about logic and reasoning. Forget about physics and philosophy. Forget about right and wrong. This is what you get when you all-out embrace the campy, whimsical, and absurd without a care in the world for all things that will give anyone a reason to sit down and enjoy your movie. What director Joel Schumacher achieves with Batman & Robin is a tragedy disguised as a psychedelic comedy of undesired baloney. This isn’t just because of the enhanced Bat-Nipples, Batskates, Batbomb, Bat-heat ray gun, Batskiff, or Bathammer. It’s not even because of the surprise Bat-credit card that I will forever and always have a hard time erasing from my memory. From the butchering of Bane’s character, only for fans to rejoice at the sight of a one-word grumbling and submissive muscled pet mutant, to the awkward love triangle induced by Poison Ivy upon the oblivious Batman and Robin, the myriad of catastrophic plot threads weaved into this comic-book-nonsense-infested tapestry is an indecent mess.

Once you know what you’re getting yourself into, there are some moments that are salvageable, without having some of your neurons frying in the process. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, for example. While it might not have been the performance of a lifetime or the best iteration of the character’s tragic and tearjerker background, he restlessly delivers an onslaught of pseudo-poetic, cheesy ice-related puns throughout the movie and he just never stops. And then you have Uma Thurman who doesn’t hesitate to put on the skintight rubber suit and its countless costume variants throughout the movie to portray a femme fatale that could only dream of rivaling Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992). While somehow the villains’ portrayal of their respective characters are entertaining in their own way, in a so-bad-it’s-funny way, and allow this movie to seek absolution from moviegoers, it’s its heroes, including the latest addition in Alfred Pennyworth’s series of horrible secret-keeping mistakes that takes the form of Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), that really offer nothing noteworthy in the grand scheme of things.

(c) Entertainment Weekly.

For some, the release of Smashing Pumpkins’ hit single The End is the Beginning is the End thanks to this movie might be its only saving grace. Unfortunately, once again, nothing this movie had to offer could top Danny Elfman’s scores in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). What could anyway ever go with the set pieces showcased throughout this movie? The visuals remained chaotic and vividly colourful, with a bit less neon for more glow-in-the-dark effects, and every corner of Gotham city is always a wild and cacophonic spectacle. Despite the continued sexual overtones, especially through Poison Ivy, the incoherent direction makes it difficult to understand if there really was a particular target audience but the show had to go on and director Joel Schumacher didn’t hold back any punches as he brought to life one of the worse superhero movies of all time. Fans would have to wait almost a decade before director Christopher Nolan changed the game for good.

Batman & Robin (1997) is a knowingly ultra-campy and comic-book-nonsense-infested Schumacher sequel introducing two more extremist-ified Batman villains into an irresistibly silly, void of logic and reasoning, Gotham city.


Batman & Robin (1997) is available for purchase and on streaming services.

Have you read any Batman comics?
Have you seen Batman & Robin (1997)? Will you?
What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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39 thoughts on “Batman & Robin (1997) Movie Review

  1. Holy codpiece, Batman!

    Aye, yi yi. This really has to be one of the worst superhero movies and definitely one of the worst Batman movies. I too remember the batcard visa, something i’ll never forget, unfortunately.

    I’ve been watching the old Adam West Batman tv show on prime and if there had been no other Batman movies between, it would have fit right into that (except for Poison Ivy. Every villianess in West’s Batman is just a misguided girl who actually has a heart of gold). Camp, camp, camp.

    Glad you survived this 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some ridiculous zoom-ins of their costumes when they’re first introduced too and you definitely won’t miss seeing that codpiece in all of its glory!

      Yep, I remember when I first saw it back in high school and cringed at the idea itself…

      True, true. Schumacher clearly wanted to honor Adam West’s Batman but failed miserably in my books.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We saw this as kids and I kinda like the whole baloney this movie was. I have to say that it will probably be difficult watching it now. The toys were cool at least. I think I was very jealous that a friend of mine had the whole set and we only got the stuff through the KFS happy meals lol… Different times that…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah Batman and Robin, the Schumacher sequel we’d all like to forget LOL! Compared to the previous films it’s like a campy, silly toy advert. Still, it does have some great costumes, especially Mr Freeze, and some huge sets. Sadly the acting and script is abysmal. It kind of followed the tendency of having too many villains as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahah tell me about it. It really does feel like a complementary McDonald’s sponsored movie. I agree about Mr. Freeze and those sets. I saw the suit in L.A. back in October at the Warner Bros. Studio and it’s even more spectacular in person.

      Thanks for dropping by, Paul. I hope you’re feeling better and more rested!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, the look and sets for Batman & Robin were pretty stunning, just shame the movie was so such a franchise killer at the time. Awesome you got to see Mr Freeze’s suit, I bet it was heavy to wear even for Arnie. I’m well on the mend now thanks. Been enjoying my break and taking time to recover. It’s taken me bit longer than expected, the surgeon did say I’d be at least a month or so, but I’m healing nicely. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like to see a different Batman and Robin. I would to see a bigger Gotham city, maybe Gotham could be DC and Batman and Robin could connected to spying. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always felt any Adam West episode is better than this movie. I always thought it would be a great midnight show back in the day i.e. a cult masterpiece. I am sure the Rocky Horror crowd could come up with some interactive audience responses!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “so-bad-it’s-funny” Lol. I wonder if I’d think the same if I should rewatch this. It was my favorite Batman movie as a kid. I don’t think I’ve rewatched it since the ’90s

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There was a time when my friends and I used the idea of it’s so-bad-it’s-funny when choosing movies to watch. Who can find the worst movie? It was a challenge of sorts and led to some “interesting” movie watching nights. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This movie is a complete mess, and even severely damaged both Alicia Silverstone’s and Chris O’Donnell’s careers. Yet just like Batman Forever, there are hints of a much better movie trapped inside this studio mandated catastrophe. The last scene where you see Mr. Freeze, where he promises to make Poison Ivy’s life “a living hell”, is a genuinely tense moment. If Freeze was like that for the rest of the movie without the excessive puns (Schwarzenegger is clearly capable of playing cold, menacing characters), it could have been much better. Not that Freeze was the only, or even biggest problem, with the movie, but it’s one example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so agree that that final scene with Mr. Freeze was so different in tone compared to everything else he showed throughout the movie. You’d think it’s just how mad he feels after being betrayed and lied to but it’s now so uncharacteristic because of how the movie portrays him… I wish we could get a better live-action version of the villain. There’s so much material to work with!

      Like

  9. Ahah, I always enjoy reading your “bad” reviews – the review itself is great though! This movie sure seems to have annoyed you to quite a level, and I can understand why! While I’m not too much of a fan of Batman in general, I could imagine how strongly I’d feel against a bad remake/sequel of a franchise I love!

    Liked by 1 person

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