Thursday, June 4, 2015

Batman & Robin

Batman & Robin; fantasy / action, USA, 1997; D: Joel Schumacher, S: George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, John Glover, Vivica A. Fox, Jesse Ventura

Two new villains wreck havoc in Gotham: one is Mr. Freeze, a former scientist who wants to steal diamonds to help cure his cryogenically frozen wife from a disease, and the other is Poison Ivy, a mutated botanist who wants to eradicate humanity in order for the plant life to start all over again. Bruce Wayne and his partner Dick thus put on their capes again and become Batman and Robin in order to stop them. They manage to apprehend and arrest them, while Batman even manages to persuade Freeze to help cure his sick assistant Alfred.

Among the curiosities of the cinema is this 3rd sequel in the superhero franchise, starring George Clooney (!) as Batman and featuring one of the most bizarre and insane collection of ideas not seen since the eponymous campy TV show from the 60s. "Batman & Robin" is so over the top that it almost seems like a self-conscious parody of Batman: Freeze's henchmen are hockey players on ice (!); sub-villain Bane is a caricature; the sheer number of silly and goofy one-liners is staggering (Robin saves Batgirl from falling off a building and says: "So this is where you hang out"; Poison Ivy turns off the cryogenic chamber of Freeze's wife and says: "Who needs a frigid wife, anyway?"; Freeze's endless array of dumb lines involving ice, from "You will not send me to the cooler", "Allow me to break the ice" up to "Adam and Evi-l") whereas numerous plot holes strain even the logic and common sense (Freeze uses his laser gun to freeze Robin - but not to finish off Batman as well, since he just says: "I'll finish you off next time" (?!); Poison Ivy intends to help Freeze put the whole planet on ice - and thus destroy the whole ecosystem - in order to save the ecosystem from humans, etc.). The film is a mess, and it is difficult to pinpoint what is worse in it: the meaningless dialogue or the poor actors who have to speak out those rubbish lines. What is puzzling is that director Joel Schumacher actually made a good Batman film two years ago, yet here he delivered trash. The only good ingredient is a subplot involving Alfred's disease, which surprisingly offers a refreshingly dramatic and serious moment, especially when Batman begs for his life to Freeze, which is something you rarely see in superhero films, yet it is too little to salvage the overall impression.


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