After taking the Batman franchise in a completely new direction with “Batman Forever", I looked forward to “Batman and Robin" with much enthusiasm. Sadly, this film is absolute crap of the worst kind. You'll walk out of this film demanding your money back. “Batman Forever" walked a fine line between the darkness of its predecessors and instilling a sense of fun in to the franchise. With “Batman and Robin", director Joel Schumacher has simply turned it back in to the 60's television show, but what's worse, is that it not only makes fun of that show but it also manages to insult and parody the dramatic seriousness of the previous films, especially the first “Batman" film which had intended to divorce the word ‘camp’ from ‘Batman’. Now they're back together again. Not even an impressive Schwarzenegger who tries his hardest to lift this dire material can save this absolute disaster of a movie. And it's staggering to know that they spent $100 million on this film. . .
Except a couple of scenes with Arnie as Mr Freeze, nothing works in this film. George Clooney, an otherwise good actor and strong screen presence is totally miscast as Bruce Wayne (who by the way, is meant to be mentally anguished, not fun and playful as he is here). Chris O'Donnell turns the same performance as the previous film, but ultimately comes across more whiny thanks to a pathetic subplot where Robin wants his own respect away from Batman. Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy; there was so much potential there but it's ultimately hard to watch starting with her ‘birth’ from plants.
It all starts to fall of the rails in the first big action scene where we see Batman and Robin try to stop Mr Freeze from stealing a big crystal. Arnie is actually quite effective in these scenes, but it just goes way over the top, culminating in Batman and Robin blasting out of a rocket and flying back down to Earth on surf boards (yes that's right, surf boards. . . ). Then it just keeps going including an awful scene where Batman and Robin attend a benefit and are lured into the evil clutches of Poison Ivy and then turn against each other in fits of jealousy. Even Arnie doesn't get off with a bad scene where he's trying to get his henchmen to sing to a Christmas tune. Not good. Then there's the introduction of Bat-girl, clearly a hook designed to get young girls to watch the film and that's exactly how her character comes off. It just seems ludicrous that so many of these over-the-top characters could be all located in one story. And last but not least, the sculpted body suits that caused such a stir in “Batman Forever" are truly over-emphasised to the point of stupidity in this film with numerous ass and breast shots (in the body suits) as the characters don their costumes.
Again, this film suffers from having too many characters (including the introduction of Batgirl played by Alicia Silverstone). Whereas “Batman Forever" got away with having too many characters, this film just seems to be a celebrity-fest designed to cater to Hollywood egos. But what really kills this film is that lack of respect it shows to the characters. And fans, and non-fans alike, deserve better than this tripe. We only got a couple of 60's television Batman references in “Batman Forever" but they're all over the place in “Batman and Robin" which is totally inappropriate as this Batman is supposed to be different to the 60's Batman.
Don't watch this film. You'll be demanding your time and money back.
For the original DVD review, click this link: http://www.allaboutmovies.net/dvdreviewbatmanandrobin.htm
Alex DeMattia is the lead DVD reviewer at the film/DVD review web site All About Movies.net - He is also an administrator of the web site http://www.approachingsexywomen.com