FFlashback: Batman & Robin (1997)

Chill with us as we thaw out Batman & Robin for a revisit in our cool Batman movie retrospective…

 

The One Where: Bruce and Dick have a guest at Wayne Manor in Alfred’s niece Barbara. Meanwhile, Mr Freeze is icing his way through Gotham. How can the newly expanded team of Caped Crusaders cope with him and flora-loving femme fatale Poison Ivy?

Best bit: Oh, er, give me a second… Well, the subplot about Alfred falling prey to the same disease as Freeze’s wife is – apart from being an unbelievable coincidence – the only part of the film that is quite touching, seeing as Michael Gough is pretty much the heart of the series.

Weak links: The awful outfits. The lazy script. The poor performances from nearly everyone. The desecration of Bane’s character. The bat-nipples. The weird close-ups when they get into costume. The credit card moment. Ivy’s bizarre gorilla suit striptease. Take your pick.

Verdict: It’s easy to mock the ridiculous suits or the pun-filled dialogue, but the real problems of Batman & Robin run far deeper. At its very heart, the film is flawed because its priorities are completely wrong. Rather than tell an interesting – or at least mildly diverting – story, B&R is chiefly around for the merchandising opportunities and the money it can rake in (the outfits and gadgets were designed by toy manufacturers). Perhaps an ironic, drunken pleasure can be gleamed from watching, but really the film is superhero cinema at its worst.

Holy fascinating trivia, Batman! Originally there was to be a fifth film Batman Triumphant (also called Batman Unchained). Going back to the franchise’s darker roots, it would have seen Bats driven mad by the Scarecrow. The finale would have seen Bruce fight against hallucinations of all his old enemies – cameos from Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer were planned. Why didn’t we get this one instead of Batman & Robin?!

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