The Roar

Swapping Movies: Tay on Kyra

Batman & Robin (1997)

I vaguely remember this movie, just like how I vaguely remember my childhood and everything before the end of junior year. It’s an issue, so re-watching this isn’t a problem for me in the slightest when I don’t remember anything about anything. Maybe it’ll be like re-watching my favorite movie of all time, Catwoman. Or maybe not, especially when I judge that movie by its 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes or 27% rating on Metacritic. I mean at least Batman & Robin got 1% more than Catwoman on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. So, it has that going for it.

I mean, not even Kyra loves this movie. She basically chose it because of how her brothers watched it repeatedly. My three older brothers do the same with this movie. I just chose not to pay attention to the movie in front of me and chose to read instead. So now, I have to actually watch the movie.

Batman & Robin Summary from Amazon:

George Clooney stars as the mysterious caped crusader in this fourth installment of the blockbuster “Batman” saga. This time he’s up against the cold-blooded Mr. Freeze.

My first, unfiltered take on the movie with spoilers:

I’m not intentionally making this a comparison of Batman & Robin against Catwoman, so my last comparison is that this movie is less of a dumpster fire than the latter. That said, they both lack a lot of crucial components of a decent movie: three dimensional protagonists with antagonists, a coherent plot, and a consistent tone.

Bruce Wayne (George Clooney) falls flat, even though he has the alternate identity of Batman to offer more opportunities of intrigue and a character with more depth. It’s the same issue with Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell), which still isn’t solved with him adopting the alternate identity of Robin to be Batman’s sidekick in fighting against crime. Both have only two emotions according to the movie: Batman is either protective or fatherly, while Robin is childish or whiny. That issue of these characters being one-dimensional and lacking a variety of emotions, it can be blamed on the movie failing to properly motivate each of their characters to act on something. So, these characters failed to develop into anything rich in detail or depth. Batman and Robin are just vigilantes and they are just celebrated by the whole of Gotham City; that’s just how it is. There didn’t have to be an entire prequel to this, just allusions or flashbacks to their past—at least to show their motivation. Every character can’t have flat motivation like Batman. Where basically his motivation is that his parents were killed but they aren’t talked about beyond a sentence. Or how Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) is motivated by her Uncle Alfred (Michael Gough) developing MacGregor’s condition; a deadly condition of which she ultimately doesn’t find the cure to save him as Batman was the one to do so.

Further, that same issue with the protagonists is the same for the antagonists as well. Essentially, all of them have great potential but suffer from poor execution. I think that execution might be because of how the movie is conflicted on whether it is for adults or children. So, it attempts to be a movie for both, which is how a scene of Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) forcing his ice-hockey henchmen to sing along to “Snow Miser” as they literally lick frozen dinner trays is juxtaposed by a lady in a short glittery dress dances in the foreground. Which could be forgotten if it weren’t for how she wishes she could “heat things up” with Mr. Freeze as she seductively bumps up against him. It’s an odd combination of cartoonish and seductive that I don’t quite understand. This idea is cemented by Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), another supposed villain, sensuously stripping of a gorilla costume to be walked across the bare backs of oiled men. It’s confused on what a comic book movie should be and how to balance the comical with the serious—and not come off as a flop.

Mr. Freeze continuously flops around with his tone throughout the movie. In one scene, he might be the husband mourning the loss of his wife and in the other he might be a man saying, “the Iceman cometh.” He demonstrates how the movie has no consistency at all, beyond it being an all-around loud and busy movie with exaggerated visions of Gotham City and its supposed inhabitants. It is simultaneously busy and boring, with excessive visuals for even the simplest of things like the drag race attendants in blaring neon against the night yet without anything beyond the surface of what the plot is. There is nothing more behind who Batman and Robin are, they are just vigilantes and celebrated. And there is nothing behind what Gotham is, it’s just another city with a lot of crime and some rather peculiar chances in architecture. Merely being a comic book movie doesn’t excuse it for being a confusing mess; it puts it to shame. It has decades of comics and work to pull from, and even an earlier film incarnation of Batman with Michael Keaton as the titular character.

Yet all they could muster up was a scene of Batman and Robin bidding to spend the night with Poison Ivy at a charity gala, the same one where Poison Ivy ultimately reveals herself to the public by stripping of her gorilla costume. “Some boys are about to hit the honeypot. I’ll include an evening of my company for the winner. I’ll bring everything you see here plus everything you don’t,” she said to the men after she sprayed them with some of her pheromone dust. Back and forth, they go from one million to seven million to seemingly “tend [her] garden” as she put it. During that said bid war between the most celebrated heroes of Gotham City, Batman asserts that he can outbid Robin with his credit card. A credit card in his name, good through to forever, and from Gothcard itself.

Conclusion

Never watch this again.

To read Kyra’s review on Taylor’s movie, Atonement, click here.

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