In preparation of the July 20th release of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated trilogy closer, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bro Journey is reviewing each of the previous six Batman films (in order) that have preceded it. We continue with 1997’s Batman & Robin.
Editor’s Note: We’re doing this to gear ourselves up for what might be the most insane theater experience we’ll ever have (outside of smoking Peyote and seeing Fantasia) and to catch you up so you don’t have to watch them all. So here it goes…
There are so many times in youth where we think to ourselves, “This is absolutely bat shit stupid. What are you adults doing?” Some of us have more experiences like that than others and they all take place in different settings, but we draw on those experiences as adults and they mold us into the people we are today. Throughout our formidable years we’ll always look at out elder counterparts and ask, “What the shit just happened? My tiny little mind can’t handle all of that, dude. That was just too f’ing intense.”
For me, Batman & Robin was the moment where I shat my pants, cried and asked for forgiveness when all the awesome of Batman, Robin, Alfred, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Poison Ivy, and Batgirl converged into ONE FREAKIN’ MOVIE!! Today’s review is a story of science, puns and close ups.
The whole point of Max and I reviewing all six of the Batman movies leading up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises is so you kind folks don’t have to (and so we can nerd out with our favorite movies of yesteryear, but nobody besides the internet needs to know that). I’ve been pretty stoked on all of the movies that we’ve re-watched thus far, but Batman & Robin is by far the most batshit crazy film that ever existed. Despite some internet cretins voting it the worst movie of all time, I think it’s a true masterpiece and it needs more respect!!
Now don’t get me wrong, the movie itself is a total pile of shit. From zilch in the acting department, atrocious writing and enough explosions and dick zoom-ins to cause epileptic shock, Batman & Robin is just two hours of misery. That is coming from semi-acclaimed video editor, sorta front end developer, wantreprenuer, Austinite, and today’s Matthew Jared. Keep in mind however, that when this movie came out it was made for St. Paul Musketeer, 3rd grader and 9 year old Matthew Jared who’s biggest life achievement (still standing to today, actually) was aquiring a life size cut out of the one and only Shaquille Rashaun O’neal. What I’m trying to say is that this movie wasn’t made for adults or to win awards (or be any good, for that matter), it was made for little guys like me who LOVED Batman.This was the one movie where Batman was going to break all the rules, be truly epic, take a more comic book feel than any other movie at the time, and cause nine year olds everywhere to think to themselves:“This is absolutely insanely bat shit stupid. What are you adults doing?” So let’s break this down a little deeper and see why it’s a shitty movie for adults and an amazing movie for kids (and people who are still kids in their minds (like Max and I)) and why, even though it sucks, Batman & Robin is still a movie you should respect. What say you good folks of The Bro Journey?
It turns out that Akiva Goldsman is one funny mother (EPIC SIDE NOTE: Max and I thought this guy must have been a total asshat and that the only thing we could’ve written afterwards would’ve been Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle (turns out that we were wrong (so wrong in fact that he turned his career around and has since become a producer (and an Academy Award Winning writer (for writing A BEAUTIFUL FREAKING MIND(!!!)))))). I don’t say that because the dialogue or story line in Batman & Robin is great or changed the face of film, but I say that because he is truly has a level snark so high he must have spent the entire writing process with one of his cousins who hates him. Fortunately for the viewers, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the one-liner king, is the star of this movie and his interpretation is ICE COLD!!
Literally every single interchange is some kind of play on words that one-up’s the prior. From Poison Ivy talking about photosynthesis in her well “lab” to Batman talking about living in a cave, to Robin’s superiority complex to Mr. Freeze’s constant tomFREEZEry, Akiva Goldsman put the world on it’s ass with this one. Since you don’t have to watch this movie (which is probably a good thing), you missed out on all 129 of Mr. Freeze’s classic one-liners and puns, however, since the internet is such a virtuous place, the kind folks of YouTube compiled ALL OF THEM into one video. I normally don’t demand anything of you readers, but please go watch it and TRY to find a better compilation. This movie is so bad it’s good and Mr. Freeze and everyone else’s one liners and puns truly take it to the top.
I didn’t see Kill Bill until I was in college and I was sadly too busy trying to find the perfect combination of mushrooms, salvia, acid, and peyote to form the perfect Fraturday so I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I should have. Just kidding, I was a Nati Light guy in college. My point here is that I didn’t really grasp the epicness of Uma Thurman until recently and watching her as Poison Ivy in our latest re-watch was an, er, “emotional” experience to say the least. Uma is seductive and knows how to say the words that are written in the script.
George Clooney is in this movie!! Just kidding, his cyborg cousin Gill Clooney was Batman because whoever played Batman was rigid, awkward, and clearly NOT the classy dude who would become Danny Ocean (a.k.a. the only man who should ever walk the face of the Earth). Although George seems very out of place, Bruce Wayne’s massive turtle neck makes a return to the silver screen! I love George Clooney and his acting career was pretty green at the time and he didn’t really move deeper into the action scene after Batman (rightfully so), but it was pretty tough to watch in this one. Chris O’Donell has some outstanding LIPS (that was a pun (at the end of the movie he kills Poison Ivy (by giving her a kiss (from a ROOOSSSEEE)))).
I already mentioned how CHILLING Arnold was in Batman and Robin so I need to CHILL OUT for a second.
Batgirl, played by Alicia Silverstone was just incredible, mostly because she wasn’t in the majority of the movie and secondly because she wears spandex and a school girl outfit.
Aside from all the wonderful (read: shit) acting the only real performance comes from none other than the butler…
Calmly sitting on the sidelines for your chance to shine is a tough process, I know from experience. Alfred Pennyworth (played by Michael Gough (RIP)) did just that and waited through three movies for his chance to shine! Besides Commisioner Gordon (played by a fat guy with a mustache), Alfred was the only character to be played by the same actor for the entire Burton / Shumaker Batman series and rightfully so, Alfred packs a punch!! From making Vichyssoise (it’s supposed to be cold, sir) to ripping through Google searches pre-internet, Alfred was the man!
A heavy portion of the storyline of Batman & Robin revolves around Alfred and I’m glad he finally got some time to shine on screen. To catch you up to speed, Alfred has a hot niece (Alicia Silverstone) who becomes Batgirl and he is really sick with some disease that Mr. Freeze’s wife also has that only Mr. Freeze can cure. So Batman, Robin and Batgirl all go tell Arnold that they have penises and vaginas like that kid in Kindergarten Cop and Arnold freaks out and cures Alfred and we all get to live another happy day in Gotham. Or something like that.
Alfred may have been older than Dumbledore, but that crazy bastard could act! I’m glad he got some time to show his acting chops in his final Batman movie.
Batman & Robin is a seductive movie that keeps you guessing and leaves you begging for your time back in the adult world. However, the youth, in which this movie was presumably targeted, did nothing but enjoy the shit out of it which is why I still love it. From hockey playing criminals to motorcycle racing criminals and super-spandexed-crime-fighting Batgirl to super-spandexed-karate-kicking Poison Ivy, Bane looking more juiced than Barry Bonds after a weekend at the McGuires, Batman and Robin surfing the sky on doors, Batgirl and Robin shooting lazers, and did I mention Batgirl is in spandex? The action in this movie encompasses everything you would want as a 9 year old. However, if only any of it made sense or looked good, it would make all the difference in the world to an adult.
In summation: this movie is sweet when you’re a kid, but sucks as an adult (unless you have a deep emotional connection to it and think it’s still amazing (like me)). There is A LOT going on and the puns, the acting, Alfred, and the action are mostly what I took away from it. The plot points and character development all kind of just happen without any buildup and it kind of does a disservice to the prior three films leading up to this point. Thankfully though, the next generation of Batman movies takes a much more CHILLING and interesting turn and leads us closer to understanding Bruce Wayne and leads us to where we currently are patiently waiting for The Dark Knight Rises. So I guess this movie has its place, in my childhood and in the saga that is Batman, so even if you hate it, you still have to respect it.
That was a nICE ending don’t you think? That’s all for me folks, hope you have a wonderful day and don’t forget to check out the prior posts in our series on Batman (links below). Also feel free to follow Max and myself on twitter and tell us that we are awesome. Also also, I’m going to Dallas this weekend to hang out with my family so I won’t be around for Full Disclosure Friday. If I found out you jackals don’t fully disclose something I’m going to be pissed!!