Classic Intel: Batman & Robin - DVD Review

'Joel Schumacher’s much-maligned second Batman film deserves every ounce of maligning it received on release'

Joel Schumacher’s much-maligned second attempt to successfully tackle the Batman franchise, Batman & Robin, on repeat viewing, deserves every ounce of maligning it received on release. A campy, cliché-ridden mess, Schumacher’s film lurches from the sublimely ridiculous (Mr Freeze’s one-liners) to the downright stupid, Schumacher like Raimi after him, failing to spot that whilst a vast amount of villains might look cool to the uber comic geek, it causes mega problems with plot.

Schumacher, picking out none of the potential in the source material which Christopher Nolan adapted so well, alienated his core audience from the very start by keeping faith with the charisma-less and ageing Chris O’Donnell (the 'boy wonder' was twenty-seven when this was released) as Robin and adding the ‘bat-nipple’ appendages that became the source of many a fanboy's ire.

Whilst doubtful that the director can take direct blame for Clooney’s costume malfunction, what he can take direct blame for is the abysmal plot which tries to create far too much back story for the limp trio of Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). Even if it had have managed to pinpoint just a single one of these, the inherent tone of the film is all off, picking out the day-glow elements from Tim Burton’s second effort, Batman Returns, and blending them with the cheese of the fifties TV show.

Clooney - whilst by no means an awful Batman and actually on paper a very good fit for Bruce Wayne - doesn’t help matters, straight-playing manfully when really, the only option was to go along with the Saturday pantomime aesthetic in the hope that it came across as an intentional and reverent nod to the TV show. He doesn’t though, leaving Thurman, who has both the best character and the best-written lines, as the only component part to emerge with even a semblance of credit. Schumacher certainly leaves with none, banished from the Batman franchise and nearly condemning it to rot in a heap before comic book film’s very own superhero marched in to save the day.

Look further...

'Annoying comic book fans and casual moviegoers alike, Batman & Robin only seems to please itself' - The Spinning Image, 2/10

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