Gotham Crumbles (Batman & Robin, 1997)
Remember how I said Schumacher hoped to make Batman Year one by giving the studio what they wanted? Well, Batman Forever was actually a hit. It made a ton of money. And guess what the studio wanted? If you said, “A gritty look at Batman’s first year”? Slap yourself. They said “Give us more toys and product placement. Which led to a seen where Batman uses his BatCredit Card.
In addition, Kilmer was the George Lazenby of the franchise. He was out…in was ER heart throb George Clooney. Clooney got the luck of putting the nails into the coffin of the original Bat-Franchise.
Batman & Robin is bloated, as it has introduced Robin and now Batgirl (who is Alfred’s niece, rather than Commissioner Gordon’s daughter). The villains are Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. Freeze is almost wonderfully miscast with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role. The character has always been a thin and lanky dude. So casting a muscled action star only makes the most sense. In addition to the two villains, the film includes Bane as one of the henchmen of Poison Ivy.
Batman and Robin try and stop Freeze and Ivy who team up for reasons…even though their reasons are kind of in conflict. Alfred is sick (and Freeze may hold the cure) and Commissioner Gordon is still around because people expect to see him in a Batman movie.
Like the last film, this one contains a big deal soundtrack, part of a thing in the 90’s where soundtracks featuring bands was a sign of a cool and with it movie. Scores were for suckers in the 90’s. The soundtrack help more to date the film than make it truly memorable.
Clooney is not terrible in the role…I mean, he is clearly trying to be a good Batman. But the problem is, he is in a toy-centric movie, where his role is only as important in as much as it can sell toys to kids. O’Donnell already feels to old to be playing a whiny entitled brat…but there he is. Alicia Silverstone was a very 90’s choice. She faced a brutal and unfair onslaught of abuse over fluctuating weight that simply did not belong in coverage of the film. Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy is okay in performance, but her hairstyles are pretty terrible. My favorite performance is actually John Glover…his Jason Woodrue is manically entertaining.
Bane is portrayed as a mindless drone under Ivy’s control. Which shows how they just treated characters a something to be cherry picked with little regard for the original visions of these characters. Visually the lush color schemes of Schumacher’s previous film.
The entire film is a crazy mess of an art department cut loose in concert with a demand for product tie-in to the point of almost beautiful obnoxiousness. It never comes together in the end…but if it does not give you a seizure? You probably got out okay.