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Batman & Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin

Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty.

Directed by:

Joel Schumacher

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 125 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Even when not technically brilliant, I still expect my superhero movies to at least be good fun. Even the super-daft ‘Supergirl’ managed to get that much right. ‘Batman & Robin’, though, is quite possibly the least-enjoyable super-flick ever made: and yes, I have seen Catwoman. From the moment the dialogue opens with Robin (Chris O’Donnell) telling Batman “I want a car – chicks dig the car”, until the stupendously ridiculous resolution, this flick is the filmic equivalent of a rollercoaster ride through a blocked sewer.

This fourth Bat-flick since Tim Burton’s stylish 1989 ‘Batman’ bears such little resemblance to Burton’s carefully-considered project that it’s a struggle to even classify it as part of the same franchise. Joel Schumacher – who’s 1995 attempt ‘Batman Forever’ was also crap but at least watchable – drives a steamroller through Bat-lore with this gaudy, camp, overly-theatrical, diabolically-written cave-full of what can only be described as guano.

With previous lead man Val Kilmer unable to take part due to his commitment to starring in ‘The Saint’, stepping into the Dark Knight’s nipple-inclusive costume this time is George Clooney. And, in fairness, The Cloonster isn’t the worst choice imaginable – but he was always going to be fighting an uphill battle in a Gotham City where it seems practically everyone has now got a secret identity. The place is clogged up with sidekick Robin, pun-making baddie Mr Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the garden-loving Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and afterthought ally Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone). With all of that lot battling more for screentime than anything to do with good or evil, Batface himself no longer seems like anything special.

Of course, the ‘Batman’ logo will always be able to attract the big stars (as Christopher Nolan’s name-dropping 2005 instalment proves) – but it would have been nice if this one had spent as much time getting its direction and screenplay right as it did courting the A-listers.

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It's Got: The pun-happy Mr Freeze talking about being “left cold”, “sent to the cooler”, “staying cool”, “breaking the ice” and telling everyone to “chill”. Oh dear.

It Needs: Schumacher to be ashamed of himself.

DVD Extras Cast and crew info, a bunch of featurettes (‘Bob Kane & The Birth of Batman’, ‘Creating the New Story’, ‘Friend & Foes’, ‘Recreating Gotham City’) a butchers at the various vehicles that can be spotted racing around the streets of Gotham, some other recommendations, and bits on the costumes, make-up and special effects. Version reviewed: Batman And Robin DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Batman, Batman Begins, Batman Forever, Batman Returns

Summary

The worst superhero movie ever made? Sitting through this heap of poopsy will drive you batty.

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