Monday, June 23, 2008

Batman movies - Batman and Robin

A lot of my friends referred to Spider-Man 3 as a crappy, awful movie. While I certainly didn't find it to be a very good film, I have to wonder, if that's true, then what is Batman and Robin?

Even at the zenith of my superhero movie apologetics, I could only go so far with this one. I actually saw it twice in the theaters, and the second time was because I had told my nephew that I would take him to see it. I tried to say that it was at least entertaining, if not good. Yeah, I went to some pretty pathetic lenghts to justify a superhero fix.

I'm not sure if there is another movie out there that clearly has such a huge budget and talented people behind it and yet fails on pretty much every single level. As I wrote in another blog months ago, there were at least some things about Spider-Man 3 that I enjoyed and could defend. This one? Is there anything? Let's break it down like I did with the other ones:

The good:

There are a lot of bright colors that nicely show off an HDTV with an upconverting DVD player. It also introduces a lot of potential toys which got kids to get their parents to buy them, and that's good for the economy. Oh, and Coolio has a cameo. I guess that's good.

That's all I have. How about the bad? Very tempting to say "everything" and leave it at that, but I don't find Chris O'Donnel to be bad. Don't get me wrong, he definitely isn't good - there just isn't anything particularly offensive about his character or performance. So, let's list them off:

The Governor of California as Mr. Freeze. Dear Lord, what an abomination. The thing is, Mr. Freeze was one of Batman's lamest villains, even inspiring The Joker to refer to him as a second-rate Captain Cold. However, the animated series from the 90s turned him into one of Batman's best villains, making him a tragic figure who became a monster because of his love for his wife. The comics quickly adopted this revised origin, and when I read things about the upcoming movie, they were going to use that as inspiration for the character. Well, yeah, his wife is frozen in ice just like in the cartoon, but when the guy is constantly making bad puns (see video below), it's pretty hard to feel anything for him. And am I the only person who realizes just how stupid that costume looks? Who the hell was in charge of costumes? What the hell was he or she smoking when that one was approved? And don't even get started on how painful it is to listen to The Governator try and ham it up. Stick with cyborgs from the future, Arnie - that's what you're best at.

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. I like Uma. She was great in Tarantino's movies. She's wasted here, and even though she looks good in the outfit, it all gets ruined every time she opens her mouth. Remember my conflicted feelings about Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman? There is no conflict here - every moment with her sucks. And I should probably add that just like with The Riddler, Two Face, and Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy is a great villain. She worked well in both the comics and the cartoon series as a seductive siren/temptress figure (am I the only one who catches the symbolism with her having that huge Venus Flytrap that almost devours Batman in the animated series?)

Some guy (I don't feel like looking it up) as Bane. Yet another villain ruined! In the comics, Bane is the guy who broke Batman, but before breaking his spine (he got better), he used strategy to wear him down over the course of several days. That's right, in the comics, he's not only strong, he's incredibly clever as well! Could he be more pointless?

Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. Okay, I really don't get the comments that she received that said that she was supposedly "fat" in this movie. That was an incredibly lame and plain old messed up thing for people to say. (I mean, if a woman isn't skinny, does that mean that the only other option is that she's fat?) Criticisms of her acting are fair game though. She stinks - but who could possibly do something with that dialogue?

George Clooney as Batman. Clooney just missed making my man crush list (perhaps if I had ten, he'd be number six), and this is probably the reason why. I've seen interviews where he's taken the blame for this movie being a failure, but I don't think that anybody could have saved this piece of shit. But George, you're not entirely blameless either, because you did suck. The most glaring problem? He used the exact same tone of voice as both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Elle Macpherson as some inconsequential love interest. She probably has a total of five minutes of screen time, and she's supposedly Bruce Wayne's love interest. If you've only seen this movie once, I bet that you don't remember her. That's because she's totally pointless, but some studio dickwad probably insisted, "You've gotta have a love interest!"

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Just wanted to point this out one more time. It really is shit-tastic.

The conflicted tone. Unlike Batman Forever, which tries to do drama, but then intersperses it with campy moments, this one is trying to be campy while interspersing dramatic moments. It's even more jarring.

Nipples on the suits - 'nuff said. (Batgirl's costume doesn't have them though.)

Ice skates that pop out of Batman and Robin's boots. What the fuck?

Mr. Freeze.

I'm sure that I'm forgetting some equally shitty things, but that's probably enough to get the point across. I did just think of one more good thing about this movie though - it was so bad that the studios decided to completely drop the campy aspects of the franchise, and the taint of the 60s TV show is now gone forever. If Batman and Robin had been less shitty, then Batman Begins may have never been made.

My grade? F-

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