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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

BONUS: Batman and Robin (1997)


Cast:

  • Joel Schumacher, Director

  • Akiva Goldsman, Writer

  • Elliott Goldenthal, Music

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze

  • George Clooney as Bruce Wayne / Batman

    • Eric Lloyd as Young Bruce Wayne.

  • Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson / Robin

  • Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley / Poison Ivy

  • Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson / Batgirl

  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth

    • Jon Simmons as Young Alfred Pennyworth.

  • Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon

  • Elle Macpherson as Julie Madison

  • John Glover as Dr. Jason Woodrue

  • Robert Swenson as Bane (*Michael Reid MacKay plays Bane before he is injected with Venom)

*Recognition:

  • Batman and Robin was wide released on June 20, 1997.

  • The film would go on to gross roughly $238 million finishing as the #17 film of 1997 on a rough budget between $125-160 million.

  • The film would hold the record for the highest opening weekend for an Arnold Schwarzenegger film until it was surpassed by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003. Its opening weekend gross also remained George Clooney's highest until the release of Gravity in 2013.

  • After Val Kilmer decided not to reprise the role of Batman, Warners cast George Clooney as the 4th onscreen Caped Crusader after Adam West, Michael Keaton, and Kilmer.

  • The film dropped off in its second weekend after poor word of mouth and overwhelming critic panning of the film eventually garnering 11 Golden Raspberry awards winning for Worst Actress for Alicia Silverstone.

  • Batman & Robin is considered to be one of the worst superhero films and among the worst films ever made.

  • In 2009, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that Batman & Robin may be the most important comic book film ever made in that it was "so bad that it demanded a new way of doing things" and created the opportunity to make X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) in a way that respected the source material to a higher degree.

  • In an interview with Vice 20 years after its release, director Joel Schumacher apologized for the film while taking full responsibility for its poor reputation, stating, "I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that. A lot of it was my choice. No one is responsible for my mistakes but me."

  • The nipples seen on the character's costumes, first appearing in Batman Forever and accentuated for Batman & Robin at Schumacher's request, remain among the most defining aspects of the film.

  • Recounting his involvement with the film, costume designer Jose Fernandez stated that he was opposed to "sharpening" the nipples, calling them "ridiculous". In 2022, Tim Burton commented about Warner Bros.' decision to replace him as director with Schumacher after Batman Returns, "You complain about me, I'm too weird, I'm too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go fuck yourself."

  • During the filming of Batman & Robin, Warner Bros. was impressed with the dailies, prompting them to immediately hire Joel Schumacher to return as director for a fifth film. However, writer Akiva Goldsman turned down an offer to write the script. In late 1996, Warner Bros. and Schumacher hired Mark Protosevich to write the script for a fifth Batman film. A projected mid-1999 release date was announced. Los Angeles Times described their film as "continuing in the same vein with multiple villains and more silliness".

  • Titled Batman Unchained, Protosevich's script featured the Scarecrow as the main villain, who, through the use of his fear toxin, resurrects the Joker as a hallucination in Batman's mind. Harley Quinn would appear as a supporting character, written as the Joker's daughter. Schumacher approached Nicolas Cage to portray the Scarecrow while he was filming Face/Off and Courtney Love was considered for Harley Quinn.

  • Clooney, O'Donnell, Silverstone, and Coolio were set to reprise the roles of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and Scarecrow. It was hoped that the villains from previous films would make cameo appearances in the hallucinations caused by Scarecrow, culminating with Jack Nicholson reprising the role of the Joker. Following the poor critical and financial reception of Batman & Robin, Clooney vowed never to reprise his role, and Warner Bros. cancelled any future Batman films, including Schumacher's planned Batman Unchained.

  • Batman and Robin currently holds an 11% score among critics on RT, a 28 score on Metacritic, and a 1.8/5 on Letterboxd.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: How can we sell a bunch of toys to unsuspecting kids without creating a movie that has a coherent plot or depth of character?


Plot Summary: In Joel Schumacher's second installment of the caped crusader's saga, "Batman and Robin" Gotham City faces a chilling threat that goes beyond the typical criminal masterminds. A diabolical scientist, Dr. Victor Fries, aka Mr. Freeze (played with icy intensity by Arnold Schwarzenegger), seeks to freeze Gotham and hold it hostage until he finds a cure for his terminally ill wife, Nora.


But this time, Batman (George Clooney) and his trusty sidekick Robin (Chris O'Donnell) find themselves not only battling a frozen city but also contending with Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a seductive eco-terrorist who can control plants, and intends to transform the world into a lush paradise, even if it means eliminating humanity.


As Gotham City descends into an icy abyss, Batman and Robin must set aside their differences and join forces with the mysterious and cunning Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone). Together, they embark on a race against time to stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from plunging the world into eternal winter.


Did You Know:

  • According to John Glover (Doctor Jason Woodrue), Joel Schumacher "would sit on a crane with a megaphone and yell before each take, 'Remember, everyone, this is a cartoon'. It was hard to act because that kind of set the tone for the film."

  • Chris O'Donnell revealed that despite hanging out with Arnold Schwarzenegger a lot off set and during promotion for the film, they never worked a single day together. This was achieved with stand ins when one of the actors wasn't available.

  • Most of the scenes with Batgirl were cut, because Alicia Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone's weight gain and mocked the actress for being "too fat" to fit into her costume. Director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking "What is this girl's big sin - that she ate some pizza?" When the taunting continued, Schumacher lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. He said in a magazine interview, "It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds - like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I'd say, 'With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'"

  • Mr. Freeze says 27 "ice puns" throughout the movie.

  • George Clooney has been known to refund people who saw this film.

Best Performance: George Clooney (Batman/Bruce Wayne)

Best Secondary Performance: Elliott Goldenthal (Music)

Most Charismatic Award: Michael Gough (Alfred)

Best Scene:

  • Opening Diamond Heist

  • Poison Ivy and Bane are Born

  • Charity Event

  • Ivy Steals Nora

  • Alfred Saved

  • Gotham Freezes Over

  • Final Fight

Favorite Scene: Alfred Saved

Most Indelible Moment: Alfred Saved


Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Mr. Freeze: What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!


Mr. Freeze: Let's kick some ice!


Mr. Freeze: Cool party!


Mr. Freeze: [freezes Robin] Stay cool, Birdboy.


Mr. Freeze: Allow me to break the ice: My name is Freeze. Learn it well, for it's the chilling sound of your doom.


Cop #1: Please show some mercy!

Mr. Freeze: Mercy? I'm afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.


Mr. Freeze: Tonight's forecast... a freeze is coming!


Mr. Freeze: Tonight, hell freezes over!


Mr. Freeze: I will blanket the city in endless winter. First Gotham, and then the world.

Poison Ivy: Just what I had in mind. Everything dead on earth, except us. A chance for Mother Nature to start again. Behold, the dawn of a new age. My mutant plants have the strength of the deadliest animals. Once you have frozen mankind, these babies will overrun the globe, and we shall rule them, for we will be the only two people left in the world.

Mr. Freeze: Adam and Evil!


Mr. Freeze: If revenge is a dish best served cold, then put on your Sunday finest. It's time to feast!


Mr. Freeze: No matter what anyone tells you, Bane, it really is the size of your gun that counts.


Robin: Where's the snowman?

Batgirl: Maybe he melted.

Batman: No, he's just hibernating.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 2.5

Impact/Significance: 4.5

Novelty: 2.5

Classic-ness: 2

Rewatchability: 0.5

Audience Score: 3.6 (56% Google, 16% RT)

Total: 15.6


Remaining Questions:

  • What was the point of this movie?

  • What the hell did they do to Bane?

  • Who was this movie for?

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