Something of a retro review… and an opportunity to bring up Alicia Silverstone an uncomfortable number of times.
Batman & Robin has the unfortunate reputation of being one of the worst movies ever made and it set back the Batman franchise almost an entire decade before Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins in 2005. I know I’ve seen Batman & Robin before, but it was either when I was a kid, or I’ve blocked out the memory because of how painful it was.
So when I sat down a few days ago and watched it again on Netflix, it was more or less like watching a brand new movie. The difference, of course, was that I was expecting “the worst movie ever.” Instead, I got an atrocious movie with one or two things that could be generously described as being decent.
The classic complaints certainly ring true, like all of Freeze’s fucking terrible puns. I know Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a career out of cheesy puns, but what happened in Batman & Robin is completely unacceptable. And let’s not forget Uma Thurman, who has her share of plant puns in her role as Poison Ivy.
Most of the acting is also truly terrible, with the worst person being Robin (Chris O’Donnell). He is a whiny bitch the whole movie and even his defining moment – when he kisses Poison Ivy and makes the quip about rubber lips – is fucking painful to witness. I fucking hate Chris O’Donnell and I fucking hate Robin.
Even George Clooney was a little off this time and it’s probably because he knew what a doomed project it was. But the biggest travesty of the entire movie is how little Alicia Silverstone is utilized in her role as Batgirl. From what I understand, a lot of her scenes ended up being cut because she happened to gain some weight during filming.
What the filmmakers didn’t seem to understand is that men wouldn’t have given a single shit. Unless she was, like, four months pregnant at the time, I don’t think anybody would care just because Batgirl was a little curvier instead of being skinny and/or athletic.
I mean, she was literally the only reason why I decided to give this movie another go. I would have rather not posted anything on my website instead of watching Batman & Robin if I knew Alicia Silverstone would barely appear on my tablet’s screen.
There are a lot of other missteps as well, like poor Bane who is easily defeated by Batgirl and Robin when they collectively realize they can just nudge the tubing on his back so he can’t receive the venom that makes him all “Bane” anymore. Also, maybe I’m spoiled by Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Commissioner Gordon, but I fucking hated this one.
Alfred was okay, I guess, although I ended up hating him too for no really justifiable reason.
Of course, there were some things I actually did like about the movie, and why don’t we just dive into that right now. For how little Alicia Silverstone shows up, I was pretty happy because she was hella fire at the time.
And this might sound crass, but let’s be honest: as a heterosexual male, I was very happy to see her “putting the costume on” montage received the same, um, justice as the beginning of the film when we see Batman and Robin put their uniforms on.
I also really liked Gotham’s architecture, in terms of those giant goliath statues that were scattered throughout the city. I really got a cool God of War vibe from them and it’s pretty chilling (not fucking intentional, I swear on my life) to think about a real city like Chicago or San Francisco having massive statues of men that are intertwined with buildings like observatories and skyscrapers.
So that was actually kinda awesome.
I don’t know. In so many ways Batman & Robin is exactly as awful as you’d expect, but if you’re expecting that awfulness, it’s actually not too bad. I mean, I thought I was going to jump off a cliff the whole time, but I was also thinking I’d take a parachute because I might very easily change my mind after thinking about my future bae Alicia Silverstone.
In some ways, it’s like The Room. If you have no knowledge of that movie and you go in and watch it, you’d probably rip the DVD out and microwave it. But if you know the history, and the reputation it has, things are different – you can enjoy how bad it is. I think that’s what happened with me regarding Batman & Robin.
I knew Schwarzenegger would make an inordinate amount of puns. I knew the acting would be terrible. I knew the plot would be bad, with some of the most infamous moments in cinematic history, like Batman’s stupid credit card (he never leaves the cave without it!). I knew this would be the silliest Batman movie ever.
The only thing I didn’t expect was to see Chris O’Donnell stink up the place so much. God, fuck that guy.