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Film Review - Batman & Robin
Holy Bat-Flicks! Am I the Only Critic Who Liked This One?
If you've read my previous reviews of the Batman series, you know that I thought the first was OK, the second was a disgrace, and the third showed real progress. We saw the change happen with the switch of directors from Tim Burton to Joel Schumacher. Schumacher has built on his good work in Batman Forever in this film. Batman has progressed further in his emotional development. Schumacher has also thrust this film clearly into the realm of the comic book, with fight scenes that are more cartoon-like (including cartoon sound effects), as well as tossing out all of the laws of physics.
It's a Family Thing
What grabbed me out of my chair was the message about family in Batman & Robin. You'll recall in Batman Forever, Batman and Robin were thrust together, not out of kinship, but out of circumstance. They didn't trust each other and still don't as Batman & Robin begins. It is Alfred, now dying, who gives the lessons of wisdom. I couldn't help but think about Yoda in The Empire Strike Back. The Caped Crusaders must learn what it is to be family. Once they have achieved this, their lack of trust will disappear. This kind of message impressed me coming out of a comic book movie.
Arnold, I'm impressed!
I've been very critical of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his later films. Schwarzenegger has been playing cheap characters of himself to the point where one remembers Peter O'Toole's line from My Favorite Year, "I'm not an actor, I'm a Movie Star!" To be truthful, that is my opinion of Schwarzenegger, so this leads to my joyous surprise.
Schwarzenegger completely immerses himself in the role of Mr. Freeze, a doctor whose life is torn apart by tragedy. Freeze is both physically and emotionally damaged. Schwarzenegger plays this role perfectly to the point where I could forget I was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger. What better job can an actor do?
The supporting roles of Batgirl and Poison Ivy are not impressive. It shows that Gotham is still Boystown. Batgirl has far too little screen time to be developed (perhaps the next film?), and Poison Ivy is just a poor remake of Cat Woman.
Finally, the end of the film is not about revenge. Again, Batman has grown and dispenses a merciful justice. His anger has been replaced by compassion. My, have we come so far?
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Released in 1997
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo