Batman and Robin (PG)

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone.

The fourth Batman film is onto its third incarnation of the caped crusader, ER's George Clooney who replaces Val Kilmer. This is Joel Schumacher's second and there is quite a difference from the original Tim Burton gothic stylishness to Schumacher's camp, garish romp. The plot is the usual comic book stuff. Evil genius scientist Arnie is Mr Freeze, all silver spray paint and Arnie's usual crummy acting. He looks like a cross between Robocop and the Tin Man! He wants to make the world suffer for the virtual death of his wife. Also menacing the dynamic duo is Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, a sort of eco-terrorist who want the world to suffer for mistreating plants! Aswell as all this evil, Bruce Wayne has a rebellious Robin demanding more of the action, Alfred the Butler has a rare but fatal illness(maybe it's the Dr Who like regenerations of Bruce Wayne, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, now some TV doctor?), and Alfred's niece Barbara(Silverstone) arrives from Oxbridge(!) England. Angsty times for Batman, if being a new man, so to speak, wasn't enough.
I should say now that while I liked the Tim Burton Batmans, I didn't like Batman Forever. Burton had a new way of presenting an old story, with panache and style, wit and black humour. Schumacher doesn't have a vision, but the success of the Batman franchise was too great for the series of films to end. This film has all the ingredients, the well known characters of Batman and Robin, BIG star in Arnie, lots of action, impressively large sets, bat-gadgets, and even a supposedly sexy star. However I was bored by this film. It was a dull story, the whole Poison Ivy plot was ridiculous-save the poor helpless plants! Uma Thurman played PI very like Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman but being a baddie put on a British accent. Arnie was just silly. He has charisma as an action star, but to cover him in silver paint and metal and make him actually ACT was not the wisest move. His one liners weren't funny enough or well delivered enough and to have his redemption at the end where Batman promises him a new start etc. Looked suspiciously like Arnie's star power insisting on a good side to Mr Freeze. Chris O'Donnell was mainly bratty and annoying, although Alicia Silverstone was cute and appealing in a very Clueless-like role. Batgirl didn't get much to do however. I am that rare thing, a female who is not a huge George Clooney fan, I find him too smarmy in ER. I don't think he made a very strong impression here. He looked fine, but didn't have Michael Keaton's quirkiness or Val Kilmer's smoulder. He underplays a lot- either that or he can't act emotions!- and was wat down the pecking order when it came to good lines. The baddies always have more fun.
Chief weakness was a pretty crap plot and a weak script. It didn't grip. We really didn't need Bruce Wayne's domestic problems with Robin and Alfred- rather cliched. However, Batfan's are rarely concerned with character development. I was bored, and all the flashy sets, punch-ups, rubber suits and big name baddies didn't keep me awake on this admittedly crowded Friday evening performance. 4/10

June 1997

Back to Movies page
Back to main page