The second Batman outing for director Joel Schumacher after Batman Forever was Batman and Robin. It is now famous for having effectively damaged the careers of everyone involved and often found itself at the bottom of critics ˜Worst Films of 1997′ lists. Commercially Batman and Robin was a disappointment only taking $238m from a budget of $125m and signalled the end of the Burton/Schumacher franchise, leaving Batman on the shelf until Christopher Nolan reinvigorated the character with Batman Begins.
Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) are on the trail of scientist-turned super villain Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is trying to steal diamonds to power his suit. Meanwhile a freak accident transforms Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) into the plant-controlling Poison Ivy. The two villains team up to take down Batman and Robin, while the heroes, now accompanied by Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) must get the serum created by Mr. Freeze in order to save Alfred’s life.
Similar to Batman Returns, Schumacher’s sequel introduces a formerly sweet female character and converts her into a sexually aggressive villain. Uma Thurman does the best she can with the over-the-top camp dialogue, but is less at ease than Schwarzenegger who delviers his one-liners with classic aplomb You’re not sending me to the COOLER! Sadly the major crime with Batman and Robin is the full transition from Burton’s gothic masterpiece toward an homage of the hyper-camp 1960s TV show.
Schumacher, with an eye on marketing filled Batman and Robin with so many new characters and potential new toy ideas that it’s impossible to take it as a proper film but rather an extended advert. Then there’s the actual design of Batman and Robin: Where Burton filled Batman with one of two stark colours on a sea of black, which befits the character of the Dark Knight, Schumacher blinds his audience with every colour in the spectrum¦ turned up to 11. It’s a blisteringly bewildering experience that is made all the worse for the silver-tinged Batsuit with giant nipples.
Batman and Robin’s cast are all misplaced and clearly aware that they’re in the franchises death-throws. The wasted Batgirl and Poison Ivy aside, Schumacher burns through the now-legendary Batman villain Bane (the main villain in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises) and uses him as a glorified henchmen with no speaking role. Everything about Batman and Robin sits at odds to the previous instalments and is quite rightfully heralded as one of the worst examples of toy-selling film-making ever made. Not even a Schwarzenegger classic like Ice to see you can save it.