Thursday, 1 September 2011


I have three words that sum up this ungodly experience and which exemplify just how far this once mighty franchise has fallen since the heady days of 1989’s Batman, and those three words are: Bat Credit Card.

Let me say that again just to let it sink in: A Bat Credit Card.

About halfway through the movie Batman and Robin get into a bidding war (they’re at a charity event, don’t ask) over Poison Ivy. They outbid each other until Batman bids a huge amount and whips out his Batman Credit Card from his utility belt, all but looking to the camera saying “Don’t leave home without it.”

I felt like throwing up.

By the way, the expiry date on said credit card is Forever. Which aside from making no sense (so it’s always expired?) is just downright retarded and insulting to the audience. Which is how I would sum up the entire damn movie.

It’s not even the garish set design or the Bat-nipples that upset me most, although they are completely hideous. Seriously Gotham is constantly bathed in neon light, and there are massive Adonis-like statues all over the place. And don’t get me started on the structure of the city, which literally makes no sense. Gotham is meant to be dark and gothic as it was in the first two Batman films, not a multi-coloured MC Escher inspired gay bar.

And the Batsuit, a suit supposed to be designed for stealth and to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, is, in the final act, made sort of metallic in nature. You could practically see your face in it. The there’s the Batmobile. Oh lord, the Batmobile. It resembles a ribbed fluorescent condom on wheels.

The whole thing is so camp it makes the 60’s Batman with its “POW! BIFF! SHONK” antics seem almost Kubrickian.

But I can almost forgive these things, if the movie itself were any good. But it’s really not. There is no subtlety in the whole thing, everything happens in big loud moments with absolutely no attempt to make anything resemble actual dialogue. Arnie’s Mr Freeze doesn’t say anything in the movie that isn’t a terrible ice/cold/snow/winter pun and it’s easily the worst performance of his not exactly glittering career, leading us to believe that maybe his best performances are the ones where he doesn’t say much (see: The Terminator). George Clooney makes a mess of both Wayne and Bats. His Wayne is a perma-smirking (although that could just be Clooney’s face) asshole, and his Bats (like Freeze) just speaks in terrible puns for the most part. Chris O’Donnell is just as awful as he was in Batman Forever, and a plot strand about him leaving Batman to be his own hero is dropped as quickly as it starts rendering him pointless. Alicia Silverstone’s apparently English (though you wouldn’t know it) niece of Alfred’s is just there to eventually don a Bat suit of her own come the end, which despite no training in the Bat-gadgets can use them all really well. Seriously, no-one questions this. In fact, only Uma Thurman comes out of this with any dignity. Her Poison Ivy is actually quite fun and works in the campy context of the movie.
The action, if you can call it that, is terrible and consists mostly of Batman and Robin fighting Freeze’s goons on ice. Seriously, when is ice skating ever exciting? All other action is either Batman punching Freeze or Bane (oh, poor Bane) in the face, with both of these characters being so huge it doesn’t look as if they actually feel any punches at all. Freeze in particular doesn’t look like he can move at all in his ice suit much less fight.

In fact, there is nothing in the movie that isn’t completely over the top; if there’s a wall, someone will smash through it; if there’s an opportunity for a pun, this movie will not just take it but ram it down your throat; if there’s a chance to make it even more stupid, camp and dumb beyond belief you’d better believe they’re going to produce a fucking Bat Credit Card.

All in all, it’s much more of a toy advert than a movie and the decision to make it a more family friendly movie is a terrible one. I doubt any children were playing with action figures from this movie, or if they were they would have made a better movie than this. I’d have rather watched a movie about Alfred fighting his illness than watch this.

However this abomination did cause WB to not make any more Bat movies with Joel Schumacher and lead into Batman Begins so maybe we can be thankful for that.

0 stars.

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