"Battling Eco-Freaks and Bio-Madmen"
BATMAN & ROBIN is a leather-clad morality tale set in a dark retro-futuristic world. The dark brooding style of the film is an important backdrop for the noble aspirations of BATMAN & ROBIN.
After a commanding title sequence, the action explodes on the screen with Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) taking over the Gotham city museum, so he can steal one of the world’s largest diamonds. Freeze escapes Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) by shooting himself and the dynamic duo 30,000 feet in the air in his personal rocket and then abandoning the rocket to fly back to earth on a pair of Leonardo Da Vinci-type wings, thinking that Batman and Robin will die in the thin atmosphere of space. Instead, they blast off the doors of the rocket and surf on the detached doors back to earth. At this point, there is no doubt that we are in a fantasy world.
Batman consults his incredible computer to find that Freeze was a brilliant scientist whose wife contracted an incurable disease, so Freeze tried to freeze her until a cure could be found. In the process, by accident, he changed his molecular structure so that now he can only survive at freezing temperatures which he maintains by wearing a special body-suit powered by diamonds.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the jungle, far from Gotham City, an environmental scientist becomes embroiled in a battle with her megalomaniac colleague, who is genetically building the ultimate soldier, Bane, to sell to the highest international bidder. In the fight, she gets turned into a genetically altered, plant-animal form, known as Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). After kissing off her colleague (her lips drip potent venom), Poison Ivy heads to Gotham City to tell Bruce Wayne that he has to clean up the environment or else.
The next strand of this complex storyline is initiated by the appearance at Wayne Manor of Butler Alfred’s niece, Barbara (Alicia Silverstone), whom Alfred has been surreptitiously supporting ever since her parents died in an accident. Having been kicked out of college, she now wants to meet her remaining family.
With the stage set, the plot kicks into high gear. Poison Ivy submits her ultimatum at a benefit where Freeze steals some more diamonds to sustain his ice cold conditions. Poison Ivy falls for Freeze, and Batman and Robin get distracted by Poison Ivy who has a potent botanical concoction that can make men swoon. Working together, Ivy and Freeze almost freeze Gotham City. However, after some amazing stunts and moral platitudes, the Caped Crusader triumphs just as we knew he would from the beginning.
However, our informed understanding of the comic book storyline does not take away from the powerful action and special effects which keeps us gripped and emotionally involved throughout all the illogical twists and turns in the movie. Barbara, by the way, has to become Batgirl (in case you didn’t figure it out) to save the day, since, as a woman, she purportedly won’t fall for Poison Ivy’s charms (unless she has been influenced by ELLEN).
By the fourth theatrical outing of BATMAN, parents should be well aware that this is a dark movie. Gotham City is populated by maniacal, fallen sinners dressed in all sorts of weird costumes. In spite of that, however, there is almost no obscene language except for one “d*mn” and a couple of Mr. Freeze statements such as “I’m going to send your ice to hell.”
On the other hand, there are many positive statements such as when Batgirl asks Robin what to do in a life-threatening situation, and he responds with a simple clear, “Pray!” Furthermore, Batman and Robin discuss the need for faith and trust, and the need for family and friends to support each other.
Clearly, these are men who are interested in preserving law and order. They are opposed by the psychotic environmentalists and the loony bio-chemist. These villains are real villains, and we are told they are psychopathic, but instead of killing them, Batman captures them and has them incarcerated in an asylum.
Batman tells Mr. Freeze that he must not avenge the death of his wife because vengeance will only destroy him. Instead, Batman implores Freeze to repent. Even the demented, eco-freak Poison Ivy, who likens herself to Mother Nature, tells us that God created the world.
In fact, the whole movie is opposed to political correctness: Alfred feels honored to be able to serve Mr. Wayne; Barbara says she wants to be called Batgirl even though Batman tells her that it isn’t “PC”; and, Batman tells eco-freak Poison Ivy that people are more important than plants.
For those who like allegory, the remnant theology of Batman, Robin and Alfred’s redemptive presence in the midst of a dark and fallen world will give them much to discuss.
There is a lot of action violence, but few deaths. There are some frightening scenes which make this movie inappropriate for little children. However, this is not an immoral movie.
There are some very funny lines, such as when Freeze shatters a dinosaur in the museum and says, “Down with the dinosaurs,” a clear reference to the upcoming box office battle between BATMAN AND ROBIN and THE LOST WORLD. Furthermore, there are many film references in this movie, just as there are in THE LOST WORLD.
This is one of the better Batman movies, in spite of some illogical, fantasy plot problems. Those who want to be thrilled will enjoy it. Those who go along with the thrill seekers will appreciate some of the witty elements.
Director Schumacher seems to be trying very hard to make this an intelligent, stylish, entertaining movie, since he is under severe pressure to equal or better the previous Batman outings. Whether Batman can continue his track record in a summer crowded with big pictures is a question that will soon be answered.
(BB, C, L, VVV, S, M) Moral & redemptive worldview in the midst of a dark fallen world; 1 d*mn & 3 hells which are not used as curses; constant bloodless, action, comic-book violence with people getting frozen, beaten, tossed around like straw men, falling from buildings, & crashing through cars & buildings, & many other high special effects situations; no nudity; lots of sexual innuendo especially from Poison Ivy − most of it far too sophisticated for children to understand; and, many moral messages & many dark bizarre images
BATMAN & ROBIN is a leather-clad morality tale set in a dark retro-futuristic world. In this fourth movie, Batman fights Mr. Freeze, who accidentally changed his molecular structure so that he could only survive at freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, a female environmentalist in the jungle gets turned into a plant-human form known as Poison Ivy. She heads to Gotham City to tell Bruce Wayne that he has to clean up the environment or else. Also, Barbara, the niece of Wayne’s butler Alfred, comes to Wayne Manor emotionally scarred by the accidental deaths of her parents. With the stage set, the plot kicks into high gear. Batman, Robin and Barbara becoming Batgirl battle Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze over Gotham City.
The stylish direction, intelligent dialogue, powerful action, and excellent special effects grip us and keep us emotionally involved throughout all the illogical twists and turns in this movie. By now, parents should be well aware that the BATMAN series is dark. In spite of that, however, there is almost no obscene language and many moral messages. Batman and Robin discuss the need to support and trust each other. They are men who are interested in preserving law and order. They are opposed by a psychotic environmentalists and the loony bio-chemist. Batman tells Mr. Freeze that he must not avenge the death of his wife because vengeance will only destroy him. The whole movie is opposed to political correctness: Alfred feels honored to be able to serve Mr. Wayne; Barbara says she wants to be called Batgirl, even though Batman tells her that it isn’t “PC”; and, Batman tells eco-freak Poison Ivy that people are more important than plants. For those who like allegory, the remnant theology of Batman, Robin and Alfred’s redemptive presence in the midst of a dark and fallen world will give them much to discuss. There is a lot of action violence, but few deaths. However, there are some frightening scenes which make this movie inappropriate for little children.