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Batman & Robin (1997)

Holy Crap Batman! This is your typical "absolutely cannot fail" franchise (Alien, Terminator etc) film gettingass-raped by studio execs making crucial content decisions, when they have no talent, gut or sufficient background to do so. The Cape Crusader got crucified head and thumbs down, in the wake of a crusade for dollars, not even half as successful as each one of the previous attempts. If you wanna know how this miraculous anti-miracle happened and caught everyone off guard, read more and swear, or forever be silenced.
The Batman series started as a reinvention by Tim Burton. He took his dark mood and adapted it to a tortured comic book hero. The results were breathtaking. Batman was a fleshy, noir, psy, multilayered, new age medieval, over the top acting and setting movie, that if you didn’t want to follow it deep, it was also a fun flick to watch. Batman Returns was too dark too soon, (because a little later “dark” became a must, synonymous to movie realism), and so a motion was put forth to lighten up the next film, Tim Burton walked away for better (for him) or for worse (for the fans). Anyhow, in both cases we are talking about a mountainous achievement throughout all movie aspects, a cornerstone in not only how a comic reproduction should be made, but how an action movie should be treated in general.
Enter Joel Schumacher.
Exit reason.
Now, not that Joel Schumacher is an evil director, but he is kinda. His idea to turn Batman into a big-starred parody somehow managed to go by with little scrutiny in Batman Forever. Bad pop-ups out of nowhere. Ok, the Riddler played by the Mask was not a bad idea at all. The Saint was not a sinful of acting either – but that’s not entirely true. The shots and overall pacing were not Burton, but they were certainly up to the task. The soundtrack was a collection of dark jewels shining a disturbing light. But Two Face was an impalpable disgrace and the fun park sets and the dialogue right from the shit-dump of idiocy, oh they were right there from the beginning. TOO much unwanted facts and figures everywhere, bad add-ons and contradictions all over.
So, from early on, the hellish gayness (did I just say GAY?) seemed to unfold slowly, not so discretely, and painfully in a way nobody was used to up to that time. But still ok. Probably all, because there was so much hype and chat around Burton’s veil of dark genius. Not much of an excuse, that is.
And then Batman and Robin aka Shit & Shack aka Nipple & Dickle. Flat & Furious that is, just like that neon toy bat mobile, that neon toy bat pods and the comically unnatural and over proportioned action scenes taken right from a Friday-night stunt men show for urban freaks. Gay (oh, did I say GAY again??) vs. bad day, throttle vs. ice skating, action vs. common sense, acting vs. dignity, production vs. taste and EVERYTHING vs. the stunned, shocked, disgusted, freaked out fan and even worse, the unaware movie bystander. In this quasi dark, pink and purple mess that every faith in Hollywood and humanity is lost, no need for a good actor either. George Clooney says he'll do it. Square-jawed. Popular with the ladies. Fair and square. But Looney Clooney just plays George Clooney. Which is the road he usually takes, but in this case this suave, dashing, and charming Batman seems more like a James Bond by day-Captain Amazing by night trendy dandy, than the tormented knightly investigator of legend. And that's not just it.
In the history of comic & movie bad ideas, Robin is probably one of the worst, but watching this is like staring at a happy graffiti tombstone amidst a desert of a post apocalyptic Eden, set to be chaotically reconstructed. Robin is acted like an all childish, bad tempered punko, and the only thing that he actually beats the crap off is O’ Donnell’s lost bet of a career (at last for †uck’s shake!)
Alicia’s forced, out of place add on of a role, seems surprisingly and exhaustingly too much for her zero talent, grace and charm, and her tough-girl-rag-doll kicking performance is sprinkled with not so kind reminders of her Clueless days. Batman’s shameful spirit and Holy Fan Fury ended her career too.
Uma Thurman, who the last we knew of, she COULD act, is hamming it up to ridiculous proportions. First, when she's playing the nerdo-weirdo Dr. Pamela, exaggerating that part to a level I thought impossible. And then she inexplicably turns into an extremely sexualized villainess whose master plan, by the way, would kill all the plants she advocated protecting.
Arnold wasn’t a bad casting idea at first. His acting is always frozen (no surprise here) and his structure is that of an iceberg (not only the tip of it). When you see Freeze in comics and Arnold’s stills from the movie, somehow it makes sense and it also fired up another great hype wave of fan anticipation back in these days of innocence. But that's all. When you hear Freeze tell Batman "Yew arr not zending mee too da cooola" the urge to laugh, scream and press the red button uncontrollably, is almost indiscriminate and insurmountable. What Arnie can’t terminate, the script can.
Akiva Goldsman should have been banned from Hollywood after this script. Damn, I am so into sarcastic and maybe cheap poetics in my free time, but here I encountered a level of expression so laid low, that it could hardly giggle my balls. It was a completely brainless jumbled crack. Everyone was – miraculously once again – drown in shallow waters. The story, which was pitiful at best, gets completely lost in entirely too many characters. It was so frustrating seeing the origins of certain characters burst to pulp as Goldsman attempted to jam them into the script. Batgirl, who should have never been in this film in the first place, was changed from Commissioner Gordon's daughter to Alfred's niece, which made absolutely no sense. In an attempt, to explain why Freeze was so muscular it was pointed that he was an Olympic gymnast. How freakin' stupid is that? Gymnasts by necessity need to be small in stature to perform well in gymnastics and Arnold is a enormous Bareback Mountain (I said BAREBACK – don’t take pride on it Schumie!) This is indeed a movie full of shit in every single detail from papers to paper sets and paper actors. Goldsman's use of dialogue was highly irritating consisting of nothing but kitsch and pesky juvenile one-liners, one after another, and another, and another, and yet another, till the end of fan.
Even Bane was a misshaped waste. Bane is a much more vicious villain in the comics (read Knightfall epic and weep) with a pretty edgy background but this movie reduced him to a mindless c-gorilla no more important than the costumed bad-ass-my-ass clowns throughout the whole movie.
Finally, when the ghost of Batman past, Alfred, enters the scene, you just want to cry in pain and nostalgia.
It’s just too FOCKIN’ late.
The outcome is a cataclysmic, worth shuttering, mind splitting disaster, making all believability and style Batman had, go out the window – without a bat chute. A conspiracy level act of malevolence that took almost ten years of waste and woe and a miracle man called Nolan to set things right in to the glory ride. Joel Schumacher other than building up a hill of pennies (and not at all the satisfying lot), just didn't give a penny about the characters, dialogue, integrity and the minimum given watching ability of the film. Seriously, I'd have more respect for Schumacher if he had stated that he hated Batman outright, and had intentionally ruined it with his shoot-cute-world of garbage. I‘d hate him again, but this might actually have been just his own personal joke, his what-the-fuck-for-anyway, anti-super hero statement of all time. Instead, it borders harshly on gruesome scars, in a tragic travesty, that anything that is good and worthy in and around the movie business, will never forget or forgive. So, I LOATHE the misacted, miss casted, insipid, disgusting, intentionally flawed, sea full of shame, butcherly disrespectful, provocative to the core of the minimum human artistic condolence, Batman & Robin.
Well Schumie, you miserable little clown, if you want to really know how a great clown is made and what a great clown is being made of, try watching the last Batman instalment. As for us, if Hell hath no less than seven pits, we shall certainly dig and tear you a new one called Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane Directors. Cut.

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