BATMAN & ROBIN is 20 years cold, and CHILLED TO PERFECTION!
“There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris did. Uma is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.” –Joel Schumacher to Variety, 2014
It was June 20, 1997, and I thought BATMAN & ROBIN was the stupidest, most tasteless, worst big budget movie ever made. After the wholesale awfulness of BATMAN FOREVER went over well with audiences willing to sanction its buffoonery, Warner Brothers allowed director Joel Schumacher to go full Schumacher for the next one. It’s the same admirable, director-friendly approach that led to Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS, and the bean counters would come to regret it once again. Schumacher’s purest artistic vision is like the aftermath of a rainbow sherbet fight in the costume storage warehouse for an ice skating troupe. He keeps the moody Elliot Goldenthal score and themes of mourning and vengeance, but buries them in a day-glo fantasia of overacting, bad puns, fetishistic rubber costumes and theme park stunt show style super hero battles. For me it became Exhibit A in any argument against the “It’s Not Supposed To Be Shakespeare/Check Your Brain At the Door” school of summer blockbuster permissiveness.
I wasn’t wrong. But twenty years later to the day, after many truly great summer movies, some of them even starring Batman, it’s easier for me to appreciate the uniqueness of BATMAN & ROBIN – the outrageously tacky designs, the subversively in-your-face homoeroticism, the laugh-out-loud ludicrousness of the plot and dialogue and settings and action, and especially the spectacle of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bulky metal costume and glittery blue makeup as Mr. Freeze, playing like a simultaneous parody of over-the-top Batman villains, blockbuster excess and his own penchant for groan-worthy one-liners. He makes more than two dozen ice or cold related cracks without losing his boyish, gap-toothed Arnold charm.
Today I am prepared to admit that I own BATMAN & ROBIN on Blu-Ray. And have watched it twice in that format. And on purpose.
Ah shit, you guys. I like this stupid movie now.
LET’S KICK SOME ICE!
Schumacher wastes no time establishing his mission statement. The WB logo morphs into a frozen bat symbol, which explodes. Three dimensional metal credits fly into a field of red clouds to the sound of whooshing and an engine growl or two. Then a Robin symbol flies in and, uh… hooks up with the bat symbol, pushes up against it. And the bat symbol sort of thrusts forward so it’s on top. Mounting the Robin symbol. No big deal. Don’t worry about it.
(The Robin symbol, by the way, wasn’t previously a thing. Now Robin shamelessly talks about wanting it to be projected into the sky instead of the bat signal. There’s also a part I don’t remember noticing before where he crashes his motorcycle through the wall of a museum and if you pay attention in other shots the hole he made is perfectly shaped like the symbol.)
Next, Schumacher does one of his super hero suiting up montages, dramatic closeups and push-ins as Batman (George Clooney, SYRIANA) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell, MAX PAYNE) pull on their gloves and turn to display the symbols on their chests (flanked by sculpted nipples). They each get one rubber ass and one rubber crotch closeup before pulling on their masks and grabbing their bladed throwing weapons.
As they rocket out of the Batcave in their bat and bird vehicles, Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle, HANG ‘EM HIGH, ELVIS) pops onto Batman’s dashboard screen to tell him “Batman – a new villain has commandeered the Gotham Museum! He’s frozen the antiquities wing. He’s turned the security guards into ice. He’s calling himself Mr. Freeze.”
In the ensuing battle Freeze also refers to himself as “the villain,” and this sort of meta-ness becomes sort of a motif. Freeze yells for his hockey-equipped gang to “KILL THEE HEROES!” Alfred (Michael Gough, KONGA) refers to his job as “looking after heroes.”
I like when movies open in the thick of the action and take us through a long series of thrilling events and when the protagonist(s) finally get a chance to take a breath we realize “holy shit, this is just the opening.” RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is kinda like that and a more controversial one I have in mind is REVENGE OF THE SITH, when Anakin and Obi Wan fight a space battle, enter a spaceship, fight robots, rescue their secretly evil chancellor and crash land the broken off front part of the ship. Schumacher gives us the brain damaged version of that, with the latex crusaders fighting a gang of ice skaters in the museum, being shot into the upper atmosphere on a rocket, airboarding all the way back to earth and down a giant skyscraper, landing safely and still having another scuffle with Freeze in an alley before Robin gets frozen and has to be thawed.
By the way, it cracks me up that Batman and Robin click their heels together and ice skates pop out of their boots. You might think they planned ahead, but remember, Batman hadn’t even heard of Mr. Freeze until he was already in transit. I’ve always wondered if they were ever chasing a villain down an alley and accidentally set those things off. It could be disastrous.
Later we meet Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman, PULP FICTION), a nerdy botanist until a shelf of chemicals gets pushed onto her and she’s reborn as a mammal-hating, poison-lipped seductress who talks like Mae West and claims to have aloe for blood and chlorophyll for skin (however that would work). Her attacker is mad scientist Dr. Jason Woodrue (John Glover, MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS), who has just turned a skinny serial killer (Michael Reid MacKay, the sloth victim from SE7EN) into Bane (400 pound WCW wrestler Jeep Swenson) to sell as a super soldier to an international league of bad guys he refers to as “my fellow maniacs” and “The Un-United Nations.” I prefer to believe that that last one was the actual name of the organization and not just a quip.
This version of Bane is just a mindless, grunting henchman, in one scene even wearing a (pink) ape costume. His only great moment is when we see a photo of him arriving at the airport and he’s wearing a fedora over his mask.
Freeze’s plan is to steal giant diamonds that he uses to power his freeze gun so he can freeze Gotham and force the city to pay him to defrost it and use that money to continue his research to try to cure his sick, cryogenically frozen wife (model Vendela Kirsebom). Poison Ivy later busts him out of prison because she wants him to freeze the world so humans will die and plants will take over.
Meanwhile, at normal-colored Wayne Manor, Alfred is secretly dying and his prep schooler niece Barbara (Alicia Silverstone, CLUELESS) has shown up by surprise. By day she questions Alfred’s life of subjugation to rich people, by night she steals Bruce’s rare Indian motorcycles to take part in street races to raise money to free him.
The street race is an underrated scene of Schumacheriness. Coolio is to BATMAN & ROBIN as Ludacris is to 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, overseeing the race with onlookers from five different themed gangs (one cosplays as droogs from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, another is all women in bright red fright wigs). And he’s wearing a coat made out of shoes. During the race there are colorful balloons on the ground, and one crash causes an explosion of glitter.
The movie’s relationship with reality is well represented by the finale of the sequence, when Robin barely catches Barbara falling off of an unfinished bridge, and as she’s still dangling he lets go with one of his hands to remove his helmet and say “It’s me!”
The dangerousness of falling seems to vary. Later the two of them plummet off a building and he tells her all they can do is pray – this after having effortlessly survived a fall from fucking space. When Freeze and Ivy have to jump out of Arkham Asylum, Freeze says “I hope Mr. Bane can swim,” but we never see how the fuck he can swim wearing a metal suit.
Obviously Barbara becomes Batgirl for the climax (because we saw that she knew a self defense move, and Alfred made her a costume). I’ve always thought it was funny that they chose the title BATMAN & ROBIN for the one that’s about Batman, Robin and Batgirl. They couldn’t even name this thing competently.
Freeze doesn’t have what it takes to stay ahead of Batman and Robin (and Batgirl) forever, but Ivy comes close because she has the power to make those boys think with their dicks. Much like The Riddler made green stuff float out of people’s heads and nobody noticed, Ivy blows pink pheromones into dudes’ faces. For example she does it to get past the guards at Arkham Asylum, played by Schwarzenegger buddies Jesse “The Body” Ventura (PREDATOR) and Ralf Moeller (BEST OF THE BEST 2).
The caped crusaders should know better, but those two turn simple and get competitive. Batman hallucinates about Ivy seducing him while his girlfriend (Elle Macpherson, THE EDGE) is trying to discuss marriage with him. Robin almost quits the team because he thinks Ivy loves him and Batman is jealous. I mean, he in particular is acting like a complete ass for much of this movie. Commissioner Gordon has nothing to be proud of, either, having given Ivy the keys to the bat signal. The whole thing is a huge embarrassment for everybody involved and I’m just glad Superman or Steel don’t know about it.
Ivy jokes about Batman and Robin’s infamous nipples and crotch bulges: “There’s something about an anatomically correct rubber suit that puts fire in a girl’s lips.” That made me wonder, though, why they don’t have belly buttons.
Like Keaton in 1989, Clooney was second billed playing Batman. And honestly, in these Schumacher movies I don’t see any reason to give a shit who is playing the character. Before Clooney, Schumacher had considered William Baldwin. Would it have really been that different?
There are varying stories about why BATMAN FOREVER’s star, Val Kilmer, “chose to journey on to other projects,” as author Michael Singer puts it in the book Batman & Robin: The Making of the Movie. A July 1997 People Magazine profile of Schumacher mentions a shoving match with Kilmer after the latter “verbally attacked two crew members.” The March 1996 Entertainment Weekly article announcing the casting of “ER hunk George Clooney” mentions “Kilmer’s outspoken nature” and his famous difficulties on THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. But it also speculates that Kilmer was wary of being upstaged by too many villains and sidekicks and was getting paid three times as much to star in THE SAINT anyway.
The article also quotes “an industry source” as saying that Schumacher “always wants the newest, hottest person.” That sounds dumb but it could be argued to be one of Schumacher’s talents, having given breakthrough roles to Demi Moore (ST. ELMO’S FIRE), Jason Patric (THE LOST BOYS), Julia Roberts (FLATLINERS), Matthew McConaughey (A TIME TO KILL) and Colin Farrell (TIGERLAND).
And that’s what Clooney was right then, having broken through as a movie star with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. I couldn’t find a citation for this, but I remember reading about Schumacher drawing a bat cowl over a DUSK ad, and Rodriguez cutting together a trailer of dailies to help him get the part.
Well, he got the part, and he did what he could. I don’t think many people blame him. There is no scenario where the quality of his acting makes this not be BATMAN & ROBIN.
TONIGHT, HELL FREEZES OVER!
Defenders of the movie have always said the tone pays homage to the campy 1966 TV show with Adam West. I’ve long rejected that comparison, partly because the movie’s shimmery look is so much more disco than the bold pop art style of the show, but also because West played it so straight. As a kid I thought it was a serious show. I guess the same could be said about this, and there’s one joke – Batman pulling out a bat credit card to pay for a date with Ivy – could only have worked on that show (it even feels out of place in this movie). But it’s not that same straight-faced camp feel. These characters keep cracking terrible so-called jokes, and when the dramatic scenes are funny it doesn’t seem like it’s on purpose.
The making-of book describes a movie filled with genuine emotion. “Schumacher and Goldsman challenged themselves to develop a terrifically entertaining new adventure for Batman and Robin, while again including enough human drama to engage mature adults as much as their more viscerally oriented children,” Singer writes. “The resulting story is, beneath the exciting and humorous surface, about the degree to which some will go to eliminate loss and grief from their lives.”
So, according to this guy they really mean this shit. They think it’s serious when it’s funny and funny when it’s not funny. But I think my position is changing on this too. Intent isn’t all that important, I can still enjoy it on a level I wasn’t meant to. A favorite exchange:
ROBIN: So how long you been racin’?
BATGIRL: Since my parents died. I guess all the speed and danger helped take me out of myself, made the pain go away. You wouldn’t understand.
(Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman later won an Academy Award for A BEAUTIFUL MIND.)
BATMAN & ROBIN does take inspiration from some of the same old school comic book traditions as the show, so you’ve got gimmicky thematic locations and giant props. Batman slides down a dinosaur skeleton. Mr. Freeze makes his base in an abandoned ice cream factory, where Robin gets tossed into a vat of melted pistachio. Poison Ivy makes hers in a Turkish bath that she steals from a black light juggalo gang and turns into a greenhouse. Later she falls into her own giant venus flytrap and yells “Curses!”
I have always thought Thurman (bless her soul) was horrible in this, doing a shtick that probly seemed funny at the time but you had to be there. On this viewing I actually found myself laughing at some of her stuff, doing a dumb accent and calling Robin “pretty birdy” and weird shit like that. I’m sorry, Uma. You knew what you were doing.
And so did Schwarzenegger, as the “two-time Olympic decathlete and Nobel prize winner for molecular biology” who now enjoys committing crimes and taunting innocent people with terrible puns (“The Iceman cometh!,” “All right everyone, chill!,” “You’re not sending me to the cooler!,” etc.). My favorite has always been, “Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. Learn it well, for it’s the chilling sound of your doom!” But I actually think people don’t give enough credit to his less punny, more flowery megolamania. I believe this is the only movie where Schwarzenegger uses the word “harbinger.”
Freeze’s gleeful evil makes it hard to accept the story about trying to save his wife, a sympathetic motive taken from an influential Batman: The Animated Series episode called “Heart of Ice.” Batman seems to be buying it, though, because after defeating Freeze he explains that he’s saved the doctor’s wife’s life and generously arranged access to equipment and funding to continue his research behind bars. Freeze hands over a serum to cure stage 1 of Alfred’s sickness, and you know me, I’m a sucker for enemies respecting each other and deciding to work together. It’s actually kinda sweet.
Then in the next scene Freeze is suited up and making an evil speech again, seemingly about to murder Ivy in her cell.
Schwarzenegger was nominated for a Razzie for worst supporting actor, but lost to Dennis Rodman in DOUBLE TEAM. I can’t really disagree with either of these nominations, but I hope in the ensuing decades some of those people learned to celebrate uniquely ridiculous movies like these instead of feeling superior to them.
That making-of book I mentioned came out in conjunction with the movie, so it’s written under the assumption that the movie is amazing and everyone is gonna have their fuckin socks knocked off. “Shimmering, stunning and atmospheric, the push-the-envelope cinematography of BATMAN & ROBIN is the domain of Stephen Goldblatt, whose work on BATMAN FOREVER brought him an Oscar nomination,” it says. “A carefully modulated symphony of color and light, the design of BATMAN & ROBIN’s look was achieved through much experimentation and painstaking toil.”
Reading about such toil makes the movie even funnier. It’s cheesy, but not chintzy. This is a $125 million movie – almost twice the cost of JURASSIC PARK – and it shows. Much of Schumacher’s Gotham is built on top of gigantic statues of the human form, like a society a little too worshipful of itself, and the buildings are supposed to be two to three times as tall as those in New York. STAR WARS veteran John Dykstra and the effects crew built 30-foot-tall miniatures and extended them digitally. The actors were filmed on enormous sets inside soundstages, including some in The Seaport Dome in Long Beach, California, a 140,000 square-foot geodesic dome originally built to house another expensive flop, Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose.
I especially liked reading what an undertaking the Mr. Freeze costume was. There were four hero suits hand-pounded out of aluminum, made in “20-odd pieces” and weighing about 45 pounds. They used those to mold 15 more suits out of fiberglass for stunts. Each suit has 2,500 LED lights inside, with batteries in the backpack that can power them for between 10 and 60 minutes, depending on the suit.
Of course the book also goes into the making of Freeze’s velvet bathrobe, which I never noticed has a polar bear pattern on it. It was burned in with chemicals and underlaid with refractive sequin fabric. Each bear has tiny rhinestone eyes. Incredibly, the bathrobe weighs close to 40 pounds – not that much less than the metal suit. The novelty polar bear slippers are not as elaborate, but the book quotes designer Robert Turturice (Christmas at Pee-wee’s Playhouse, THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS) as saying “if you look closely you’ll note that they’re not predatory polar bears, but polar bears with an attitude, which is just right for Mr. Freeze, who has an attitude of his own.”
FOLLOW THE NUMBERS, BATMAN, FOR THEY ARE THE HARBINGERS OF YOUR DOOM!
BATMAN & ROBIN is more of a product-selling juggernaut than anything else in this Summer Flings series, starting with the soundtrack album. Just like in BATMAN FOREVER, Schumacher was happy to taint his Gotham City with a random sampling of popular music by Jewel, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, R.E.M., Goo Goo Dolls, etc. The album actually went platinum, and a Smashing Pumpkins song called “The End Is the Beginning Is the End” won a Grammy for “Best Hard Rock Performance.” Singer Billy Corgan told MTV News, “It’s really not about the film, it’s more about how Batman would think about the things that would go on.”
So, “For I am crystal chrome, I am shatter dome, I am Kremlin king of angels avenged to destroy the end” is how he would think about the things that would go on. That clears that up.
The video was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, later known for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and had the band playing inside a giant Batman head with clips from the movie projected behind them.
The song that makes me laugh is R. Kelly’s “Gotham City,” played over the end credits. He and a choir sing passionately about “City of justice / City of love.” The one I didn’t realize existed until now is a song called “Poison Ivy” by the great bass player/singer Me’Shell Ndegéocello. Not one of her better works, though. (I recommend her first and third albums, Peace Beyond Passion and Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape.)
Of course this being a Batman movie there was an endless supply of merchandise and product tie-ins, so I’m not gonna try to catalog all of them, but here are some favorites:
Batman & Robin: An Audio Action-Adventure: Audio Adaptation of the Latest Batman Blockbuster with Underscore and Special 3-D Sound Effects!
Batman & Robin Mr. Freeze Freezer Bars (“Team up with the coolest treat in Gotham City!”)
Night Hunter Robin vs. Evil Entrapment Poison Ivy action figure set
Limited Edition Batman & Robin Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts (“Straight form Gotham City to your toaster.”)
And this horrendous t-shirt that I bought on ebay for some reason but I’m usually too vain to wear it:
I also would be very interested to see how the hell author Michael Jan Friedman approached the novelization.
As tacky as the movie is, I have to say, the merchandise and its packaging did not do it justice. This shit is ugly. In interviews Schumacher will always mention learning the word “toyetic” and admitting that the movie was largely designed for selling toys. But I wonder if it was even a success on that level?
Maybe. At the box office it went head to head with FACE/OFF and lost, but it definitely could’ve been a bigger disaster. Despite a rapid drop off, it made $238.2 million worldwide, and must’ve at least broken even. But the response from audiences was toxic. Schumacher became a punchline, and BATMAN FOREVER became retroactively less popular. It seemed like Schumacher might’ve killed Batman movies forever. Maybe even super hero movies.
IF I MUST SUFFER, HUMANITY WILL SUFFER WITH ME!
Schumacher initially blamed Harry’s spy reports on The Ain’t It Cool News for the poor reception, but these days he doesn’t seem interested in appealing the world’s verdict on his movie. He’s quick to claim that he wanted to do a “darker” movie based on Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. “I do think Val was the best Batman of all the Batmans,” he says on his commentary track, before going on to explain that Clooney’s Batman is “less tortured.” But during filming he expressed the exact opposite view to Variety: “Michael was terrific, and Val was terrific, but I think George is the best Batman of all. He has brought a humanity to the piece that is fresh, and we’ve stepped away from a more brooding, self-centered Batman to a more mature, accessible Batman.” It will be interesting to see if his view switches back now that the mob demands lighter Batman again.
A few months before the release, Schumacher was still expected to direct a followup for release in summer of ’99, going up against THE PHANTOM MENACE. Goldsman turned down the job, so it was given to Mark Protosevich, a then unproduced writer who eventually was credited on THE CELL, POSEIDON, I AM LEGEND, THOR and the OLD BOY remake. Variety reported that Egghead, Mad Hatter, King Tut and Scarecrow were being considered as villains, but Protosevich chose The Scarecrow and Harley Quinn, who would’ve been the Joker’s daughter, out to avenge her father’s death. The Joker would’ve appeared in a hallucination, and it was speculated that they were trying to get Jack Nicholson to do it. Schumacher wanted his 8MM star Nicolas Cage to play the Scarecrow.
Schumacher felt he owed it to “the fans” to do a darker followup. But the dubba-dubba-powers-that-be, after seeing how humans reacted when exposed to BATMAN & ROBIN, decided to go full quarantine on him. Not sure how the fuck to make people respect Batman again, they spent years developing potential reboots, finally settling on Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS (2005). During that fearful eight year gap only two other DC comics films were released, both disastrous: STEEL (produced simultaneous to B&R and released two months after) and CATWOMAN (in the works since BATMAN RETURNS). In DC’s absence, Marvel Comics finally broke through into movies with BLADE, X-MEN, BLADE II, SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, HULK, X2: X-MEN UNITED, BLADE: TRINITY, THE PUNISHER, SPIDER-MAN 2 and ELEKTRA.
Though obviously not Schumacher’s intent, the self destruction of the series served as sort of a cleansing that set the stage for Christopher Nolan’s stripped down version to exist. It freed him to go in the opposite direction of Burton’s fantastical, stylized approach, discovering the Batman movie we never knew we had wanted all along. And I think Schumacher would say it gave him the freedom to make smaller and less commercial movies (his next three were 8MM, FLAWLESS and TIGERLAND).
Goldsman wrote a less spectacular tentpole debacle, LOST IN SPACE, before the aforementioned Oscar win. He became a prominent producer-rewriter, including as the guy who customizes scripts for Will Smith. I was surprised when his I, ROBOT wasn’t terrible, and he also ended up rewriting I AM LEGEND after poor Protosevitch developed it forever. He has bored the shit out of millions with the DA VINCI CODE movies, but as a writer-director his fantasy romance A WINTER’S TALE has gained a reputation as an astounding “so bad it’s good” movie.
I don’t think anybody blamed Thurman for BATMAN & ROBIN, and it didn’t seem to hurt her career at all. She even got to do another would-be blockbuster, THE AVENGERS, and within six years she’d be iconic for playing Beatrix Kiddo.
The iceman cometh out of this with a little more damage. His subsequent run of action movies – END OF DAYS, THE 6TH DAY, COLLATERAL DAMAGE – are on the weaker side of his filmography. Honestly TERMINATOR 3 bests all of them, and it’s a pale shadow of the James Cameron movies it follows. One sad part of the making-of book is when they jinx poor Arnold by praising his skill at choosing roles, then crediting “the monumentally thriving Planet Hollywood” and his marriage to Maria Shriver for giving him “one truly meaningful life.” He withdrew from the restaurant in 2000 and separated from Shriver in 2011.
But of course, we know his life has meaning! Even if he hadn’t become governor of California, found a new passion for fighting to stop gerrymandering, and returned to the screen with some underrated and challenging performances (ESCAPE PLAN, SABOTAGE, MAGGIE) we’d still love him.
You’d think the one who stood to lose the most was the guy playing Batman. It’s hard to picture now, but in a normal movie for humans Clooney would’ve been really good casting for Batman. He had much experience in Bruce Wayne style bachelorhood, was handsome and intelligent, could brood or speak authoritatively, had a square jaw and was exciting to see on screen. Too bad he ended up in the one where it most inconsequential who was under the foam rubber muscles. But I’m glad it was him, because the shame (and paycheck) led Clooney to the interesting career he’s had since. Promoting MICHAEL CLAYTON at the Toronto Film Festival, he told the Denver Post about his embarrassment on the BATMAN & ROBIN publicity tour. “It was really hard, because I knew it wasn’t a very good film, and it makes you a liar, sort of, but you have to, because it’s your job to promote the film. I was like, ‘I don’t want to tour again for a film that doesn’t work on any level,'” so he decided to do only movies he would watch.
If you look at his filmography now, he never works with nobody directors, it’s Steven Soderbergh, Terence Malick, David O. Russell, The Coen Brothers, Wolfgang Peterson, Wes Anderson, Anton Corbijn, Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, Alfonso Cuaron, Brad Bird, Jodie Foster, himself.
I guess it’s possible that Silverstone’s career was hurt, but she still had the major studio comedy BLAST FROM THE PAST two years later, and I doubt she had hoped for a career in actiony blockbusters. I imagine she’s more haunted by how good she was in CLUELESS than by how dumb this portrayal of Batgirl was.
Life gave the rawest deal to Bane-portrayer Swenson. He died of heart failure a few months after BATMAN & ROBIN came out, only 40 years old. Wikipedia claims without citation that “Hulk Hogan, Davey Boy Smith and James Caan gave eulogies at his funeral, which was followed by a final measure of his biceps and cremation.” At least his character’s reputation was somewhat redeemed when Tom Hardy played an intelligent version in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.
At the time, BATMAN & ROBIN seemed shameful to me, inexcusable, the lowest of the low. But now, I swear to you, I think of it as a symbol of optimism. Because Batman lived on. Super hero movies thrived. Summer movies got better. A cool actor became a pretty great artist. This movie that brought me such disgust then now brings me genuine joy. No matter how cold it gets in the winter, spring will come.
But ALWAYS WINTERIZE YOUR PIPES!
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.