Netflix January 2015_day.14 – Batman & Robin (1997)

_I’ve been overdue for some new clothes for the past…decade. So over the past few months, I’ve taken it upon myself to update my wardrobe with various dorky graphic tees from the internet. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m actually getting more pants and shorts for myself. I know, this is pretty dull information. But I’ve been using these opening paragraphs for various things on my mind, and…this is what’s going on right now. New pants. Yeah, man.

For today’s movie, we have Joel Schumacher’s magnum opus: Batman & Robin.

_The last time I watched this movie was in the theaters. So…yeah, it’s been a while. Looking forward to it!

_My brother brought up an excellent point years back: Batman & Robin is basically a big budget, 1990’s remake of the old Adam West Batman series. Go into the movie with that mindset, and it’s much more…unbad.

So, with that mindset…it still only kind of works. The villains are campy as hell and hammy beyond words. The bat family are generally playing it straight, putting aside the underlying sexual tension between Bruce and Dick. The movie has a grand orchestrated score. It’s kind of unfocused that way.

But the campy parts of the movie are just pure comedy gold. The opening with the gratuitous rubber suit ass shots. Arnold doing nothing but spouting out ice puns, or various lines where he brings up really reaches to bring up ice. Batman carrying a Batman credit card, which begs the question “Through what channels did he sign up for a card under the name of Batman where he can could keep his secret identity but also be able to get at least $7 million worth of credit?” Bane in general. Really, the only thing keeping this from being a full on remake of the 60’s Batman show were cutaways when people got hit with “BOFF!” and “SLAM!” in big letters.

Now that I think about it, Adam West and Burt Ward were actually kind of like the deadpan straight men in that show…so maybe that makes sense in this movie.

_I actually watched the 60’s show all the time in syndication when I was a kid. Hell, I remember the weird feeling I had when we saw Tim Burton’s Batman movie and it was all…dark. What? Gotham wasn’t a dark city, the sun was always out there! Everybody had brightly lit evil lairs! I loved the episodes when villains teamed up. I always thought “Oh man, Batman and Robin are always getting caught and having to escape from ONE bad guy, now there’s TWO?! And they’re working TOGETHER?! HOW ARE THEY GONNA GET OUT OF THIIIIISSSSSS????!!!!” I’m not sure about anybody else, but if Batman & Robin and Batman Forever preceded those Burton films, kid me would’ve been totally OK with that.

I wonder how that would affect the perception of this movie. People obviously didn’t want to go back after everything went all dark and broody, but what if we just went all gay and campy and colorful in Forever and B&R, then went into broody dark Batman and Returns…eh, who knows.

And for that matter, I’ve always found it strange that people dump all over B&R for killing the franchise and everything, which is true and isn’t totally undeserved…but have you watched Batman Forever recently? There really isn’t much separating Forever and B&R, stylistically. B&R has a lot more fantastic puns, but that’s kinda it. I mean, that movie has Tommy Lee Jones acting a fool. Really. Forever has really dodged a bullet as far as avoiding the kind of skewering B&R has gotten over the years.

_Mr. Freeze gets top billing here, as Arnold was dead set on stealing every scene with his hammy acting and ice puns, but really, Poison Ivy is the main villain in this movie. Freeze is going around stealing shit and freezing people to death, sure…but it’s all to do research on curing diseases! Poison Ivy? “Humans are dicks to plants. I’m gonna manipulate people into doing whatever I want.” Putting aside the fact that she was the first villain dispatched, she was pretty much the mastermind behind nefarious deeds in this movie. Girl power!

_I love how at the ending, Batman says he’ll put Freeze’s wife with him in Arkham and let him continue his research.  Really? Who’s gonna fund research for a super villain in an insane asylum? I hope Bruce was aware of this and was just trying to get Freeze to come quietly. In which case, nice job lying right out of your ass, Batman.

And then Smashing Pumpkins started playing over the credits. The End is the Beginning is the End is an OK song, I like it. But then after that, R. Kelly’s Gotham City started playing. How did I forget about this song? Thank you for existing, R. Kelly.

_Join us tomorrow, because the fun never ends. Obviously. Just watched Batman & Robin. It’s like a carnival in here. Anyways, up next, Adventures in Babysitting. See you tomorrow.


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