Batman & Robin

“Bring back Tim Burton! Bring back Tim Burton!” the little voice in the back of my head kept screaming, and this was only five minutes into Batman & Robin. The voice got louder and louder as the movie got worse and worse. I’ve always loved Batman, from the cheezy campy TV show that I watched as a kid to the comics to the Tim Burton movies to the animated series. When Joel Schumacher came on board with the third installment of the big screen Batman series, I thought he made a decent attempt a directing Batman Forever. Sure, Forever had a different look and a different – more action – feel to it, but it was a fun film.

With Batman & Robin it looks like Schumacher wants to take the series back to the old days of the Batman TV series, adding a full compliment of campiness to it. I’m thankful he hasn’t – yet – brought the big exploding lettered action cards to the big screen (remember? BLAM! CRASH! ZOW!) But, Schumacher comes pretty close to it. To say the least, Batman & Robin is the worse of the big screen Batman series. To be even more honest, it’s one of the worst big budget movies I’ve seen this year.

The script by Batman Forever’s Akiva Goldsman is so paper thin that I’m hesitant to even waste time explaining it. In one sentence: Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy want to kill Batman, Batman and Robin want to kill each other, and we get a new add-on rubberized suit super heroine.

How’s George Clooney as the new face behind the mask? Clooney gives an admirable performance as Batman, and is the only actor in Batman that is not over-the-top or sliding deep past overacting. I like Clooney as Batman more than I did Kilmer, but I still think that Michael Keaton is the real Batman. Chris O’Donnell is annoying as the annoying Dick Grayson/Robin. Arnold Schwarzenegger must have been paid a lot of money to throw his reputation on this awful movie. He gives the worse performance of the whole cast of big name stars. His overacting is unbearable. Uma Thurman does a bit better than Arnold Schwarzenegger, but not by much. And Alicia Silverstone looks like she can barely fit into that kinky rubbersuit.

As for Clooney, of the three action films that I’ve seen of his – Batman & Robin, The Peacemaker, and From Dusk Till Dawn – this is the worse film of his action career. He’s a good actor, and he really deserves better that any of his previous action films. If you want to see Clooney in a somewhat decent action movie, try The Peacemaker.

Schumacher has brought the whole Batman series to its lowest point with this film. And with rumors of another film in the series, I have only one piece of advice for the studios, “Bring back Tim Burton! Bring back Tim Burton!” As much as I like Clooney as Batman, at this point just about anyone can be Batman. Burton’s Batman was a dark man living in a dark world. Schumacher’s Batman is a cardboard cutout comic character running around like a headless chicken in a comic book world.

Batman & Robin is just plain awful. Save your money. Miss it, Miss it, Miss it. I’m sorry I spent the two hours watching this film. The only thing that carried me on watching was to see how much worse the film could get. And after the first few minutes when the film starts to go down hill, the hill becomes intangibly more steep as each passing minute comes along. This film is not fun it’s just painful. Save yourself from the pain.