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Batman & Robin (1997)



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An early action scene sets the low standards of Batman & Robin, and the movie fails to exceed them at any point in the future. Fourth in the series of Batman movies that have accumulated co-stars faster than it can develop them, Batman & Robin is a culmination of everything bad that started when the series took a wrong turn with Batman Forever. More lines of dialogue than not are corny one-liners, especially those of the main villain Mr. Freeze, who is apparently incapable of speaking without dishing out heaping servings of puns.

In terms of characterization, there isn't room for any at all. There's Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Alfred (in a larger role than usual), Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Bruce Wayne's new girlfriend, Julie Madison. These last two are the greatest tragedies -- Bane, the most powerful Batman badguy in the comic books, is reduced to a savage grunt, and Julie Madison, played by Elle McPherson, is given a tiny number of cliches for scenes and is forgettable and superfluous. Uma Thurman does a fine job hamming it up as Poison Ivy, but the script doesn't give her anything else to do, so her character is a washout, too. Mr. Freeze is just plain laughable, as is the supposed element of friction between Batman and Robin, which practically screams, "I AM A MOVIE SUBPLOT!" I doubt many people would have the concerns Batman or Robin have here, and if they did, they wouldn't handle them with the inane, trite dialogue this movie burdens them with. Batgirl left me asking why the makers of this movie bothered to include her, since she adds nothing either -- especially since this movie mucks with her character by making her Alfred's niece instead of Commissioner Gordon's daughter. (Nothing like upsetting Batman aficionadoes and then even not making it worthwhile.)

Batman & Robin is for Batman completists only, and even they'll probably want to watch it in fast-forward.

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