|I can't forget, so you don't get to either.|
|Pow! Crash! Bang! Shamwow!|
This is a problem that was endemic until relatively recently, and effected any movies being made that were in some way related to comic books, superheroes and in a similar vein movies based on games. Many people did, and still do, carry with them the notion that all comics, because they are created in the same medium as the Looney Tunes perhaps, must be for children. This lead to two things: many movie ideas either never seeing the light of day, or being treated with a general lack of respect, and in some cases movies being diluted so that they were 'family friendly'. For some perspective, Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics in 1939. That means that, in all likelihood by the time Batman Forever was made in 1995 that an unlucky portion of the original 'kids' who liked Batman in the '40s had already had time to die of natural causes in their mid 60s. While I won't argue that Batman and other superheroes often see great popularity with a younger audience, the notion that comic books could only ever be bubbly kid's fare is plain stupid. This attitude probably wasn't helped by the campy Batman TV show from the '60s, but Joel Schumacher and Warner Bros. still have no excuse.
While Batman Forever was certainly a ridiculous piece of crap of a movie, it looks like a restrained masterpiece compared to Batman & Robin, a movie which was as frantically stupid as it was awful. Val Kilmer does not reprise his performance as Batman (mercifully) but is unfortunately replaced with George Clooney, who though perhaps proficient in other roles, is catastrophically miscast as a Batman of any sort. Chris O'Donnell does reprise his role as Robin, and the hero squad is rounded out by Alfred's niece, portrayed by Alicia Silverstone (A performance that earned her a Razzie for worst supporting actress). For leading villains, we have the profoundly unsexy Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and perhaps best of all, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. His merciless application of ice related one liners keeps the audience on the ropes for the duration of the movie.
|Time for Diamond Ice Hockey Batman!|
Ultimately I guess we should be grateful that this movie was as bad as it was though. A fifth movie Batman Triumphant was already in the works, also under Schumacher's direction, when Batman & Robin hit theaters. The lukewarm grossing and completely negative reviews tanked that project, and the failure of the lighter, campier Batman approach was what led to the return of a darker, grittier, more complex Batman. The only other positive that resulted from this movie was The Smashing Pumpkins song The End is The Beginning is The End, which actually went on the win a Grammy despite being attached to this steaming shitheap. I consider it a much better contribution to the musical world than Seal's Kiss from a Rose, which was prominently featured on the soundtrack of Batman Forever.
Having now explored Batman's dark past, I hope that we will all be able to enjoy a thrilling Batman movie later this month, lacking any of the absurd aspects I have explored here. I leave you with my summation of the movie, in its entirety.
That one about the dinosaurs doesn't even make contextual sense Mr. Freeze!
On Thursday I take a break from movies that hurt our feelings and review a comic movie that I'm pretty sure a lot of people missed out on.