Movie Review

Batman and Robin also known as “Batman & Robin”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong stylized action and some innuendos.

Reviewed by: Bill Williams
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Fantasy Adventure
Length:
2 hr. 5 min.
Year of Release:
1997
USA Release:
June 20, 1997 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

ice

disease / terminal illness

murder and death

double life

vigilante

revenge

being haunted one’s past

environmentalism

EARTH’S ENVIRONMENT—Should Christians be concerned about the environment? Answer

What is man’s responsibility to the environment? Answer

How might rain forest destruction affect our weather? Answer

Featuring: Arnold SchwarzeneggerMr. Freeze/Dr. Victor Fries
George ClooneyBatman/Bruce Wayne
Chris O'DonnellRobin/Dick Grayson
Uma ThurmanPoison Ivy/Dr. Pamela Isley
Alicia SilverstoneBatgirl/Barbara Wilson
Elle Macpherson … Julie Madison
more »
Director: Joel Schumacher
Producer: Warner Bros. Pictures
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty. It ALL comes together…”

The latest in the “Batman” series offers more of the same you expect in the series—Batman (George Clooney, taking over from Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton), Robin (Chris O'Donnell), and Batgirl (series newcomer Alicia Silverstone) against a vengeful Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a diabolical Poison Ivy (a very campy Mae West-type performance by Uma Thurman).

It’s a lot of flash and spectacle highlighted by some incredible computer-generated special effects (a long way from “Batman Forever”) and multiple choreographed fight scenes, none of them violent to the point of overdone blood and gore.

The best performance comes not from any of the major stars but from series regular Michael Gough as Alfred, Batman’s butler. In the best moment of the film, the dying Alfred informs Bruce Wayne (Clooney) that he has loved him as a son and has freely given up any life he could have had to take care of the young orphan. It is this sense of family and belonging that brings the human element of unconditional love to an otherwise dark character.

In total contrast, Poison Ivy (Thurman) comes off as someone looking to replace God and become a god herself. As a Christian, I was very offended by her line, “God created the world in seven days, let’s see if I can do it better.” For that matter, she and Mr. Freeze (an equally campy Schwarzenegger) both see themselves as gods looking to destroy the world and recreate it in their images of ice and greenery. It’s this James Bond-ish mentality that ruins any other morality this film could have had, but then again, the “Batman” films have been more about the villains than the heart of the hero himself.

This film also has sexual innuendo from start to finish, from the very first scene with the heroes suiting up for battle, to an endless stream of sexual double-talk and wordplay. The original character certainly had none of that.

Director Joel Schumacher is set on making the Dark Knight of the comics very colorful, bringing an upbeat and campy (outlandish) quality to the series. In my own experience, Superman is supposed to be the campier of the two heroes, while Batman is the darker. Now the trend seems to have reversed itself, with Batman as a campy, colorful Joker-type hero, while the upcoming “Superman” film promises to be dark and dismal.

It’s rated PG-13 for comic-style violence (no bloodshed), and lots of sexual overtones. An alternate recommendation: either the 1966 “Batman” film with Adam West and Burt Ward as the heroes in a deliberately outlandish film that’s fun for kids of all ages, or 1978’s “Superman”, the definitive superhero film of all time.

See review of Batman Begins (2005).

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—Batman and Robin was very goofy and somewhat corny, but it was OKAY for the most part. I do agree with a lot of people that they destroyed the series by straying too far from the comics; one example is Batgirl as Alfred’s niece (the age difference is so vast, it should be great-niece), when she is supposed to be Commissioner Gordon’s daughter. The ice-puns were annoying, and the suit-ups ate too much clock time. That annoyed me more than the fact they focused on the character’s inappropriate regions. I was however, very relieved when Mr. Freeze shoots down an adultery temptation; “My passion thaws for my bride ALONE!,” he says.

The part where a teary-eyed Bruce hugs a dying Alfred glorifies thanking the people in our lives who sacrifice almost everything out of love. Barbara shoots down the idea that servitude is the same thing as family, but it should be noted Alfred does everything for Bruce out of love, not to be noticed like the hypocrites in Matthew 6. Furthermore, Bruce does consider Alfred’s opinion and asks for his feelings; but I can see where Barbara was going with her words.

Here’s my moral problem with the film: Poison Ivy is a nature-worshiping seductress. Now some of you might be thinking, “Oh no, he’s paranoid” and with some Westboro-like “Christians” these days, I can see why you would think that at first, but please hear me out. She is OBSESSED with “mother nature’s creation” and she says this about 20 times, last I counted. God created nature, not a fairy-tale mother nature being. ***SPOILER*** Her lips use venom, and she kills a good number of men this way, though Robin catches on and wears rubber lips, which looked so pathetic that in real life, he would’ve honestly died even with them. ***END SPOILER***

When she receives her poisonous powers, she is nearly naked, but she does dress (somewhat) modestly for the rest of the time. As for her Genesis reference, (“Let’s see if I can do better”) she never succeeds in her plans and her arrogance leads to her downfall. My main solace with this is she is a villain, and her evils are clearly portrayed as unattractive and ungodly.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
I have seen the 2nd and 3rd “Batman” movies but I don’t believe I will ever watch any of them again. I realized in the 3rd movie that the reason batman is batman is very dark and is filled with anti-Christian, if not occultic, undertones. Didn’t any one ever realize that “Batman's” other name is “The Dark Knight” sounds more like a name for the devil than a SUPER-HERO.

The “Batman” movies, also, seen to glorify the “poor” plight of the villain who have had very bad past and are really just misunderstood. Then if that is the case Batman is no better than they are because all he is doing is avenging his parents deaths. No where in these movies are there any clear distinctions between right and wrong. It seems that the underlying theme of these movies is there is no absolute right or wrong, it’s really who you are avenging yourself on.

Is this really what God teaches us any way… “Dear friends don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In scriptures the Lord says, ‘I am the to take revenge and pay the back’.” Romans 12:19.

So according to God’s perfect word the revenge is up to Him. The reason for this is because man is not a just judge an only God knows your heart. For these reason I would strongly recommend children and young teens not seeing this movie or ANY of the other Batman movies. There is also no redeeming quality in these for older teens of adult Christians.
—James Krumal
the movie batman and robin was a good outing for a long hot summer. I liked it. it was not as good as the first I must say, it was too campy and toony at times, but I was impressed with the good portrayal of the evil within the bad guys. showing that antichrists still exist, and always will. I noticed a lot of movies today emphasis the will to control the world in the bad characters. (poison ivy, “…god created earth in 6 days, let’s see if I do better…”) not that’s a force of evil that we can fear! :) but the bad gruy always fails. besides the trendy, predictable, and cheep sex double intenders (which made it super corny) it was an ok movie. go see it. :)
—joshua failla, age 19
I wouldn’t suggest not seeing this film because of any Christian issues (the sins against god were minor and were only really in “evil” characters). Instead I would suggest skipping it because it isn’t a very good movie. George Clooney couldn’t handle portaying any emotion, and only Arnold did a halfway good job. Rent it perhaps, but find something better for your six dollars.
—Thomas Maxton, age 43
Guys, calm down. It’s a campy, commercial, action flick. It should not be taken serious! If you went to see Batman and Robin for a brain teaser, you should be disappointed. Yes, I agree Poison Ivy was way out of hand with the sexual double intenders, but her comment about trying to do better than God at creating in 7 days was not offensive at all. After all she didn’t win, she lost. Just like anyone who tries to take God’s place. If it weren’t for sexual overtones, this would be perfect for anyone who enjoyed the Power Rangers Movie:)
—anonymous, age 18
I was kind of bored with this film. The plot was weak and the acting left a bit to be desired. Arnold was much better in Twins, if you ask me. From a Chirstian prospective, I was not bothered. I read that some were upset at Poison Ivy’s comment that she may be able to make the world better than God. But, why would a woman dressed in tights and pretending to be a rabid plant make a comment like this if it were not a joke? I must contend that we should not find sin in everything. This was a movie, a piece of celluoid onto which images are cast. When I walked into the theater I was a Christian, and I was one when I walked out. Nothing I saw or heard in this film could change that. Still, this one is definitely a renter—don’t pay the $7.75 to see it in the theater.
—David, age 18
I was also offended by Poison Ivy’s line: “God created the world in seven days, let’s see if I can do it better.” After that [woman] delivered that line I got up from this awful film and left the theater!
—Bryan, age 19
“Batman and Robin” is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. I went to see it on opening night. The theater was filled to capacity. For the first 15 minutes, there were cheers and laughter. After that, utter silence. Mr. Freeze manages to utilize just about every cold temperature cliche ever invented; the scenes with a sick Alfred were bathetic and had about as much emotion as a Gilligan’s Island episode; the Batgirl character was created to draw in shallow moviegoers who could not comprehend the plot thus far; Robin needs a hug; George Clooney looks like he’s always smiling, even when Alfred’s dying; and Uma, geez, don’t get me started on that… thirty minutes to the end, during a blissful silent moment, a young child near the front exclaimed, “Mommy, when is it going to be over?” The whole theater erupted in laughter and applause. That pretty much sums up the movie. I am being highly critical because I expect far better from such a high-budget American film. Producers should hire good screenwriters who understand characterization. All the glitz and glammer cannot substitute for effective characterization and dialogue. Good scenes of Gotham City, tho.
—Jeff Grygny, age 29
I publicly repent. I am sorry I exposed the Holy Spirit, who lives within me, to this film… and I told Him so. The sadism in the jungle sequence was repulsive and unnecessary. The plot was foolish, the characters shallow and the storyline nonexistent. I will not see the sequel. Do something worthwhile with your six bucks, give to a missionary.
—Biff Van Cleve, age 52
I agree that “Batman and Robin” was overly sexualized visually, and in the dialogue. The director went out of his way, it seems, to exploit sex; but that is the trend of this series and of all films from Hollywood. They market sex, stimulate lust in viewers, over-sexualize children, all in the cause of selling tickets. Still, the movie was entertaining, just short of immoral. Clooney was an okay Batman, and he added a human, sympathetic quality to the character that has been missing. I applaud him for that. He and Michael Gouch were especially effective in the sickbed scene referred to in the review. Another criticism I have of the film is that it was ultra-campy and too busy visually, like an art deco museum: it made you want to scream “Ahhhhhhhhh!” at some points. Anyway, those are my comments.
—Ron Houssaye, age 44
I took my daughters to see the movie for a girl’s day out. We enjoyed the movie, the humourous one-liners, the family interaction between the characters. I hope they stay with the lighter, action-packed style. Yes, I know there sexual references, but it’s either acknowledge it and deal with it or skip the movies.
—Karen, age 38
While this is not a good movie as a whole, the sexual undertones and innuendo make it even less of a movie for Christians. Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Poison Ivy, and some of the comments made by the male characters in regards to her, are the kinds of things Christian males should stay away from. My girlfriend was very offended by it.
—Brian Boguhn, age 32
Compared to the other movies so far this summer, it was worth seeing but please keep the kids under 15 home. It still amazes me the parents who take 2-10 year olds to movies like this. I sum up this movie with 2 words. TOO MUCH. Too much action, too many characters, bad guys too evil, too many scenes. Sometimes less is better.
—Ben Stroud, age 36
If there were such a thing as a matinee movie rental, Batman and Robin wouldn’t even be worth that. The casting was bad, the script and story were horribe, and the soundtrack seemed to re-use the music from earlier Batman movies.
—Ashley Tate, age 25
The movie was okay. I agree with the reviewer that Clooney as Batman was far different from Keaton or Kilmer. His umbrage against the two villains, however I dismiss. They are *supposed* to be bad guys, or gals, and that means taking unchristian positions. My worst fear, however, is that the storyline is moving away from the dark knight of the original movies into a more farcical presentation, such as (dis)graced our TV sets in the seventies…
—John Darnell, age 43
Was Mr. Freeze good or bad? He was portrayed as doing bad things for a good reason (save wife’s life). While on one hand Mr. Freeze wanted to end all life, he cared enough to save the life of Alfred. On one hand Mr. Freeze was punished for his deeds by being locked up, but on the other he was rewarded by being allowed to continue his research. Rather than creating depth to the character, it was confusing and conflicting.
—Dedra Russell, age 28
Out of all four BATMAN movies, this is the only one I’d pay to see again. Great visuals and great effects. It’s a bit slow at times, but it’s pretty good. If anyone has any lust issues, I strongly recommend going to see this with a brother/sister in Christ because Uma Thurman’s performance as Poison Ivy is much too convincing and over the top for my fellow brothers in Christ to deal with by themselves.
—Chris Utley, age 24
Comments from young people
Compared to the other “Batman” movies, this one [stunk]. I give it two stars (out of four) because it had the most simplistic plot mixed with the most moronic dialogue. From a Christian perspective, I can’t say the violence was that bad; it was no worse than the violence in the original tv series, and it was definitely less than the first two movies.
—Mark Rinker, age 15
Just a reminder: 1978’s “Superman” is not the only movie highly regarded as the definitive superhero film. I personally believe it’s 1996’s “The Phantom,” which I’ve seen four times. On the big screen, it is an experience unmatched. The filmmakers went to such lengths to create each detail true to its era, the 30s. It has the best stunts I’ve ever seen, the hero expresses high morals and has a great sense of humor and the action is furious. Don’t be fooled by its PG-rating either, “The Phantom” contains many stabbings, etc. though it has no gore and the heroes never(NEVER) use foul language. It doesn’t belittle the female sidekick Diana (Kirsty Swanson) who doesn’t need to be rescued and play that stupid, sexist damsel-in-distress which slyly made its way into the first “Batman”. Check it out on video for an intellectual, nostalgic adventure.
—Michael C., age 15
There’s lots to bash about this movie. Don’t bring the kids. Don’t bring anybody. Poison Ivy is an eco-anarchist, the three lead females were there for one reason only (and it isn’t acting), and I for one did NOT want to see Batman, Robin, Poison Ivy, or Batgirl’s complete (that means all of) anatomy. None in the theater bothered or even wanted to laugh at the pathetic scripting. Sad end to the Batman movie series.
—Ryan Lee, age 17