The following is a recent mass email/MySpace bulletin from Josh that I felt compelled to reprint with permission here. -Al
When or if you received my text message last night where I made the bold statement “Batman & Robin is the best batman movie” you must’ve thought I was on drugs and just making an outlandish statement for the sake of making an outlandish statement. While I do like making outlandish statements I don’t truly believe, I stand by what I said.
When you said at champagne brunch that “Batman” needs to be revisited as an adult to be appreciated I was intrigued and thought yes I should watch that again.
I discovered though, the strange voyage of the Batman franchise can be best enjoyed through the prism of watching Batman Begins followed by Batman & Robin.
a) George Clooney is a fantastic Batman, not because he’s perfect for the archetypical “Batman” character, but rather for his portrayal of Batman in B&R. Batman in B&R is bored, jaded & enjoying the spoils of being a playboy. This Batman stuff is old to him. No more one man vigilante taking back the city. He’s recruiting kids to join him on his escapades and has them do the heavy lifting.
b) The cast: George Clooney, Uma Thurman – this should’ve sunk their careers, but they survived unscathed (for obvious reasons – Clooney is the most charming man on Earth, and Uma has Quintin Tarantino). Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone – megafailures. They have no right to share the screen with Clooney & Thurman. Then throw in Schwarzenegger. He’s the fucking Governor of California right now. His opponents should’ve chopped this movie up for campaign commercials and surely no one would’ve taken him seriously enough to get elected.
c) Schwarzenegger – He plays Dr. Freeze as if people demanded a reprise of his character from Last Action Hero. Its jarring at first. But everything that comes out of his mouth is a pun that refers to being cold. After he shoots one of his goons for interrupting him while he’s watching something, he turns to the screen and tells us “I Ate When Peepul Tawk During Deh Moo-vee”
d) Said Goon, and & “the man at the airport” are the only 2 people who die during the entire movie. In fact people generally are never in peril in this film. It is very hard to think of any other movie, any genre, that has a lower body count.
e) At one point Bruce Wayne & Robin are arguing because Poison Ivy has Robins head all mixed up that he should get a larger piece of the glory. At the end of his last point in the argument, Clooney throws in a (you) DICK This is jarring because its so out of the character of the movie, you think to yourself is Robins name Dick?* Nope, Clooney, just ad libbed calling Robin a dick. Amazing.
f) Dr. Freeze’s wife is being kept alive in some water chamber until some disease she and Alfred has can be cured. Poison Ivy unplugs her and kills her. She then tells Dr. Freeze Batman did it. She then tells Dr. Freeze they should team up to destroy Batman, no not just Batman, but the society that created him!
DR. FREEZE: YOUR WIFE BEING KILLED JUST FOR KICKS. DOES THAT SOUND LIKE THE WORK OF BATMAN, OR THE MANIACAL WOMAN THAT HAS COME OUT OF NOWHERE THAT TALKS FUNNY AND WALKS AROUND WITH A GOON WITH A HEAD CONSTANTLY BEING PUMPED FULL OF STERIODS?
g) Said Goon, BANE, with the head being pumped with steroids. It is being pumped in via thin rubber tubes outside his enormous body suits. How does Batman defeat him? He simply pulls those thin tubes out.
h) In Batman, the joker becomes the joker because Batman drops him into a vat of acid, in Batman & Robin when Robin starts fighting with Batman because he’s under Poison Ivy’s spell, Robin gets dropped into a vat of ice cream
i) In Batman Begins & Batman, Batman is as much an Enemy to the police as the bad guys. In Batman & Robin, I am pretty sure he’s on the police force’s payroll as a consultant. When Poison Ivy, Bane and Dr. Freeze get away during the big fight in the middle. The Commissioner busts in is like “What the fuck!? Way to go Batman” Meanwhile, this fight scene last like 15 minutes. Were the cops outside just watching saying “well, let’s just let these clowns in the ridiculous costumes fight it out amongst themselves” And why wouldn’t they. Its not like anybody had any guns, like I said earlier, nobody is ever EVER in any peril at any point during this movie.
j) At a later crime scene, Batman & Robin shows up in costume and starts reviewing the evidence with the police. Watching Clooney and O’Donnell walk around and talk with people all normally in these ridiculous outfits is a sight to behold. Especially in contrast to Batman Begins, where you would never see Batman just stand around in his costume around a bunch people, no less a well lit public space.
k) By the way, Robin’s outfit doesn’t really hide his identity. He just has some shit wrapping around his eyes, that are like sunglasses, but since you can see his eyes I’m guessing it would be pretty easy to recognize him on the street.
l) The Bat Signal: This goes for all the movies I suppose, but when there’s trouble does he just go to center of the city and wait? Does he go to the police station to get orders from the chief? What are the chances he will be looking into the sky when they shoot it up? Does he have to make sure to check the sky every 15 minutes if the bat signal is up? What if it’s a clear night and it doesn’t have a cloud to reflect the sign off of and it just looks like a regular spotlight? The Bat Signal is cute, but completely & utterly useless and impractical.
m) There are stupid bat-logos on everything, and then there’s robin logos, and then batgirl logos. I mean obviously Alfred has a metal shop in the basement and has the strength of a 1600’s blacksmith. But in this movie Alfred is dying. Who made all that shit? Its not exactly the kinda thing you can outsource, since you risk giving up your secret identity for something extremely, and I mean EXTREMELY trite. Like the monks in the beginning of Batman Begins, is creating all your huge metal logos like a test of your will and dedication for Robin and Batgirl.
n) For the final big fight scene, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl all have special black and silver costumes. Aside from the hot new color schemes there’s no indication these suits have any special features designed to assist them in fighting in the cold environs of Dr. Freeze’s lair.
o) Continuing with some thoughts on the big final scene, but not chronologically, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl are falling to their deaths when batman shoots his grappling hook through the ceiling. It’s a frozen incredible thin ceiling and the grappling hook busts a big hole through it. It’s not like its busts through like a thin missle and then expands. It just busts a big hole and latches on to it. Either a) it would go through the hole and the would continuing falling or b) it would lose its grip on the ceiling in a second and they would continue falling. To their death.
p) I don’t think theirs an apt comparison to how Uma as Poison Ivy talks, but its fucking ridiculous. Like Zsa Zsa Gabor doing Shakespeare ….or Mel Brooks.
q) Poison Ivy’s dust that makes guys fall in love with her and become completely under her spell. The massive pink dust lines that cloud the head and go right up their nose – that’s just metaphorical right? The characters can’t actually see that, right???
r) Poison Ivy and Bane bust Dr. Freeze out of prison. They have absolutely no trouble getting in, Bane is wrecking like 20 guards at a time, and then when they are all together in Dr. Freeze’s cell, they panic. Oh no! Guards! Um. You had no trouble with them 5 minutes ago. Poison Ivy – blow some fairy dust on em and Bane can stompdashitoutdem. Instead they bust a hole in the prison and jump many many many many stories down to the water. (where they’d probably die on impact)
s) Finally, Dr. Freeze’s big plot is to cover Gotham city in Ice. His plans to do this is to take this great new Telescope that all of Gotham is very excited about (Bruce Wayne is at the Gala celebrating its completion!). Take the great new Telescope, put some crystals under it, and then coordinate satellites in space to power it up to shoot ice all over the city. From the telescope. Basically, he applied the principle of killing ants with a magnifying glass and applied it to a telescope. To shoot? Ice? Where’s the water coming from? The satellites in space?
t) So the city is covered in Ice. Big deal. Wait til morning when the sun comes up. Batman instead decides to reprogram the satellites, and the telescope (?) to shoot a heat ray to thaw the ice. Frankly that seems very dangerous. It’s a thin line between dethawing and being burnt to a crisp.
u) The most remarkable part of that scene is how Batman is able to pull all this off. With zero prep time. He was at the party. He didn’t come into that with a plan… at all. He looks so fucking bored in this scene, and its wonderful
v) Batman has Dr. Freeze on the ropes, and informs him that he didn’t kill his wife. To prove this, Batman pulls out some video of Poison Ivy telling Batgirl she’ll “KILL HER LIKE I KILLED NORA FREEZE!” while they were fighting... So Batman was just standing there filming their fight? Think about it – Batman is so jaded, instead of fighting evil he’d rather film two chicks fighting. George Clooney is so cool.
w) Sometime in the beginning or end of this scene Batman is rolling in what can only be described as an Iceplane. Was it worth the millions of dollars in construction and development to use it that one and only time it could come in handy. I mean, I’m sure Batman would’ve been fine without it.
x) Sometime in the middle of the film Robin and Batgirl participate in some Mad Max style Bike race. Theres pyrotechnics everywhere, everybody has on a wonderfully elaborate costume – the logistics of pulling off that kinda party must’ve been hair-raising! Kudos to the organizers!
y) Dr. Freeze has seemingly limitless goons – but we never see them before they go into battle, and I find it hard to believe that Dr. Freeze can gain the allegiance of any man on this planet. Leadership is a skill.
z) So as mentioned above Batman tries to talk Dr. Freeze into giving him the cure to Alfred’s disease after proving to him he didn’t kill his wife. Well Dr. Freeze does just that, gives him the cure. Dr. Freeze loses all of his leverage. So what does Batman do? He lets him free and Dr. Freeze puts back on his costume, which gives him all his powers so he can go get Poison Ivy. Get, not kill, because we know only “the man at the airport” that is spoken about so often is the only person that dies during this movie. I said two people died earlier, but I’m pretty sure the goon I was referring to Dr. Freeze killing, was only frozen temporarily.
The most important thing to remember about Batman & Robin is that the total body count is: 1.
And that’s just hearsay. He probably pulled through at the hospital.
*(editor's note: I've been informed Robin's name is in fact Dick Grayson, but really it seems like Clooney is just calling him a dick)
Labels: comedy, lists