Anyone who sits down to watch a marathon of Batman films is going to have to resign themselves to the fact that it includes Batman and Robin; arguably one of the worst big budget films ever made. The film starts with a cliched 'suiting up' montage as Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) prepare to go out and battle with Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger). At first the suiting up seems like a typically laboured attempt to tick the boxes of an archetypal 'comic' experience, but then Schumacher has the camera linger on close-ups of the dynamic duo's arses in tight vinyl pants, and it's immediately obvious that he isn't going to treat this film seriously in any way whatsoever.
I'm not even going to bother describing the plot because it's offensively banal. The overall feel of the film is deliberately cartoonish but far more dumbed down than the actual '90s Batman cartoon. Instead of ideas relating to the concerns of the era (as seen in the previous films) we get stock crazy scientists conducting evil experiments next door to each other... a woman attempting to crossbreed animals and plants, and a scientist injecting serial killers with a super-serum to make them unstoppable brutes. I didn't really understand why these two would work in the same building together but it seemed beyond coincidental that two crazy scientists with separate crazy schemes would lead to the creation of two Batman villains at the same time. Then again, I guess it's pointless to try and rationalise this film.
There's little in the way of logic in Batman and Robin's script, it's all glib throwaway puns and rubbery fight sequences. Robin shouts "Cowabunga!" as he surfs through the air, and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) lusts after Mr Freeze just because he's a bad guy. There's no reasonable explanation for the personality change that Pamela Isley unders goes when she becomes Poison Ivy... one minute she's an ethical and frumpish nerd, then she gets splashed with 'plant' chemicals and suddenly she's a pouting sexpot. How does that work? Also, how does she know that her blood has been replaced with aloe within seconds of her accident? Do all Batman villains originate from scientific experiments gone wrong? It's all so ridiculous. Here's another question, how did Schumacher think that any Batman fans would seriously like this film?
Our introduction to Mr Freeze is thoroughly undramatic, coming via Commissioner Gordon on a little TV screen. Then Arnie (in character as Freeze) makes his entrance with not one but five 'freeze' puns and the immortal line, "Yes, kill them! Yes! Yes!" It doesn't help that his costume and plastic gun make him look like a villain from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but at least some of the blame should lay with Arnie for (predictably) treating the whole thing like one big joke. There's a half-arsed attempt to give Freeze a tragic backstory, but Arnie is the last actor equipped to convey that tragedy, and his theatrical and over-enunciation of lines is beyond embarrassing.
The villain Bane shows up as well, but he's just a monosyllabic goon.
George Clooney is a non-event as Batman but at least he's likeable (which is more than can be said for Val Kilmer). Elle McPherson also makes a forgettable appearance as Bruce Wayne's trophy girlfriend, though it's hard to fathom why she's even in the film as her character serves no real dramatic purpose other than to make Wayne look a bit like a stud. And wtf, Batman and Robin do promo appearances now? And Batman carries a Bat-Credit card?!
As if the film didn't enough going on already, we also get introduced to Barbara Wilson AKA Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone). She's meant to be English but Silverstone makes no attempt at an accent. She has her own side story about illegal bike-racing, but it's all too much. There are about five separate stories going on in this movie, and none of them feel connected... Poison Ivy wants to destroy all animal life or something like that, Mr Freeze wants to bring his sick wife back to life and rule Gotham, Bruce Wayne and Robin are having trust issues, Alfred's health is failing and he starts making preparations for his death, Batgirl gets introduced with her own story, and Bruce has to decide if he's going to marry his girlfriend or not. It's absolute nonsense.