Batman & Robin: A Cinematic Batsaster Or The Perfect Love Letter To Adam West's Batman?

Batman & Robin: A Cinematic Batsaster Or The Perfect Love Letter To Adam West's Batman?

Batman & Robin has been regarded as one of the worst, if not the worst comic book movie ever made, however is this really the case or is the film a perfect companion to the Adam West show?

"Batman And Robin" has had quite the history in terms of how it's regarded in the comic book community. It has been the butt of every joke ever since it's very infamous first shot showing off Clooney's own bat butt and has been picked apart mercilessly ever since. Now considering where the franchise was at that point it's very understandable the blacklash it received, afterall Tim Burton had helped bring the darkness of The Dark Knight to life for more mainstream audience members so to devolve into such a campy throwback romp so quickly is quite understandable jarring. However I feel like now that we have had over 20 years to really let the film sit and digest is it as bad as we once thought? I know what you're thinking I sound crazier than the clown prince of crime himself to suggest an idea but I truly believe that "Batman & Robin" is a perfect love letter to the Adam West show as well as the more campy comics of the 1950s. Understandably it's not the ideal version of Batman but it is a perfect ode to a certain era of Batman that I feel like this film really deserves to be revisited. 

For starters the villains literally seem like they were ripped right out of an episode of the Adam West show that it's kind of tough not to allow a smile to grow on your face. Sure the ice puns are ridiculous but isn't that kind of the point? Considering Arnold Schwarzanegger's career was built upon cheesy puns and silly one liners it seems perfectly fitting to write Mr. Freeze in this way. They also in emotional weight with his character by loosely adapting the classic Batman TAS episode "Hearts Of Ice" while granted that episode handled that story arc better it's far too dramatic of a tone to fully explore in a film like this. Also how can we not mention how incredible Uma Thurman is as Poison Ivy. If that character had ever had an appearance in an episode of Batman from '66 then this is 110% how she would have been from design to dialogue to the over the top performance from Uma Thurman. She commands in the role and has a total blast with it. While Bane leaves a lot left to desire he is fun to have around as Ivy's muscle and hearing Mr. Freeze refer to him as Mr. Bane is just a silly little line of dialogue I absolutely love. 

The film on a purely technical level is something to admire too. Mr. Freeze's costume alone is breathtaking to look at and the production design and cinematography help bring to life this bright colorful Gotham and it's inhabitance to life. To say the colors are too striking or pop to much is to ignore things like Batman's multi color rainbow arsenal of Batsuits. Consider Batman's roots and where this film is coming from for it's source of inspiration. It's taking it's source from series that had things like Bat Alphabet Soup Decoders or having the United Nations dissolve into colorful piles of dust or a man dressed like a penguin using deadly umbrellas. This film isn't that far of a stretch from that particular source material and while sure it's no Frank Miller run on Batman it sure does embody a specific time in The Dark Knight's life.

Now this film isn't perfect by any stretch but saying that it has no place alongside other Batman films is ridiculous. To say it doesn't have a place is to wipe out a large portion of The Dark Knight's history as a Camp Crusader. There's a lot of sides of Batman that exist and have been portrayed from films like this to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. The fact people from Schumacher to Clooney to virtually everyone else involved in the production of the film having to publicly apologize for the film is absurd and I think they ultimately achieved what they wanted. Realizing that this is one step in Batman's long cinematic journey puts it more into perspective and if you enjoy the more campy side of Batman as well as his dark, bruting self then I hope you'll consider revisiting this film or at the very least appreciate it because without it The Dark Knight Trilogy probably would never have existed. 

 

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