Worst To First: Ranking the Batman Movies
Next Friday, Superman and Batman will appear on the big screen for the first time. Leading up to the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we’ll be looking back at the cinematic history of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. Last week, we ranked the Superman movies. So now it’s Batman’s turn.
On the whole, Batman has fared better than Superman at the movies. But overall, most of his movies still aren’t very good. Before we get started, a couple of ground rules. I’m only looking at live action Bat-films. So no Mask of the Phantasm or Lego Batman. Also, we’re starting with the ’89 Batman. The Adam West movie was an offshoot of the TV show anyway.
8. Batman & Robin (1997)
Summary: Batman & Robin is infamous for nearly killing not just the Batman franchise but the superhero genre in general. Following the commercial success of Batman Forever, Warner Brothers was in a hurry to get more of the same. And that’s exactly what they got. With only two years in which to make a sequel instead of the usual three, Joel Schumacher rushed out a movie that did all the same things as the previous movie, but did them bigger. Eager to sell as many Batman toys as possible, Batman & Robin was crammed full of even more sidekicks and villains. Unfortunately, nothing about the movie in which Batman, Robin and Batgirl team up to protect Gotham City from Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane works.
What’s Good: This is a big budget Hollywood summer release. No expense was spared in making Batman & Robin. You can see the money there on the screen. There was some good design work on display in the movie. Yes, I’m struggling to find a silver lining.
While George Clooney has spent years apologizing for Batman & Robin, he’s probably the last person who should. Clooney actually gives a good performance in the lead role. He knows this is a silly Batman movie and he gives his Bruce Wayne an appropriately light tone. In a better movie, Clooney’s Batman could have been great.
What’s Bad: Just about everything else. Arnold Schwarzenegger spends all of his screen time making painful ice puns. Uma Thurman looks terrible buried under ridiculous wigs and make-up and doing a kind of Mae West thing. If you weren’t annoyed by Chis O’Donnell’s abrasive Robin in Batman Forever, odds are you will be in this movie. Alicia Silverstone is lost playing a Batgirl who for some reason is supposed to be Alfred’s niece but lacks any kind of English accent. Bane is wasted as a mute henchman. Oh and did I mention the Bat credit-card?
Verdict: Few movies waste as many resources as completely as Batman & Robin. A lot of talented people worked on the movie. Over $100 million dollars was spent to make and who knows how much more to promote it. And in the end, it committed the cardinal sin of being boring. Batman & Robin proves that the camp of the sixties TV show was harder than it looks. Get the tone wrong, and this is the result.
Posted on March 18, 2016, in Movies, Super Heroes, Worst to First and tagged Batman, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, George Clooney, Joel Schumacher, Michael Keaton, The Dark Knight, Tim Burton, Val Kilmer. Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.