The year is 1997. Titanic will soon become the highest-grossing film of all time (until Avatar unseats it decades later), Pokémon is soon to premiere in Japan and start a worldwide phenomenon, and South Park began its crude and historic run on TV that has yet to end.
Director Joel Schumacher was asked by Warner Bros. Studios to return for the followup to 1995’s largely successful Batman Forever, and was given an even bigger budget to work with. However, with the increased budget came increased meddling from the studio, and the result, Batman & Robin, will live on in infamy forever. Here are just some of the things that make this movie awful.
1) Geroge Clooney as Batman
While Val Kilmer’s performance as the Caped Crusader in Batman Forever was just kind of dull, Clooney tries his best with the material he’s given. Unfortunately, that material is mostly cheesy one-liners and ridiculous exposition, making his Batman one of the worst in history.
Fun fact: Once shooting wrapped up, Clooney is reported to have quipped “I think we just killed the franchise.”
2) Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Returning from Batman Forever, Chris O’Donnell’s Robin quickly becomes one of the most annoying sidekicks in film history. Nearly every bit of his dialogue involves him whining to Batman about how he’s just as capable a hero as his mentor, and the result is a character as underplayed as he is insufferable.
Fun fact: O’Donnell said of the movie “On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid’s toy commercial.”
3) Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze
Here’s where we get into “so bad it’s hilarious” territory. One of the biggest movie stars of the 80s and 90s takes one of the most nuanced and intellectual Batman villains and turns him into an over-the-top madman who speaks only in one-liners. I’m not even mad.
Fun fact: Schwarzenegger says 27 “ice” puns throughout the entire movie.
4) Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy
If every one of Mr. Freeze’s lines is an “ice” pun, then every one of Poison Ivy’s is a sexual innuendo. It’s legitimately hard to tell which one of them chews the scenery more, but Poison Ivy’s wardrobe and sets are definitely the most ridiculous.
Fun fact: Uma Thurman apparently beat out Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, and Demi Moore for the role. I suspect those three all saw the movie and realized they’d dodged a bullet.
5) The treatment of Alicia Silverstone
While Silverstone’s performance as Batgirl in the movie is just as bad as the others, the treatment the teenage actress received while filming was even worse. Most of her scenes were cut due to her suit needing to be refitted thanks to a few pounds of weight gain, and she was slammed by the press for being “too fat to fit into her costume.”
One of Batman’s deadliest and most intelligent foes from the comics is turned into a hulking, destructive moron who only speaks in growls. This portrayal was so infamous that people even remained skeptical when Tom Hardy took on the role in The Dark Knight Rises 15 years later.
Head to the next page to see even more terrible moments from this terrible movie!
7) The Bat Credit Card
Look at it. Just look at it. This was in the script. Someone approved this.
8) It killed off two franchises
Schumacher had plans for a fifth Batman movie in this universe, Batman Unchained, and Tim Burton was in talks to direct a new Superman film, which would feature Nicolas Cage as Superman and an appearance by George Clooney as Batman. Both plans were scrapped when Batman & Robin bombed at the box office.
9) The sets
Production designer Barbara Ling described her vision of Gotham City as “neon-ridden Tokyo and the Machine Age. Gotham is like a World’s Fair on ecstasy.” This somehow explains a lot about why the movie looks as weird and fake as it does.
10) It would be the last Batman movie for his creator
Batman co-creator Bob Kane was a consultant on all of Warner Bros.’ Batman movies, and this one was no exception. Unfortunately, he would pass away shortly after the film’s release, meaning it’d be the last interpretation of the character he’d ever see. We’re not saying the film killed him, but would anyone be surprised?
The Batsuit has Bat-nipples on it. You will never unsee it.
12) Joel Schumacher
The director is reported to have sat atop a crane and, before each take, would use a megaphone to yell “Remember everyone, this is a cartoon!” The actors have since commented that it “set the tone for the entire film.”
13) Pretty much everything else
Good lord this movie is a trainwreck.
What do you think?