Batman and Robin go forth in the franchise, both figuratively and literally of course in the fourth film of the 1989 Batman franchise, Batman & Robin.
Tensions are growing in the Dynamic Duo, stalwart butler Alfred is coming down with a deadly case of MacGregor’s Syndrome and with the rise of new villains, the seductive yet deadly Poison Ivy and the cold-hearted Mr. Freeze. Arrive on the scene to cause mayhem it seems the odds are against the crime-fighting caped crusaders.
Batman & Robin stands on its own with a Schumacher’s interpretation of Gotham feeling straight out of the comic books with dazzling use of colour, and geometrically impossible set design helps bring life to the comic. These sets and spectacles are accompanied by the licensed Soundtrack that is once again phenomenal, keeping the tradition from Batman Forever, with high-speed chases and action sequences accompanied by late 90s hits from Moloko, Underworld, and Smashing Pumpkins all helping to accentuate the seedy underbelly of Gotham. It just feels so novel and inventive.
Chris O’Donnell returns as the perfect choice for Robin at the time whereas Val Kilmer’s titular Batman is now E.R. heartthrob George Clooney, who fills the role of the debonair playboy, Bruce Wayne. You have Arnold Schwarzenegger who managed to both bring a domineering physical presence and an abundance of ice-related puns. The new addition of Alicia Silverstone is a welcome addition as Batgirl, just kind of wish that they had more for her to do. Uma Thurman plays the deadly Poison Ivy with such presence. These choices shine as a sign of impeccable casting as each feel suited for the role and it makes a joy to see a star-studded line-up interpreting these comic book stars.
Batman & Robin is a fine instalment in a franchise that has had many storied incarnations, it takes you right into the action of the plot like any good franchise film should. It’s an action filed and a strong precursor to the Nolan trilogy. It’s not afraid to not take itself too seriously and understand the pure-hearted fun of the adventures. Batman and Robin answer the bat-signal’s call for much-needed levity and originality and it’s a call you shouldn’t miss as well.
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