Batman & Robin

on June 20, 1997 by Susan Lambert
Where the first "Batman" had the brooding darkness of Tim Burton's harsh vision, the second had Catwoman and the third one had Jim Carrey, it's unfortunate that this, the fourth installment of the caped crusader's adventures, has a whole lot of nothing. Despite attempts at campy humor, "Batman & Robin" is batboring--repetitive, slow and surprisingly messy.
"One Fine Day's" George Clooney does little to flesh out the famous batsuit. Without the dark irony of a Michael Keaton or twisted dramatics of a Val Kilmer, it's clear that Batman has become nothing more than a cipher in a big rubber suit. The obvious and awkward batstory is about the bad Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wanting to steal diamonds to save his cryogenically frozen wife, and about the beautifully evil Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), yet again another product of a nasty lab accident, who wants to rid the world of humans so the plants can take back their own. The nonsense is complete when Ivy decides Mr. Freeze is the man for her. (Obviously, she never tried to garden before danger of frost is past.) And then there's Robin (Chris O'Donnell), who wants his own Batsignal, which causes our batbuddies to bicker while "Clueless'" Alicia Silverstone steps up to the plate as Batgirl with little more effort than a butt jiggle. There's also a lot of batbabble about the importance of family.
Schwarzene gger seems to be the only one who's really invested in his role. Everyone else is playing a one-note, smarmy, well-the-check-cleared-and-the-crafts-service- is-good performance that quickly loses its charm. The sets are impressive, but the setups are annoyingly illogical. The fight scenes, such as they are, are poorly choreographed and frankly yawn-inspiring. There's simply nothing at risk this time around for the batboys, and therefore nothing gained. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone. Directed by Joel Schumacher. Written by Akiva Goldsman. Produced by Peter Macgregor-Scott. A Warner Bros. release. Action/adventure. Rated PG-13 for strong stylized action and some innuendos. Running time: 124 min
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