Ah, what a year 1997 was for Blockbuster flops. I shall relish getting to each one in due course, but for now let’s focus on what is still regarded as the Titanic of the decade: Batman & Robin (point of interest; Titanic is only retrospectively regarded as the Titanic of the decade so doesn’t count in this instance). Now, I can forgive myself for once being suckering into believing Spawn was good for over a decade between the viewings; after all, Spawn himself was a dark and brooding figure with weaponised parasitic armour and a face like an abused abattoir, a bad ass monster foe in the form of Violator, some passable CG sequences (not the Malebolgia bits though – they sucked even by the late 90s’ standards), and of course Martin Sheen, who is always a treat to behold even during the darker days of his career. I can blame blissful ignorance and a teenage love of the gothic for my blinkered vision of Spawn that lasted until my early 20s, and yet looking back to my days as a rosy-eyed cherub with no concept of plotting, acting talent, narrative crafting and all the other things that prevent media graduates and film buffs from enjoying otherwise perfectly entertaining films, I feel dirty and ashamed that at one point I *choke* liked Batman & Robin – honestly, I couldn’t feel more violated if I were being raped by Violator, which I’d happily let happen to my 8 year old self if it meant foregoing the embarrassment of owning the VHS of this abomination. So nipple suits at the ready as we revisit the flop that was, and is, Batman & Robin.
Part 1: The Dark Days Are O~over…
Remember the feeling of diminished expectation that came when first viewing Batman Forever – the vibe that you weren’t really enjoying it and were just going through the motions because of the rip-ride fantastic-ness that was the previous Burton outings? Well 4 seconds in prepare to swallow the salty bile of familiarity, as the title sequence is identical to that lesser threequel – instantly alerting the brain that things are not going to have improved since last time. Yes, any hopes of the shadowy, under lit Burton adventures returning are gone, so welcome a return to Neon Gotham in all its’ Technicolour Supermarionation glory [PARTY HAT EMOTICON]. Oh dear, I appear to have put on the wrong DVD, for this is apparently Butt-Man & Raw-Arse the high budget adult parody…..no it is the right film – you’ll forgive the confusion given the amount of bulging rubber crotch pieces, nippled chest armour and prolonged shots of Bruce and Dick squirming into arse-tight PVC dungarees plastered inescapably on my HD ready, penis compensating TV that’s taking up most of the back wall (thank God I didn’t shell out for the BluRay…*shudder*). Poured into their suits and with emergency supplies of talcum powder on hand, the two painfully squeak over to the now lava-fuelled Batmobile like kids in Halloween costumes with tin cans over their knees (we couldn’t afford to use kneepads for robot costumes as kids in our house). Having forgotton the amount of time villains and hoodwinks spent shooting and hijacking his automobile, this years’ model of Batmobile lacks a canopy – considerably useful for preventing future break-ins and being shot in the face yet oddly absent this time around. I guess Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton forgot to leave a note on the dashboard about such potential problems. Alfred is apparently sick but there’s no time for this side-story now (get in line between ‘diamond powered ice cannon’ and ‘hot niece’ old man!), as Batman is informed that Mr Freezenegger is robbing the Gotham Heritage Museum with a crew of ICE SKATING HENCHMEN. Ahem, okay so Freezenegger is running amok in search of a diamond the size of a brachiosaurus’ bollock and the guards puny bullets are proving useless against him. Guys, try aiming somewhere other than the ARMOUR PLATING – like the completely exposed face.
Cop 1: It’s no good. Our bullets are bouncing right off his hard armour shell of hardness.
Cop 2: Should we try for his unprotected head?
Cop 1: I don’t get paid enough to shoot at no unprotected head. Yo, Mr. Freeze, we surrender, so grant me some of that mercy.
Mr. Freezenegger: ‘Mer-zey’? I’m afraid I have too many bad puns about being cold and callous to grant you any mer-zey. Firing pun-gun!
The pun-gun freezes the guards – it’s a slow process, reminiscent of the death ray from BBC’s Hyperdrive that requires the victim to stand very still in front of the laser beam for several days while it kills them. Mr. Freezenegger uses his pun-guns’ ice-ray to smash the glass casing of the diamond (the fuck!?) and delivers the stupidest line in the film (at present), or any film for that matter:
Mr. Freezenegger: (and I quote) “In this universe there is only one absolute: everything freezes.”
Even if this we’re scientifically true (and I doubt it is, as death has been proven in the previous films to be very much ‘a thing that happens’, making mortality pretty damn absolute even in this fictional universe) it still has no context to the events going on around it – what does a universal absolute of everything eventually freezing have to do with retrieving a diamond from a shattered glass case? It’s like Freezenegger is suffering from Asperger syndrome. Alerted by the misuse of scientific information, Batman enters via the expensive glass roof (at this point the museum is pretty much bankrupt in repair bills anyway so why not go nuts) and Fred Flintstone’s his way down a dinosaur model, only to get smacked down by Freezenegger, who is close to delivering the final syllable of his 5th groan-inducing pun when bad editing comes to the rescue as Robin DRIVES HIS MOTORBIKE THROUGH THE WALL. Imagining the look on the curators face as Robin DRIVES HIS MOTORBIKE THROUGH THE WALL, I get something a little like this:
Robin disarms Freezenegger and knocks his pun-gun away. Realising his adamantium armour couldn’t withstand the Dynamic Duo’s fists of fury, he calls in his ice skating minions (recruited from Dogma) to kill them with their HOCKEY STICKS, which is mistaken for a command to skate around aimlessly and not killing their quarry. The heroes arm themselves with hockey sticks, then they click their heels together and, I kid you not, ice skates pop from their souls. Now as I recall, Batman didn’t know he was going into a situation involving sub-zero escapades until after donning his costume and rocketing 100m/ph down the incomprehensively lengthy runway of the Bat Cave, so how did he know to pack his snow boots? Are we to believe that all his boots have 3” blades tucked underneath them in the slim chance he’ll be facing the now-dead Penguin again? Do they trudge around with Blades’ weekend gear jammed into their feet every time they go on patrol? Apparently so, but we don’t have much time to dwell as something even stupider is happening now: Batman, the 30-something cave dwelling billionaire, is playing hockey with the Gemerald against Freezeneggers’ elite hockey playing vanguard, although he was actually meant to be going after the evil mastermind. Freezenegger retrieves his gun as Robin secures the diamond.
Robin: I got the diamond. How’d you get on?
Robin: Seriously. All you had to do was skate to the other side of the room and…..oh no, Freeze is going for another pun!
Freezenegger: What killed the Dinosaurs?
Batman: We’ve already had the Riddler.
Freezenegger: Wrong. The ice age.
Batman: No it wasn’t. It was the result of a massive meteoric impact causing a gigantic dust cloud, resulting in-
Freezenegger freezes a dinosaur statue, and the diamond is knocked from Robins hand and into Freezeneggers’ waiting grasp as he waits in his tank-thing. Rather than just reversing and hauling ass to safety, Freezenegger rolls forward into the melee and initiates the escape pod concealed within – begging the question: why? Regardless of logic, Freezenegger prepares to launch and has even prepared for the likely hood of Batman climbing aboard. His counter measure: punch him in the face when he enters. The pods launches with Robin clinging to the side. Freezenegger sets a course to the moon and jumps out of the pod with Batman frozen to the fuselage. Freezenegger unsheathes his wings, which look almost familiar….
Nope, can’t put my finger on it. So he flies away….yes, Mr Freeze can now fly on retractable wings. The only thing less aerodynamic than Arnold Schwarzenegger in medieval armour with metallic wings would be this:
Robin frees Batman using a heat ray he just so happened to have brought along to the museum heist and Batman uses a “Bat-bomb” to destroy the pod to prevent it falling and killing “thousands” – a tad overambitious but these are the rough figures he deduces a falling hunk of frozen metal will result in. Batman and Robin (hey, I just got the title!) SURFBOARD to safety, defying physics in order to fall faster than a man-brick in full body armour (thus proving that a feather and anvil do not fall at equal velocity – the anvil falls slower than the feather. That sound you’re hearing right now; that’s the brains of a thousand physicists’ brains exploding in rage) in order to catch up with Freezenegger. Robin once again seizes the diamond and Freezenegger takes refuge inside a foundry and freezes a cock-sure Robin solid as the caped crusaders pursue him. Fortunately the diamond in Robin’s outstretched hand remains unaffected by the wave of ice – physicists take note; only organic matter freezes (so Freeze’s ‘Universal Absolute’ rule has been disproved in just 5 minutes). Freezenegger reclaims his trophy as Batman veeeeeeeery sloooooooowly walks over to his chilly chum to inspect the damage.
Freezenegger: [the following is written as spoken by the actor] Stay cool. Bird………boy.
I wasn’t going anywhere with that, I just felt these terrible puns are worthy of including as nothing I write will ever match them for comedy value. The Freezemobile smashes through the wall but Batman is far to busy wondering where to display Robin where he won’t risk defrosting him to stop Freezenegger fleeing triumphantly.
Freezenegger: “Will you be cold Batman?” [RAGE!] You have 11 minutes to thaw out your partner. Will you save him or take the 3 small steps across the room to stop me in 2 seconds?
Batman: I’d choose the latter, but I’d rather endure a lovers tiff with Christian O’Donnell in the next scene than put up with another round of crappy one liners!
Freezenegger: You’re emotions make you weak. Don’t be a sissy girlie man.
Batman: Take the bloody diamond. JUST LEAVE!
Freezenegger takes his leave with painfully deliberate slowness. Batman throws Robin into a pool (what kind of industrial foundry is this?), then notices a camera crew and production team are watching him so turns around and uses a laser to boil the water and free Robin from the watery grave he so deserved.
Elsewhere in the research capital of Brazil a very worn Pamela Isley announces another failure at crossbreed a rattlesnake and a orchid have failed (I’m no scientist, but lady this was an experiment doomed from the outset. All I’m saying is that if animals could get plants pregnant then we’d have a lot more Ents around). Blissful ignorance set to maximum, Pamela is determined the next lot of animal/plant cross-breedings are to proceed. Her reason for tampering in God’s domain: so plants can fight back like animals against the tyranny of mankind. Quite why she wants this or why anyone would endorse her with financial backing for such a retarded experiment can be easily explained when one considers that this is a world where Arnold Schwarzenegger can play an EXPERT IN CRYOGENICS. Literally anything can happen here. Her dalliance with pointlessness is compounded as her boss, Lionel Luthor from Smallville (setting this film somewhere around the show’s season 3-4 mark), keeps whisking away the Venom toxin samples her experiments produce.
Pamela: I wonder why he won’t let me in his lab?
Man in Lionel’s lab(off-screen): AAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Pamela: I wonder why…….
Throwing caution to the wind she enters the lab, ignoring the “Warning, painful death awaits” and “Most gross danger” signs plastered on the door. She happens upon a bidding auction for the next step in super soldier. Using Venom, Lionel beefs up some guy in a gimp mask into some grunting wrestler with badly sketched veins on his arms. I’d heard Bane was meant to be in this film during the press release in the late 90s but after multiple viewing all I’ve been able to find is this guy – his non-union Mexican equivalent ‘Bain’. They paid for Captain America and they got Futurama’s Agnew.
Naturally Bain runs amok, as is usually the case when you decide to give a convicted murder with a long history of violence superhuman strength. In the confusion Lionel notices Pamela and delightedly wheels her away, leaving his bidders to stand around awkwardly with a rampaging super man. Lionel asks Pamela to join him however she is so aghast at his corruption of her pure, honest and totally not-insane research that he is forced to kill her on the grounds that he is a bit loopy. He leaves her in a grave of Venom, snakes and mutated plants as she is absorbed into the earth.
Dick is defrosting in the bat cave – not a toast bed but a dank drafty crevice in the rock -, as Bruce reviews Freezeneggers’ case file; Olympic athlete turned master of cryogenics; comatose wife with MacGregor’s Syndrome; falls backwards into liquid nitrogen as the work station directly in front of the vat is not protected by a guard rail; mutated into a living ice-cream; now needs a DIAMOND POWERED LASER SUIT TO KEEP HIS BODY BELOW FREEZING POINT. If it’s diamonds he wants then diamonds he shall get; Bruce forces Alfred to stop being terminally ill and fetch the Wayne diamonds while lecturing Dick on team work and further fragmenting their turbulent relationship.
Back in Brazil, Poison Ivy is born. Swiftly dispatching Lionel Luthor she sets about ransacking the lab while droning on about how she is the avatar for the Rise of the Planet of the Apricots. With Bain at her side she sets course for the supplier of her equipment: Wayne Enterprises. With all three antagonist in place and motivations (no matter how cling film thin) established, let’s take a moment to compare the previous films villains to the ones presented here:
|The Joker||Jack Nicolson||A killer clown with a smile – basically the stuff of nightmares, with the added horror of him being the most lethal mob-enforcer in Gotham. Impossible to tell if he’s going deliverer a sonnet or murder you in a flamboyant fashion.||We can all argue whether or not Heath Ledger was the superior rendition, but we can all agree that Nicholson owns this role.|
|The Penguin||Danny Devito||A bulbous, deformed sewer baby with a chip on his rounded shoulder and a penchant for wild outbursts, baby napping, and megalomania.||Squat, crude and vile but oh so suave, Oswald Cobblepot was perfectly cast to play Devito…wait, that should be the other way round.|
|Catwoman(NOT Halle Berry *shudder*)||Michelle Pfeiffer||A schizoid anti-Batman, seeking a personal vendetta against men in general but her would-be murderer in specific. Uses a whip, sexual politics and an iconic costume.||Pfeiffer conveys Catwoman’s ‘beautiful but deadly’ persona to a fault. Plus, who else could pull off that costume – yes that costume.|
|The Riddler||Jim Carry||A hyperactive, hyper intelligent attention seeking psychopath who uses elaborate traps and cryptic clues to bamboozle the authorities, make elaborate robberies and generally get his kicks watching the simpleton folk of Gotham struggle in the shadow of his genius. Holds a personal grudge against former employer Bruce Wane.||Outside of perhaps Robin Williams, Carry was the ideal choice for the role at the time. Maybe he played it a bit too close to the Joker in his portrayal, but never the less it’s hard to knock the results.|
|Two-face||Tommy Lee Jones||A victim of one of Gotham’s most notorious crime lords, Harvey Dent was left horrible scarred by acid after bringing the mobster to justice, and incident that fracturing his already bipolar mindset to the point that he became a twisted, schizophrenic but tragic figure unable to make a decision without the aid of his lucky coin.||Half great, half terrible, Tommy Lee Jones [in terms of career path, akin to Nicolas Cage] is well placed to play this kind of character – unfortunately this was one of his bad roles, but it still made sense to cast him, and given a better direction and a less ‘play it like the Joker’ portrayal this could have been his greatest role up to Captain America.|
And now we look at Batman & Robin’s rogues’ gallery:
|Mr. Freeze||Arnold. Schwarzenegger.||The foremost expert in cryogenics and a victim of science that transformed him into a husk of his former self, unable to survive outside of sub-zero temperatures unless aided by a cumbersome cryo-suit. A tragic figure whose turn to petty crime to save his beloved wife is almost justifiable if not for his tunnel-vision on morality.||Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Sparklepire expert in cryogenics and the scientific application of diamonds. Arnold. Schwarzenegger. I wouldn’t expect him to work a fridge door, let alone make and sustain an ice suit and cannon fuelled by diamonds.|
|Poison Ivy||Uma Thurman||Feminist botanist transformed into a half-plant….thing with poison for blood after a failed murder attempt. Able to kill with a poison kiss and secreting pheromones no man can resist, Ivy is as beautiful as she is deadly. Her hatred of men is as deeply rooted as her affinity towards her vegetation sisters.||She ain’t Kathy Bates, but Uma Thurman in a ginger wig and green spandex does not make for the female embodiment of male fantasies. Christina Hendricks she ain’t.|
|‘Bain’||Some guy x2||The man who broke the Batman just for status points. Bane is smart, calculating, malicious and sadistic, and has the muscle to back it up. Venom toxin pumped into his bloodstream allows him to hulk out to inhuman strength. Woe to those who mistake is brawn for lack of brains.||Just…no! How do you take someone like Bane and turn him into a mute dumb brute willing to be led around by the nose by some scank in a leotard? How can the man who broke Batman’s spine after making him fight EVERY. SINGLE. inmate of Arkham just to test him (hardcore!), be reduced to a henchman beaten by the efforts of a newbie Batgirl and a Robin only just less shit than Jason Todd!?|
I hate life.
Part 2: The Gang’s all Here
At an abandoned ice cream factory, Freezenegger is forcing his henchmen to have a sing along (proof of his inhumanly cold heart) and turns down the advances of the only woman who’d ever willingly sleep with him looking like some blue Sparklepire in order to grieve over his wife in a secret compartment behind the baking soda, kept in a medically induced coma inside the regeneration chamber Luke Skywalker used on Hoth. His suit is burning up diamonds at an alarming rate – frankly anything able to wear out a freaking diamond in less than a century is an alarming rate -, but he is close to having the last ubber diamond required to freeze over Gotham and hold it for the $$$$$$ ransom needed to find her a cure.
Wayne Manor is visited by Alfred’s’ niece Barbara (yeah, I also thought she was the daughter of James Gordon but looks like B&R proved us wrong), who has a remarkable aptitude for taking on regional accents immediately despite apparently being born, raised and schooled in England. Noticing Dick’s sly remarks about pounding her, and Brice having read her breast-badge in close enough detail to recite the entire thing, Alfred tries to usher Barbara to a hotel far away from the randy perverts, but Bruce literally forces him to shut up in a very paedophilic tone. Also, Alfred also has the same made up disease as Mrs. Freezenegger.
Bain chauffeurs Ivy (yeah, because the real Bane would happily be the yes-man of the B-villain) to the Gotham Observatory where Bruce is giving a press release about a new hyper-telescope bound to be integral to later plot developments. Ivy blusters past the security guards as she steamrollers over to the wealthiest man in the city (you’re paid to shoot to kill in this situation boys!) and demands that Wayne spend more money on her plans to clean up the environment – a nice plan in theory, however her specifics include the outlawing of all fuel consumption and animal farming. Not wanting to be responsible for a return to the dark ages, Bruce declines but does invite her to that evening’s Wayne diamond auction party – hosted by Batman and Robin…Eerrrrr does no one find that a tad surprising? And with Freezenegger on the loose and planning more mayhem, wouldn’t there be concern over the Caped Crusaders wasting an evening scoffing banquet food? Back at Frosty the Snow Man’s base, Freezenegger is shown the paper headlining the Wayne diamond auction and falls for the trap. That night the auction with Batman and Robin using their audible Bruce and Dick voices to auction off the Wayne diamonds to people who have regular interaction with Bruce and Dick – the same people who aren’t curious Bruce and Dick aren’t available for comment that evening. Ivy interrupts the bidding war dressed as a purple gorilla, picture here as the less hilarious, more sensual Fuzzy Lumpkins:
She uses her pixie dust to turn all the men into drooling cash-chucker’s and all the women into diminutive R-tards who don’t question her being given the pricy gem by the police commissioner. Batman and Robin start a bidding frenzy over her (maybe Bain is her pimp and just letting her think she’s all independent), ending only when Freezenegger crashes the party, but too late to stop the Batman Forever credit card gag from causing outbursts of spoilage of underpants in anger. Repeating earlier mistakes Batman goes after the goons rather than Freezenegger as he takes the diamond from Ivy – her pheromones not affecting him due to his cold heart (science…brain…hurts…). So Freezenegger gets away with trademark dawdling speed. Batman and Robin give chase, while Ivy muses that Freezenegger is god-like – so her whole feminist agenda is trashed once a big strong macho type refuses to pay her any attention, which causes her to fall in love with him. Score one for the Suffragettes Ivy. Batmobile and Redbird Cycle chase the Freezemobile along a statue with a perilous jump. The 20 ton Freezemobile is able to clear the jump unlike its lighter convoy of dune buggies. Batman insists that Robin’s far lighter and aerodynamic bike won’t make the gap and LOCKS UP THE BIKES CONTROLS ON AN ICED OVER, PRECARIOUSLY THIN SURFACE TO STOP HIM FROM DYING. The Batmobile lands the jump and Freezenegger allows himself to be taken into custody in good sportsmanship.
Robin and Batman argue at the bat cave, while Alfred tries to get in touch with a brother he hasn’t shut up about since Barbara arrived. Meanwhile Freezenegger is wheeled via a fridge to his cushy cell at Arkham Asylum where he’s kept at bay by the “cold beam” – the only area he can survive in his condition (the scene of him essentially dying and crawling back to his bunk is surprisingly atmospheric, and were it in a better movie with a more sympathetic character would actually be worthy of merit. Here, it’s just another ‘what could have been…’ moment), as two drawling guards are dicks for no good reason.
Guard with Beard: That guy you iced up back in the museum was my nephew, so prepare for a lifetime of nastiness from us.
Freezenegger: But I only froze them and stole some diamonds from millionaires who refused to give your nephew decent health coverage in his contract. I never killed anybody.
Eye-patch Guard: Yeah, but we’re those stereotypical evil guards that the films love so much, so……kick his shins!
Ivy selects a new base of operations, first having to dispatch the resident gangland squatters with Bain, who is cleverly disguised in a trench coat, hat and gimp mask with head tubes. Bain then REDECORATES as Ivy plants mutated seeds. She then leaves Bain to CLEAN UP while she goes in search of Freezenegger. Bruce is entertaining his lady friend who is determined to see him wed her, too bad for her Bruce is too busy thinking about Ivy, having lowered his standards considerably. Robin also has foliage on the brain as he stalks her online, then switches to his other stalk-bait Barbara – catching her sneaking out of the bike shed, he gives chase to a drag race. The scene plays out like this decades’ Pod Race sequence, yadda yadda moving on to something resembling narrative. Barbara informs Dick that she’s going to use her money from street racing to free Alfred from a life of servitude (Ho-ly shit. Did George Lucas actually steal ideas from Batman & Robin when writing Phantom Menace?).
Barbara: I’m going to take Alfred away from this palace of dreams and adventure, where the closest thing he has to family he has live, and he only does 1 hour of work a day. Sure the first few months will be rough as he’ll be living with me and my biker buddies in a one-room apartment above a bowling alley and beneath another bowling alley, but in a decade or so my shares in BP Oil will make us rich. Bruce drops the bombshell that Alfred is dying while smiling that insufferable 90s Clooney smile. Freezenegger is visited by Ivy. She kills the guards naturally and strikes a partnership. Downstairs Bain liberates the DIAMOND POWERED COOLING SUIT from the accommodated prisoner locker – the resident scientist deciding nothing of value could be gained from studying a suit that uses DIAMOND POWERED LASERS to generate SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES. The trio make their escape. Batman and Robin are shown images of Ivy in cahoots with Big Blue, which they’re totally fine with. Batman effortlessly uncovers the floating Mrs. Freezenegger behind the meat freezer back wall of his evil lair of ice-screams. From beneath Freezenegger and Ivy watch as Batman revels Freezenegger was close to curing MacGregor’s Syndrome yet not questioning that he may not be entirely evil (once again, he only made people very cold; he has yet to kill anybody). Ivy tricks Freezenegger into going after the diamonds and cannon while she and Bain tackle the heroes. A royal ass-whooping later Batman has no more need to conceal his eyes with mascara, so black are his bruises, while Robin is too besotted to be of use. Batman narrowly avoids Robin sucking the all the venomous liquids from Ivy’s face, which does little to help their fractured relationship and they bicker like toddlers as Ivy slips away and unplugs Mrs. Freeze’s life support – later informing Freezenegger that Batman was responsible. Suffering chronic rage-roids, Freezenegger is goaded into making the world suffer his new ice age. Ivy, who I remind you is a fully qualified botanist, believes that an eternal winter is the perfect environment for her new super plants…not much vegetation in the North Pole is all I’m saying, and I don’t even believe in science. She even tells the hulked out monstrosity that is Bain that he won’t be joining them among the two last people on earth party, which he’s fine with!
Bruce and Dick bicker when Bruce states he’ll be going after Ivy alone (‘for smooching fun times’ as Dick hears it) and they part ways – the situation not helped by Ivy redesigning the Bat Signal to the Robin Nightlight. MacGregor’s Syndrome also affected Lord of the Ring’s Boromir, as Alfred is taking forever to kick the bucket, still jabbering on about Barbara finding his lost brother. She honours him by breaking into the encoded file he entrusted to her, such is her devotion to him (she’s just looking for how much she’ll get out of the inheritance). The password is ‘Peg’ you idiot – it was established earlier! And that’s how she learns the truth about Batman; via breaking into Alfred’s personal files – mirroring the comic books the same way paper absorbs wet heat.
Part 3: Three’s a Crowd – Six Doubly So
Freezenegger rations that the Gotham ubber telescope can be used to beam his freeze rays worldwi…*sigh* enough with the pseudo-science Schumacher, alright? Robin goes after the Robin Nightlight, but not until Bruce delivers the best line of the series:
Bruce: “She’s trying to kill you, Dick.”
Freezenegger storms the observatory, Bain in tow (meaning the muscle clad man has a muscle clad man for back-up, meaning slim, dainty, physically un-strong Ivy is left alone should things go pear shaped. Good thinking) One socially removed lab technician questions as to the who-is of the two imposing figures, having heard nothing about the blue-skinned medieval knight and toxic avenger terrorising the city this past week, and gets iced for his lack of Twitter. Using all the diamonds at his disposal, Freezenegger fires the laser .Bad guys 1: Nerds 0. Barbara breaks into the Bat Cave, granted access by Alfred’s computer system which rewards her hardly heroic breaking and entering behaviour with a place on the team – nippled costume and all. Great plan you dottery old fool – good thing they never get any Jehovah Witnesses down there or there’d be a fleet of armed religious nut-bags tearing down Gotham’s doors with that kind of attitude. It’s not like you’ve even seen her do anything to justify joining the established heroes taking on the super powered freaks currently looking for a fight to the death! NAAAARRRRGGG! So anyway, Robin enters Ivy’s hole in the wall (pun intended) but his thin rubber lips are enough to stop the instant-death-strength toxins her lips secrete. Throwing a paddy she throws Robin into the pool where he does battle with some pond weeds – barely winning, which a serious blow to his confidence. Batman arrives and together they…don’t stop her. It’s up to the newly founded, non-trained, somehow there Batgirl to kick Ivy until she stays down and is inexplicably eaten by the same plant she’s been using as a thrown throughout the entire second act with no problem. Batman and Robin and Batgirl (whom Bruce doesn’t recognise as the woman living in his house since Thursday despite her costume being nothing more than an eye patch and body latex) team up and race down town in their awaiting snowmobiles (the fuck!?) and new silver suits (THE FUCK!? Batgirl just got a new suit) to take on the lug with the blue skin and the lug with the green veins.
In 11 minutes the frozen peeps of Gotham will develop a terminal case of frost bite, so the pressure is on as they enter the observatory.
Robin: No sign of the snowman.
Batgirl: Maybe he melted.
Batman: No, he’s just hibernating.
Robin: Snowmen don’t hibernate – that’s bears.
Batgirl: No, that’s birds.
Batman: Then what goes south?
Batman attempts to thaw out the ice-powering ice crystals. This isn’t working fast enough so an alternative plan is hatched:
Batman: Barbara, did we establish you as a computer geek earlier?
Robin: Hey yeah, during that exposition bit when you were reading her breast badge.
Batman: Could you use that established of Oxford-standard global satellite hacking knowledge to rotate the telescope to beam the sun from the Amazon to Gotham?
Batgirl: But wouldn’t focusing all that energy into a single point do more damage, like this?
But before Batman can potentially destroy the planet Bain thankfully sets on the kids while Freezenegger tackles Batman. Everything goes to shit as the telescope flings around out of control as Freezenegger and Bats duke it out. Bain is bested by two freaking teenagers who unplug his tubes (anyone reading this, please go and pick up a copy of Batman: Knightfall immediately to see why this would never happen in a Christopher Nolan movie, and as a reminder that Bane deserved better than any of this). Freezenegger is incapacitated, allowing Batman to HARNESS THE POWER OF THE SUN (reminiscent of Die Another Day – so that’s 2 franchise sinking films to steal ideas from Batman & Robin in the last decade) to defrost the city and end the snow leopard friendly reign of terror. As a final fuck you, he even shows Freezenegger video footage of Ivy proclaiming she murdered his wife, so he doesn’t even get rebound sex now. Fortunately she is still alive (…somehow despite being separated from a life support machine in a tank of water) so Freezenegger can continue researching a cure from prison. Happy days, Freeze avoided adultery. In gratitude he hands over his viles of Alfred-treatable MacGregor’s Syndrome antidote to the man who just destroyed his livelihood, later paying a visit to his new cell-mate Ivy, clad in his super armour (the guards/authorities just let him walk around in it?) Who authorised this? Do they not realise he is going to murder her slowly for attempting to kill the wife he loved so much he held the world at ransom for? Alfred recovers and all celebrate.
Dick: I have a question. When Batgirl and I fell during the observatory explosion earlier; that was the first time you didn’t try to catch me. Was that because you knew I didn’t need you to?
Bruce: No, it’s because these films are becoming too cluttered with teenager sidekicks and I want to wipe the slate clean for Batman Begins.
And that’s how you can sink a franchise for the best part of a decade in just 115 minutes.
The End (for 8 whole years)