Franchises of All Time
The Batman Films
Batman & Robin (1997)
Batman (1989) | Batman Returns (1992) | Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | Batman Forever (1995)
Batman & Robin (1997) | Batman Begins (2005) | The Dark Knight (2008) | The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman (1943) - serial | Batman and Robin (1949) - serial | Batman, The Movie (1966) | Catwoman (2004)
Batman & Robin (1997)
Film Plot Summary
The film opened with Batman (George Clooney) in the Batmobile and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) in his Nightwing costume preparing themselves when summoned to stop a Gotham Museum of Art robbery in progress. Robin was riding a turbo-charged sleek motorbike dubbed the Redbird. The villainous Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) had frozen the Antiquities Wing and turned security guards into blocks of ice, while attempting to rob a giant white diamond. Head-shaved ex-scientist Mr. Freeze was outfitted in a clear silver-cryo suit with a high-tech, ice-blasting bazooka in his hands: "The Iceman Cometh" (one of many one-liners). Freeze's Icemen thugs, garbed like hockey players, skated into the scene when the caped crusaders arrived, and the fast-action struggle resembled a hockey game with the diamond as the puck. After freezing a mighty brontosaurus that crumbled to the floor, Mr. Freeze escaped to his vehicle - a giant drilling truck.
Using a bank of control panels, Mr. Freeze launched a control capsule from the truck that rocketed through the roof and into the night sky - with both Batman and Robin along for the ride, although Batman's wrists were held to the wall by frozen ice. Mr. Freeze wore a glide-wing backpack as he jumped out and fell toward Gotham below, warning: "After you're frozen, your icy tomb will plummet back to Gotham...Freeze well." Robin saved his partner, and the two detonated the capsule with a Batcharge as they "sky-surfed" on skyboards down to Freeze. The scene ended in a frozen factory chimney and industrial basement, where the pursuing Robin was frozen (with only 11 minutes to thaw him before he died), while Freeze escaped in his vehicle - with the diamond.
Meanwhile, in a South American rainforest jungle, spectacled, frumpy horticultural experimenter Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) was attempting animal-plant crossbreedings, but couldn't find the right dosage of Venom. She was working with wild-haired crackpot Dr. Jason Woodrue (John Glover) who was stealing her Venom samples into his lab for his Project Gilgamesh. She witnessed a secret ceremony in which Woodrue injected a Venom formula ("super-soldier serum" with steroids and toxins) into the brain of a serial murderer serving a life sentence - and transformed him into Mr. "Bane" (Jeep Swenson), a muscle-bound, monstrous hulk ("the ideal killing machine"). In the audience were - stereotypically - an American General, a Russian Commissar, a Sheik, and other Dictators. When Isley argued with "psycho" Woodrue over his "maniacal scheme for world domination," he pushed her backwards and overturned a lab bench covered with beakers of liquid toxins onto her. When she arose from the ground, she had been transformed into mutated, redheaded, predatory, eco-bad dominatrix "Poison Ivy" with a leafy green costume - and her lethal venomous kiss eliminated Dr. Woodrue. After the lab burned to the ground, she partnered with "Bane" - determined to pursue Wayne Enterprises in Gotham City - one of Woodrue's previous funders.
Mr. Freeze - formerly Dr. Victor Fries, a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist, had cryogenetically frozen his wife Nora after she had contracted a rare disease (Macgregor's Syndrome), with plans to awaken her when he found a cure. He fell into a cryogenic vat holding 50 degrees below zero solution that mutated his body, forcing him to wear a cryo-suit with diamond-enhanced lasers to keep him at zero degrees to stay alive - hence his obsessive demand for diamonds. His ultimate crazed goal was to create a freezing engine powered by giant diamonds to encase Gotham City in ice - and hold the city ransom for billions needed to complete his research (he wished to 'find a cure" to revive his frozen wife, suffering from advanced Macgregor's Syndrome, from a vertical-standing, cryogenic sarcophagus-like liquid chamber).
Meanwhile, butler Alfred Pennyworth's (Michael Gough) orphaned niece, a young girl in schoolgirl clothes named Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone), arrived at Wayne Manor - visiting from England where she went to school at Oxbridge Academy, studying computer sciences. She had a secret interest in racing bikes - while wearing a skin-tight black leather outfit, and often sneaking out at night to compete.
Billionaire Bruce Wayne (also George Clooney) of Wayne Enterprises held a press conference at Gotham Observatory, attended by dignitaries and his beautiful girlfriend Julie Madison (Elle Macpherson), to announce his contribution to the city - a new advanced telescope "to give future generations a chance to follow their own stars". Through an intricate network of satellites, the telescope could see around the globe. The ceremony was interrupted by Dr. Isley who proposed "A Cessation of Toxification" although Wayne rejected her project: "Your intentions are noble, but no diesel fuel for heat, no coolants to preserve food, millions of people would die of cold and hunger alone...People come first" - he told her. However, she was invited to attend a charity event that night (Save the Rainforest Costume Ball) held by Wayne Enterprises, with the caped crusaders Batman and Robin as special guests auctioning off a prized diamond (the famed Heart of Isis) to raise money for Gotham's Botanical Gardens.
The event held in the greenhouse of the Botanical Gardens was a ploy to lure Mr. Freeze to the event. Two gorilla-costumed attendees were revealed to be Poison Ivy and Bane - the seductress blew sparkling purple powdery dust over the crowd and the caped crusaders to bewitch and seduce them and have them do her bidding (especially Robin, causing a rift between the duo), while she put the diamond necklace around her neck. With his thugs, Freeze exploded into the room with his massive truck, announcing: "All right, everyone Chill!" - and took the diamond from Ivy's neck. However, Batman pursued Mr. Freeze over Gotham's rooftops (and across a giant statue) and shortly later apprehended him. He was imprisoned in Arkham Asylum and kept in a cooled chamber freeze zone. Poison Ivy visited him, pretending to be his sister, and helped Mr. Freeze (weakened without his generator diamonds) to escape (Bane broke into the Criminal Property Locker and acquired Freeze's suit). Once energized, Freeze assisted by chilling and exploding the plumbing pipes, after which they jumped from the Asylum's isolation tower into a river below.
Further conflict between Ivy, Robin, and Batman - and Commissioner Gordon's police - occurred at Freeze's Snowy Cones Factory and in his Industrial Basement. Ivy's seductive love-dust powers weakened Robin and threatened to kill him (allowing Ivy and Bane to escape). Robin was again angered at Batman's continual warnings about Ivy's poison kisses. He threatened separation: "I'm going solo" and later urged: "I want a Robin signal in the sky". To enrage Freeze and work in partnership with him against Batman, so that she could advance her own objectives to produce mutant plants ("to overrun the globe"), Ivy pulled the plug on his dead wife's cryogenic chamber, and then blamed the deactivation on Batman. Freeze vowed vengefully: "I shall blanket the city in endless winter. First Gotham, and then the world." Ivy predicted: "The dawn of a new age" - and showed off a savage, other-worldly plant she had created. She promised Freeze that they would rule: "For we will be the only two people left in the world" - "Adam and Evil."
During the dedication of the new telescope at the Gotham Observatory, Freeze mused as he prepared to freeze Gotham: "The combined power of the telescope's reflecting crystals will complete my freezing engine." Ivy had enticed the keys away from Police Commissioner Gordon and found the location of the BatLight - changing it to Robin's signal (a red bird) to summon him, although Batman was very wary, knowing that they had been infected by Ivy's pheromones: "She wants to kill you, Dick." As part of his ultimate plan, Freeze and Bane crashed into the observatory platform and froze two scientists and the surrounding area as Bane placed explosively-charged icicles around the room. Freeze turned the new telescope into a giant freezing gun "to turn Gotham into an ice cube."
Barbara - who had hacked into Alfred's computer, learned about the Batcave. There, she told a computer-simulated Alfred that she wanted to help Batman and Robin - and suited up in her own Batgirl outfit. With entangling captor vines within her Turkish Baths hideout, Ivy entrapped both Robin and Batman, who were now working as a team. To provide rescue, Batgirl exploded through the skylight ("You're about to become compost") and fought martial-arts style against Ivy - kicking her into a Venus fly trap and then freeing the duo. They now became a trio to fight against Freeze, who had frozen Gotham solid with ice. Robin (in a fan-powered Batsled), Batman (in a modified Batmobile on rocket skis called a Bathammer) and Batgirl (on a single-bladed, rocket snowcylce called a Batblade) converged toward the Observatory with only 11 minutes remaining to thaw the city. Reaching the telescope platform, they planned to relay the sunlight from elsewhere in the world and realign targeting satellites after unfreezing the targeting mirrors.
Freeze confronted Batman and they fought on the twirling telescope platform, as Batman programmed the satellites to be repositioned, so that beams of thawing light would be projected onto Freeze's freezing engine and his own protective suit, and onto Gotham City itself. Batgirl and Robin struggled against Bane - defeating him by ripping off the Venom tubes leading from Bane's injector pack to his brain. Freeze detonated the bombs placed earlier, but they only succeeded in destroying the entire telescope platform and crushing Bane. Gotham was successfully unfrozen in time when Batgirl reprogrammed the satellites to thaw the city directly with rays of focused sunlight.
Weakened from the thawing, Freeze was shown how Ivy had betrayed him by "pulling the plug" on his dead wife's cryogenic support. Batman described how she wasn't dead: "We found her, restored her. She's still frozen alive waiting for you to find a cure." He appealed to Freeze (aka Dr. Victor Fries) for the cure he had earlier developed for Macgregor's Syndrome Stage 1 to save another life - the life of Batman's butler Alfred, who was also suffering and dying from early stages of the disease. Freeze produced two vials of glowing blue liquid medicine. Batman promised: "I'll have your wife moved to the lab at Arkham. You'll be able to continue your research there." Alfred was given the healing medicine and was restored. The threesome of crimefighters shook hands as "Partners." Alfred added: "We're going to need a bigger cave."
In her imprisoning cell at Arkham, an obviously insane Ivy was approached by Freeze, who announced: "I'm your new cellmate, and I've come to make your life a living hell. Prepare for a bitter harvest. Winter has come at last."
As in the previous film, the film ended with Batman and Robin and now Batgirl - silhouetted with the Bat-Signal behind them - running toward the camera until the image filled to complete black.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
Joel Schumacher's stylized sequel was fast-paced but directionless, lightweight and mind-numbing. George Clooney never heard the end of it for his dual role as Bruce Wayne and as the rubber-nippled caped crusader Batman with a codpiece.
The least successful of all the films in the series, and considered the worst entry. This campy and foolish retread had marvelous sets, gaudy costumes, and expensive production-design values, but turned out to be laughable in the worst way, with senseless action sequences, visual overload and too many corny jokes ("All right everyone, CHILL!", "Let's kick some ice," "Ice to see you," and "So many people to kill, so little time").
With no Academy Awards-Oscar nominations. It received 11 Razzie Award nominations (including Worst Picture and Worst Remake or Sequel), and won one Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone).
With a domestic box-office gross of $107.3 million and only $238 million worldwide, from a production budget of $125 million.
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