For most DC fans, Batman & Robin is ranked among the worst DC films ever made, but I am here to paint the film in a new light. When I first saw this film, I was seven years old. I convinced my aunt to take my brother, my cousin, and I to see this film instead of Men in Black. I thought it was fantastic and I remember running around the store after the film, punching paper towels screaming, "I'm Batman!" I have recently rewatched the film with my nephew, who loves #Batman, and it still holds up. Although, as an adult, I see the film for what it truly is: a comedy. In many ways, it's the most "Batman" Batman film we have ever had. Here's why:
(Beware as there will be mild spoilers below!)
Batman Wasn't A Solo Act
What does Hollywood have against Robin? Ever since Batman & Robin was released in 1997, we have not had a true #Robin appear in film. The Dark Knight Trilogy gave us a Batman origin story where there is no Robin (I'm talking to you Joseph Gordon-Levitt!), and the DCEU's version of Batman is older and has at least one dead Robin. This is revealed to be Jason Todd in Suicide Squad, so maybe he'll pop up later if Matt Reeves gives us an adaptation of Under the Red Hood.
All that aside, both of Joel Schumacher's Batman films managed to not only squeeze in the character of Dick Grayson, but make him an integral part of the plot. He first appeared in Batman Forever, where in the story his family is killed and he is taken in by Bruce Wayne. Eventually, he becomes Robin and works with Batman to avenge his family. Then, he appears again in Batman & Robin, where he is tired of being in Batman's shadow and is looking to move from sidekick to full-fledged partner. In these films, the dynamic duo behave as if they are brothers. They fight like brothers, argue like brothers, and have each other's back like brothers. Also, in this adaptation we see another one of Batman's partners, Batgirl, on screen for the first and last time. Perhaps, Joss Whedon can change that with his upcoming film, Batgirl, if it ever enters production.
Batman Had All The Gadgets
Batman carries a utility belt for a reason. His suit is modified with all kinds of precautions to either keep him safe or to stop people from unmasking him. In Batman & Robin, we see a variety of gadgets in use, from lasers to video recorders to ice skates to — credit cards. The Batsuit in this film was pretty much a proto-Iron Man suit, but with a better design. People say that the ice skates were a bit too much, but why? This film exemplified Batman's moniker as the World's Greatest Detective, because he was always prepared. Batman knew all there was to know about Victor Fries and his motivations, and he knew that if he had to battle Victor, then it would make sense to have his and Robin's costumes outfitted with skates, lasers, etc. In the end, every gadget used in the film was worth having.
The #BatNipples get way too much flack. Nobody cared in previous films when the Batsuit had abs: superheroes are meant to be in perfect shape and good looking (and hence, why George Clooney was cast as Bruce Wayne). When Joel Schumacher was making Batman & Robin, he wanted them to look like Greek Gods and, therefore, he had their costumes modeled after the ancient Greek sculptures. On screen, they looked like action figures brought to life.
Also, I have to say that it worked, because Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze all looked either very imposing or very sexual in the film. The muscles on their suits alone made them look bigger than the henchmen and the cops that they fought against, respectively. Christian Bale's Batman, while an excellent interpretation, was not very imposing on screen. Yes, we have seen in Ben Affleck's interpretation of #TheDarkKnight that Batman can be be large without looking like he was carved from marble, but the outfit in Batman & Robin, like the film itself, was very much a product of it's time.
It's A Comedy
Now onto my original point: Batman & Robin is a comedy. The film was meant to parody the mythology of Batman, as well as pay homage to the original Adam West series. The only thing it was missing was a few BAM, POW, and WHAM symbols during the fight sequences. From Arnold Schwarzenegger's ice-themed puns, to Uma Thurman's seductive dance number, I don't see how people can't help but laugh and enjoy the film. I can agree that Batman & Robin may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is in no way a bad film and is definitely not the worst film of all time (that honor belongs to The Last Airbender!).
Batman & Robin is just a different interpretation of a character that we all love and enjoy. Currently, we have an awesome, older, gritty take on Batman in the #DCEU, and hopefully a great new solo story on the way with the Batman. But, I implore you readers to go back and enjoy Batman & Robin for the comedy that it is. Remember, if the film had been a critical as well as a box office success, then all future Batman films would have been modeled after it, meaning that we would not have received Christopher Nolan's Academy Award winning The Dark Knight Trilogy or Zack Snyder's and Ben Affleck's interpretation as seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Now give the film another try and let me know what you think in your comments below!