Batman & Robin (1997) (part 11 of 13)
In the skies over Gotham, a red Robin Signal appears. Bruce finds Dick already changed into his costume and heading out, even though he seems well aware that Ivy’s behind the new signal. Bruce then takes the time to explain that she’s really Pamela Isley, whom he saw talking to Commissioner Gordon, which must mean Ivy’s the one who changed the signal. Which part of this didn’t Robin (or the audience) know already?
Dick says she did it “for love”, but Bruce tries to convince him that she’s “infected us with some sort of pheromone extract!” Huh? “Infected” you? With pheromones? You know, I’m just gonna let that one slide. Bruce says, “She wants to kill you, Dick!” and I’m almost 100% sure that his harsh emphasis on the word Dick was intentional. But with this movie, it’s hard to tell.
Dick says that Bruce would do “anything to keep her away from me!” So Bruce, with his head wagging around worse than Torgo, repeats what Dick said earlier about trusting your partner and throws it right back in his face. Bruce says, “Friend, partner, brother!” Lend me your ears! “Will you trust me now?” Dick just stares at him.
Back at the observatory, two white-coated scientists are on a catwalk, seeming to be the only ones there, being that it’s the dead of night and everything. There’s one scientist who looks like Robin Quivers, and she tells the other scientist, a really smug Asian guy, that “all the crystals are in place!” To illustrate, we cut to the supposed reflecting crystals, looking like a giant diamond-studded donut.
Suddenly, Freeze and Bane stroll in, and Freeze makes some dumb wisecracks that aren’t even worth repeating, much less making fun of. Smug Asian Guy calls Freeze a “nutball” (ouch!) so Freeze fires the Ice Cannon at him. Robin Quivers screams, so Freeze aims his Cannon at her and we actually hear a sound like a gun being cocked [!]. This is even less effective than the “horn blare ripped from the 60’s TV show” and “cash register” sound effects in terms of actual humor produced.
Anyway, Freeze just freezes her too and laughs evilly, while Bane walks around with glowing crystals that look to have been stolen from the Fortress of Solitude. Bane places them on top of random machinery, for mood lighting I guess. Meanwhile, Freeze is using a lift to bring him up to the Jewel-Encrusted Donut.
He then holds up a diamond-studded device that looks like a dumbbell you could buy at Tiffany’s, if Tiffany’s sold dumbbells. He sticks it in the Donut, touches a button, and one of the diamonds in the dumbbell lights up and starts shooting a laser into the telescope and… sigh. Why am I even bothering? How about this: He puts the whatzit in the whoozit and Bad Stuff starts happening. Fair enough?
Freeze pronounces that “Tonight, hell freezes over!” I’ll leave it up to all of you to decide which event in this movie prompted this to happen. Trust me, there are more than enough possible candidates. Anyway, he lets out another Boisterous Evil Laugh as CGI icicles start forming all over the observatory.
Down in the Batcave, we find Barbara has broken in using the information she found on Alfred’s CD. She stands on the rotating Bat Logo pedestal while a fan blows her hair around and laser lights shoot at her from every direction. If this is supposed to be a motion detector, it needs a lot of work.
A wall slides open to reveal the viewscreen, and for some reason, it has a huge, animated image of Alfred on it. Viewscreen Alfred keeps repeating, “Intruder alert!” until Barbara runs up to the screen and starts talking to it like it’s a human being.
Viewscreen Alfred says he expected her to break in [?], so he programmed his “brain algorithms [cough] into the Bat Computer and created a virtual simulation!” His hair appears to be slicked back into one solid mass here, and as he talks his voice stutters somewhat. So it appears that this movie, for no apparent reason, is staging an homage to Coca-Cola pitchman Max Headroom [!!]. There’s nothing quite like timely parody, is there? The last of those commercials was in what, 1988? By the way, this now explains the shot of the “Head Room” bar that the Freezemobile was parked in front of. Or maybe “explains” is the wrong word.
Barbara tells Alfred Headroom that she wants to help Batman and Robin. Why? Are they in any trouble? I mean, other than from their own blatant stupidity, which doesn’t seem like anything new. Regardless, Alfred anticipated this and “took the liberty to create something in your size!” He ordered from the chubby girl section of the Sears catalog and everything. Barbara cries out, “Suit me up, Uncle Alfred!” And then we cut to her… suiting herself up.
This is played exactly like Batman and Robin suiting up at the very beginning, right down to yet another gratuitous butt shot. This sequence is slightly different, however, because now Schumacher can give us a gratuitous boob shot. We zoom in on a pair of pointy cups that are scarier than the cones Madonna wore in Truth or Dare.
Meanwhile, Robin pulls up on his bike and finds the Robin Signal sitting in an alley right outside Ivy’s Turkish bath hideout. The door opens for him and he just blindly walks inside. (Batman’s lack of confidence in Robin’s self-preservation skills is looking more and more reasonable by the minute.) He wanders through all the plants and eventually comes to a Turkish bath that’s been converted into a glowing green pond covered with lillypads. Suddenly, a giant Venus flytrap opens up to reveal Poison Ivy.
Robin immediately asks her, “Is your thumb the only part of you that’s green?” Ew. Here we go again with the plant-inspired genitalia references. She tells him to come find out for himself, so Robin eagerly steps across lillypads to get to her. He says he really, really wants her, but first he has to make sure she’s serious about “turning over a new leaf.” What new leaf? And when did she say she was turning one over? Oh, right. A clever pun. Never mind.
He jumps into her fly trap and tells her he needs a “sign”. She delivers Genitalia Reference #2,354 by asking, “How about ‘Slippery when Wet’?” Sure, put it on. Even a Bon Jovi record would be more entertaining than this movie. He asks what her plans are, but she wants him to give her some kissy-kissy first. Robin says she has to tell him the plans first, then it’s the kissy-kissy.
Ivy takes the bait, explaining that Freeze is turning Bruce’s telescope into a “giant freezing gun” and his goal is to “turn Gotham into a ice cube!” Ivy then asks for that kiss, and Robin, looking a lot like he’s wearing lip gloss in this scene, is more than happy to oblige.
When they kiss, Ivy again keeps her eyes open with that totally creepy look. Yuck! Uma, don’t do that! Even Ethan Hawke is losing his boner right now! Ivy then lies back and waits for Robin to die, but it seems he had a trick up his sleeve. He peels a plastic film off his lips, which I guess explains their glossy sheen, and declares that “Rubber lips are immune to your charms!” Are these those dental dams that I’ve been hearing so much about?
Of course, since he’s now taken off those rubber lips, Ivy could just grab him and kiss him again and pretty much be done with him, but instead she shoves him into the pond. Robin, for some reason, can’t escape from this four-foot deep pool of water as Ivy makes her escape.
She gasps when she suddenly runs into Batman, who tells her that “You’re not the only one who can set a trap, Venus!” She makes a dumb joke about her plants having a “crush” on him, setting the stage for vines to come out and wrap themselves around Batman’s ankles. They lift him up, once again giving us a good look at his exposed latex-encased behind as they hoist him to the ceiling and put the squeeze on him. Meanwhile, Ivy vamps for a while in a completely uninteresting way before finally deciding to leave.
Unfortunately, she’s stopped when another dark figure comes crashing through a skylight. It turns out to be Barbara, now finally in her Batgirl costume. Batgirl cleverly tells Ivy that “You’re about to become compost!” No… no, I can’t do it. I can’t touch that line. (This movie is just making things way too easy!)
The two have a brief fistfight and Ivy ends up on the floor. Wow, I guess those judo classes at “Oxbridge” really paid off. Batgirl declares that “Chicks like you give women a bad name!” Yeah, but movies like this give the human race a bad name.
More dull sparring breaks out between Ivy and Batgirl. We see Robin, for no apparent reason, still struggling to get out of the kiddy pool, surfacing momentarily until unknown forces drag him back down. And if you look close enough, you can see that the footage of Robin being pulled down into the water is obviously the same footage of him surfacing, only played in reverse. The dead giveaway is when water jumps out of the pond and leaps up his face as he goes back down.
Meanwhile, Batman is still on the ceiling struggling with vines, but he soon pulls out a mini Bat Buzzsaw. At the same time, Ivy has taken out a vine whip and used it to corner Batgirl. She then takes a moment to say, “As I told lady Fries when I pulled her plug, this is a one-woman show!” No, as a matter of fact, that is not what she told lady Fries when she pulled her plug. But let’s just pretend.
They scuffle a little more until Ivy pulls a plant-themed switchblade out of her boot, which for some reason gives Batgirl extreme pause. “Comically”, Ivy even stops to check her hair in the reflection in the blade. Ha ha! Two seconds later, Batgirl kicks it away. Wow! And it was such a formidable weapon, wasn’t it?
At this point, Batgirl’s raison d’être suddenly becomes clear. Obviously, it was so we wouldn’t have to watch Batman and Robin beating on a woman during the “climactic” fight. I wouldn’t particularly care to see that, either, but you’d think there’d be better ways to avoid it besides introducing an otherwise useless character.
Batgirl eventually knocks Ivy into her big Venus flytrap, and Ivy actually says “Curses!” [!!] before the flytrap closes on her. For some reason, this is made out to be a really awful thing, with Ivy flailing her legs around like crazy and screaming “NOOOOO!” I’m guessing this flytrap is supposed to be a grown-up version of the Audrey II-like plant that Ivy was showing off earlier, but the movie never makes this clear. If it is, why was she reclining inside of it when Robin showed up?
Whatever. Let’s just finish this damn recap before my head explodes.
So Batman uses his buzzsaw to finally free himself, and Robin finally figures out how to get out of the kiddy pool. They meet up and Robin tells Batman what Freeze’s plan is, which Batman already knew about since he’s got psychic powers or something. So, how much more pointless is Robin’s stupid rubber lips scheme looking now?
They both turn and see Batgirl. When she says who she is, Batman says, “That’s not awfully P.C.! What about Batperson, or Batwoman?” What about Fatgirl? Or Batcherub?
Batgirl cries out, “It’s me, Barbara! I found the Batcave!” Robin quips that they’ll have to change the locks. Ho ho. Batman then jokes that they’ll just have to kill her, but only after they’ve taken care of Freeze. I guess Ivy is now completely done away with [?], because all three of them run out without so much as shooting a glance back in her direction.