Batman & Robin (1997) (part 12 of 13)
We cut to the Gotham Observatory, now completely frozen over. Freeze “hilariously” says, “Let’s kick some ICE!” and begins manipulating what looks like a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick. He uses it to aim the telescope-cum-Giant Ice Cannon at the nearest skyscraper and blast away, freezing it solid.
He then starts to sweep the Cannon around the city and freeze everything in sight, including a train on its tracks, everyone on the street, and even an obnoxiously product-placed Taco Bell. Strangely enough, this makes the food they serve there a little warmer. For no reason, we then get a close-up shot of some guy frozen in a phone booth. A phone booth? When was the last time you saw one of these? Even the original Superman mocked the idea, and that was back in 1978.
Then we see a bulldog about to take a leak on a fire hydrant, when suddenly a blue light flashes and the dog gets literally frozen in midstream. Um, this is supposed to be funny, right? Then we see police cars speeding through the streets of Gotham, and up in the observatory, Freeze spots them approaching through his extraordinarily powerful magnifying lens which allows him to see individual cars on the street from 900 feet up.
He blasts away, freezing the police. Now, a few seconds ago, we saw the Ice Cannon literally stop a train in its tracks, but this time the cop cars continue to slide forward until they crash through a miscellaneous store front. This causes the store to instantly explode into flames [??]. Freeze is delighted by this and continues blasting away.
We then pan down to the street and see three Bat Vehicles speeding down the ice. First, there’s Batman in a customized version of the Batmobile that I’ll call the Bat Zamboni. Then there’s Robin in some kind of cross between a jet ski and a hovercraft. Finally, there’s Batgirl, now wearing a pointy-eared cowl for some reason and riding a Batcycle.
Astoundingly, they’re all wearing different costumes now. The ones they had on before were solid black, but these have miscellaneous silver trimming. Granted, it’s definitely more interesting than solid black, but A) what’s the point? B) when did they find the time to change into these? and C) why would they? We never find out.
Batman looks at a big clock face somewhere and sees that it happens to be eleven minutes to midnight. He tells the others through his Bat Radio that they have “less than eleven minutes to thaw the city!” Suddenly, the Freezemobile crashes through some cars and heads right for our “heroes”.
Inside the Freezemobile, a hockey-masked goon arbitrarily pushes buttons. This causes the spikes on the front to suddenly turn into missiles and head for the Bat Trio. There’s lots of fireworks as our heroes dodge the missiles by… Well, to tell you the truth, they don’t really do anything besides keep driving in a straight line. This is not really what you would call “exciting”.
For no apparent reason, Batgirl (oddly looking much more svelte in this shot, by the way) goes flipping off her motorcycle. Robin then uses his deft driving skills to maneuver his Whatever Mobile to be right below where the wires are lowering her down. He then pulls up next to her Batcycle, which somehow is still continuing on without her [?], and Batgirl jumps back on it. Again, is there a point to any of this?
Batman pulls up in front of the Freezemobile, and as missiles sail past him, Hockey Mask Thug aims the Ice Cannon right at him. Batman says to his Bat Zamboni, “Shield,” but you know he probably almost slipped up and said, “OnStar.” This causes a Bat-shaped flap to rise up from somewhere and somehow deflect the freezing ray. Don’t ask for a better explanation than that, because I really can’t give you one.
Unsurprisingly, this shield then reflects the freezing beam right back on the Freezemobile. We then get a pointless shot of Hockey Mask Thug jumping out of the frozen vehicle and escaping to safety. Why? Who knows. I guess we’re not supposed to see Batman deliberately kill somebody or something. I mean, it’s not like he killed the Joker in cold blood in the first movie or anything.
The heroes continue on their way to the observatory, and Freeze sees them approach in his crystal ball. Okay, it’s really a magnifying lens, but given what he can see with it, it might as well be a crystal ball. Freeze tells Bane to get rid of Robin and Batgirl, “but leave me the Bat!”
This next moment is so dumb I literally have to force myself to describe it. Our three heroes, now on foot, stop at the base of the observatory and shoot their Bat Ropes up and somehow hook onto the Gotham Observatory sign, which is 900 feet up in the air. Yes, that’s right. All three of them are actually carrying ropes in their belts that are 900 feet long [!!!].
They use the Bat Ropes to pull themselves up to the observatory. Come to think of it, this probably gets the movie over a lot quicker than if they had to find an elevator or something. So, actually, I’m fine with it now. They don’t see Freeze, so Robin says there’s “no sign of the snowman!” and Batgirl suggests that “maybe he melted.” No, Alicia, that’s just your career.
“No,” Batman says, “He’s just hibernating.” [?] Batman, I think you lost the thread of “snowman” puns that they were tossing off. Work on that. For another dumb moment, they all shoot their Bat Ropes up to the ceiling of the observatory, and this is all filmed in a really grandiose fashion, with close-ups on every move and every Bat Rope as if it’s the first time we’re seeing them do it as opposed to the second time it’s happened in the space of two minutes.
Batman pulls some mini Bat Heaters off his belt and puts them near the two scientists. They start thawing out, and then Batman gratuitously uses his Bat Rope to hoist himself over to the catwalk where Robin and Batgirl are. Does anybody just walk in Gotham anymore?
They look at the controls of the telescope and realize they’ve only got a few minutes before it’s too late to thaw out the rest of the city. Batman floats the dubious proposition that sunlight could thaw out the city, but Batgirl points out that it’s midnight, you cretin, and we ain’t at the damn North Pole.
“But,” Robin says, “It’s morning in the Congo!” [??] Say what? With the help of an instructional computer graphic, Batman and Robin explain to Batgirl that they can use the Deus Ex Machina Satellites to reflect sunlight around the globe to Gotham. Batgirl is suddenly an expert on how to target satellites (she’s the computer science major, remember?) and she says she’ll get right on it.
There’s a problem, however. According to her, the Plot Devices are frozen. Actually, she says “targeting mirrors”, but I have no idea what those are. Anyway, if they’re frozen, this mean that the “thawing beam won’t work!” Batman tells the two of them to thaw out the Plot Devices while he realigns the Deus Ex Machina Satellites.
Robin and Batgirl climb out to the end of the telescope and start shooting their Bat Lasers at some Whooziwhatsits. Batman, meanwhile, types on the weirdest computer keyboard I’ve ever seen. The letters are in a totally whacked out sequence, and it’s definitely not a Dvorak. If anyone out there has ever seen a keyboard with a top row of “UWCARNYDLO”, I’d love to know what it’s called.
On the computer display, CGI wireframe models of satellites blink on and off. Then we cut to orbit [!!] and see a Deus Ex Machina Satellite fire a thruster and move into position. Christ, did they have money to waste on this movie or what? Meanwhile, Robin and Batgirl continue their monkey work, and a digital clock somewhere (maybe it’s in the Congo) reminds us that midnight is quickly approaching.
Batman looks through the magnifying glass, and suddenly Dr. Freeze’s face pops up behind it. “Tonight’s forecast!” he says. “A freeeeeze is coming!” Although, with the magnifying power this thing has already displayed, we should only be able to see the bacteria on his tongue right now.
Freeze throws Batman, sending him flying off in that wire-fu kind of way. Batman lands on the telescope, and in the process kindly knocks Robin and Batgirl off and sends the two plummeting to hopefully grisly deaths. Freeze uses his Sidewinder to try to shake Batman off while he disables the satellite realignment.
Robin and Batgirl are now standing in front of a green screen and flailing around, oops, I mean “falling to the ground”. Robin aims his Robin Rope and hooks into an icicle somewhere. He then somehow finds a way to simultaneously fall and yet get enough tension on his Robin Rope to swing over to Batgirl. Whatever. Trust me, I’m as tired of pointing out implausibilities as you are of reading about them.
He grabs her and says, “I got you!” Unfortunately, the icicle breaks, and they continue on their three-hour plunge. Robin screams, but Batgirl just sort of moans in that same annoyed way as when the two of them were hanging from his ankle 600 feet above the pavement. Can you tell how so not interested Alicia Silverstone is in being here?
She fires off her own Bat Rope to connect with something more solid, then breathlessly says, “No… I got you!” Meanwhile, Batman is hanging onto the telescope as Freeze tries to shake him off. Freeze spots the thawed scientists, so he decides to swing around his massive death ray that can kill millions of people for the sole purpose of doing away with two scientists.
The Smug Asian Scientist sees this and screams out that “It’s one of those days!” Yeah, we’ll make sure to put that on your epitaph, you dope. The telescope crashes through their catwalk, and they grab onto the telescope for dear life. This makes Freeze very happy for unknown reasons.
Batman shoots a Bat Rope and hooks into something, somehow managing to fly off the telescope and come all the way around to kick Freeze in the chest. Batman plays with his joystick and re-aims the telescope, and we hear the two scientists on the telescope scream as they’re lifted up.
Meanwhile, Robin and Batgirl land on an ice shelf that’s apparently in the Fortress of Solitude. Suddenly, they hear a roar and find Bane is right behind them [?!?!]. I repeat, ?!?! Really, I’m about to pop a blood vessel here. How in the hell did Bane know exactly where they would land?
Meanwhile, the most awkward fistfight in movie history is going on at the controls of the telescope, with Batman and Freeze trying to take swings at each other while barely moving in their big, clunky suits. They take turns alternatively enabling and disabling the satellite targeting, which for some reason prompts Smug Asian Scientist to yell, “Dirty fighter! Dirty fighter!” Huh?
Back to Robin and Batgirl, who are both pinned up against a wall by Bane. They finally take care of Bane once and for all by both kicking the tube out of his head, causing radiator fluid to spurt out everywhere. Bane then collapses and “comically” morphs back down to a scrawny guy.
Okay, why didn’t anybody kick this tube out before? When did Robin get the epiphany? This basically means that Bane was as easy to defeat as a household vacuum cleaner. Really menacing villain you got there, guys. Batgirl sees Bane change and smiles with an “ooh grody!” look on her face.
We cut back to the two scientists on the telescope as they yell out “Yay, Batman!” Right now, they’re definitely the only ones yelling that. And thanks for distracting him, you morons. Batman and Freeze continue to pound on each other until Batman puts a Bat Heater on Freeze’s chest and tells him that “The heat is on!” He then knocks Freeze senseless with a roundhouse punch [?]. Um, what was the reason for the heater, again?
Freeze falls off the platform, crashing into the Jewel-Encrusted Donut. This sends his Tiffany barbell doohickey flying off, where it crashes into some random machinery. Batman then fiddles with the computer until the display informs him that the “Sequence [is] locked”. And the juice is loose. Up in space, we see a beam of sunlight reflect off a Dues Ex Machina Satellite and shine on Gotham City.
The sunlight hits the observatory and is reflected inside by the Plot Devices. We see Freeze lying on the ground, still alive, but suddenly he’s Dracula and can’t take all the sunlight. Meanwhile, the light streaming in has now turned the telescope from a Giant Ice Cannon to a Giant Cannon of Sunshine and Love.
An orange beam shoots out and starts thawing out the city and making people happy. Batman looks down at Freeze and tells him he’s finished, but Freeze has another ace up his sleeve. Or, should I say, another ICE up his sleeve! See, I can do it too!
He pushes a button on his arm and the mood crystals Bane was laying down earlier start blowing up real good. Freeze falls off the Jewel-Encrusted Donut and hits the ground, which sends him into extreme pain. We then see the telescope start to sink through the floor, and Freeze tells Batman to “Freeze in hell!” as everything collapses around them.
The telescope then breaks through the observatory wall and starts plummeting down. Batman, not content to just let those two irritating scientists hit the ground along with it, jumps on and follows them down.
Robin (not Quivers) and Batgirl step out on their Fortress of Solitude ice shelf just in time to see the telescope hurtling right at the camera. Batgirl asks what they should do now. “Pray,” Robin says. No, don’t bother. I’ve been doing it for the last ninety minutes, and trust me, it doesn’t work.