Apr 29, 2018
Batman & Robin (1997) (part 2 of 13)
We then cut to a stone building with the words GOTHAM MUSEUM OF ART engraved on the facade. Inside, several security guards run towards Mr. Freeze. There’s no evidence here of any guards imprisoned in blocks of ice, but maybe Commissioner Gordon is just precognitive.
The guards start busting caps at him, so Mr. Freeze fires his big Ice Cannon at them. A bright bluish-white beam hits the guards and they all turn into rent-a-copsicles. We then get a close-up of Mr. Freeze (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) as he grins and says, “The iceman cometh!” Or, rather, in Arnie-Speak: “Deh aiyceman kummet!”
Some of Mr. Freeze’s Eskimo-like henchmen come up to him, holding a struggling, non-frozen guard. Why are they doing this? You see, in the script the guard is supposed to beg Freeze for mercy, which is what he’s doing now. Mr. Freeze replies, “I’m afraid that my condition has left me COLD to your pleas of mercy!” (Get used to these stupid puns on ice, freezing, and being cold, people.) Mr. Freeze then fires the Ice Cannon and turns the guy into an ice sculpture just like all the other guards. So apparently the whole “begging for mercy” thing was only put in there to set up that retarded pun. And it only gets worse.
Freeze spots a huge diamond inside a glass case and fires his Ice Cannon at it. As a result, the glass case explodes, leaving the diamond unharmed [?]. Freeze eagerly grabs the diamond, when suddenly the skylight shatters above him. Batman crashes through and lands on the head of a dinosaur. (A dinosaur? In an art museum?) Batman memorably says, “Hi, Freeze. I’m Batman.” At this point, I started to wonder if this script had been written by a computer.
Batman then slides on his feet, skating all the way down the dinosaur’s neck, down its spine, and goes flying off the tip of its tail. Then, while obviously hanging on wires, Batman spreads his cloak and lands with his feet in Freeze’s chest, which causes the diamond to go flying. For another much-needed dumb pun, Freeze tells Batman, “You’re not sending me to the cooler!” Or, rather, in Arnie-Speak: “Yeh nawt sendin me to deh KOOLAH!”
At that moment, Robin comes crashing through the front door of the museum on his bike. You know, if this is the amount of property these two supposed “heroes” have to destroy to save the diamond, then perhaps the museum would be better off just letting Freeze have it.
The article continues after these advertisements...
We then get a shot of Robin on his bike, flying forward while obviously being suspended by wires. Behind him we see that, stupidly, the hole he’s left in the museum door is exactly the same shape as his Robin Logo [!!]. What the hell?
Robin gently lands but his bike slips on the icy floor, causing him to bump into a pedestal holding up a vase. Literally, just like a Loony Toons cartoon, the vase flies directly upwards [!] and hangs in the air for several seconds. We don’t actually see it hanging there, but given the amount of screen time that passes before it lands, that’s the only conclusion we can draw.
Batman catches the vase while Robin goes over and kicks away Freeze’s Ice Cannon. The Cannon flies through the air like a missile and impossibly ends up right on top of a big stone Buddha head. The way it lands, there’s got to be a big magnet in the head keeping it in place, otherwise there’s no explanation for why it just sticks there. Robin then defies gravity himself and “jumps” over to Batman, but with the way this is staged he looks to be just floating around in the air for several seconds. Batman holds up the vase and says, “You break it, you buy it.” Yuk yuk.
“Grab the gem!” Freeze screams to his Eskimo henchmen. “Kill the heroes!” (You know, I haven’t heard a bad guy actually refer to his opponents as “heroes” since I watched episodes of The Superfriends.) About a dozen guys skate out, and we see they’re all wearing your standard issue post-apocalyptic henchmen gear. (They must shop at the same store as Ragnar’s goons in Never Too Young to Die.) They also carry hockey sticks and wear masks exactly like the one worn by Jason X.
Freeze yells, “Yes! Kill them! Kill them! Yes!” (I’m assuming this is because Manos has decreed it.) Then he helpfully commands his henchmen to “Destroy everything!” [?] as they surround Batman and Robin. Robin cleverly calls them “the hockey team from hell!” Wow, I hadn’t even noticed the similarity before, but now that you mention it, hah hah!
Don’t give up your day job, Robin. Whatever that is.
Batman and Robin duke it out with the henchmen, while Freeze climbs some steps and fights with a half-dozen random security guards. Where did these guys suddenly come from? Were they all waiting for their cue to rush out and get beaten up? Is there usually a Green Room at every superhero fight?
Needless to say, each of these fights violate all three of Newton’s laws of motion. Freeze throws a security guard, somehow managing to fling him in a perfectly straight line so that he slams into a nearby column. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin get knocked on their backs by two skater henchmen, but succeed in taking away their hockey sticks anyway as they dispose of the two goons.
Batman and Robin then each tap their boots together, causing ice skate blades to pop out of the soles [!!]. Unless the two of them had blades surgically implanted in their feet, this is impossible. Now, for those of you who were disappointed that we hadn’t yet gotten a pun on the word “ice” as a slang term for “diamonds”, Batman tells Robin to “get the ice. I’ll get the iceman.” You know, these never get old.
We cut to one of the hockey henchmen using his stick to move the diamond along the ice just like a puck. Of course, if he just picked the damn thing up, there would be a far lower chance of Robin coming along and snatching it away. But I guess that would just make too much sense.
Robin swoops in with his newly acquired hockey stick and checks a few henchmen to get control of the diamond. Meanwhile, Freeze is still beating up random security guards and hurling them in impossible trajectories.
For a real topper, he spots his Ice Cannon on top of that Buddha head and decides to employ the same technique as when you toss a shoe up to get your basketball out of a tree. He literally throws a guard straight up towards the roof, and the guard knocks the gun off the statue. Naturally, it falls right back in Freeze’s arms.
There’s some more dumb hockey game-like antics as we cut back and forth between Batman and Robin both sparring with henchmen. Robin gets hold of the diamond and stupidly takes a second to stop, look at it, and say “Sweet!” He then skates over to Batman and adds to the unbelievably clever repartee: “I got mine. Where’s yours?”
Finally, Freeze gets bored with beating up on redshirt security guards and calls out to Batman and Robin, “What killed the dinosaurs?” Oh, no. Given how much this movie has perverted all concepts of physics, I really don’t want to see what it’s about to do with history. Sure enough, Freeze tells them that it was “The Ice Age!” Ordinarily, I’d list everything factually incorrect about this statement, but at this point, I think that would just be cruel. Plus, I’ve still got a whole buttload of really dumb stuff to cover.
Anyway, this stupid Ice Age pun was inserted so that Freeze can now fire his Ice Cannon at the dinosaur statue. (In turn, this means that the stupid Ice Age pun is the sole reason that there’s a dinosaur in an art museum.) The frozen dinosaur begins to crack and fall apart, forcing Batman and Robin to skate away as quickly as possible. Of course, it’s not like Freeze could have just aimed his Ice Cannon directly at Batman and Robin if he wanted to get rid of them. No, that would have been much too easy. And not stupid enough.
One of the henchmen rams into Robin, knocking him silly and sending the diamond flying. The henchmen then start passing it back and forth, continuing that fabulous hockey game impression that everyone loved so much. Dammit, just pick the thing up already!
Upon witnessing this, Robin takes a spear off a statue [?]. Do most stone statues come with detachable parts? He decides to use the spear as a javelin, revealing that it’s really a magical spear that allows him to defy gravity and launch himself over all the henchmen. Nice stunt, no? Unfortunately, there was no reason for it, other than somebody thought a javelin stunt would look “cool”.
Finally, a henchman uses his stick to somehow knock the diamond directly into Freeze’s hand. Freeze gets into his vehicle, called the “Freezemobile” (but only in the production notes on the DVD), which looks like a big silver PT Cruiser with tank tires and huge spikes sticking out the front. Meanwhile, Batman is still fighting random henchmen to kill some time.
Freeze rolls forward and opens up the roof of the Freezemobile, revealing a big dildo-looking rocket that he’ll use to make his getaway. This prompts Batman to hook a Bat Rope around a ceiling girder and lower himself down into the rocket. Somehow, Freeze is already inside, and he unsurprisingly quips about how glad he is that Batman could “drop in!”
Freeze knocks Batman out and steps on a foot pedal [?] to start the rocket, which apparently must mean it’s been built out of leftover parts from a sewing machine. Robin sees the rocket and leaps forward while once again clearly suspended by wires. He lands on the outside of the rocket, but can’t get a firm grasp, so he uses a couple of Robin Magnets to affix himself. Yep, Robin is now desperately hanging onto the side of a giant phallic symbol. Really, who needs the Ambiguously Gay Duo when there’s just as much innuendo in the real thing?
The big dildo launches and is soon high above Gotham City with Robin still stuck to the outside. Inside, Batman regains consciousness and tries to get to Freeze, but Freeze kicks him in the head and aims the Ice Cannon at him. For some reason, this thing is suddenly as surgical as a laser. Instead of completely freezing him in a block of ice, it just freezes Batman’s wrists to the side of the rocket with a pair of ice manacles. It’s good to see they’re keeping the behavior of this weapon consistent so early in the film.
Freeze points to the rocket’s altimeter and tells Batman that the numbers are “the harbinger of your doom!” I don’t know whose idea it was to have Arnie say “harbinger”, but I hope that person is homeless now. Freeze tells Batman to prepare for the “icy cold of space” and floats the dubious notion that “At thirty thousand feet, your heart will freeze!” Then he feels compelled to add, “And beat no more!” Hey, thanks for pointing that last part out.
Anyway, blah blah blah, Freeze has got Batman in one of those preposterous Rube Goldberg-type traps that villains used to set for Batman on the old TV show, which would invariably prompt the announcement to tune in at the “same Bat Time” tomorrow. Remarkably, there’s even less suspense here about whether or not Batman will escape.
Outside, Robin is still trying to climb up the dildo with his Robin Magnets. Meanwhile, Freeze decides to give Batman more time to escape by continuing to explain what will happen to him: “Once you’re frozen, your icy tomb will plummet back to Gotham!” Batman replies that this will “slaughter thousands!” Freeze just laughs at this, since he’s evil and everything. Then he puts on some goofy Mr. Magoo-like goggles, which don’t exactly do much to ratchet up the “evil quotient” on this character. Finally, he blows out the hatch on the rocket and flies out.
Freeze drops for a little while, then pulls a switch on his suit that opens up butterfly-like wings on his back. These were probably supposed to look “cool”, but not only do they not look cool, they’re not even slightly realistic as a flying device. They might as well have just had Freeze hold two tiny feathers in each hand and flap his arms to make himself fly.
Robin eventually pulls himself inside the rocket and explains to Batman that he was “just hanging around!” Because I guess simply freezing in the dead of space wouldn’t have been painful enough for Batman. After some dumb repartee that isn’t worth going into, Robin uses his Robin Laser to melt Batman’s ice shackles. Batman then pulls out something that is, according to Robin, a “Bat Bomb!” Batman explains to him that they have to blow up the rocket so that it won’t “turn Gotham into a crater!” Robin asks how they’re going to escape from the rocket, “call a taxi?” No, but I think Chris O’Donnell is currently driving one.
Batman reaches for the emergency hatch switch and tells Robin to “Watch out for the first step!” Robin cries out “Surf’s up!” as Batman blows out two hatches, with Batman flying out of one and Robin flying out of the other. Okay, if this rocket was really only meant for Freeze to make his getaway, why would there be three escape hatches on it? Even stranger, the hatch doors are each made up of three segments, with the outer two segments collapsing away to leave a section that happens to be the same size as a boogie board.
You guessed it, this was all to set up an “ultra-kewl” sequence where Batman and Robin sky-surf on these boards away from the exploding dildo. Obviously, this part was put in so the Warner Brothers promotional department could have something “awesome” to stick it in the trailer and the TV spots. I guess even they realized that “Two solid hours of puns!” wouldn’t exactly be a strong selling point.
Batman and Robin then start to actually catch up [?] with Freeze even though he jumped out of the rocket several minutes before they did. At the same time, there are huge chunks of flaming dildo debris raining down on Gotham in the background. You’d think this would kill at least a couple of people, but conveniently for Batman, nothing is ever made of this.
Batman jumps off his boogie board and lands right on Mr. Freeze’s back, allowing us to see that on the way down, Freeze was just holding the diamond in his hand [!]. Naturally, when Batman lands on him, this sends the diamond flying off. One guess who just happens to catch it.
Robin gleefully looks at the jewel for a while until he realizes he’s about to land right on top of a really pointy skyscraper. He somehow manages to surf down the sloped roof of the building, knocking off CGI shingles along the way. He then begins to plummet to the street, shouting out “Kowabunga!” as he does some more “extreme” sky-surfing moves.
Meanwhile, Batman and Freeze are tussling in the air as they continue hurtling to the ground. Freeze decides to detach his wings, which gets Batman off his back. To slow his fall, Freeze fires his Ice Cannon down into a big smokestack-like furnace, causing a big pile of snow [?] to appear beneath him. Are there also “hail” and “slush” settings on this thing?
Freeze gets to the bottom of the furnace and makes his way through some snowy corridors. Batman and Robin eventually land on the big pile of snow and follow, revealing that there’s practically a blizzard in there.
Batman catches up to Freeze, but Freeze uses the tricky tactic of “closing the door behind him” to knock Batman for a loop. While Batman catches his breath, Robin goes after Freeze instead. Batman cries out, “Robin, no!” just as Freeze finally does what he could have done about twenty times over in the last five minutes: He fires his Ice Cannon at Robin and freezes him solid.
Freeze walks forward and amazingly finds the diamond still in Robin’s hand [!]. He grabs it, telling the Robin-sicle to “Stay cool, bird boy!” Batman runs up just as Freeze’s spiky PT Cruiser crashes through a brick wall. I guess this is Freeze’s henchmen coming to pick him up, but how they knew where he was going to land is anybody’s guess.
Freeze tells Batman that he has “eleven minutes” to save Robin. Where did he come up with this figure? Robin’s already frozen solid, so what happens in eleven minutes that could possibly be any worse? Anyway, this introduces the classic “you can catch the villain, or you can save your friend and/or girlfriend, but you can’t do both” dilemma that was already a musty cliché back before the advent of talkies.
Naturally, Batman elects to save Robin, but first, he just stands there for half a minute as Freeze walks through the gaping hole in the brick wall and uses his Ice Cannon to close it behind him. Finally, Batman gets down to business, picking up the Robin-sicle and dropping him into a convenient reservoir of water. He then uses his Bat Laser to heat the water up, and it begins glowing a bright crimson red [!]. Go boil a pot of water on your stove and let me know if it turns this color.
After some shots of Robin underwater having transformed into a blatantly obvious mannequin, he comes to the surface, completely thawed and moving around normally. That’s right. No hypothermia, no frostbite, no nothing. Robin wants to know if they got Freeze and Batman just gives him the Grumpy Look as he shakes his head.