Batman & Robin (1997) (part 9 of 13)
We see the Bat Signal in the air as Batman and Robin show up at Freeze’s hideout to meet with Commissioner Gordon. Gordon shows them footage of Freeze’s escape from Arkham, and Robin sees that Poison Ivy was there. Gordon then shows them a goofy black and white photo of Ivy and Bane arriving on a plane from South America, showing an uncanny resemblance to Liz and Dick jetting in from Paris.
Gordon tells them all about the people Ivy’s killed, including a very late bit of exposition about a businessman she poisoned (offscreen) for the purpose of stealing his limo. Batman wonders why Freeze and Ivy would team up. “Well,” Robin offers, “She’s definitely evil!” That about sums it up, then. Thanks, Dick.
Batman and Robin then talk privately, both suddenly incredulous that they thought they were in love with her. Robin can’t believe that they were “fighting over a bad guy!” An annoyed Batman corrects him: “Bad, yes. Guy, no!” I mean, we gotta make that clear, right, boys?
The two then agree that they’re over her. “Great stems, though,” Batman says. Robin adds, “Buds, too.” The only stems and buds involved here are the ones in Akiva Goldsman’s bong when he wrote this crap.
Batman somehow figures out that to access Freeze’s secret chamber that holds his wife’s mannequin, he has to go into the walk-in freezer, move a TV dinner aside, and push a button. How did he even know the secret chamber was there, much less figure out how to get into it? Whatever. Anyway, Robin recognizes Nora Fries floating in her vat of bubbling water. Batman passes over a vent in the floor, and the camera pans down to show that Freeze and Ivy are in there, hiding in an oddly spacious room underneath the grating.
Batman goes to a computer and pushes buttons at random, which of course causes scrolling screens of blinking text and graphics to flash past his eyes. Apparently, these are Freeze’s “experiment results” on MacGregor’s Syndrome, and the words “Cure Found” are blinking on the screen, I guess to remind Freeze that he found a cure.
Batman says that Freeze has used his “freezing technology” to cure an early stage of MacGregor’s, which I guess would be the “lip quivering” stage of the disease. (Oops! Hope I didn’t give anything away!) Meanwhile, down below, Freeze and Ivy split up: She’ll get his “snowy bride” while he gets his diamonds, then they’ll meet up at Ivy’s Turkish bath hideout afterwards.
Up above, Batman and Robin are talking as pink and purple Lik-M-Aid comes flowing out of an air vent. At first, they don’t see it, and only smell it, but then they both turn and see it flowing out of the air vent. So, can they see the dust, or not? This is never made clear. Either way, they lift the cover on the vent and head down.
Meanwhile, Freeze somehow appears in the main room of his hideout and sees police swarming the place. The very, very astute cops, however, don’t spot him. Freeze goes to a lever marked “Freeze” on one side, and “Heat” on the other, and pulls it to “Freeze”. This causes white gas to steam out of every open vent, and we know this is Something Bad because we hear cops yell, “My lungs! My lungs are freezing!” Yes, that’s right: Cops are yelling that their lungs are freezing. The feasibility of this will be left as an exercise to the reader. They all start falling to the ground as Freeze loads rocks of crack cocaine, I mean diamonds into his suit and gets high, or in his words, “Chilled to perfection!”
Now we get what’s easily the most contrived dialogue in the whole movie, and that’s saying a lot. Batman and Robin climb down through the vent in Freeze’s secret chamber, and when there’s no sign of Poison Ivy, Batman says, “No beauty.” Then, Bane suddenly appears with a roar, and Robin adds, “Just the beast!” Hey, it’s a good thing Batman just happened to refer to Ivy as a “beauty”, isn’t it? Otherwise, Robin would have never gotten the opportunity to turn it into a great pun on Beauty and the Beast.
Robin takes on Bane and quickly gets tossed down some stairs, so Batman steps up to take a shot. Suddenly, Ivy appears beside Robin, calling him a “pretty birdie”. She blows some more dust on him to render him helpless and asks, “Polly want a kiss?” Suddenly, after these bird puns, I’m liking the plant and ice puns a lot more.
Bane vs. Batman ends with Batman getting tossed over a railing and landing on the ground next to Robin. This snaps Robin out of his trance, and he pulls away before Ivy can kiss him. Robin staggers off to go fight Bane, apparently so that Ivy and Batman can have some “alone time”. She climbs over to him and utters this immortal line:
Isn’t there, though? She blows some more dust on him, and Batman, who by the way is supposed to be an experienced crimefighter here, doesn’t try to hold his breath or move away from the dust. However, he does pull away before she can kiss him. Meanwhile, Bane is squeezing the life out of Robin (Whatever life there was in him in the first place), and he eventually knocks him out.
Back down on the ground, Ivy tells Batman, “I’m a lover, not a fighter!” (Which keenly predicts the “Girl Is Mine”-level dispute that Batman and Robin will be having shortly.) Then she points to Bane with her foot [?] and says, “That’s why every Poison Ivy action figure comes complete with him!” I’m surprised she doesn’t also add, “Get one free with every Burger King Big Kids Meal!” Ivy bids Batman farewell while Bane comes over to put the hurt on him.
Up in Freeze’s hideout, Commissioner Gordon has located the Freeze/Heat switch and flipped it back to “Heat”. Which begs the question: Why would Mr. Freeze have a “Heat” setting in his own hideout? Yes, it does appear that this place used to be an ice cream factory. But why would they have a “Heat” setting? (But then again, I guess this would come in handy if they ever needed to liquidate their inventory. Hah!)
Anyway, now that the “Heat” is on, everything starts glowing red [?], and all the cops instantly revive from getting their lungs frozen to go after Freeze. He’s about to grab his Ice Cannon when suddenly cops come swarming, and he of course wastes some time shoving them around. And, strangely enough, not one shot is fired here, either. There must be a citywide ban on being mean to supercriminals.
Down below, Robin finally recovers from Bane’s bear hug and gets up, only to find himself face to face with Ivy as she blows more dust in his face. As expected, Robin inhales deeply. (Stop doing that!) Ivy tells him he shouldn’t be “living in the shadow of the big, bad bat”, and that he should have his “own big, bright signal in the sky!”
Meanwhile, it’s Bane vs Batman: The Rematch, and Batman wins this time. Robin is once again just about to kiss Ivy when Batman runs up and tells him to stop. Batman has finally thought about how all of Ivy’s victims were poisoned orally, and he’s realized that she has poisoned lips. When Robin hears this, he stupidly scoffs, “You have some real issues with women, you know that?” Oh, brother.
Robin is convinced that Batman is just jealous and starts taking swings at him [!!] while Ivy quietly creeps away. Batman grabs Robin and tosses him over a railing into a big uncovered vat of green goo. Let’s hope this isn’t the same stuff the Joker fell into, huh? Actually, I’m guessing it’s melted mint ice cream, but no one ever says.
Ivy bids Batman farewell, and incredibly, Batman just stands there and does nothing to stop her from leaving [!]. Instead, he helps Robin out of the vat of ice cream. Okay, I could understand letting the criminal escape when Robin was a Popsicle. But when he’s just stuck in a vat of ice cream? What was the danger there, that he would accidentally inhale a pistachio nut?
When Robin gets out, however, he’s still pissed. He announces that he’s “going solo” and storms off all covered in green slime like he just came from a taping of Double Dare. Commissioner Gordon appears, and he’s understandably angry that all the villains got away for no apparent reason. He asks Batman what happened, but Batman just stands there since he obviously has no explanation other than “Robin and I are dumbasses.”
We cut to Ivy who, strangely, has not left Freeze’s hideout completely, but has entered the secret chamber where Freeze is keeping his wife. And Batman’s still not trying to catch her? She kicks away a cable that powers the vat keeping Nora Fries alive, saying that she doesn’t like “competition”. She adds, “Who needs a frigid wife, anyway?” Yes, because it’s so much better to offer your “honey pot” to everyone you meet, isn’t it?
Back at Ivy’s flora-covered hideout, Ivy and Bane enter and find one of the rooms has been completely converted into a icy chamber with huge ice stalagmites everywhere. Inside, Freeze is pouring random fluids into beakers and Ivy sarcastically tells him to “make yourself right at home.” Freeze ignores her, wanting to know where Wifey is, but Ivy says that Batman “deactivated her”. He doesn’t believe this, so Ivy offers up Nora’s snowflake necklace as proof.
Now, check this out. To dramatize Freeze’s grief over the loss of his wife, we cut to an extreme close-up of his closed eyes as a very obviously CGI tear streams out. It freezes on his face, then dissipates completely. Uh, okay. I guess we should be thankful that’s all they did. They could have actually had Arnie try to act here. (But, unfortunately, that’s still coming up later.)
Freeze then goes on the warpath, promising that Batman and Robin’s “bones will turn to ice! Their blood will freeze in my hands!” Ivy likes the idea, but says “the society that created them” should not go “unpunished”. Freeze is totally digging on this same vibe: “If I must suffer,” he says, “Humanity will suffer with me!” I can’t think of a better explanation for why I wrote this recap in the first place.
He promises to subject the city to “endless winter”, or this movie, whichever lasts longer. “First, Gotham,” he says, retrieving the Gotham snow globe. (Aren’t you glad the existence of this globe was established earlier?) “Then… the world!”
Ivy is all like, ‘you must be reading my mind dude’ and says she too is looking forward to “everything dead on earth except us! A chance for Mother Nature to start again!” For no reason, when she says “Mother Nature”, she points at herself in a really bizarre Kabuki-esque gesture.
“Behold the dawn of a new age!” she says, beckoning Bane forward. He hands her a plant in a glass case that looks exactly like a miniature version of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Are you laughing yet? She tells Freeze that this is one of many mutant vicious plants she’s created, and that “Once you have frozen mankind, these babies will overrun the globe!” Um, for what purpose? Why does Ivy want any of this? Could she be simply… evil?
Ivy then says they’ll be the only two people left on earth. “Yes,” Freeze says. “Adam… and Evil!” (Hey, so I guess I was right!) He tells her to keep Batman and Robin busy while he prepares to freeze Gotham City. To add emphasis to this, he crushes the Gotham snow globe in his hand. Well, just pretend that that added some emphasis to what he just said.