Apr 18, 2018
Batman & Robin (1997) (part 7 of 13)
Back at the Batcave, an undamaged Batmobile is rising up on the Bat Hydraulic Pedestal. If this is the same Batmobile we just saw a second ago, why doesn’t it look all banged up? And if it’s not the same one, how the hell many does Batman have? Either way, Robin runs up to the car and they have it out about how Batman disabled his motorcycle.
Robin mentions how when he was in “the Flying Graysons”, they were truly a team and trusted each other. Batman argues that Robin was too distracted by Poison Ivy to do his job, but Robin barks back that “You just can’t stand that maybe she wanted me instead of you!”
He criticizes Batman, saying it’s always “your way or the highway! It’s Batman and Robin, not Robin and Batman!” Yes, and it was also never Ebert and Siskel, but what’s your point? Batman says that as long as Robin’s living in his Batcave, he’s got to follow his Bat Rules. Robin gets pissy, saying “This is no partnership!” as he storms off.
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We cut to Alfred putting together an audio recording that will be his letter to his brother Wilfred. Naturally, we see some kind of nonsensical 3-D waveform on his computer screen that undulates as Alfred speaks. He finishes, then pulls out a CD [!] and locks it in a metal case. You mean, he’s corresponding with his brother who’s in a traveling court in India and riding on top of elephants, and he’s burning a CD to send to him? Don’t they have pen and paper in Comic Book World?
Bruce enters and Alfred happily tells him that “Batman monopolized the evening news!” Considering yesterday’s top story was the donation of a diamond, this isn’t all that surprising. Bruce, however, barely hears this because he’s got something else on his mind. He asks, “Is it always my way or the highway?”
Alfred says, “Yes, actually!” but calls it quite reasonable. He explains that because fate took away his parents, Bruce has done everything in his power to control the fates. Alfred then gives the best speech in the movie when he says, “For what is Batman, if not an effort to master the chaos that sweeps our world? An attempt to control death itself?” Well, you’ll just have to trust me, this is the best speech in the movie. All told, it seems like they were going for some kind of tribute to Michael Gough here, since they’ve given him all the good lines. By which I mean, all the lines that aren’t puns.
Bruce then looks out a dark window as a daytime view of a gravestone materializes. We see a young Bruce and Alfred standing over it, and Little Bruce places some flowers on the grave. Ah, yes. Another wonderful, memorable event in the childhood of Bruce Wayne. He seriously must have had no life when he was a kid if this is the kind of stuff he remembers. Also, this means that Bruce’s parents are buried right outside the mansion. This isn’t unheard of, but it’s still pretty damn creepy. No wonder he’s still single. Anyway, Alfred’s speech and Bruce’s LSD flashback cause Bruce to come to the realization that he can’t really control death.
Cut to Barbara sneaking into the Wayne Garage while silently rolling in a motorcycle. This time, Dick catches her, but in the darkness, she doesn’t realize who it is and judo flips him to the ground. Tough Girl rules! She quickly apologizes, explaining that she learned judo at “Oxbridge” because “London’s kind of rough!” Dick asks about the motorcycle, but she pretends she just took it out for a spin and quickly runs off.
We then see the sign for Arkham Asylum, which naturally is suddenly lit up by lightning. I have this feeling that it’s always raining here, and there’s just one storm cloud hanging above the asylum that never moves. As we cut to a wide shot, sure enough, there’s a rainstorm in the background as we close in on the castle-like asylum.
Inside, several of the asylum guards are marching Mr. Freeze through a corridor. Or, I should say, they’re wheeling him through a corridor, because he currently happens to be inside of a refrigerator [!]. Hey, at least this will keep him at “zero degrees”, right?
The guards bring the fridge into a cell, and an oddly familiar gravelly voice yells at them to “Drag him into the cold beam!” The “cold beam” turns out to be a blue light shining down from the ceiling to illuminate some water vapor mist. As a guard opens the fridge door, we see the gravelly voice belongs to future Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura [!!]. Jesse calls Freeze “Frost-Face”, which I think is what he also called Hubert Humphrey III during their first debate. The other guard tells Freeze that “You’re the common cold, and we’re the cure!” Which doesn’t make sense, but at least it contained a play on the word “cold”.
Freeze, in yet another ancient movie cliché, is dressed in black and white striped prison clothes [!]. He says, “Allow me to break the ice.” Yuk yuk. He tells the guards his name, and addressing the camera, instructs them to “Learn it well… For it’s the chilling sound of your doom!” Or, rather, in Arnie-Speak: “Fuh itz deh chillen sown of yeh DOOOM!”
Suddenly, he butts the guard’s heads together and tries to run off, but as soon as he gets out of the “cold beam”, he collapses in pain. Jesse Ventura calls him “Freezie” and explains that he has to stay inside “the cold zone”. Freeze desperately crawls back into the beam while Ventura tells the other guard to “look at him stew!” Huh?
Next, we find Poison Ivy and Bane strolling through the streets of Gotham as they happen upon a condemned building. We know it’s condemned because someone has written “Condemned” on the front in day-glo spray paint. Ivy notes the building once held Turkish baths [?] and says, “This looks promising!” Actually, this is fitting, since watching this movie feels like being locked in a Turkish prison.
Inside, there are some random thugs all wearing hooded black jumpsuits, with their faces all made up to look like neon day-glo skulls. They engage in random skullduggery (Hah!) which involves smacking each other around, and drinking a bottle of something that glows blue. All the fun screeches to a halt, however, when they hear Bane breaking in.
Ivy surveys the place, calling it a “fixer-upper”, but then notes the Day-Glo Skulls and says, “A minus. Current tenants!” One Day-Glo Skull calls Ivy his “little pretty pretty pretty” and says she looks “good enough to eat!” (Just between you and me, I think Akiva Goldsman was having a much tougher time coming up with plant puns than ice puns.) Ivy challenges them to “Come and get me!” as she pushes the NBA Jam Turbo Button on Bane’s chest.
They all swing day-glo green chains at Bane, but he steps on a single wooden plank which somehow sends them all flying through the air [?]. And I kid you not, this event is actually accompanied by a Loony Tunes slide whistle sound effect [!]. Now, if only we could get the “wahh wahh wahhhh” trombone from Tom and Jerry we’d be all set.
Anyway, all the Day-Glo Skulls run off, never to be seen or heard from again in this movie. Who were these guys? Why the day-glo color scheme? Couldn’t they have just put some normal bums in here? Oh, right. Comic Book Movie.
Once they’re gone, Ivy announces that she’s going to “redecorate”, and we spend several minutes pointlessly watching them do that. Finally, she tells Bane to put his Paul Stanley-style seven-inch heel through the floor to expose some dirt.
Crouching down, Ivy says that “It took God seven days to create Paradise!” In which version of the Bible does it say that? She opens up her hand, revealing a handful of glittering “seeds” that look like foil-wrapped chocolate almonds. “Let’s see if I can do better!” She drops the chocolate almonds into the dirt, and we watch as a whole host of CGI vines instantly sprout and grow several feet high.
Then she chats up Bane, telling him all about Freeze, who according to her is a “cool customer” with an “icy demeanor”. She inexplicably calls Bane “honey” and tells him to “clean up this mess. We’ve got company coming!” Bane growls, “Honeyyyy. Companyyy.” After viewing this film, you too will begin thinking and speaking like Bane.
We next find Bruce at Wayne Manor having dinner with Julie Madison (unfortunately, still played by Elle Macpherson, whose Australian accent is now leaking out all over the place), and she wants to talk about relationship stuff. Apparently, they’ve been together a year, and she’s decided she wants to marry Bruce. When she tells him this, Bruce shows no hint of a reaction on his face, and after a moment only replies that he’s “not the marrying kind”. I mean, check out the graves of his parents right outside the bedroom window if you want proof of that.
He indirectly refers to all the stuff in his life that she doesn’t know about, but she responds that she understands he’s had his “wild nights”. Bruce chuckles. “‘Wild’ doesn’t quite cover it.” No, stupid, tedious, and overblown are pretty much the words I would have chosen.
Julie says she “can’t wait forever”, and as she’s talking, Bruce starts to zone out and daydream that Poison Ivy is there instead. Just like a man, huh? Then we cut to an extremely bored Julie asking who “Ivy” is. Apparently, Bruce just called her “Ivy” somewhere in there, but we didn’t get to see it. When she demands to know who this Ivy chick is, all he says is, “I wish I knew.” That’s the way to comfort a gal, Bruce.