A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Batman & Robin is a 1997 action movie in which George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell play campier versions of "The Dynamic Duo" than portrayals more commonly seen in recent decades. Practically everything out of Poison Ivy's (Uma Thurman) mouth is either sexual innuendo or double entendre. After Batgirl puts on her costume for the first time, the camera zooms in on her buttocks and breasts in the skintight outfit. Direct mild profanity is used infrequently, but bad puns like Mr. Freeze saying "Let's kick some ice!" are in abundance, and in one scene, Batman, in a heated argument with Robin, emphasizes Robin's real first name, "Dick," in a way that clearly means more than someone's first name. Action movie violence occurs throughout: machine guns and handguns, punches, kicks, choking. An illegal motorcycle street race nearly results in a fatality. There's some drinking and cigar smoking. This is not one of the most loved movies of the Batman franchise; families can use this one as a springboard to discuss what makes a movie "good," and even why there are disagreements between viewers as to a movie's overall quality and entertainment value.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The caped crusaders battle not one but two supervillains in director Joel Schumacher's second Batman film. When an experiment gone wrong transforms Dr. Victor Fries (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into the evil Mr. Freeze, it's up to Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) to stop him from turning Gotham City into an arctic wasteland. Meanwhile, another scientific endeavor goes awry, changing timid horticulturalist Pamela (Uma Thurman) into vicious Poison Ivy. The dynamic duo must also stop her from wiping out humankind in her quest to create a vegetation-only planet. Batman and Robin get some help when butler Alfred's niece (Alicia Silverstone) comes to visit and becomes the crime-fighting Batgirl.
Is it any good?
This by-the-numbers Bat-sequel is an outright rip-off of the preceding entries in the series. The introduction of Batgirl and Alfred's first step to center stage can't compensate for the uninteresting supervillains. The movie draws its depiction of Poison Ivy straight from the Catwoman section of Batman Returns, and takes its hastily forged supervillains from both Batman Returns and Batman Forever. Batman & Robin's recurrent refrain of a villain invading a high-society gala is also from Batman Forever.
Unlike its three predecessors, which wound up making the villains more fascinating than Batman, Batman & Robin succeeds in making both the villains and the heroes equally uninteresting. The villains spout nothing but pun-filled taglines, and good guys mostly spew tedious platitudes about teamwork. Even younger viewers will notice the overly simple plot, especially if they've seen the far-better-scripted animated adventures Batman and Mr. Freeze: Subzero or The Adventures of Batman & Robin: Poison Ivy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a good superhero film. In other films, Batman has a darker side. Did that come across in BATMAN & ROBIN? If not, would it have made this movie better, or worse? Why do you think people enjoy films based on comic book characters?
Did the sexual innuendo add to the overall entertainment value of the story, or did it seem forced and overdone?
This movie has been almost universally panned. What are some of the qualities that would make a movie "bad"? What are some movies you like that other family members or friends don't? Do you have any "guilty pleasure" movies?
- In theaters: June 12, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: October 21, 1997
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Uma Thurman
- Director: Joel Schumacher
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 130 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: strong stylized action and some innuendos.
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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