Was Joel Schumacher’s “Batman and Robin” really that bad?

Batman & Robin (1997) aka Batman and Robin Directed by Joel Schumacher Shown from left: George Clooney (as Batman), Chris O’Donnell (as Robin)

Joel Schumacher’s (may he rest in peace!) take on the caped crusader and his plucky, albeit much whinier, sidekick/boy wonder may have killed the franchise upon it’s arrival in 1997, but is it really the travesty of cinema it’s been made out to be?

Honestly? I don’t think so!

We recently watched this movie for our podcast as a tribute/celebration of the life of Joel Schumacher (who has also directed other beloved/well known films like St Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys and the original Flatliners) and, upon sitting down and expecting the worst from this movie — the three of us here at Team Obscura were actually pretty shocked by how much fun we had here!

Make no mistake, this movie is bad. Really bad. Almost every criticism that has been levied against it over the past 20+ years has been very, very true. But it’s also not that bad. The bat-buttocks, the bat-credit-card and that insanely weird/out-of-nowhere motorcycle scene that belongs in a game of Road Rash are all as strange and jarring as you’d think they’d be… But I don’t know, I had a lot of fun with it all!

I swear, on God, Batman and Robin devolved into a punch-and-kick-laden race in the style of Road Rash at one point. And I loved it.

On a thematic level, Batman and Robin falls flat on its face. The plot makes little to no sense (Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy wants Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze to send the planet back into the ice age so that her plants can… freeze to death?), and the film itself is overstuffed with a mostly needless (albeit pretty heartfelt) subplot for Alfred and the aforementioned motorcycle scene. And yet despite this, I still can’t stop thinking about it! I think it’s easy to get lost in how bad of a Batman movie this is and overlook some delightfully cheesy action sequences and this movie’s extremely 90s set design/cinematography (take a shot every time the camera is tilted more than 30 degrees horizontally, you’ll die.)

Ultimately, I was actually shocked with how much I recommend that people check this one out. It’s certainly not good, but did it really warrant “is Joel Schumacher gay?” being one of the most Googled terms for the director? It’s a movie with Bat-nipples, so I guess I see why people are wondering it but… really?

I dunno, maybe it’s me, but I liked this one. Check it out!

If you liked this article and wanna hear more about my thoughts on Batman and Robin… Cool! You can do exactly that by listening to our podcast episode on the movie from your favorite podcast player or through the ~nifty~ Spotify link below!

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