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Batman & Robin, the 1997 adaptation of the caped crusader, is one of the worst movies ever made. It essentially killed the character of Batman. Contrary to popular belief, I actually love it. I recognize that I am in the minority, but, twenty years after it almost killed superhero movies at the box office, I can not help but smile whenever it comes on. Not because it is a good movie. It’s not. Because it is so unbelievably bad, it becomes fun in a way that some of the best, most memorable comic book movies are. Being completely honest, Batman & Robin is a terrible movie. The movie was made of pure Hollywood greed for the sake of selling toys, and watching it is witnessing a franchise being destroyed by terrible writing. The casting, writing, costuming, and set design were all so bad that the movie was almost completely incoherent. It takes a single piece of dreadful cinema for a director to publicly apologize for it, and director Joel Schumacher literally apologized for making the movie. All this being said, there is a gross pleasure in watching a movie this bad. For me, Batman & Robin is in the realm of famously bad films, where it can be adored for how irreparably awful it is, in company with Sharknado and The Room. It lets one look back and wish they could go back and see it for the first time again. Listening to the many puns and horribly written lines of a movie meant to be serious becomes enjoyable, and eventually humorous to a fault. After awhile, even the atrocious has its charms. The movie has some actual desirable traits; they are just trapped under all the bad acting. Firstly, Uma Thurman does great as Poison Ivy. In a movie committed to Schumacher’s exaggerated, campy style, she performs her role flawlessly. She looks like she’s having real fun in the role, which is dissimilar to George Clooney’s bored take on Batman. Second, there are genuinely heartfelt themes of family, partnership, and life and death in this film. How does Batman & Robin maintain its eminence? Because at this point the movie is an unintentional parody of the good superhero movies that came after it. It is much easier to laugh at what is wrong about the movie, and the bad jokes can still sometimes be funny. Watching Arnold Schwarzenegger make all of his 27 ice puns as Mr. Freeze continues to put a smile on my face. The laughably theatrical style of the movie is such the polar opposite of today’s dark, gritty superhero movie, it becomes the perfect spoof. Instead of being known as one of the worst superhero films of all time, Batman & Robin should be looked at as one of the best comedies of all time. Despite the obvious poor quality of Batman & Robin, I still adore the movie and it holds up as one of my favorites.


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