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Batman & Robin

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  • Creating a clattering, headache-inducing monstrosity that's like a cross between a theme-park ride and a campy Broadway show
  • Making the villainous Poison Ivy—ostensibly the world's most seductive woman—look and behave like a shrill transvestite
  • Giving Batman armored-suit nipples in place of a personality

Defender: Joel Schumacher

Tone of commentary: Contradictory. Schumacher alternates between honorably taking responsibility for the film's leaden kitsch, blaming the film's awfulness on toy companies and studio execs, and halfheartedly defending it as a live-action comic book for kids. He's unfailingly complimentary to his collaborators, but makes it clear that creative considerations took a back seat to making as much money as possible.

What went wrong: Schumacher wanted to adapt Frank Miller's Batman: Year One graphic novel, but the soulless studio suits forced him to make a feature-length commercial for Batman toys. Those bastards! Why they always gotta be compromising the vision of a subversive cinematic rebel like Schumacher? Schumacher also says he relied heavily on the input of his 6-year-old godson while making the film.


Comments on the cast: Schumacher says star George Clooney is one of the most famous bachelors in the world, then saucily insists that Clooney likely "hasn't lived an unloved life." By Schumacher's reckoning, Val Kilmer was the best Batman, but Clooney gave the character a kinder, gentler quality. Schumacher gushes about everyone in the cast and crew, points out who has children and how many, and expounds at length about his actors' attractiveness, especially the women.

Inevitable dash of pretension: The director of St. Elmo's Fire, D.C. Cab, Flatliners, and Batman Forever insists that it was a "new experience" making such fluff, since "anybody who knows a lot of my work knows it's pretty much on the dark side also."


Commentary in a nutshell: "There was enormous pressure on us to create more inventions in the film that could be turned into toys. I learned a new phrase in my life called 'toyetic,' [which means] whether a movie is 'toyetic' or not and how many toys people can get out of it. Hence, a lot of toys in this movie."