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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Batman & Robin can be found here.
Batman (George Clooney) and his new partner Robin (Chris O'Donnell), while still ironing out some difficulties between them, go up against two new villains -- Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). In order to get the money needed to finish finding a cure for a mysterious disease called MacGregor's Syndrome that has stricken his wife, Mr. Freeze plans to hold Gotham hostage by freezing the city into a permanent winter. Poison Ivy and her sidekick Bane (Jeep Swenson) want to stop the wanton pollution of Mother Earth by killing off everything on the planet and reseeding it with her botanical 'babies.' Meanwhile, Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone), the niece of Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Gough), arrives at Wayne Manor, and it is revealed that Alfred is dying.
While researching animal-plant crossbreeding to create venomous plants that can fight against the ravages of humans, Dr. Isley discovers that her colleague, Dr Jason Woodrue (John Glover), has been swiping her venoms to create the super killing machine, Bane. When she confronts him, Woodrue pushes her down and overturns various venoms on top of her. When she emerges, Isley has been changed into Poison Ivy. Her blood has been replaced with aloe, her skin with chlorophyll, and her kisses have become venomous.
A Nobel Prize winner for molecular biology, Victor Fries placed his wife in cryogenic sleep when she came down with MacGregor's Syndrome, hoping to develop a cure for her. During his work, he was electrocuted and fell into a vat of cryosolution cooled to -50 F (-46 Celsius). It mutated his body so that he now must wear a cryosuit that uses diamond-enhanced lasers to keep his body at 0 F (-18 C).
MacGregor's Syndrome is a fictitious disease invented for the movie. No information is given as to how it attacks the human body other than that it is fatal. It appears to go through four stages, each stage becoming progressively harder to cure. Freeze's wife is in stage 4, which is why he placed her in cryosleep until he can find a cure. On the other hand, Alfred is only in stage 1 and is easily cured when injected with Freeze's cure.
Gotham City is a fictional U.S. port city located on the north-eastern Atlantic coast. It was originally a stand-in for New York City, but has also resembled other crime-ridden urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit. Some sources, including Mayfair Games' authorized (but now out-of-print) Atlas of the DC Universe, have placed Gotham City in the state of New Jersey. Christopher Nolan's (director for Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) Gotham City is located in the middle of the estuary of the Liberty River, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates most of Gotham from the mainland. The River Merchant divides Uptown from Midtown, while Midtown is separated from Downtown by the Gotham River. The Narrows is a small island in the Gotham River. A creek divides the district of South Hinkley from the rest of Gotham City. Gotham International Airport is in Pettsburg, to the north of the Liberty River estuary. The current DC Universe version of Gotham City is separated from the mainland by the Gotham River, bridged by a series of bridges and tunnels. The east and south sides of Gotham face the Atlantic Ocean. The city is further divided by the Sprang River (named for Dick Sprang) on the northern end and the Finger River (for Bill Finger) to the south. Tiny Blackgate Isle to the south-east is home to Blackgate Maximum Security Penitentiary. (Blackgate is replaced by Stonegate Penitentiary in the animated series Batman: The Animated Series (1992) and its spin-offs.)
In the comics spanning 1967-1988 and in the well-known 1960s Batman television series, Batgirl was Barbara Gordon, the police commissioner's daughter. For unspecified reasons, this film re-christened her as Barbara Wilson and made her the niece of Alfred Pennyworth (Bruce Wayne's butler), a rewriting of the character echoed nowhere else before or since. The reason for this change has never been made clear, although Commissioner Gordon was relegated to a fairly minor role in this particular run of Batman movies, and it was simpler to retcon Batgirl/Barbara as Alfred's niece rather than drastically expand a character who, for three movies, was very minor.
No. On the contrary, in fact. Bane was a criminal genius who was able to defeat Batman both mentally and physically, which resulted in Bane breaking Batman's back. Bane also released all the inmates from Arkham Asylum and took over the city. In the 2012 film, The Dark Knight Rises; Bane is the main villain and is depicted far more faithfully to the comics.
Freeze had only managed to find a cure for the disease in its earliest stages; his wife's case was too advanced for the treatment Freeze had found to be of any help to her. This is actually explained quite clearly in the film, yet this criticism frequently seems to pop up. While the script does contain many lapses in logic and continuity, this isn't one of them.
Freeze makes around 40 references to cold, freezing, ice, winter, etc., as well as using numerous cold-related idioms such as stay cool, break the ice, frigid wife, left me cold, cold shoulder, the iceman cometh, a dish served cold, cold hearted, etc.
There are only three confirmed on-screen deaths, namely Dr. Woodrue and two security guards at Arkham Asylum, all of whom fall victim to Poison Ivy's kiss. It's also quite possible that some of the museum staff and security guards who were frozen at the start of the movie died from not being thawed out in time, as Mr. Freeze implies that the effects of his freezing ray are lethal if the victim is not thawed out within 11 minutes, and this revelation comes 14 minutes into the movie.
When Freeze disables and destroys the telescope, Batgirl realigns various satelites to reflect the sun's light from the Congo and thaw Gotham. Batman shows Freeze a video of Poison Ivy admitting that it was she who killed Freeze's wife, but Batman assures him that he found and restored her in time. Out of thanks, Victor agrees to give Batman the serum to cure Alfred's sickness. Victor is sent to Arkham Asylum but is allowed access to the lab so that he can continue his research into a cure for his wife. He joins Ivy in her cell and vows to make her life a living hell. After receiving the serum, Alfred recovers and agrees to let Barbara come live at Wayne Manor. Batman, Batgirl, and Robin shake on the idea of being partners, and Alfred comments "We're going to need a bigger cave." In the final scene, Batman, Batgirl, and Robin are shown running together in the glow of the bat signal.
Val Kilmer claimed he was asked to return to the role of Batman but that, due to his commitment with The Saint (1997), he was not interested in doing so. However, he and director Joel Schumacher did not get along during the production of the previous movie, Batman Forever, and Schumacher made it public that he found Kilmer difficult to work with. In an open letter written to Kilmer, Schumacher even suggested that his unprofessional, problematic behavior was due to mental health problems. This is most likely what facilitated the need to cast a new actor to play Batman.
The likely explanation is because it was so light, campy in tone and badly written. This was a radical departure from how the other movies in the series had been made - the first two in particular were very dark and gothic, and even the third movie (also directed by Joel Schumacher) was darker than this one. There are, of course, other reasons why fans and critics voiced their displeasure at the film, such as the use of various bad puns made by the character of Mr. Freeze, which all centered around an ice-related theme ("You're not sending me to the cooler!"). This was a great removal from the tragic undertones incorporated into his character in the early '90s that were almost universally accepted by fans (though the backstory was still there, the campiness detached the audience from any true emotional connection). Fans were also upset over the depiction of Bane; whilst in the comics he is a very cunning strategist, in this film he is simply a mindless thug who might as well have been a generic goon. Extremely poor set designs and special effects have also been cited. Even by 1997 standards and with a $125,000,000 budget, the production values were extremely poor. The acting has also been widely regarded as bad and many of the actors (similarly to Val Kilmer's embarrassment at the previous Schumacher film) have admitted to not performing well in this film. George Clooney even publicly apologized for the film as a whole. Schumacher would also apologize for the film and cite studio interference and pressure to make the film more kid-friendly and more a showcase for potential action figures and toys.
Yes. According to Box Office Mojo, the film's production budget was $125 million (not counting marketing and distribution costs which would add tens of millions of dollars onto the final total). The film made a total of $238 million worldwide, but this does not mean the film made a profit as theatres often keep almost half of ticket sales for films they screen (usually up to 45%). Batman & Robin was therefore the most expensive Batman film made at that time, but made the least amount of money, and the studio's share of the film's takings would not have covered their outlay. Coupled with extremely negative reception from both critics and audiences, it caused Warner Brothers to cancel the already-planned fifth film, which would have been titled Batman Triumphant. The never-produced film, also to have been directed by Joel Schumacher, was to have featured The Scarecrow and Harley Quinn as its villains, with a possible hallucinatory appearance by Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Feeling that the extreme backlash against Batman & Robin would result in future Batman films faring poorly, the franchise was put on the shelf for many years before Batman Begins restarted it with a completely new continuity.
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