Lists are made to be argued with, so I won’t deny that primal urge, but I do feel obligated to hold onto Movie Overdose’s position as the only, and it does seem only, defender of Batman & Robin as a movie experience.
The film was today voted the worst film of all time by Empire Magazine readers, something I just cannot agree with. I don’t deny that Batman & Robin is a terrible film, but what was everyone expecting? Batman Forever is a far less joyful and dumb experience, one which still believed that things were going down a good path. Joel Schumacher has proved again and again that with a budget, he’s a douche. I was never expecting Batman & Robin to be great and, therefore, why not just sit back and enjoy the relentless stupidity of everything that happens.
Also, consider what it’s actually doing. This is not a film which is pretending to be cool or clever. Everyone in it, especially the dead-eyed Clooney, completely understands that this is a terrible film. Even Schwarzenegger has to bring his quip A-game to the party to attempt to ring some fun out of his insane dialogue. To contend that a film with such low aims doesn’t manage to succeed to meet them is one that lies to opinion. If you feel this film didn’t meet its aims, it probably is among the worst films ever. But I would argue this film meets those low, low aims perfectly well.
Yes, Batman & Robin is a terrible film, but it wholly crosses the line to be so bad it’s watchable. If you are watching this movie with The Dark Knight in mind, shame on you. That film was expected to be, and was, really good. It took a better storyline, better villains, better actors and a much better director and, shock horror, resulted in a better film. Batman & Robin took a dying franchise which thoroughly deserved to die and be taken in a completely different direction and thuddingly, camply thrust the knife into the heart of the series.
Without this overblown mess, you would not have what followed in the future, and there are many more bad films which have pretensions of grandeur and greatness which thoroughly deserve to be consigned to the shitter of history. But let us keep Batman & Robin, the most gloriously terrible superhero film we have.