Batman & Robin is a 1997 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is a sequel to Batman Forever (1995), with George Clooney replacing Val Kilmer as Batman.
Batman & Robin also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, and Michael Gough. The film tells the story of Batman and Robin struggling to keep their partnership together while trying to stop Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane from covering Gotham City with ice and vegetation.
Development for Batman & Robin started immediately after Batman Forever, and Warner Bros. commissioned the film for an adamant June 1997 release. Principal photography began in September 1996 and finished in January 1997, two weeks ahead of the shooting schedule.
Batman & Robin was released on June 20, 1997, and received very negative reviews. Observers criticized the film for its toyetic and camp approach, as well as possible homosexual innuendo added by Schumacher. Batman & Robin received 11 nominations at the 1997 ceremony of the Razzie Awards, including one for Worst Picture, and frequently ranks among the worst superhero films of all time. After this, Warner Bros. canceled the unproduced Batman Triumphant, and the film series was eventually rebooted with Batman Begins (2005) by director Christopher Nolan. The song made for the film, “The End Is the Beginning Is the End” by The Smashing Pumpkins was more successful than the film itself, winning a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards.
In Gotham City, Batman and Robin attempt to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a cache of diamonds, but he escapes. They learn that Mr. Freeze was a scientist named Victor Fries who became dependent on a diamond-powered subzero suit following an accident in a cryogenics lab he was using to find a cure for his wife, Nora, who was suffering from a terminal illness called MacGregor’s Syndrome.
In South America, botanist Dr. Pamela Isley is working under Dr. Jason Woodrue, a mad scientist who recently had his funding cut by Wayne Enterprises and is experimenting with a strength serum called “Venom drug”. She witnesses Woodrue use the formula to turn a diminutive convict into a hulking monstrosity dubbed “Bane”. Woodrue and Isley argue over the use of the drug and when she refuses his advances, Woodrue overturns a shelf of various toxins onto her. She transforms into the seductive Poison Ivy before killing Woodrue with a kiss from her poisonous lips. She leaves with Bane for Gotham.
Barbara Wilson, Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth’s niece, makes a surprise visit and is invited to stay at Wayne Manor until she returns to college. Alfred is revealed to be suffering from MacGregor’s Syndrome.
Poison Ivy interrupts a Wayne Enterprises press conference unveiling a new observatory, to propose a project that could improve the environment. Bruce Wayne declines her offer, as millions would die. That night, a charity event is held by Wayne Enterprises with special guests Batman and Robin in attendance. Ivy seduces them as well as many other men with her pheromone powder she blows at victims, until Freeze crashes the party and steals a diamond from the event. He is captured and sent to a cold chamber in Arkham Asylum, but escapes with the help of Ivy and Bane.
Robin becomes smitten with Ivy and begins to rebel against Batman. Ivy imprisons Robin when he does not give in to her charms and subdues Batman when he confronts her. Barbara — now a costumed crime-fighter calling herself Batgirl — arrives and defeats her. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl go after Freeze together. When they arrive at the observatory where Freeze and Bane are, Gotham is completely frozen from Freeze’s ice ray. Robin and Batgirl confront Bane and defeat him, while Batman and Freeze fight, with Batman winning. Freeze destroys the observatory with a set of bombs Bane planted, but Batman escapes. Batgirl and Robin unfreeze Gotham by repositioning the observatory’s satellites, which use their mirrors to reflect sunlight, in order to thaw Gotham from outer space.
Batman shows Freeze a recording of Ivy during her fight with Batgirl, in which she brags about killing Nora. Batman tells Freeze that his wife is not dead; she was restored and moved to Arkham, where he could complete his research. Batman asks Freeze for the cure he created for the first stage of MacGregor’s Syndrome for Alfred; Freeze atones for his misdeeds by giving him the medicine he had developed.
Ivy is shown imprisoned in Arkham with a vengeful Freeze as her cellmate. Alfred is eventually healed, and everyone agrees to let Barbara stay at the mansion.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film: