Liveblog: the first 22 minutes of Batman and Robin

This is exactly what it sounds like: a real time reaction to the first twenty two minutes of the legendary franchise-killing crapfest  Batman and Robin. My previous Batman-themed liveblog can be found here; other liveblogs can be found here and here.

00:00:35 – Huh. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets top billing even though this film is named Batman and Robin and he plays neither Batman nor Robin. Now, admittedly I could be wrong.... But I'm pretty sure that the guy who played Jerry Maguire got top billing in Jerry Maguire. We are two words into this movie and I am already questioning its judgment.

00:01:15 – First shot of the infamous Bat-Nipples.

00:01:20 – Aaannnd that's a bat-butt.

00:01:25 – First shot of Batman's eyes. So this is officially a T&A movie at this point, right? Because we had tits first, then came the ass and then dead last we get the eyes, those infamous portals to the soul. I think that pretty clearly establishes this film's priorities. 

00:02:00 – First lines of dialogue: Robin: “I want a car. Chicks dig the car.” Batman: “This is why Superman works alone.” This raises an important question: is there room to bone in the Batmobile? Most of the car's space seems to be given over to unnecessary fins and spinning lights while the actual seating area appears to be sport car sized. That would be a tight fit for two horny people, right? I guess Robin does come from a family of acrobats... 

00:02:25 – Actually, Batman just climbed into the Batmobile and it turns out that the seating area is so cramped that he doesn't even fit entirely inside it - his head is poking out like he was riding a go-cart. He is a billionaire, you'd think he'd be able to afford a car with a roof? And why does Robin think that Batman's poorly designed clown car is cooler than his motorcycle? And now that I think about it, he's a handsome young athlete who lives in a fancy-ass mansion - why does he need a car to pick up ladies?  

00:3:10 – Alfred starts crying. He isn't the only one.

00:03:40 – Commisioner Gordon calls Batman on his in-dash video phone and says that Mr. Freeze is attacking the Gotham art museum. But... Batman got in the car before he knew about that crime. So where was he initially planning on going? Is this crime cockblocking a grocery store run?

00:04:17 – Cut to Mr. Freeze straight up freezin' some cops with a freeze ray. So far his story checks out, but if I ever catch him giving some orphans a steaming cup of soup I'm going to be pissed. 

00:04:20 – Freeze's 1st line: “The Iceman Cometh.” Does he derive sexual pleasure from using his freeze ray on strange men? If so, are those traumatized cops going to get special hazard pay for enduring this unexpectedly intimate experience? If I got covered in supervillain jizz while I was on the clock I would want hazard pay. 

00:04:40 – Second ice based pun: “My condition has left me cold to your please of mercy.” I'm sure that line makes more sense in the original language it was written in.

00:05:10 – Mr. Freeze sees a diamond he wants to steal. But I thought this was an art museum? Is Banksy doing some sort of next level installation about the nature of capitalism or did this movie already forget what kind of museum it is?

00:05:20 - Freeze says “there is only one absolute in this universe – everything freezes.” I'm pretty sure that there are many things in the universe that do not freeze, like, say, stars? Also: why is he talking about how cold is a universal constant while staring at a diamond? Does he know something about them I don't? Oh, I just got it - it is because diamonds are also called ice. But he said the universe freezes, not that it gets icy - you know what, fuck it, let's just move on.

00:05:45 – Batman enters the museum by breaking through the skylight. Huh, that seems unnecessary - is this poor museum going to have the funds in their budget to replace such an expensive item? Also, how did he get on the roof? And if he had just gone through the front door would he have been there early enough that he could have kept Freeze from bathing those cops in ice jizz? 

00:06:10 – Batman is now sliding down the backbone of a giant rubber brontosaurus. This must be a natural history museum, not an art museum? But are... diamonds really a part of natural history? Has anyone involved in this production actually been to a museum before?

00:6:20 – And Robin just drove his motorcycle through the museums front door. Great, another expensive thing to fix. Also, once they arrest Freeze how are they going to keep looters from walking into the museum and stealing everything that isn't locked down? Are they going to stay on the scene until a door repairman gets there?

00:6:35 – Robin almost destroys a comically large vase. Batman saves it and says “you break it you buy it.” Probably should have told him that before he busted down the giant doors?

00:06:40 – Freeze tells his henchmen “grab the gem, kill the heroes!” Does he really need to say that? Are his lackeys so dumb that they don't understand how an armed robbery works? If so, he needs to fire the person who is in charge of hiring his henchmen because they are not doing a good job.

00:06:45 – All of Freeze's henchmen are wearing skull-faced hockey masks and ice skates. Okay, I imagine they put on the masks in the parking lot, but when do they skate up - in the van? Once they are inside the museum? How much time do they spend hobbling around on non-icy surfaces before they get to skate-friendly places? I don't want to accuse this movie of being ill-conceived, but it does seem like Freeze's lackeys might want to wear more practical footwear given that they are in a business where time is frequently of the essence.

00:07:00 – At first Batman and Robin are unable to keep up with Freeze's henchmen... but then they click their heels together and ice skating blades pop out of their boots. So where were the blades before? Jammed into their feet, right? Also: how many times have they been running across a rooftop after a perp and accidentally discharged those blades? That seems like a really good way to break your ankle for no goddamn reason.

00:07:14 – Some of Freeze's henchmen are batting the gem around with their hockey sticks while they head towards Batman. Hey doofus, you understand what teamwork is, right? Like, you get that some of the henchmen can be taking care of goal A (get the gem) while others are taking care of goal B (kill the heroes)? Seriously, I should not have to explain to you why it is not a good idea for your to be taking the gem towards the guy who is trying to stop you instead of taking it towards the Freezmobile.

00:07:25 – Sure enough, Robin now has the gem. This didn't have to happen, dipshits.

00:07:40 – Mr. Freeze's freeze ray got stranded on top of a giant foam head in the middle of the melee and now he wants to knock it loose by throwing an overweight security guard in its general direction. The shot of the massive guard flying thirty feet in the air is one of the least convincing wirework effects I have ever seen. Truly, truly awful looking, and also completely unnecessary – there are so many other things he could have thrown to get the freeze ray down that would have looked less awkward in mid-air.

00:08:10 – All of Freeze's henchmen are doing acrobatic flips in Batman's general direction. I don't want to harp on the ankle thing, but I truly do not think it is a good idea to be doing unnecessary jumps while you are zooming around an ice-covered floor. Also, Cirque Du Soleil probably pays better than being a henchmen so maybe those guys should re-think their career goals?

00:08:25 - Freeze: “What killed the dinosaurs? The ice age!” - First of all, that isn't even a pun. Also, didn't the “Ice Age” happen about 10,000 years ago? I know the Earth has frozen several times but when people say "Ice Age" I think they are generally referring to – you know what, fuck it, I don't have time to fact check all this movie's ice related bullshit.

00:09:04 – Freeze just hit the brontosaurus statue with his freeze ray for so long that it started to disintegrate. This museum – which apparently is only one giant room that houses four objects (dinosaur, gem, Mayan head and a vase) - is now completely boned. Way to go, Batman – you have now deprived all of Gotham's kids of their chance to learn what a giant gem looks like. I doubt their education will ever recover.

00:09:30 – Yeah, the henchmen have definitely stopped trying to steal the comically overlarge diamond and just started playing hockey. (Which reminds me: playing hockey is also much more lucrative than breaking into museums.) Now I understand why Freeze had to explain to them that their mission was to “get the gem” - they are clearly attention span deprived idiots. 

00:09:55 – Robin jumps onto the back of Mr. Freeze's... I don't know how to describe his car – it looks like if a giant drill had a baby with a milk truck? But it's also kind of tankish? And it has spikes coming out of the front for some reason? Anyway, Robin starts climbing the back of the Freezemobile using bat logo branded suction cups - where the hell did he get those from? -  and suddenly he realizes that he is actually attached to a giant bomb. And not just any bomb - a bomb looks like an erect phallus that is coming out of the Freezemobile's crotch. I've seen pornos that have less sexual imagery than this. 

00:10:05 – Cut to inside the Freezemobile, where Mr. Freeze is pushing random switches for no apparent reason while mumbling “oh, yes” under his breath. What, they couldn't think of an ice related pun that would be applicable to toggling knobs? 

00:10:25 – It turns out that the Freezemobile's angry phallus isn't a bomb – it is a spaceship. Mr Freeze tells Batman that they are flying to “the cold of space” where the caped crusader will “freeze”. These aren't puns as much as they are statements of fact. Absurd facts, but facts nonetheless. (Seriously: somewhere in Earth's orbit there really is a George Clooney shaped space-cicle.)

00:10:41 – Once Freeze has trapped his foe using some ice shackles he reveals his secret plan: he is trying to launch a doomsday device that will plunge Gotham into perpetual winter. So why the fuck was he wasting time on a jewel heist? His spaceship was already complete before he stole the diamond, and it seems like it would be easier to take what you wanted after everyone in the city had frozen to death. 

00:11:25 – Robin breaks into the spaceship and then he melts Batman's ice shackles with a laser gun that's the size of a hot glue gun. Seriously, where are they storing all of these toys? If he was carrying a purse earlier I missed it.

00:11:40 – And now Batman has inexplicably produced a “bat-bomb”. And then after they plant the bomb on Freeze's spaceship they jump out of the escape hatch and start to float down to the earth... while riding boogie boards that they produced out of nowhere? Man, if these guys are this good at hiding shit on their bodies just think what they could sneak past the TSA...

00:12:00 – Batman catches up with Freeze in mid-air. He knocks the gem out of Freeze's frigid fingers and towards Robin, who catches it without missing a beat. (Which is good, because a falling rock of that size could easily have killed a random pedestrian.) But as soon as he has the gem in his hand Robin makes a face that says "oh, no, I'm plummeting to my death" - as if he didn't realize that he was parachute-less a few minutes ago, back when he first started riding the outside of a rocket into the upper atmosphere. However, his panic is short lived as he immediately screams “COWABUNGA” because he is ONE COOL CUSTOMER that all of the KIDS CAN DEFINITELY RELATE TO

00:12:30 – It has to be said: this film's color palette is garbage. All of the neon colors in the museum were garish, but they were at least consistently garish... But now that we are out in the night time, and now that the characters are moving blurs in front of bad CGI buildings, this film's random jumble of glitter and gothic is truly unpleasant to look at. 

00:14:54 – Some chase scene stuff, then Robin lunges after Mr Freeze, causing Batman to say "Robin, no" with all the resigned indifference of a drunk weekend dad who is watching the big game instead of his accident prone child. Then Mr. Freeze hits Robin with the freeze ray and taunts him by saying “stay cool, bird boy.” As we discussed two notes ago Robin is definitely cool, but he is less a "boy" and more of a “thirty year old” who wears a nipple covered latex suit to work.

00:15:20 – Batman now has to choose between unthawing Robin before he freezes to death or chasing after Freeze and stopping him. Wait, if you don't get thawed immediately after you get hit with the freeze ray then you die? So all the cops in the museum are DOA, right?

Also: Freeze adds: “Your emotions make you weak which is why this day is mine!” Now, I understand that super villains have a unique way of speaking, but that still seems like a weird thing for one adult male to say to another adult male immediately after they have covered a thirty year old teenager with ice jizz.

00:15:30 – As Freeze is walking away he cocks his freeze gun and says “I'll kill you next time!” But... why not now? It is like he has plans to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and he's at the grocery store, and the peanut butter is already in his cart, and he's standing in front of the jelly section, and then he just decides “enh, I'll come back for this later."

00:15:45 – Freeze escapes through a hole in the wall, then he spends 15 seconds filling up that hole with a four foot wide ice circle, then he wipes the top layer of frost off so Batman can clearly see his dainty goodbye wave... And this whole time Batman was just standing there like “this is a very good time to be passive.” Now that is what I call good super heroing!

00:16:00 – Batman realizes that he can thaw Robin by dunking his body into the large pool of water that he happens to be standing near. Wait a minute. How is it that everything in that room was instantly frozen by Mr. Freeze's freeze-ray except for the large freestanding pool of water that is in the dead center of the room? Also, isn't immersing Robin into that water going to give him hypothermia? Ah, but the script is one step ahead of me, because now Batman is using his glue gun laser to warm up that man-sized pool of water. That promises to be very time effective! 

00:16:10 – Cut to – a Castle Grayskull looking model in the middle of a rainforest? That doesn't seem like it would be anywhere near Gotham.

00:16:15 – Fist appearance of Poison Ivy. She is upset that her plan to mate a rattlesnake with an orchid failed again. Uh, maybe that's because one of those things is a plant and one of them is an animal? I mean, I'm not Mr. Science but I'm pretty sure that mating requires the participants to have similar sexy parts before they can – you know what, I don't have the energy to explain the birds and the bees to Batman and Robin right now.

00:16:40 – So her goal is to make it so that plants can fight back against those that would prey on them? That is a great plan, because there are literally zero ways that weaponizing every plant in the world could go wrong.

00:17:00 – One wall of her evil lair is covered with “DO NOT ENTER” signs like it was a teenager's bedroom. This movie's tone is impossible to figure out because stuff like that isn't really a joke - the mad scientist behind that door really does want strangers to keep out - but you also can't take it seriously, either, because what self respecting castle dwelling mad scientist acts like a hormonal teen? I'm beginning to wonder if the script was written by a human or by a computer that was told that it needed to master "joke"-telling before it could be considered sentient.

00:17:25 – Poison Ivy sneaks past the “DO NOT ENTER” sign and discovers that her coworker (?) is entertaining some evil U.N. members in his secret lair. (It is obvious that they are  untrustworthy foreign dignitaries because one of them is wearing a turban and another is wearing a dashiki.) How do you manage to smuggle multiple hostages (?) into a castle without tipping off your castle mate? After all, you have to go through her lab to get into his secret hide out.

00:17:30 – Her coworker (?) is about to murder a serial killer using a bright green light? Oh, I spoke too soon - he's actually going to murder the killer by strapping him to a table, drilling holes in his skull, and then pouring a super soldier serum called “venom” directly into his cranium. (Incidentally, the nuclear green fluid is in a two gallon water jug that has been helpfully hand labelled "venom" - safety first!)

00:17:45 - Apparently, venom is composed of “steroids and toxins” - although how any serum that is mostly composed of “toxins” would make someone “super” escapes me. Also, I literally do not have any idea what any of this shit has to do with the fucking museum robbery that just happened. Also, I just realized that I am doing this to myself.

00:18:00 – The venom is now making the pipsqueak serial killer's arms and legs inflate like balloons until he has the body of a muscle man. That's not really what steroids do... I mean, to build muscle you still need to... Damnit, this movie almost tricked me into trying to explain science again.

00:18:10 – I can't stop staring at the mad scientist's utterly unnecessary green laser. Why is the beam so fuzzy? Is there a lot of dry ice in the air for some reason? Doesn't he find that distracting when he is trying to work? What is his electric bill like? 

00:18:20 – So, this mad scientist is proposing to sell an army of super soldiers to the worst despots in the world for the lowly price of ten million dollars apiece. That seems like a high mark up to me? I mean, I don't really know how much steroids cost, but it seems like dictators would be able to buy them in bulk for less than ten million dollars?

00:20:10 – The now ginormous-sized serial killer goes ape-shit and breaks free of his bonds. Then he flexes and yells out “BANE!!!” Which seems weird to me because literally thirty seconds ago he had a normal dude's name? I guess his "I am now inhabiting a radicially different body so I must be a new person?" identity crisis was very short lived? 

00:20:21 – Poison Ivy is shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that her coworker has been secretly using her research for military purposes. Has she never been in his lab, which is full of giant jugs labelled "venom" and pointless lasers? Because I knew he was a mad scientist the instant I saw him...  She must be the sort of woman that wouldn't realize her crush was gay even she caught him fondling dongs at an all male orgy.

00:20:45 – Ivy refuses to let her co-worker (?) use her research for such nefarious purposes. She says she's spent her whole life trying to protect “plants from extinction." Was that ever a real threat? I was under the impression that plant life is so omnipresent on this globe that it was basically uneradicatable? Also, how can someone who is trying to make rattlesnake plants afford to accuse another mad scientist of making "destructive technologies"? Pot, meet kettle.

00:21:00 – Anyway, dude gets so mad at Ivy's rejection that he tries to kill her. Now, I hate to blame the victim buuuut I do feel like she could have handled that better? Like if I was in her shoes and I had just discovered that my lab partner (?) was all about selling insane steroidal super soldiers to unconscionable despots for obscene amounts of money I would have said to myself "hmm, it might be a good idea to walk on eggshells around this guy." But nope, she was like "eff off you assface" so of course he was like "well, I'm gonna get to murderin'!"

00:21:20 – Ivy has been kicked to the floor, and now her flower-humping snakes are crawling all over her body, and her coworker (?) is dumping a box of “toxins” all over her body. I don't think this movie knows what “toxins” are, which is kind of mind-boggling. I mean, even Britney Spears understands the concept and she isn't known for being the world's foremost rocket surgeon.

00:21:40 – And now the floor beneath Poison Ivy is melting away? Which either means that the architecture of their castle was really shitty (man, talk about an unsafe work environment!) or else the toxins are so powerful that they can melt the floor away. Either way, she seems guaranteed to be dead dead. Like "you just got poisoned and melted into a skeleton and then dropped from a great height" level dead. But somehow I suspect she's not dead?

00:22:11 – Back to the Batcave. Batman is now explaining Freeze's backstory – he was a two time Olympic athlete as well as a Nobel laureate in molecular biology. Because you know, those things often co-exist in a person - it is not like either of those pursuits is even slightly time consuming. And of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger is exactly who you think of when you hear the phrase "Olympian super scientist", because he is...

You know what?

I can't do this anymore.

Look: for the most part I'm a bitter-ender. That's partly because I'm a stubborn dude; that's partly because I feel obliged to keep up my half of the unspoken contract that exists between moviemakers and their audience; and that's partly because I am at heart an eternal optimist who wants to believe that every film, even the ones that are obviously atrocious from their first frame, could potentially contain some small kernel of awesomeness.

However, there are times when I will let myself pull the plug. Here's my rule: if I've made it through the first 22 minutes of something and my opinion is already set in stone then I might as well walk away.

Now, 22 minutes might seem like an arbitrary number, but it isn't, because your average TV sitcom is twenty two minutes long. Here's my reasoning: if I was going to give a new show a try I would commit to watching the pilot from start to finish – but if that one episode sucked then I would not watch any more of the series and no one would really blame me for that. So I feel like the first 22 minutes of a movie is kind of the pilot for the overall product – if that is unwatchable then it seems fair to bail on however much is left.

But it isn't enough for a movie to suck; no, a movie has to suck in a very specific way for it to break my spirit. You see, I think that culture serves two purposes: one, it entertains individual people, and two, it creates opportunities for social interaction. There have been a lot of movies which failed to meet that first criteria but which met the second one - films which I didn't personally enjoy but which nonetheless helped me to have interesting and enlivening conversations with other people. But most conversations only last a few minutes, and at a certain point you have to say "enh, I already have enough of an opinion about this." 

So, yes, I probably could keep making fun of Batman and Robin, and I could probably break it down in more serious ways, too. But why bother? I'm not enjoying myself and I'm already overflowing with observations about this film's terrible script, its terrible direction, its terrible everything. So why continue to subject myself to it? 

Goodbye, Batman and Robin. In the entire year and a half I've been running a movie blog you are the first film which managed to break me - which is definitely an accomplishment, albeit an admittedly dubious one.

Winner: the Cat

Batman and Robin on IMDB