This summer, we observe the anniversaries of two entries in the enduring Batman film franchise. Recently, we fondly looked back on Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, which was released in theatres 25 years ago, believe it or not. The other, however is remembered much less favorably. We are, of course, talking about the infamous Batman & Robin.
As someone who has been alive long enough to have seen every live action movie starring the Caped Crusader that Warner Bros. have produced in theaters, I can put some proper perspective on how each were received by the public at large. Over time, certain details tend to get lost or overlooked, and given that I have an encyclopedic knowledge of this particular line of movies, I don’t mind lending my expertise… and making you laugh a few times along the way.
Having witnessed the divisive reactions to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad last year, I’m not afraid to remind you all of how much worse it can get. Still, it’s important that we always examine our history, lest we’re doomed to repeat it. Granted, I liked both of those entries in the still young DC Extended Universe to varying degrees, but I’m not going to sit here with fanboy blinders on and say that they’re absolute masterpieces, deny that they weren’t well-received or insult the intelligence of people who simply weren’t fans of them.
Part of my motivation for writing this piece is to forever use Batman & Robin as the shining example of what happens when studio execs run amok and think they know best when it comes to characters they have little knowledge of. Like it or not, they meddled with the final cut of Suicide Squad and the threat of a five-alarm nipples-on-the-Batsuit crisis happening again is very real. Wonder Woman recently showed us they’re capable of getting it right though, so let’s hope someone in Burbank is reading this along with the rest of you.