Rewatched Jul 19, 2012
Owen Hughes’s review:
Re-watched it for the first time in a while and tried to see what positives I could draw from a film I knew to be terrible.
First of all, it draws a lot on Batman '66 more than it does Batman '89. As a result, the first 30 mins wasn't as bad as I remembered it. It's so cheesy, but I think it intentionally made it that way. It wasn't trying to replicate Burton's Bats series - more an ode to West-era Bats. That's the first positive (keep count - there aren't many.)
It also has a story to tell about Alfred and Bruce's relationship which it tells it in a touching way at certain points; Michael Gough (as Alfred) gives a good speech with real emotion expressed at one point.
However, the good performances stop there. Schwarzenegger is terrible - but again, I reckon that's intentional. The dialogue is awful and it does get very tiring too. Amusing at first, exhausting in the end.
There were also seemingly lots of symbolic things in there - or so I thought - for example:
What are those giant statues of men scattered throughout the city?
Why are they there?
What do they represent?
Well, according to the dvd extras, nothing. Schumacher just wanted the city to look bigger. Hmmm. Disappointing.
The biggest problem with the film is it's just so boring and incredibly stupid. It doesn't know where it fits - funny film? Serious batman film? Action film? A slightly more adult and sexy film - there is a lot of innuendo in it, for example.
They also change the characters history a lot - Barbara / Batgirl being the most annoying of these! They've made it so that she's supposed to be Alfred's niece and an "Oxbridge" student (Quite why that means she can comment (and I quote) "London is kinda rough", I've no idea) but she doesn't even pretend to be English. Doesn't even attempt an accent.
The costumes are really, really bad too. Notoriously so. The nipples! Why?! Are they trying to emasculate the caped crusader?
Probably not because it doesn't seem like they put a lot of thought into any of this symbolic/alternate meaning stuff from what I've read.
Although, to be fair, the costumes they use in the final 15 minutes aren't bad - no explanation of how Robin has started wearing a Nightwing costume since the previous film though.
Also. A huge problem the DC fanboy in me has; they absolutely ruin Bane (unlike the Dark Knight Rises Bane which I watched today who is an incredible interpretation of that character). They just created a character who they called, and dressed up as, Bane. Nothing to do with Bane from the comics.
Poison Ivy too - Uma Thurman is really poor in it. REALLY poor. Sure she's quite attractive in her skimpy costume - acting wise, she's crap.
I get that the characters are "invented for 10 year old boys, not 40 year old nerds" but I remember being 9 or 10, going
to see this for my birthday in the cinema and thinking it was pretty rubbish really then too. I just got a kick out of seeing
Batman on screen.
Now, my opinion is that, essentially, despite what it might've been trying to do, it's not a great film - but I wasn't expecting it to be - I went in with the lowest expectations possible and it was kinda fun for a while but once that initial "haha this is so bad it's good" effect wears off, it just becomes a film that's bad. Not good. BAD.