Tag Archives: Michael Gough

Batman and Robin (1997) Review

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Batman and Robin

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Uma Thurman as Dr. Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy
Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson/Batgirl
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Director: Joel Schumacher

This superhero film finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O’Donnell), attempting to the foil the schemes of a deranged set of new villains, most notably the melancholy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who wants to make Gotham into an arctic region, and the sultry Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a plant-loving femme fatale. As the Dynamic Duo contends with these bad guys, a third hero, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), joins the ranks of the city’s crime-fighters.

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Despite mixed reviews of Batman Forever, it did well enough and so Joel Schumacher returned for the sequel. Batman and Robin killed the Batman franchise for about a decade before being picked up again by Christopher Nolan. Even though Batman and Robin is one of the worst superhero movies ever made, out of all the bad superhero movies this is actually kind of enjoyable. It is absolutely a movie that’s so bad it’s entertaining.

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If Batman Forever was cheesy, Batman and Robin takes it to a whole new level. The tone is completely corny and it tries being a really bad cartoon, there’s even a scene where Batman has a bat credit card. This film is extremely over the top, a great example is Batman’s introduction. The dialogue was terrible, for example there are so many puns, most of them ice puns from Mr Freeze. It’s actually hard to summarise everything wrong with the movie, all of that can only be seen if you watch the whole movie.

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George Clooney had the potential to be a great Batman but due to bad direction and writing he wasn’t good at all. The worst part about him is that his Bruce Wayne and Batman identities feel exactly the same with no distinction between the two. The best performance had to be by Michael Gough, who plays Alfred. Throughout all of these four Batman movies he’s been credible, even the Schumacher movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mr Freeze and I have no idea why he was chosen. I have a feeling that it was because he was a big name because he does nothing but deliver bad puns. The most over the top performance was Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. Uma Thurman is actually a good choice for Poison Ivy but just look at her performance. She acts like a pornstar obsessed with plants, and it’s honestly one of the most cartoonish performances I’ve seen in a movie.

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A good example of how over the top the action is, is shown in the first minutes: Batman and Robin are skating over ice and are using hockey sticks to get a diamond. The production design is also terrible, there’s a moment when a frozen car door opens and the ice on it wobbles. There’s also some obvious and over the top wire work, at time it felt like a puppet show. The costumes are worse, not just the Batman and Robin nipple suits. Mr Freeze’s suit is a giant neon lit ‘costume’ that just looks plain ridiculous. Fun fact, this movie was made to sell toys and you can see that everywhere. There’s even a scene where Batman, Robin and Batgirl change outfits between scenes without going to the Batcave to change.

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Batman and Robin is a bad movie and is the worst Batman movie. It’s cheesy, over the top, doesn’t make sense, isn’t Batman and it should be watched. I’m not kidding, it’s actually worth watching, more than Batman Forever even though that movie is a better movie. This movie is such a disaster, gets everything wrong and decades later it’s become this fascinating movie that could honestly be watched over and over again. Just know that the movie is absolutely terrible before watching it.

Batman Forever (1995) Review

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Batman Forever

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face
Jim Carrey as Edward Nygma/The Riddler
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian
Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Pat Hingle as James Gordon
Director Joel Schumacher

Batman (Val Kilmer) is back. This time he faces several challenges. Harvey Dent (Tommy Lee Jones) who had acid thrown on his face, Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) who has invented a device that manipulates human brainwaves and transfers them into his own head, Dr. Chase Maridian (Nicole Kidman), who has a major crush on him and Dick Grayson (Chris O’Dowd), who lost his family at the hands of Two-Face and is taken in by Wayne. Batman now must train Dick Grayson and confront both Two-Face and The Riddler to save Gotham City.

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Batman Returns wasn’t loved by everyone, mostly due to its even darker tone, as a result, Warner Bros decided to replace Tim Burton with Joel Schumacher in order to have a lighter tone, and they certainly got what they wanted. Batman Forever however isn’t a good film, it’s not without its entertaining moments but it’s not a good movie overall and its style just doesn’t fit Batman.

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As I said previously, the tone in this movie is much more light-hearted than Burton’s films. First of all there are some pretty cheesy lines in this movie (“Chicks dig the car”). I’ll admit that some of them are enjoyable in a guilty pleasure sort of way but a lot of the time it can get ridiculous. There are also some over the top stuff, for example in order to stop Batman and Robin from coming to their hideout, Two Face and The Riddler play a game of Battleship. I didn’t really buy Edward Nygma’s transformation into The Riddler, as he seems to become The Riddler in his first scene, which doesn’t lead to him being developed at all. I will say that the film surprisingly handled Robin’s story okay, it wasn’t great but it worked for the movie. Overall if you are planning to watch this movie, don’t go in for the story, it’s not a very good one and you can have more fun with how stupid it is.

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Val Kilmer makes for a decent Bruce Wayne, I could buy him as this character but he was a pretty forgettable but okay Batman. Chris O’Donnell was okay, as Robin but he wasn’t very memorable. I really don’t understand why Nicole Kidman was in this movie and something about her performance actually annoyed me a little. Maybe it’s because the ‘romance’ between her and Batman is not plausible in the slightest. The villains are very over the top that’s the problem with Schumacher’s Batman villains. They are all crazy and nothing else. Jim Carrey is playing Jim Carrey in this movie but I can at least give him credit that The Riddler is meant to be kind of nuts, even if this isn’t a good portrayal. The same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones, who is so incredibly over the top as Two Face, I’m convinced that he thinks he’s playing the Joker with half his face burnt.

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As the tone changed with Schumacher’s direction, so did the style, you can see if everywhere from the countless neon lights in this movie to the annoying amounts of Dutch angle shots. The costumes are pretty bad too, and I’m not just talking about the Batman nipples, for example The Riddler looks like he’s wearing Riddler pyjamas, something that a Riddler fan would wear, not the Riddler himself. I guess the only suit that looks okay is the Robin suit, probably because they actually made it look not laughable. The soundtrack is nice but it’s not really the most suitable soundtrack for Batman.

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Batman Forever isn’t the worst batman movie but it’s not a good one either. The villain performances were over the top and the style wasn’t really the best for Batman. But still there are some enjoyable scenes, and a lot of the movie can be considered guilty pleasure material. It is by no means however a good movie, it was still better than Batman and Robin though.

Batman (1989) Review

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Batman

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/The Joker
Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale
Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox
Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon
Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
Jack Palance as Carl Grissom
Director: Tim BurtonIn Gotham City, a dark knight known as Batman (Michael Keaton) helps to defeat evil and keep the city’s citizens safe. When Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) is transformed into the evil Joker, he promises to take over Gotham City. It is up to Batman to stop him in his tracks before it is too late.

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With Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy being one of the most well-known comic book adaptations of Batman, it’s easy to forget where it started (not including Adam West). Tim Burton’s Batman had an immense impact on many things, culture, superhero movies and movies in general. It still does hold up to this day and even though I like Christopher Nolan’s trilogy more, Batman is still a great film that is worth watching by everyone.

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First, what should be mentioned is the differences between Burton’s and Nolan’s take on the Caped Crusader. This film starts out with Batman already existing in Gotham City, we don’t see an origin story of how Bruce Wayne became him. We do eventually learn about his past later on but we don’t learn about it in the order of a usual origins story. It actually shows how The Joker became how he is, whereas the roles are reversed in the Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman is really Joker Begins as opposed to Batman Begins). I like how they showed Batman’s origins in Batman Begins more, but this version works quite well. One other great thing is the tone used, it was a darker sort of movie than most superhero movies at that time (like Superman) and it was really a changer for superhero movies. Batman also has the right around of dark comedy infused (mostly with The Joker), which is something that Tim Burton is mostly good at.

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Michael Keaton was really good as Batman, he is able to play both Bruce Wayne and Batman, which is also something every actor needs to do with every superhero character; they need to be able to play both the person with and without the mask. We don’t see as much of Wayne’s past and he manages to act mysteriously with subtlety. Jack Nicholson was fantastic in the role of The Joker. He is really funny, gleefully evil and he absolutely steals every scene he’s in. It’s like they took The Joker directly out of the comics. Now in comparison to Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, Nicholson’s performance isn’t as realistic or scary, but it doesn’t take away from his enjoyable and entertaining performance. Other actors like Kim Basinger and Michael Gough are also great in their roles.

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The look of the film is dark; particularly the set designs such as the city and they suit the movie, Tim Burton can always be trusted to at least get the look right and he does so with flying colours. The action was also pretty good, they aren’t really comparable to modern movies, but back in the days you didn’t really get action scenes like these. The soundtrack by Danny Elfman also suits the tone; it’s dark and brooding and very suitable for the movie.

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Apart from the first two Superman movies, no other superhero movies in the 70s and 80s really succeeded in being really great films. Even though I prefer Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy in terms of Batman adaptions and comic book movies in general, Batman is still a big part of the history of superhero movies and should be given credit. It is visually great with an interesting story and great acting from everyone. Batman is in my opinion Tim Burton’s best movie and it’s played a significant part in film history.