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i think maybe it's time for the batman series to be put to rest .
not only has the first two films' unsettling insight into what it would really take for someone to make himself into a " superhero " been abandoned , but this one throws any lingering realism out the window and goes for all-out camp with few traces of the self-mocking restraint of the relatively light-hearted third installment .
let me give you an example : in the first scene of the movie , batman ( george clooney ) and robin ( chris o'donnell ) are summoned to a museum that has been literally turned to ice by mr . freeze ( arnold schwarzenegger ) in an attempt to steal a diamond .
mr . freeze's thugs are armed with none other than hockey sticks , but this is no problem for our heroes : automatic skates shoot out of their shoes , at which point robin manages to get hold of a hockey stick , grabs the diamond , and stick-handles it through the museum .
i might have expected this from an airplane-style farce , but i don't think that's what this movie is supposed to be .
after all , the previous three batman movies were actually fairly realistic by the standards of the superhero/action genre and kept the corny death-defying stunts to a minimum , while playing the obligatory cheesiness with at least some amount of irony .
not any more ; the list goes on and on in this one .
robin holds onto the outside of a flying rocket ship 30 , 000 feet high in the atmosphere , climbing in the door to save batman .
mr . freeze and poison ivy ( uma thurman ) leap from a skyscraper and survive by landing in a small pond .
a world dominating mad scientist lives in a fortress that seems to have been stolen from the old he-man cartoons .
my very favorite example is the scene in which batgirl ( alicia silverstone ) gets in a race with motorcycle thugs , during which they come up with the clever notion of dousing the road with gasoline and setting it on fire to distract her .
not bad , but wouldn't the police ( or maybe batman ? )
notice if the road was on fire ?
i knew gotham city was this crazy anarchic place , but .
.
.
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it also seems that the creators of the batman movies are obeying some unwritten rule that there have to be more main characters and plot lines in each successive installment .
as if three protagonists and two villains weren't enough , batman and robin further weighs itself down with an underdeveloped side story of the failing health of bruce wayne's butler alfred ( michael gough ) , which might have seemed poignant if it wasn't surrounded by so much silliness , as well as several scenes with elle macpherson as bruce's girlfriend which serve no purpose other than to remind us that she is in the movie .
all this might be semi-excusable if the story were interesting and entertaining , but it isn't .
in fact , it's kind of boring .
mr . freeze and poison ivy pale in comparison as villains to past baddies such as jack nicholson's joker and danny devito's penguin .
their evil plot is as predictable ( schwarzenegger actually pronounces the words , " today gotham city , tomorrow the world ! " )
as it is lame-brained ( didn't it ever occur to poison ivy that freezing the entire world would kill her precious plants too ? ) .
and robin's constant challenging of batman mostly just makes him look bull-headed and stupid and makes us wonder why batman ever would have taken him on as a partner in the first place .
strip away the stars , the fancy set design , and the status as a " batman movie , " and all you have here is another barely passable summer action flick .