Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) are back working side-by-side to stop the villains of Gotham City, but is there tension appearing between them, especially when one villainess who calls herself Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) can make anyone fall in love with her…literally. Along with Poison Ivy, the icy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is freezing anything which gets in his way from achieving his goal.
Plot: Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.
Director: Joel Schumacher
Aspect Ratio: 1.85.1
Runtime: 125 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.
Those are some low scores! Wow.
“Big. Bold. Lavish. Outstanding visual mischief.” -Janet Maslin
This movie was shot with Panaflex Cameras and Lenses by Panavision on 35 mm, so ultimately, you will get a native 4K visual for this release. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10. When it comes to the grain levels you will get a super-clean image with almost no grain. (There are some soft scenes too, but nothing that takes you out of the movie.)
I have nothing but positives things to say about this disc (we will get to the movie in a bit) except for one thing, the CGI. The CGI does not hold up well and while that was to be expected, it looks really bad a few times — especially when Mr. Freeze freeze’s the city… yikes. Outside of that you are going to get top-notch depth, contrast, shadows and color throughout. It is such an increase in picture quality and color over the Blu-ray… it’s really impressive. If it wasn’t a bad movie, it would be a must-own disc.
The main highlight of this UHD disc are the scenes that include Mr. Freeze because of the blue hues, detail and textures on his suit. When you mix in that shine and reflection, nothing beats it. You can really see the work that went into his make-up and design because the metallic paint and texture of his skin are reference grade quality. Some of the shots are blazing with the best that 4K UHD can do. Don’t forget Poison Ivy, she looked great as well — whether it was the various colors of green on her wardrobe to the reds in her hair and glitter on her face. She had reference grade shots of her own!
Keeping in mind reference grade quality, you will get more of that in various up-close conversations that are full of detail down to the pores, sweat, wrinkles, beard stubble and makeup. There were some specific close-ups of Alfred that oozed with detail — he was always in very good lighting, keep an eye out for it. Even the suits looked like they got an upgrade! They appeared very rubber-like in the previous movie, now (even though similar) they have a carbon matte-black look to them. I mean, there is so much clarity on this disc that you can see they saran wrapped the vehicles to appear as if they were iced over.
Some scenes I jotted down include Chapter 5 when Batman defrosts Robin and pulls him out of the water. Bright reds fill the screen while still holding sharp contrast and detail on Robin’s face. This continues color and detail wise in Ivy’s chamber — hues of red and green contrast perfectly over the plants and lab. Mind you the detail is still on point with cracks, ivy and soil staying apparent on the old textured steps, walls and doors. The neon fight scene in Chapter 19 will show in-your-face vibrant colors bouncing off the screen while deep blacks hold the atmosphere rock-steady. These levels continue in Chapter 20 where you will get dinner by the fireplace — black levels, contrast and shadows are excellent.
A scene that brings all the positives and highlights together has to be in Chapter 23 when Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze have an up-close conversation. Every single color, detail and contrast mentioned above flows through these two villains. It’s the greens in Ivy’s suit, her fiery red hair — its Mr. Freeze’s blue hues, textured skin… the works.
When anyone talks about the Dark Knight the only thing I think about is Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s adaptation. That will always be my Batman and I’ll be shocked if that ever changed, I don’t even think it’s possible. As soon as people start to talk about ‘classic’ or ‘anthology’ Batman, this is the first movie that comes to mind. If you’ve read my first three reviews (Batman, Batman Returns & Batman Forever) I kept hinting that I was brought up on the worst two of the four. This film and Batman Forever are the Batman movies I was raised on. I can’t tell you how many times I watched this movie as a kid, but this movie in 2019 is hilarious! In the first 15 minutes you get super-hero’s and villains playing hockey in a museum mixed in with a dozen one-liners and sky surfing… it’s literally a comedy. I have to admit, I still enjoyed it a lot, it brings back childhood memories.
If I could ask Joel Schumacher a question about his Batman movies, I would ask: what would you have done if you could have made a third movie? In two movies Burton had two villains, Schumacher had five — not to mention the addition of Robin and Batgirl. Who would the third movie intro or reintroduce?
Even though it’s the worst Batman movie critically, it does have my recommendation for an amazing UHD purchase. It’s probably the best looking disc out of the four films because Schumacher’s tone has way more color. There’s no way you pick up a few of these movies when all four got the treatment… you have to get them all. Like I mentioned above, “If it wasn’t a bad movie, it would be a must-own disc.” Make sure you pick it up when it releases everywhere on June 4th — and remember a box-set is coming September 17th.
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