With Thor opening in theaters on Friday and X-Men First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger and Green Lantern not far behind it, 2011 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years ever for movies based on comic books and graphic novels. I figured now was a good time to reflect on some of the best and worst comic book movies. Up first are what I think are the worst of the bunch.
1997’s Batman & Robin may be the worst comic book movie ever made. This list may be in no particular order, but when I think of bad comic book movies, this one immediately comes to mind. It’s a movie so bad that the director actually apologized to fans who loved Batman Forever and went into Batman & Robin hoping for awesomeness, but instead got two hours of ice and plant puns.
For those of you fortunate enough to have never seen Batman & Robin, it’s a sequel to 1995’s Batman Forever, with George Clooney taking over the role of Batman from Val Kilmer. The story centers on the struggles of Batman and Robin’s tenuous partnership while they face off against Mister Freeze (played by The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger), Poison Ivy (played by Uma Thurman) and Bane. Meanwhile, Alfred’s granddaughter, Cher Horowitz, ends up as Batgirl somehow. It’s a horrible mess of a movie, with way too many villains and a subplot that revolves around Poison Ivy using pheromone spray to pit the Bat and Bird against each other.
I don’t know what’s more ridiculous about this movie: that Mister Freeze needs giant diamonds to power his freeze rays, that he’s actually able to find so many massive diamonds in the first place, Batman’s own special Batman credit card, Poison Ivy’s sex spray, or the ridiculous costumes (the bat suit actually has rubber nipples.) Looking back on this movie now after the refreshing realism of Christopher Nolan’s rebooted Batman franchise is amazing; Batman & Robin seems like a ridiculous cartoon by comparison. Even from the opening action sequence with Mister Freeze’s team of sadistic hockey players fighting Batman and Robin, you keep waiting for an ice-covered anvil to drop out of the sky and hit someone so hard that they see tiny bat-a-rangs flying around their head.
I’m not a big reader of Batman comics (yet!), but I’m sure there are probably more inconsistencies with this film than with most others. Bane being a monosyllabic lackey’s probably the most noticeable problem, though hopefully The Dark Knight Rises will fix it. (Please, Christopher Nolan, please!)
Unfortunately, one thing that no one will ever be able to fix, I think, are all of Mister Freeze’s ice puns. Have an ICE day, everyone!