Batman & Robin ★★★★½

"They're called comic books, not drama books" - Joel Schumacher, wise man

Basically a Paul Verhoeven movie without the satire or gratuitous rape. The 4K restoration is an extraordinary big screen experience; there are colors in this magnificent neon heckscape that haven't been used in a film in over two decades. I used to feel frustration and annoyance with the people who hate this silly movie, but now I just feel a deep sadness for them and their tragic inability to luxuriate in its sledgehammer-to-the-brain pleasures.

Much of the plot hinges on some bullshit soap opera disease called "McGregor's Syndrome", but George Clooney's incessant bobble head is worryingly evocative of a real one—Parkinson's.

Elliot Goldenthal—more like Elliot G.O.A.T.enthal. The last minute cancelling of the excellent score album he assembled is maybe the most egregious crime in film score history.

Are there words in the English language more ominous than "Written by Akiva Goldsman"?

Everyone revels in the ice puns (and so they should), but my favorite Mr. Freeze-related throwaway line here is the one about him being "a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist and two-time Olympic decathlete."

No explanation of where Kidman vanished to in the interim between this film and the last; the female love interests in a Batman film are as disposable as Batman himself is. Batman is a character so hollow and archetypal that it doesn't matter who plays him—his actor doesn't even get top billing much of the time (Schwarzenegger takes it here, Nicholson took it in '89). Batman's latest girlfriend this time around is so perfunctory, such an afterthought, so peripheral that she doesn't even get damseled. The real function of female love interests in these films is simply to establish that Batman is DEFINITELY NOT GAY, despite his only persistent, intimate relationship being with his live-in boy toy. Schumacher is too busy literally aping Blonde Venus to pay much attention to half-heartedly establishing Bruce Wayne's hetero bonafides, and all to the better.