(cw: misogyny, ableism, brainwashing, kink)
was that over the top? i can never tell.
remember with me, if you can, a time when superhero movies hadn’t colonized *checks notes* the entire solar system. before marvel & dc movies became like coke & pepsi or democrats & republicans–one side is unquestionably superior but no one else can even play, they’re portrayed as polar opposites when they’re functionally the same thing, and they have surprisingly zealous fan followings for something that probably shouldn’t exist in the first place.
that was when this kind of stuff could still happen.
(actually, it kinda accidentally happened again more recently? we’ll get to that in my next review.)
so, tim burton was kinda starting to overstay his welcome in the empire his movie made possible. some minor idealogical dust-up about whether you should be making interesting movies or safe movies that will sell toys.
i feel a need to highlight this irony. that warner brought in joel schumacher to make a safe movie that would sell toys and not bother anyone. and he gave them this. and it worked??? the 90s were weird.
gone were the dark gothic landscapes and in their place were… well-lit gothic landscapes. like. the imagery we get here isn’t any less outlandish. it’s just a different kind of outlandish. it’s 60s batman cheesiness by way of 90s popcorn movie cheesiness. everything in this movie is shoved in your face like a proud child who wants you to look at a drawing they made while you’re trying to balance your checkbook. (look, this movie is 90s enough that you’re getting some 90s analogies like that. sorry.)
it’s interesting thinking about how differently movies today would do some of the same things? like robin saying “holy rusted metal, batman!” only he was actually saying “holey rusted metal, batman!” because any actual human would ever actually make that observation in that specific way. and like. if a superhero movie made that kind of joke today it would be very clear that the point was that this was so much Better and More Serious, but here the joke is just… a joke? and that’s damn refreshing in 20hecking20. and the scenes of batman figuring out riddler’s riddles by talking them out with other people, and the completely improbable leaps of logic he has to make, are also just 100% in the adam west zone.
unfortunately one trend from the 90s that this movie brought along for the ride is an unhealthy interest in pseudopsychology. (granted, this is hardly unique among the batman series.) it’s just unfortunate because the movie feels like it wants to be… about psychology? but then you get chase saying all kinds of nonsense about “multiple personalities” including that it represents a break with reality and that those who experience it feel the rules of the rest of the world don’t apply to them. and just… i’m sorry, what?? also she thinks “total whacko” is an acceptable phrase to throw around? i… i really don’t think you get to talk that way and be a psychologist…?
don’t worry, it didn’t that other 90s staple, plenty of casual sexism! yayyyyy. after batman meets chase & she makes a move for him he swooshes off into the night & quips, “women.” i feel like this happened all the time in 90s shows/movies and like… i laughed along at the time but now i have no idea what the heck is supposed to be so funny about women… existing??? there are a lot of other little throway moments like that that aren’t really worth giving a blow-by-blow of, but, yeah. oy.
although i’ve been talking about it a lot so far, batman forever isn’t just 60s by way of 90s. it’s not just camp because that worked well in the 60s. this is also the movie where a gay director got robin to say “not just a friend…” and batman to reply “a partner.” that happened. that happened. i know it isn’t #representation or whatever but like… i can just enjoy the fact that this kinda stuff snuck in under the radar.
this is also weirdly horny for a “safe” movie!!! two-face’s angel/devil paramours are cute as heck, and the devil one has a whip??? and she looks so sexy with it??? NICOLE KIDMAN IS WEARING A TANK TOP & BOXING GLOVES AT ONE POINT??? there’s also some incredible bondage??? chase chained up on the couch is lovely but it’s actually surpassed by the epic tier peril scene where both her and robin are bound & gagged in these tube things hanging over a pit. it’s vvvv good.
this movie also has a mind control/bimboification kink and as you might guess from my screenname yeah i’m pretty here for this. and the best part is the citizens of gotham are like… all-in to get bimboified. they’re just thirsty for it. i am so here for this. i woulda liked to have actually seen more of the effects of this, but ah well.
this movie is also just so… extra! and i love it for that. this movie’s definition of subtlety is alfred telling a young pre-vigilante dick grayson “robin will fly again.” every entrance batman makes is as dramatic as humanly possible. and he has a trap door beneath his chair at work that shoots him through a tunnel to the bat cave!! and two-face doesn’t try to kill batman with acid, he tries to kill him with boiling acid! batman DRIVES UP A WALL in one chase scene??? and robin fights a rapey glowstick-wielding, neon-facepainted gang at one point because why not.
the resolution is kinda bullshit. hey remember that time batman talked you into not killing the guy who killed your parents and then killed him anyway? cool. cool cool cool. cool.
we also get the ridiciulously dumb superhero movie trope of someone being able to tell someone’s secret identity from a kiss, and i just… i just love dumb stuff like this.
above all, though, i just appreciate that this movie understands that 3d entertainment is evil and is willing to take a stand about it.
batman & robin
(cw: racism, misogyny, thirsty enby)
servants, masters, it’s ridiculous. [miles] is the sweetest, most noble [foxboy] alive and [they’ve] subjugated all [their] life & dreams to someone else.
(look, i love being owned, calm down.)
before we started watching this i told my girlfriend that however gay she was expecting it to be she needed to modulate upwards. she thanked me for that later.
i wrote a review already about why i love batman & robin even though saying that you love batman & robin makes most people look at you funny, so i can leave a lot of that stuff out i guess.
i only talked about some of the bizarre politics before, though. like, wow. not sure where to start. the “un-united nations” seem like a pretty good group, but of course that’s not what the movie wants you to think of them. and the scene where bruce is throwing a benefit to save the rainforest is racist in all kinds of bizarre ways.
i talked a bit about this movie’s good girl vs. bad girl “feminism!!!” before, but i didn’t talk about how ivy is characterized as an agonizingly bad straw-eco-feminist whose ideas are actually often just straight up eco-fascism. if i could take her character as written remotely seriously, i would be much less inclined to say she can step on me.
but also oh my gosh she can step on me??? when she was first introduced vanessa was like “yeah i get it but she isn’t really doing it for me.” and then we got to the scene where she crashes that aforementioned racist save the rainforest benefit and strips out of a gorilla costume and is in a whole new sexy wardrobe and is just oozing sexy confidence & smoldering looks, and she was like “I CHANGED MY MIND.”
(and seriously, THOSE BOOTS.)
oh, her politics aren’t the only reason i have to ignore 90% of the way she’s written. she also spends most of the movie hung up on freeze, to the point of trying to murder his wife to have him to herself and that ridiculous ending where she’s doing the “he loves me, he loves me not” thing. yep. that’s ivy alright. famously hung up on boys.
anyway, some more random observations:
- no matter how much b-roll you show me i’m just not buying arnold as a sensitive scientist.
- his hideout is a converted snow cone… restaurant??? like, an improbably large restaurant that only sells snow cones??? idk.
- changing barbara’s backstory is kinda weird, especially since her new backstory feels super contrived.
- why does barbara have to sneak out of her room with a blankie rope to go motorcycle racing??? i get why she needs to be sneaky about borrowing the motorcycle, but why does she have to sneak out like some cliche teen drama rebel??? she’s a guest and as far as i know can come & go as she pleases???
- bruce has a girlfriend in this he’s apparently been dating for almost a year who doesn’t know he’s batman, in contrast to all the other women in these movies who find out like a few days after meeting him. i can tell you absolutely nothing about her. i think her name is madison? i don’t remember if that’s a first name or a last name and i’m not looking it up. she’s a non-character. she’s in one scene where she tells a reporter “bruce and i are recklessly in love,” and she’s in another where her & bruce are having dinner & talking about their relationship. i think she’s in a few other scenes but doesn’t really do or say anything. i genuinely cannot tell you anything about this character other than the fact that she’s in a relationship with bruce. it’s weird. i think she may have been there solely to assure the studio that bruce isn’t gay.
- yes look at the very reasonable billionaire man calmly DESTROYING the hysterical straw-feminist’s arguments. it’s just really hecking rich that this movie finds a way to make it look like BILLIONAIRES are the ones that want to keep people housed & fed.
- it’s WEIRD for wayne enterprises to throw an elaborate ball that the city’s elite are going to be at, but bruce can’t be there because batman is scheduled to appear. it’s weird. and like… if bruce weren’t batman, how the HECK do you go about booking batman for your party?
- it never really jumped out at me until now, but my girlfriend pointed out that freeze has serious butterfingers with his ridiculously powerful freezing gun. she jokingly suggested a wrist strap, which i ended up comparing to the wiimote.
- they make a big deal at one point about how bruce “didn’t become a victim” after his parents died, and like a) this is clearly supposed to go along with this movie’s “””feminism””” & b) YEAH HAVING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WILL HELP WITH THAT, ASSHOLES.
- poison ivy tells her plants at one point, “good babies, grow for mommy,” and i just… i’m GAY.
- speaking of gay the idea of being able to kill people by kissing them is dumb & cute & i kinda love it.
- at one point a cop yells “my lungs! my lungs are freezing!” and idk it was just hysterical.
- robin is 100% right about batman having issues with women but it’s just… HYSTERICAL to hear that pointed out in THIS movie. good woman punches evil woman who represents what men think feminism is. … FEMINISM!
- batman & robin are arguing about ivy. batman tells robin, “you aren’t thinking straight.” robin replies, “i am! for the first time in a while.” lmao.
- bruce also tells dick “you weren’t talking about being partners, you were talking about being a family.” did you know that joel schumacher is gay? i just… felt like pointing that out for some reason.
- well, heck, this movie made me horny for plants. (it’s not the first time. i don’t know if that should make you more worried or less worried.)
- the zenith of this movie’s “FEMINISM!!!!!!11!!111!!!” is batgirl telling ivy that liking boys makes her teh REAL feminist!!!!!!11!!1one!!
- no wait it’s batgirl dunking HARD on robin over & over from the moment she’s introduced. and it does that intensely 90s “GIRL… CAN BE… SMART??? GIRL… CAN DO… MOTORCYCLE & COMPUTER THINGS???? GIRL… CAN…” patronizing bullshit. if batgirl were in more of the movie it woulda been front-loaded with all that stuff & she woulda gotten her ass handed to her & needed to be saved by robin at some point. but as it stands robin just gets DUNKED on over & over and sits the fuck down, and i’m kinda super here for it even though the surrounding context makes me cringe & roll my eyes at the same time which is hard.
- ivy: “the earth will become a brave new world of only plants and we shall rule them. for we will be the only two people left in the world!” one of freeze’s henchmen (or bane, who was literally in the room): “the only two what now”