Did it work?
The film was one of the worst things to ever exist on Earth. It was the first adaptation of a Marvel comic, and it set the bar so low that it melted from the heat of the planet's core. Howard the Duck lost $21 million, and has gone down in movie history as one of George Lucas' four biggest mistakes.
Honestly, we came out of this one with no idea what happened. Stuff did happen, certainly, but it's mostly a lot of neon lights, male dancers on rollerblades and watching the Batman
franchise get buried so deep it wouldn't dig itself out until eight years later. Oh, and the governor of California was bald and spray-painted blue.
Mr. Freeze is a frail, calculating scientist using his intellect to try and revive his cryogenically frozen wife. Bane is an unstoppable juggernaut who releases the inmates of Arkham Asylum, plays Gotham City like a game of chess, and finally breaks Bruce Wayne's spine, paralyzing him.
Mr. Freeze yells "Chill out!" Then he freezes people. We hope you're getting the modus operandi here, because they couldn't have made it much clearer. Unless of course they went with the initial character design, which featured a sign on Freeze's chest reading "You gonna get frozen! By me! Mr. Freeze!" Bane is relegated to the role of Poison Ivy's bodyguard and occasionally grunts to signal that he needs to use the restroom.
The dark themes and shadows of the comic were replaced by sets with enough DayGlo paint to completely recreate the 1980s. No one in the comic ever did a choreographed flip off of a Gotham City building mysteriously shaped like a roller-blade ramp. Except once, but that guy got the shit beat out of him.
In the comics, Batgirl is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon. In the movie, BATMAN HAD RUBBER NIPPLES.
Why did they change it?
The previous film, Batman Forever was the first to take the lighter, goofier tone (complete with red neon lights on the bad guys' tommy guns) and it made truckloads of money. The studio figured, well, that worked, so ...
Did it work?
Batman and Robin isn't just bad by comic book standards, it's bad by the standards one applies to getting hit in the face with a festively-decorated baseball bat. The filmmakers' crass attempt at a two-hour toy commercial rightly failed, and tragically took Alicia Silverstone's career with it. The nonstop defiling of the character was enough to make any Batman fan develop an instinctual aversion to George Clooney, an aversion that wouldn't dissipate until well after Three Kings.
How bad was it, really? Even Joel Schumacher thinks it sucked. If you listen to the director's commentary track on the DVD, it's essentially one long, repeated apology. But please, don't buy the DVD; just root through someone's dumpster until you find a copy. We don't want to support this kind of behavior.
Michael writes and performs for sketch troupe Those Aren't Muskets!