One Batman movie that doesn’t get as much love as its counterparts is Batman & Robin. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film dialled the campiness of its predecessor, Batman Forever, up to 11 – and featured George Clooney as the eponymous Dark Knight, replacing Val Kilmer.
Clooney reflected on his time as Batman to GQ, and he didn’t look back fondly: “The only way you can honestly talk about things is to include yourself and your shortcomings in those things,” the actor said.
“Like, when I say Batman & Robin’s a terrible film, I always go, ‘I was terrible in it.’ Because I was, number one. But also because then it allows you the ability to say, ‘Having said I sucked in it, I can also say that none of these other elements worked, either.’ You know? Lines like ‘Freeze, Freeze!’”
The role of Mr Freeze was played with pun-tastic humour by Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose wordplay included gems like “You are not sending me to the cooler.” He was joined by Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, whose lines were equally playful (“Sorry, my vines have a crush on you”).
Sadly, Schumacher died earlier in 2020. His death prompted fans to launch a campaign to release the “Schumacher Cut” of Batman Forever, an apparently more serious version of the movie. Variety reports that a longer, darker cut of the film does exist, but notes that even if the footage has survived all these years, aspects of the movie like colour grading and sound mixing would probably need to be updated.
Writer Marc Bernardin also tweeted in July: “I have it on VERY good authority that a 170-minute cut of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever exists. Warner Bros. is unsure if there’s any hunger for what was described to me as a ‘much darker, more serious’ version. So, should WB #ReleaseThe20000Cut?”. A poll added to the tweet had the “yes” vote as the clear winner.
I have it on VERY good authority that a 170-minute cut of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever exists. Warner Bros. is unsure if there’s any hunger for what was described to me as a « much darker, more serious » version. So, should WB #ReleaseThe20000Cut?July 2, 2020
Considering Zack Snyder’s Justice League is finally going to see the light of day, why not the Schumacher Cut too? As for Batman & Robin, despite Clooney’s unhappiness with the movie, there’s still something to love in all that brightly coloured chaos.