After two successful (and very entertaining) Batman movies helmed by director Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher took over the franchise. His first film in the franchise, 1995's Batman Forever, isn't terrible but pales in comparison to Burton's movies. Batman Forever replaced Michael Keaton with Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne/Batman and introduced Chris O'Donnell as Dick Greyson/Robin. The duo face off against Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler (Jim Carrey) in a plot to enslave Gothomites with The Riddler's hypnotic TV signal. Warner Brothers started developing 1997's Batman and Robin almost immediately after production ended.
George Clooney (just about the only actor whose career was unscathed by the movie) was now Bruce Wayne/Batman while Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman were brought in as Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Freeze (AKA Dr. Victor Fries, injured in a cryogenics accident which leaves him in need of being kept cold all the time) is stealing diamonds to create a freeze-ray in an insane effort to save his wife from "MacGregor's Syndrome" (does Beatrix Potter know about this?). Meanwhile, Dr. Pamela Isley is working in South America, looking for a cure for said disease with Jason Woodrue. When she sees him turn a little person into the monstrous Bane, Woodrue tries to kill her with a variety of poisonous chemicals. Instead, she becomes Poison Ivy and kills him with a venomous kiss. She and Bane then head to Gotham to join forces with Freeze.
We soon find out that Wayne's manservant Alfred (Michael Gough) is suffering from MacGregor's syndrome and when his niece Barbara (Alicia Silverstone) shows up to care for him, she becomes Batgirl at her uncle's prompting. Batman, Robin and Batgirl soon join forces to defeat Freeze, Ivy and Bane, but not before Ivy uses pheromones to seduce Batman and Robin into turning on each other. The movie's best scene is a rip-off of a famous number from a Marlene Dietrich film, as Ivy enters a fundraising ball dressed in a gorilla costume:
Batman and Robin is the movie that infamously introduced nipples on the Batsuit and campily inferred a gay relationship between the Dynamic Duo. It also nearly put an end to the franchise, until Warner Brothers recruited director Christopher Nolan for the rather terrific re-boot, Batman Begins. Nolan's brilliantly noirish The Dark Knight earned a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger's Joker. I am eagerly anticipating next summer's final entry in Nolan's trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises.
Ridiculous dialog; an almost unintelligible plot; terrible acting; day-glo sets and the most ridiculous costumes in the Batman's long history,make Batman and Robin one of the worst Superhero movies of all time (and certainly the worst Batman movie, ever).