I know it's a controversial view, and I am probably inviting the opprobrium of the Burton fans upon my head, but I thought Joel Schumacher's first Batman film was a pretty decent affair, managing to blend the darkness and the campness effectively to provide a good solid entertainment. So why did it all go so terribly wrong for this, his second (and perhaps mercifully) last Batman film? A film so bad that its main star (Clooney) apologised to fans for it.
First of all the script. It's just TOO campy, with too many bad jokes that make it seem more like a `60s Adam West episode rather than a continuation of Burton's dark vision. And this really hurts the film. Where there could have been great characterisation - Freeze has great potential with his devotion to his wife - it is ruined by bad jokes. Where it should have been dark, gothic horror (the creation of Bane and Poison Ivy) we are fobbed off with a third rate cartoon style that would have embarrassed the `60s series. Secondly is the plethora of characters. We now have 3 villains and three heroes to concentrate on, and as such none of them get proper screen time and it comes off as feeling like a mess and certain characters are just not used to potential (Bane is criminally mistreated here, and the whole Batgirl strand seems little more than an excuse to repeat the Michelle Pfeiffer `cute chick in leathers' role. As such no-one really makes an impression, certainly not on the heroes' side. I never thought I would say this, but Arnold Schwarzenegger walks away with the acting awards! Managing to convey some of the dark potential of Freeze. He also seems to be the only one who is having any fun. Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy is pretty dire, though that is more through bad direction than her ability.
In all a terrible effort, especially after the majesty of Burton's originals, and the good solid fun of Schumacher's previous effort. 1 star only.