The year is 1997. Titanic will soon become the highest-grossing film of all time (until Avatar unseats it decades later), Pokémon is soon to premiere in Japan and start a worldwide phenomenon, and South Park began its crude and historic run on TV that has yet to end.
Director Joel Schumacher was asked by Warner Bros. Studios to return for the followup to 1995's largely successful Batman Forever, and was given an even bigger budget to work with. However, with the increased budget came increased meddling from the studio, and the result, Batman & Robin, will live on in infamy forever. Here are just some of the things that make this movie awful.
1) Geroge Clooney as Batman
While Val Kilmer's performance as the Caped Crusader in Batman Forever was just kind of dull, Clooney tries his best with the material he's given. Unfortunately, that material is mostly cheesy one-liners and ridiculous exposition, making his Batman one of the worst in history.
Fun fact: Once shooting wrapped up, Clooney is reported to have quipped "I think we just killed the franchise."
2) Chris O'Donnell as Robin
Returning from Batman Forever, Chris O'Donnell's Robin quickly becomes one of the most annoying sidekicks in film history. Nearly every bit of his dialogue involves him whining to Batman about how he's just as capable a hero as his mentor, and the result is a character as underplayed as he is insufferable.
Fun fact: O'Donnell said of the movie "On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy commercial."
3) Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze
Here's where we get into "so bad it's hilarious" territory. One of the biggest movie stars of the 80s and 90s takes one of the most nuanced and intellectual Batman villains and turns him into an over-the-top madman who speaks only in one-liners. I'm not even mad.
Fun fact: Schwarzenegger says 27 "ice" puns throughout the entire movie.
4) Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy
If every one of Mr. Freeze's lines is an "ice" pun, then every one of Poison Ivy's is a sexual innuendo. It's legitimately hard to tell which one of them chews the scenery more, but Poison Ivy's wardrobe and sets are definitely the most ridiculous.
Fun fact: Uma Thurman apparently beat out Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, and Demi Moore for the role. I suspect those three all saw the movie and realized they'd dodged a bullet.
5) The treatment of Alicia Silverstone
While Silverstone's performance as Batgirl in the movie is just as bad as the others, the treatment the teenage actress received while filming was even worse. Most of her scenes were cut due to her suit needing to be refitted thanks to a few pounds of weight gain, and she was slammed by the press for being "too fat to fit into her costume."
One of Batman's deadliest and most intelligent foes from the comics is turned into a hulking, destructive moron who only speaks in growls. This portrayal was so infamous that people even remained skeptical when Tom Hardy took on the role in The Dark Knight Rises 15 years later.