Holy Cast Comparison Batman! – George Clooney
Part Four: George “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Clooney:
Clooney, Clooney, Clooney… What can I say? Batman & Robin (1997) is widely regarded as one of the worst superhero movies of all time (if not just the worst movie), which makes George Clooney by far the worst actor to ever hold a Batarang. Every single piece of the Batman & Robin apple is unfortunately rotten, from the costumes to the screenplay, let alone the wooden, campy acting that fills every corner of your screen. But Clooney isn’t even the worst culprit; in fact he’s one of the more capable actors. In this situation, the captain definitely went down with the ship. In fact, as bad as the film was, it was still one of Clooney’s biggest breaks, helping to make him the household name he is today. Which means that in the end, we might have to thank the guano that was Batman & Robin for bringing us the star that was George Clooney.
George “Kentucky Boy” Clooney was the fourth Batman, which means he was given four impressive pairs of black leather boots to fill. He stepped in for Val Kilmer, as a leaner and younger, but weaker Batman. He didn’t take notes from the Michael Keaton school of intense Batmen, but rather from the Adam West school of “as-long-as-we-had-fun” acting. Under Clooney, Batman & Robin single-handedly ruined the Batman franchise and destroyed any credibility Batman may have once had as a dark, badass (Bat-ass?) protector of the night locked in a never-ending struggle against injustice. Instead he became just a simple, wealthy playboy who liked to dress-up and drive around in a cool car, just absolutely devoid of any motivation whatsoever. You would never guess that this man’s parents were murdered in front of him… The thing about George Clooney’s performance is that when you watch it, you see Bruce Wayne in a suit, but never “The Batman,” which isn’t a good thing.
And speaking of suits, this movie is just ridiculous. Joel “Public-Apology-For-This-Movie” Schumacher included more Bat-nipples than his previous Batman Forever but then matched them with new unreasonably large codpieces for some reason. Every time somebody suits up, Schumacher fills the screen with their leather-clad rear end (Bat-ass?) for a quick joke that just takes the movie embarrassingly over the top. Add to that the unreasonably colourful villains (including a Bane that is the complete opposite of Tom Hardy’s portrayal in The Dark Knight Rises) and the movie seems like nothing but a farce. This is the movie that took the Adam West-era Bat-prefix and ran with it, giving us Bat-skates, Bat-boards, a Bat-hovercraft, even a Bat-credit card (which was actually my favourite joke in the movie, but that isn’t saying much…). The only thing Batman & Robin is good for is making me come up with new ways to say ridiculous.
Clooney may not be a great Batman, but compared to the rest of the cast, he’s essentially Marlon Brando. Case in point, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, a preposterously over-the-top caricature with enough ice puns to chill anyone’s blood. His costume, his lines, his plan to just freeze Gotham (which the set dressers turned into a neon-gothic nightmare) is all too bizarre to take seriously. Oh, and check out this great clip for Mr. Freeze.
In the end, I’m in a position where I want to be upset with Clooney, I really do, but it’s so hard to be mad at the man who played Dr. Doug Ross. He’s normally a responsible actor and this movie might be the critical bomb of bombs, but honestly, you can’t blame him for leaping at the chance to play a childhood hero on the big screen, regardless of how unbelievable the script was.
Worst-Batman-Ever or not, Clooney rode the celebrity wave after Batman & Robin, becoming an official household name as well as prominent political activist (turns out there are bigger crimes in the world than Batman & Robin). I’m just saying his movie isn’t great, but it’s definitely ridiculous enough to be worth at least one watch, if you have the time.
Click to enlarge.