Usually I would give a plot summary here but there isn't really one to summarise. The film adopts a kitchen sink approach; we get diamond heists, rebellious teams, sick butlers who conveniently have exactly the same medical problem that the villain is attempting to cure and trust issues between the Bat and the Bird. None of it really comes together to form a cohesive story, more just an excuse for increasingly ridiculous set-pieces. Though they do have to work pretty hard to top the opening museum heist that inexplicably goes from standard fight, to ice hockey match to death-defying rocket escapades all in the space of about ten minutes.
What is immediately apparent is that Joel Schumacher decided to return to the campier television series for inspiration. The one-liners alone make it worthy of being an extended episode in the Adam West show with such gems as "The iceman cometh" and "my garden needs tending". Sadly though, the film's sense of humour doesn't really register on any level that's actually funny. The best joke of the film for me is the backing music to Uma Thurman's entrance, a slowed-down version of The Lambrettas' Poison Ivy. Either that or the fact that Alicia Silverstone's character, Barbara, attends "Oxbridge Academy".
Performances from the bad guys, namely Arnold Schwarzenegger's Dr Freeze and Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy are ridiculously hammy and over the top to the point of being distracting. I can also guarantee that the monosyllabic, corrupted version of Bane featured in this film will be nothing like the one we'll see in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.
As for the heroes, Silverstone barely registers apart from being a bit whiney even if she is the first appearance of Batgirl in the films and thankfully it's Clooney's one and only appearance as Batman. There's a deadness behind his performance that just screams of "I'm doing this for the money" while Chris O'Donnell just looks so happy to be in another film that he bounds about gleefully and in the process, forgets that he's supposed to be acting.
I desperately wanted to like this film as much as I used to when I was younger but, whether it's my wider knowledge of Batman's history or the fact I'm now old enough to know when a film is terrible, I just cannot find any redeeming features. It's not hard to see why Schumacher's addition to the canon killed the franchise for a few years. Now I'm all for good bad films, a fact you'll probably see over the course of this column, but this one is just plain awful.
I could go on pointing out its many many flaws but I'll just leave you with this one: bat-nipples.