THE FILM Batman & Robin

Joel Schumacher directs the fourth screen outing for the caped crusader and cute sidekick (Chris O'Donnell). Beneath the leather, matching ears and codpiece it's George Clooney with Alicia "Clueless" Silverstone as Batgirl, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze (originally George Sanders).

Ryan Gilbey was saddened. "Welcome to Gotham City where superheroes are cheap and psychology is cheaper." "Two hours of witless noise, senseless action and merciless over-production," scowled the FT. "Schumacher began life as a window dresser. So it is no surprise that he makes films for dummies," scorned The Express. "Schwarzenegger appears to be enjoying himself. I'm glad somebody is," growled The Times. "The jokey tone is self-defeating ... ineffably moderate," yawned The Guardian. "Gotham City is mainly in danger of being bored to death," observed The Spectator. "A preposterous experience," snarled the New Statesman. "More of a marketing exercise. Movies like this are destroying what was once a great art form. It is our duty to try to thwart them," exhorted The Telegraph.

Cert 12, 109 minutes and showing simply everywhere. (Likewise the merchandise).

"Death to Joel Schumacher" yelled someone at a test screening. The audience cheered in agreement. Wholly Ridiculous, Batman.

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