This is actually a subset of media that creates a hole in my soul. This is reserved strictly for adaptations or re-interpretations (i.e., retcons and reboots), but the idea is that the adaptation/re-interpretation is so estranged from the source material as to barely resemble it and in fact is insulting to the source material. The Bat-credit card breaks fanbases and shuts down franchises. The Bat-credit card most often appears in bad disposable media.
This, obviously, is named after the infamous movie Batman and Robin. If you haven’t seen it, well, it’s like the Adam West Batman movie except not really enjoyable. The difference is that the 1960s movie was building on the camp audiences and comic book readers were familiar with. Batman and Robin was blatantly ignoring the gothic and dark Batman Tim Burton had started and turned the Dark Knight into the Corporate Sell-out. I can like the 1960s movie because I understand that it is a product of the times. Batman and Robin was nothing like the first two movies, much campier than the third (which was too campy to begin with) and nothing like the comics. Batman had not been that campy since the Silver Age, and no one wanted to see a revival of that incarnation.
Everyone has an amalgam of a character, but in a few rare cases, one amalgam becomes dominant and pretty much everyone agrees on the major defining traits of a character. In this case, Batman had become again the Dark Knight, not the Campy Crusader. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the closest I’ve seen to a revival of the Campy Crusader, and I think it’s not actually that campy; it is more light-hearted, but that’s not the same thing at all.
I will provide links to an Honest Trailer of the infamous movie and a link to everything wrong with it just as refreshers (or introductions for those who haven’t seen it). I may or may not post a fifteen-minute version of this movie because I’m honestly not sure I can make it any more ridiculous than it already is. I will say exactly one nice thing about this movie – anatomical correctness aside, the costumes were pretty good, especially Robin’s, and wow could Robin’s costume have been seriously problematic. The pointless silver versions? Not so much a fan. But pretty much everything else was bad. The acting was bad. The direction was bad. The plot was contrived and nonsensical (although I must note Mr. Freeze’s half of the “destroy the world” plot was taken from an episode of the “Animated Series” which shows even good series can have mediocre episodes). The dialogue was bad. The stunts were bad. The music was bad. The editing was bad. As I watched, I wondered if the crew was so crunched for time they were limited to only three takes and then had to move on to the next scene. How awful was this?
Worst Batman EVER:
– George Clooney could not convincingly play a millionaire bachelor playboy; I’m pretty sure that’s his real life!
– While I hate Christian Bale’s “Batman” voice at least he tried to make Bruce Wayne and Batman sound different; Clooney couldn’t be bothered to even try
Worst Villain EVER:
– Mr. Freeze was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers!
– Poison Ivy, the ultimate femme fatale, was almost pining for Mr. Freeze.
The Sidekicks (actually not the worst; go figure that):
– Barbara Gordon was Alfred’s niece, not Commissioner Gordon’s daughter
– And apparently Northern England is nothing like Southern California…
– And apparently no one told Chris O’Donnell to try to deliver his lines at a normal human talking speed
Worst Everything Else:
– Dialogue so stilted I could swear the script started with all the bad puns and the rest of the lines were added later.
– Poorly developed subplots (if the crew was going to use any “Batman: The Animated Series” episode as inspiration, why not the one that covered Mr. Freeze’s origin (“Heart of Ice”) that won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program?)
– A complete lack of logic or even the pretense of science.
– Music that sounds like it was scored for a Looney Tunes cartoon
– Except when it switches to ’90s electronica for no good reason
– Props and set design that are more cartoonish that those in actual DCAU shows.
– Editing so poor stuntmen are facing a different direction in sequential scenes, icicles are obviously made of rubber, and at one point the film is actually rewound and replayed!
And all of this I think I was done out of ignorance of the source material and because they were clearly rushing to get this movie in the can. The previous movie had been a commercial success so the crew continued in that vein. There was apparently no indication to the crew that the movie was going seriously awry. I actually don’t think this was meant to be insulting. But ignorance doesn’t make it any less awful. Kevin Conroy, the best Batman, wasn’t familiar with the character but good writing, good direction, and good voice acting made up for that lack of knowledge. And it’s not as though it was difficult to get an idea of who Batman was supposed to be. Just look back at Burton’s movies, or the Animated Series, or hell, ask a fan. Oddly, this movie credited Bob Kane as a consultant, but I can only assume they didn’t actually ask him anything or listen to his answers if they did.
Why call this the “Bat-credit card?” That, in a fraction of a minute, summarizes everything wrong with the movie. The Bat-credit card was the most ridiculous thing in a movie full of ridiculous things. Batman is crazy prepared, as we all know, but a Bat-credit card? WTF? That goes past making fun of crazy prepared and well into the territory of insulting. The whole movie was nothing but a WB corporate sell-out. Consequently, all that pesky brooding, angst, darkness, etc., was removed from the movie. This left a bland Batman, a whiny Robin, and a generic Batgirl. As for the villains, well, any depth was removed to make them as cartoony as possible. Plot, such as it is, was put aside for inane (and poorly executed) action sequences and terrible puns (and I like puns). For anyone over the age of six, it hurt to watch. And it killed the franchise for many, many years.
Bat-credit card – extraneous, ludicrous, insulting, and soul-searingly awful on every level.