Batman & Robin 4K Ultra HD Review

By Jun 05, 2019 04:52 PM EST

If you are buying the other three films in this series, I would invest in this one too since it completes the set and the technical quality is the best we have seen.

In 1997, two years after the monetarily successful but critically panned Batman Returns, Director Joel Schumacher (The Phantom of the Opera) helmed the fourth installment of the popular franchise, Batman & Robin.  Once again, the lead was replaced and George Clooney (Michael Clayton) stepped into the role previously held by Michael Keaton (Spotlight) and Val Kilmer (Top Gun) and, unfortunately, he did nothing to re-energize the franchise to the point that Warner Bros. canceled a fifth film and it would be eight years before another reboot happens.  While not the best in the bunch Batman & Robin is the last of the grouping so it was a no brainer for Warner Bros. to release it along with the first three on 4K available in stores now.

Once again there are new threats to Gotham City but now Batman has Robin (Chris O'Donnell; Scent of a Woman) at his side and the two fight crime in their home city.  The latest is a robbery conducted by Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger; The Terminator), who steals diamonds that he needs to power the cryogenic suit that is keeping him alive.  Meanwhile, Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman; Kill Bill: Vol. 1) shows up in Gotham after her mentor tries to kill her when she discovers his secret experiences at Wayne Laboratories.  Having been mutated by the poison she was exposed to she goes after Bruce Wayne as revenge.

At a charity event, Poison Ivy tries to convince Bruce to fund her environmental project only to be rejected by him because the project would kill millions of people.  At the same event, Mr. Freeze shows up to steal yet another diamond.  Realizing they have a mutual enemy, Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze team up while Alfred's niece, Barbara (Alicia Silverstone; Clueless) show up to help her uncle but ends up becoming part of the vigilante team as Batgirl.

If Kilmer dug the grave of the Batman saga then Clooney was the final nail in the coffin.  Neither actor portrayed the Dark Knight as well as Keaton nor did Schumacher help the franchise at all.  Adding powerhouses like Schwarzenegger and Thurman did nothing to ease the pain as the script was woefully dull, convoluted and hokey.  Perhaps the only small bright spot in the entire thing was Silverstone who could have done more with a better script but who played Barbara as tough yet intelligent.

While the film isn't great, the 2160p high definition video quality is.  The details are so sharp that every leaf on Poison Ivy's costume stands out and Batman's and Robin's costumes are intricately shaped.  The Dolby Atmos audio is also magnificent as Warner Bros. really outdid themselves with this transfer.  The extras are all ported over from a previous Blu-ray release though.  They include: Audio Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Pt. 6-Batman Unbound, Batman & Robin: The Heroes, Batman & Robin: The Villains, Beyond Batman, Deleted Scene: Alfred's Lost Love, "The End is the Beginning is the End" Music Video by The Smashing Pumpkins, "Look Into My Eyes" Music Video by Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony, "Foolish Games" Music Video by Jewel, and the Theatrical Trailer.  Interestingly, the previously released "Gotham City" music video by R. Kelly is not included in this set. If I was just grading this film on its video and audio quality I would give it an A, however, the film itself isn't great.

If you are buying the other three films in this series, I would invest in this one too since it completes the set and the technical quality is the best we have seen.  However, the movie itself leaves something to be desired so keep that in mind while watching it.

Grade: C

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About Allison Skornick-Rose

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