That’s right, it’s time roll up our sleeves and see if we could fix Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin. Why? Because if our world ever gets rebooted like DC’s continuity, they may use this feature one day.
So here’s the question. If we had another chance with Batman & Robin, how would we do it differently? What if a script doctor got the chance to give it a once-over? What if Warner Brothers didn’t want a toy-flogging child-friendly infomercial?
First off, we need to talk about the aesthetic. Without questions, the nipple suits are out as well as Joel Schumacher’s campy and fake looking aesthetic. We should also tone it back it as if it were still directed by Tim Burton, but a just a little more colourful. Like the difference between Batman vs. Superman and what we’ve seen of Justice League.
The Batsuit is back to being a heavy rubber, yet bulletproof suit designed to take abuse. More like it did during Batman Returns, but even bigger and much heavier.
I want to emphasise how Robin is the striker of the team and Batman takes the brunt of abuse. I.E. Batman becomes the easy target for those no good Gangsters while Robin sneaks up behind them to take them down.
Robin’s costume is not a rubber suit but more of a fabric jumpsuit. We’re not talking the skin-tight suits from the Adam West days, but kind of like Hawkeye’s costume mixed with the materials of a Star Trek uniform.
Now for Bruce Wayne, if you look back at Batman Forever, Batman has grown up. He’s no longer a regressed man-child beating up crooks because of a bad memory. He accepts help and allows other to help him. He’s not gloomy or moody, but he’s still dedicated.
Robin, a.k.a. Dick Grayson is gone. Chris O’Donnell looked like he was close to ageing out as Robin in Batman Forever anyway. He gets written off-screen and this sets up the Nightwing spin-off that they were planning.
Maybe it’s mentioned in a throwaway line that Dick Grayson went to college, his fight was over, or he caught the killer of his parents?
Enter Jason Todd (though the studio would likely demand Tim Drake) as a young teenager who’s roughly about 14 or 15? Maybe this a chance to cast a stunt school kid that can do all the cool stunts. Someone from an XMA style school or even one of the stunt schools Jackie Chan went to?
Ultimately, the two of them get along and don’t bicker and Batman is more of a stern parent figure, only lightly telling him off. But overall, the relationship is healthy.
Okay, so now it’s time for the story.
Opening act with Mr. Freeze? That’s simple, he only appears on the opening act where he robs the museum. A high-tech bank robber that has been terrorising Gotham for months. It’s embarrassed the police and weakened their public perception. Batman and Robin are called in and after months, they are determined to catch him.
Alfred has provided the duo with fancy ice skates, but more on that later.
During the fight, Robin does a fancy kick and breaks Freeze’s helmet. In his weakened state, he flees into his rocket, which blows up. I mean, one of the big flaws of the original movie, in my opinion, is the fact that we have far too many villains.
So with Freeze gone, it turns out later that he was becoming too ambitious with his arsenal of equipment and the rocket was doomed to fail. However, his arsenal is still in his secret hideout somewhere.
Back at the cave, Batman decides not to scold Jason, but vows to take away Freezes dangerous and faulty arsenal. Bruce is aware of how the press it portraying him and Robin not getting along and Robin being extremely violent. Of course the press are over exaggerating.
The press then delve deep into Freeze’s backstory and explain he was an overly ambitious scientist who built gadgets and machines that didn’t always work properly.
Meanwhile, we set up Poison Ivy and Bane. Bane is a dying old aged gangster who contacts Jason Woodrow to take part in his experiments to save his life. No Uma Thurman, I’m afraid. Instead, Poison Ivy is a humanoid plant monster who used to be Pamela Isley, before she turned into a monster by her own experiments.
Her powers allow to create chemicals that can alter a body, like making someone stronger or curing illness. She cures Bane and turns him into a jacked up super body builder. Bane then decides to go to Gotham with the hopes of announcing his presence in the US by killing Batman.
Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is getting older and older and fears he won’t be along much longer. He locks himself in the Batcave and keeps building more and more vehicles, suits and gadgets. This is a little nod to how “toyetic” Warner Brothers wanted the Batman franchise to become. Save it all for the finale in one big final battle.
Bruce is worried, so he asks his niece Barbara, a young private detective and adventurer, to stay with them and watch over Alfred and help him build a new gadget he needs to use to speak to a friend.
Meanwhile, Bane is in Gotham and he plans to turn the city into his own fully controlled empire by using Posion Ivy’s powers to snare the wealthy and influential into his inner circle by either curing problems they have, or enhancing them. He learns that the wealthy and corrupt are hosting an auction for new drugs in the abandoned botanical gardens.
Batman and Robin has gotten wind of the meeting and await in the shadows to spring. A bit like they would in a level of one the Batman Arkham games. Before they can strike however, Bane and Ivy crash the auction and make their offer. Before it can be accepted, the bumbling Police raid the building.
Completely terrified by the situation, Ivy squirts her sludge everywhere turning random members of the audience in ‘roided-out monsters. Batman and Robin subdue the beasts but Robin makes contact with the sludge turning him into a muscle-upped mini monster. Imagine a tiny guy with big muscles in a Robin costume.
This fuels the press on the scene to exclaim in horror and the police try and arrest him. Bane notices this distrust and contempt and decides to exploit this. He and Ivy escape in the commotion.
Batman and Robin head home. Bruce examines Jason and determines the effects of the sludge will wear off as the dose wasn’t too strong and with a counter toxin whipped up by Alfred, he’ll be okay.
You know how Gotham is full of abandoned buildings? That’s lucky for Bane as he finds an old bottling plant. He get’s Ivy to squirt out her sludge, as Bane plans to turn the city against Batman and Robin. He does his research and begins to use his sludge to bribe members of the press to run a smear campaign against the Dark Knight, calling for members of the police and other influencers in the society to join his cause. He uses his bribery to locate the last of Freezes arsenal to help with his plans.
At his base of operations, Bane summons a council of police officers that are annoyed at Batman, sleazy reporters, members of high society, and criminals to together to outlay his plans which involve Robin.
Meanwhile, Jason follows Barbara out in the streets to find her taking part in a street race to obtain some Mr. Freeze gadgets being sold on the black market. In the process, Barbara’s keen detective senses catches whiff of Bane bribery plot. Since Batgirl is off-screen for most of the actual Batman and Robin movie, it make senses to do it here as well, though her off-screen time is used to build the weapons for the cool finale and uncover Banes plot, unlike the original film where Bruce Wayne figures everything out because you know… he’s Batman.
Later Batman and Robin are alerted by Police that they’ve found Mr Freezes hideout. The duo encounter more monsters, but little do they know their flashy fight scene is recorded and doctored to make it look like Robin has killed the monsters.
The police strike and arrest Robin and the ultimate smear campaign has begun. The press are tipped off and arrive as Robin is arrested and the footage is broadcast over the city. Batman withdraws as his sidekicked taken away from him. How far will Batman go? Can he risk turning the city he wants to defend, against him?
Meanwhile, Bane has repaired the flawed Mr. Freeze weapon and plans to encase the city in an ice dome so he can solidify his power.
Fortunately, Batman discovers Bane’s plan when he finds out Bane has taken over the tallest building in Gotham. However, over the airwaves it’s warned that if he interferes, Robin will be executed under new powers rushed in by Bane’s men in local government.
All looks lost until Barbara turns up with plenty of evidence to give to the last decent cops to arrest Bane’s inner circle. Before fetching Robin, luckily for us, Alfred has finished his ultimate gadget Batsuits and vehicles.
Commence the toyetic final battle with loads of costume changes and vehicles that get unveiled as Batman, Batgirl, and Robin make their way up the tower, battling mutants, gangsters, bad cops, and an array of high-tech Mr. Freeze gadgets to the top.
At the top, the trio defeat Bane and Ivy using an anti-Ivy antidote reversing her abilities.
But it’s not all good news, they are too late. The weapon goes off, but just in the nick of time Batman uses Alfred and Barbara’s last gadget which calls on Superman to chuck the ice dome weapon into space setting up what would have been Tim Burton’s Superman movie.
Then we end, with a trio now defending Gotham.
So boom, if had been around in the 90s, the Batman franchise would’ve been saved.
The Tim Burton-directed Superman movie would’ve gone ahead, the Catwoman movie set in the same universe would’ve happened, that Steel movie would’ve worked, and we would have gotten a Nightwing movie.
I can’t guarantee the success of the two Batman sequels that were planned to this however…