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Is Joel Schumacher’s ‘Batman & Robin’ The Most Important Comic Book Movie Of All Time?
The Movie God   |  @   |  


One of the busiest screenwriters working today, Akiva Goldsman, spoke to the LA Times recently about many, many big upcoming projects. The writer is one of the few rare cases we’ve seen that makes a case for giving people second chances. He wrote the scripts for Joel Schumacher‘s Batman Forever and the passionately-hated Batman & Robin, but went on to take home an Oscar for Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind. In an around these two highest and lowest points, he’s done many other well-known movies that received varying response such as I, Robot, Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code, and I am Legend.

When the topic of Batman & Robin came up something was mentioned that stuck out. It came from the mouth of Marvel’s main man, Kevin Feige, who was quoted as saying that the loathed comic book movie may actually be the most important movie to be made for that genre. And why would he say such things? Well, because of how horrid the movie was, of course. Feige explained that the sheer awfulness of that film forced open new eyes, which in-turn laid the groundwork for the much more accepted style of comic book movie making seen in franchises like Spider-Man and X-Men.

This quote was reportedly said a few months back, and may be old news to some, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it. The question is: do you agree with him? As absurd as it sounds, the man does make a perfectly valid point in the argument; but still, most important of all time? That’s a hard pill to swallow, because even in its fair logic, it gives some form of respect to Batman & Robin.

Personally, when it comes to the most important comic book movies, I think we should look at movies like V for Vendetta and Road to Perdition, which showed that comics presented in highly dramatic fashions could be praised and loved by many. In terms of your more popular action movies based on comics, the aforementioned Spider-Man and X-Men franchises have to be first to come to mind.

Do you really agree that Batman & Robin is the most important comic book movie ever to be made, or would we have figured it out with or without that unwatchable Schumacher effort?


  1. The quote on it’s own would make you say “What? That’s just crazy.” But, the rationale is understandable. It was the movie that made people say ‘Hey, we don’t want this crap!’ It made the studios realize they had to be more faithful to the source material. Therefore, it played an integral role in getting us movies like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Watchmen. Basically it was the ‘rock bottom’ that had to be hit in order for things to start moving up again.

    Comment by Empress Eve — October 21, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  2. Not most important, but important. I would put the original Superman and Batman movies up there since they took their source material seriously and treated it with an adult manner while still maintaining the adolescent fun of the characters.

    When that movie came out I think many people were sickened by what they saw as a dumbing down of the genre and a lack of respect to characters they loved. That’s when we got more “realistic” takes on series from X-Men to Batman.

    Although to be fair I think an argument can be made that Batman and Robin was an attempt to re-inject the series with the campy fun of the old 60s series. The problem is that wasn’t what people wanted. And the other problem was the nipples.

    Comment by Matt — October 21, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  3. i would go so far as to say the very first punisher movie is more important than batman & robin; for the simple fact that it had nearly nothing to do with the actual storyline (although, this seems to be a regularly consistent case with any punisher movie made, in that they all turn out only luke warm).

    Comment by Captain Morgan — October 21, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  4. “Superman 4” anyone? There are so many bad comic book movies out there “Batman & Robin” can’t get all the credit. I think DC got lazy with the titles they owned and let them fall into the wrong hands.

    “X-Men,” however, was the blast that blew the sawdust out of everyone’s brains. Marvel was able to capitalize on the fact that their best titles weren’t claimed and they could roll them out. DC was mired in legal problems because people already had their hands on the Superman and Batman titles.

    “X-Men” was great because it didn’t touch the campiness that doomed the early DC movies, opting instead to stick with realism. Every comic movie since then followed suit with realistic costumes, real situations, and villains that shadowed the thoughts of the heroes.

    “Batman & Robin” and the word “great” don’t belong in the same sentence.

    Comment by Sean — October 21, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

  5. I don’t think it was a case of a need for more faithful adaptations, I think B&R made the studios realize that cobbling together stars, getting some hack to churn out script and laying on the effects and cheese wasn’t going to work anymore .Spiderman and xmen were much more mature, character driven films

    Comment by Jumbo — October 21, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  6. I think calling “Batman & Robin” an “important” movie is kind of silly. Is “Gigli” an “important” film? Are film school professors going to start showing Stephen Sommer’s “Van Helsing” in classes? The fact is being exceptionally bad does not then give a movie imortance. The movie’s impact on the industry and culture is what gives it importance. “Batman & Robin” is a cautionary tale for the superhero movie genre, nothing more.

    “Batman Begins” is the most important superhero movie, in my opinion. It was the first to put a well known superhero in the “real” world. No matter how well it’s done, “X-Men” movies will always exist in fantasy simply because of the nature of the characters. “Batman Begins” beautifully illustrated Batman’s most important attribute: his lack of powers. Which is what allows the audience to identify with him more deeply than we will ever will with Wolverine, regardless of his complete awesomness.
    In fact, the ridiculous, flamboyant and utterly unbelievable world of “Batman & Robin” was the movie’s single biggest downfall! Plus “Batman Begins” gave us one of the greatest sequels of all time.
    Calling “Batman & Robin” important implies that it had a positive influence on the genre, when in fact the genre, and movie goers all over the world, would have been much better off without it.

    Comment by Jon — October 21, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  7. Batman & Robin was simply the worst film in a franchise that had started out strong but over time was weakened by a ever-changing musical chairs of creative and acting talent and by a studio that no longer saw it as a series that could be anything other than a merchandising cash cow. Even Schumacher himself admitted years ago that most of the vital creative decisions that went into Batman & Robin were made by the higher-ups at Warner Bros and various companies to sell more tie-in merchandise. Superman 4-The Quest for Peace was hamstrung by similiar circumstances. The first Blade movie, which was released a year after B&R, was the first movie of its kind in years that showed Hollywood comic book movies could be entertaining and successful at the box office while remaining true to the tone of its source material.

    Comment by BAADASSSSS! — October 21, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  8. Two words “Bat Nipples”!
    This is one of the worst comic book movies ever, but I think that because people at WB learned their lesson when they allowed Nolan to make a much better reinvention.
    However, one year later with the 2006 debacle “Superman Returns”, studios forgot that people did wanted more than kiddy popcorn flick rehashed from 3 decades ago. Christopher Reeve’s movies movies are good because they are classic and a piece of pop culture from the times, not because they would make a good movie now.

    Comment by Sam — October 22, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  9. I think some of you are kind of missing the point. Van Helsing was some arbitrary movie. Could have been anything. Batman was (and still is) an easy blockbuster smash. What Batman and Robin did was demonstrate that it wasn’t enough to just toss something together and put a name on it. It was a catalyst for great change. That is an important thing.

    Comment by Joseph — October 23, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  10. This simply isn’t true because 89’s Batman is still to this day the greatest comic book movie of all time, followed closely by 78’s Superman. “Batman & Robin” didn’t influence those movies. In fact, it didn’t do anything but suck. What makes the greats great is their story, dialogue, acting, and lack of CGI, which is still in its infancy, and still ruins all movies that rely on it, Spiderman included. The grit and the grime are what make comic book movies great. In fact, I just finished watching Alien, and was astounded by the model work. It will be many years before CGI can reproduce such realism without getting in the way. If you need further proof, compare Star Wars I to Star Wars IV.

    Comment by Eric — October 24, 2009 @ 4:46 am

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