George Clooney Calls ‘Batman & Robin’ a ‘Difficult Film to Be Good In’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 1st, 2011 at 12:21 am,

George Clooney Bashes Batman Robin George Clooney Calls Batman & Robin a Difficult Film to Be Good In

It’s pretty much universally accepted that Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin – the forth film in the series begun by Tim Burton – is A) the worst Batman movie ever, B) one of the worst superhero movies ever, and C) one of the worst movies ever. That’s a lot of worsts.

George Clooney had the unfortunate dishonor of playing Batman in that film – something he’s talked about with levity from time to time. Now that he’s gearing up for the release of his film The Ides of March, the topic came up again and he was perhaps harsher on the B&R than ever before.

Courtesy of Total Film, Clooney said:

“With hindsight, it’s easy to look back at this and go, ‘Woah, that was really ****, and I was really bad in it!”

On how he came to play the (not quite) Dark Knight:

“The truth is, my phone rang, and the head of Warner Bros said, ‘Come into my office, you are going to play Batman in a Batman film.’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’ I called my friends and they screamed and I screamed and we couldn’t believe it!”

George Clooney as Batman George Clooney Calls Batman & Robin a Difficult Film to Be Good In

On why he decided to take up the role:

“I just thought the last one had been successful, so I thought I was just going to be in a big, successful franchise movie. [And] in a weird way I was. Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it. It was a difficult film to be good in. I don’t know what I could have done differently. But if I am going to be Batman in the film Batman & Robin, I can’t say it didn’t work and then not take some of the blame for that.”

It’s hard to blame George Clooney for the faults of Batman & Robin, which are innumerable. Indeed, had B&R been a different film altogether with a different director, a different screenplay, and a different point-of-view – and had Clooney acted in it later on in his career – he probably could’ve portrayed a rather excellent Bruce Wayne/Batman.

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March George Clooney Calls Batman & Robin a Difficult Film to Be Good In

However, with regard to his point about Batman & Robin’s positive effect on George Clooney’s career – wasn’t Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight more responsible for his current career trajectory? Suddenly, George Clooney was the king of cool again – as opposed to just being that guy your mom had a crush on who also played the goofiest, dorkiest Batman of all time. (That’s right, even more so than Adam West.) But perhaps Clooney is saying that Batman & Robin was so bad that it encouraged him to take on better roles?

What do you guys think about Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin? Is it unfairly despised, or does it deserve its top billing on the cinematic superhero pile of dreck?

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

George Clooney’s Ides of March, starring Ryan Gosling, comes out before the ides of … October. October 7th, 2011, to be exact.

Source: Total Film

TAGS: Batman
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  1. It was a terrible movie. The worst ever. No, not really, but bad, and I never thought George Clooney sucked in it. He did his best with what he was given, and more power to him, he’s a real star and rose above it. Now, that’s says something about the man.

  2. i like it because it was bad. But i wouldnt rate it in my top 3 of the batman films or anything. Im gonna have to go back and watch Batman Forever coz I dont remember it being any better…

  3. the best part is when he pulls out that batman credit or whatever it is…

    “never leave the bat cave without it”


  4. I like Clooney as Batman, but Schumaker and Batman don’t mix like nails on a chalkboard. Oh and Batman and Robin or Superman IV now that’s a toss up for worst movie, I don’t know. Anyone?

    • @ Zeta

      Even though i like Superman 4 more than Superman 3,imo i think they’re below Batman & Robin. I liked Superman 4 except for length of time it was, & it’s effects. But understand why that film was lousy. As for Superman 3, i never was sure if that film was to be taken seriously with Richard Pryor in it despite me liking him. Still, outta all 4 films, Superman 3 comes in last imo. Supergirl, lol without a doubt is one film that’s way worse than Batman & Robin for sure.

  5. After reading this article & looking back on the film, as B goes i think i wouldn’t go as far as think it’s among one of the worst superhero movies ever. Lord knows that i know there’s others i consider much worse than Batman & Robin that i can’t watch again or id rather watch Batman & Robin more times than those particular films. As for C, I disagree about it being one of worst movies ever. Same reason pretty much, ive seen far worser ones.

    Joel Schumacher had his mistakes in the franchise but i blame Warner Bros. mostly for takin the franchise into a more family-friendly direction in the first place. Among other things that happend trough the years during that franchise. Imo, it’s not the cast’s fault if they get handed a lame script with lame lines of dialogue throughout the film. I believe everyone could of played their parts better given the right script with right lines to be spoken. But we’ll never know.

  6. Batman and Robin is the worst comic book movie of all time.

    I don’t blame Geroge Clooney for the movie but if the film had darker tone, it had been different.

    I am happy that Clooney’s career wasn’t destroyed by the movie and he later became the world’s famous actor.

    Also I am happy the way how B&R turned out because if the film wasn’t awful then the world wouldn’t had Batman Begins and The Dark Knight coming to the cinema screens.

    I hope The Dark Knight Rises turns out to be great and end the Nolan trilogy well.

    • As bad as it is, I don’t know if it’s such a clear-cut winner for the Worst Comic Book Movie of All Time.

      Catwoman deserves to be in the running. It’s pretty much neck and neck with these two movies.

      • @ Hiro

        I agree.

    • I agree, Clooney nneds to stop taking responsibility for this hot mess. Non of the other actors are taking blame, nor is the director. He was a good actor in a bad film. Also, he was a hot actor from the TV series ER, and that was why WB wanted him. Last it was a bad movie, WB took a page from George Lucas and thought merchandise, so they went the Adam West direction, and failed.

      • @ mj

        Not that im defending the guy, but i read that Schumacher did take blame for the film. He even wanted to make it up to the fans by makin the proposed 5th film dark as Burton’s. He even wanted to do a prequel based off Batman: Year One. Of-course we know that results that prevented all that. I also read Schumacher wanted Clooney after seeing his face from the film From Dusk Till Dawn. It was too bad WB took the franchise into a more family-friendly direction.

  7. Worst

    There’s no gentler way of saying how bad that thing really was.

  8. Over the years Clooney has been asked over and over again about this movie. Every interview I hear him taking the blame for it’s failure. Now that’s a gentlemanly thing to do. Clooney is definitely a class act. But let’s be honest here. All the blame should go on the director and the crap ass writers. What a horrible script that was. I’ve seen worst but the dialogue was corny, some characters were written badly and it felt to campy. Joel Shumacher should get most of the blame. Horrible writing and acting aside, a movie should be measured by it’s director. A good director can take a bad actor and make him or her (Alicia Silverstone) give a decent to good performance. Even Chris O’Donell sucked and he’s not a bad actor. Clooney did a good job with what he was given. I wouldn’t mind seeing him play Batman now with a good script and good director. I’m talking about an older Batman with Tim Drake and Nightwing. I would like for someone to write a script that emphasizes more on his detective skills.

    • @ Spiro

      Some blame can go to Warner Bros. themselves for takin franchise into a family-friendly direction above all beginning with Batman Forever which was more of success.

  9. I remember being 8. Going to theatre. When I left I was perplexed. I asked my dad why they kept showing Batman and Robins butt when they got dressed. He didn’t have an answer for me. It disturbed me so. Very disturbing movie. Thankfully I had Batman and Batman: TAS on vhs.

  10. I have to disagree with the debasing of Batman and Robin.

    Our difficulty is that most of the posters here hardly remember who/what Batman was prior to the Bat-zeitgeist pounding that Frank Miller produced with “Batman: the Dark Knight Returns” and “Batman: Year One” in 1986, or even the earlier tone shift from Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams — Batman was campy.

    He had giant pennies and robot dinosaurs and huge typewriters and Robin being forced to marry Batgirl and Bat-Mite visiting from another dimension and all of that. And even before he became that, he was at first a more pulpy character, and then a science-fiction driven character.

    My point here is that most of the posters are hindered by their callowness so that their view of what Batman is, and more importantly SHOULD be, is skewed to the point that Batman and Robin, a film that fully embraces the 60s camp while blending in the darkness syruped on the movie mythos by Tim Burton, becomes wildly reviled as the worst Batman film ever produced.

    They complain about the writing; about how Mr Freeze’s unending quips are detestable while “Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight” and “This town needs an enema” are cool and acceptable. They gripe about the nipples on the uniform, while it makes much more sense to wear a melee-fighter’s cowl in which you CAN’T TURN YOUR HEAD.

    Now, while both of these examples demonstrate flaws in the “sacred” Batman (1989) film, they also show that director Joel Schumacher mostly took what was already in the foundations of the Burton films, and in Batman and Robin turned all of it up to 11.

    The Batman Begins (et al.) Batman is another different Batman. This Batman is a CAPED CRUSADER: a man with a mission and the monetary means to get there. (Of course, his mission isn’t very well defined, even to himself, and so it basically runs him in circles, over and over and over again.) He’s not campy. Heck, he’s not even a hero in the true sense. He’s a rich guy in rich guy’s customized SWAT gear; a different Batman.

    And because of the Frank Miller paradigm shift combined with the posters’ callowness, Bale’s Batman is “closer” to the “real” Batman. But he’s just a different Batman.

    Batman and Robin, upon more detailed examination, really isn’t a bad film. In examining and critiqueing it, consider not only the intentions of the filmmakers, but also the production values and the fimmaking execution. Batman and Robin was a DarkCampy(tm) film made to have fun and make loads of money; both tasks which were successfully accomplished. It’s only our callow filters of what we think a Batman and Robin film SHOULD be that it turns into a bad film.

    …It’s like those people who insist that Wolverine should be in the X-Men because “he’s ALWAYS been in the X-Men”, even though he didn’t join the group until issue 94, TWELVE YEARS AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN. Sheesh.

    • Nay. It is not only a bad film but also a bad batman film. My 8 year old self was aware of that. Its intentions was to sell toys so I guess it succeeded in that aspect. It wasn’t the camp either that made it a bad film. The tv show Batman: The Brave and the Bold is completely camp but still makes entertaining episodes. It was bad b/c of the script, dialouge and direction the actors were given.

      But if you want to argue what Batman was prior he was a crimefighter more so than a superhero in his first apperances. Had a gun, was taking criminals out permeanantly and The Joker was freakishly scated clown killing people. There was no camp until the 60s. So in a way Frank Miller Year One did bring it back to the real Batman before all the bat-theme gadgets and campiness.

      “Have you ever danced with the devil in a pale moon light” is a creepy line IMO. Especially coming fom a sociopathic killer pre-joker who says it before he kills someone. I think you could put that in many films and it will work. Everything about Burton’a film screamed gothic to its very core. There was bo camp. Camp didnt come till Batman Forever with the more outlandish villians and Batman/Chase Meridian dialouge. BF balanced the camp well with the previous gothic tones to an extent but B&R was pure camp. From the neon batmobile, bright batcave/costumes/set pieces, even more outrageous bat gadgets, and the dialouge was filled with unending puns.

      • No camp in the Burton Batman? What about the Dick Sprang Joker logos? Or Joker’s television challenge to Batman about the parade, wherein he “pushed” the city hall press conference off of the transmission?

        Or in Batman Returns with the giant rubber ducky. Or the army of penguin rocket troops?

        The camp is there in both movies; they just try to gloss it over and take it seriously. Even camp can be creepy, especially when presented in the right context. Further, I don’t think the Batman Forever balanced the camp (Riddler was just a question-marked Joker, with a Mad Hatter scheme); I think that Schumacher was just more wary about embracing the camp. Not so wary when it came to B&R though.

        Also, Burton’s “Gothic” motif was mostly Burton being Burton, which Burtonish designs he intensified in Returns.

        Batman and Robin is more internally consistent and well-organized than the other 3 films of the franchise. The fact that it’s campy and not what the people seemed to want doesn’t make it a poor film.

        • @ Ittousagi

          How was Joker’s televisionized challenge to Batman about the parade where he cut off City Hall’s press conference to get intidate Batman to unmask himself campy? Kinda samething with dead body with a painted smile whos dressed as Batman with a sign that hit the mayor’s office window in TDK. Or howbout Ledger’s Joker dressed as nurse, thats also campy.

          The giant rubber ducky in Batman Returns? I don’t know why that could possibly bother people. Penguin made a vehicle outta a amusement park ride, big deal. He didn’t drive hardly in the film at all. And only people i can see having a problem seen bombs strapped on a army of penguins would be animal activists. Penguin also had a pet bird in a cage. Some people might fine Burton’s film to be considered campy these days to new audiences because Nolan’s films have been made.

    • This comment is wrong in so many ways. Not only is it a bad Batman film but if you know anything about film at all you would know it’s simply a bad film. Ignore for the moment that it was a bad Batman film and just look at it as a film. If you can watch that and think it’s not bad than you have got to have the worst film taste in the world. I mean this movie had bad writing directing and acting. It was cheesy and it was campy. Sure it was intentional, but that doesn’t make it any better. It was a horrible film. Most of the reviewers knew nothing about Batman, but they know plenty about film and rightfully ripped it apart.

      You seriously think that a rubber cowl that’s hard to turn your head in is comparable to Bat nipples? Seriously? That’s some flawed logic right there.

      I don’t think anyone here is failing to remember what Batman was before they simply don’t care. There is a reason Batman didn’t become as huge as he is until later. It’s because in the 60’s and prior it was crap. I’m a huge Batman fan, but had I been born 2 decades earlier I’d of never touched the comics. They are horrible. It’s not that people don’t remember what they were like. It’s that they don’t like what they were like and don’t want to see a movie even close to them. Because those comics were bad. Just like the movie. By the way Frank Miller didn’t change much Danny O’neil was the one who made the changes. His Al Ghoul stories were dark and not at all campy. Go read his Demon Batman comics. Batman was changed in the 70’s not the 80’s. The 80’s and Frank Miller just further explored what had already been established in the mid 70’s. Batman has officially been dark and none campy longer now than he wasn’t. Also when the comics first started they were not campy they merely evolved in to Camp and then evolved to what we have today. The Campyness was just a small part of the history.

      The only thing I agree on is that the Burton films had plenty of Campy moments. It’s was very cheesy and campy and I personally don’t enjoy either of them. That doesn’t change the fact that Batman and Robin is not only the worst Batman film but one of the two worst comic book films of all time.

      People have proven time and again they can accept campy Batman. ( I can’t but some can) just look at the new Brave and the Bold cartoon or the 60’s show still being popular and respected. It may not be my cup of tea but a lot of people are fine with the camp. They just can’t tolerate an absolutely horrible film. Which is what Batman and Robin was.

  11. Guys, I was 6 or something when I watched this, it was probably one of my first experiences of DC comics, and it tarnished my view not just on Batman but the whole DC universe for ages to come, it made it seem corny. Only when The Dark Knight came out that I started to respect DC lol before that any good DC cartoon series (Teen Titans, Batman of the Future, Justice League, Batman) that came out I would consider a fluke, but couldnt trust them enough to take them seriously because I saw how bad Batman could be. This ONE movie has A LOT to answer for! I would even go as far today to say that this films epic failure gave Marvel the platform to be the movie studio juggernaut it is today by knocking aside the competition for domination over the generation that really matters to producers, the kids. Before ‘Batman and Robin’ Marvel films were nil while DC already had two big film franchises overpowering the score board

  12. “Holy rusted metal, Batman!” = greatness.

  13. Clooney wouldn’t make a good Batman no matter what point of his career he’s in, he’s just not a good fit for that character. He would’ve made one hell of a Harvey Dent though. At least he owns up to how terrible he was in B&R, crap I mean Christopher Lloyde and Michael J Fox would’ve made a better Batman and Robin duo back in the day.
    Joel Schumacher I believe is in the hall of fame for the worst directors of all time along with Mc G, Roland Emmerich, Bret Ratner, Michael Bay, and Mc G…and Roland Emmerich.

  14. Cop #1: Please show some mercy!

    Mr. Freeze: Mercy? I’m afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.

    Your Honour, I rest my case.

  15. You know, I so thoroughly detested this movie that the image at the opening of the article is actually the first image I’ve seen from this movie since I swore to erase it from my memory after I saw it the first time. And truth be told, the costumes weren’t that bad. I just…why the nipples?? I mean what the…who the hell was the person that said, “Hmmm…oh I know what would really make this a cool outfit…Nipples!” I mean for Pete’s sake, you can even see em on Alicia Silverstone’s outfit!

  16. I understood the change of Batman costume in Batman Forever & noticed how it didn’t have nipples. But in Batman & Robin, why did they change costume for the final fight? Not mention, why was Batman’s costume the only one without nipples again as it was in Batman Forever?

  17. I personally don’t care for Clooney but B&R was not his fault. I haven’t seen every superhero movie ever made (though I’ve seen almost all of them) and hands down B&R is the worst ever. It was a huge let down. The interaction between B&R was all wrong. The direction was all wrong. It (the movie) was just wrong.

  18. I saw that movie back then and I can say that it was a good film if based on the quality of films being created back then. Of course if base on today films then that’s another story.

  19. Batman & Robin is so bad in so many ways, as others have posted, that not just one person is responsible, though Joel Schumaker over the years has been heaped upon and for good reason. Most films are a director’s vision, but I’m certain Warner Brothers had a hand in the debacle. I’ve never worked on a film, but most movies appear to be team events, with director as coach, and Batman and Robin failures can be passed around plenty. But not on Clooney, in my opinion, which is why his career survived. I would have loved him as James West, which he was rumored many times, and even, at the time Mel Gibson, but Wild, Wild West was another massive failure, even though Will Smith and Kenneth Brannaugh appear to have career survival after tha debacle. That any movie gets made is a miracle and having one as a success is even rarer. The Dark Knight hit not only on most cylinders as a movie, but I also thought it echoed so much of what was going on around the world, particularly in Heath Ledger’s Joker performance, that it is rare when such a thing happens. Avatar seemed to hit a chord as well, but I never understood that. But sometimes I’m in the minority. I had a good friend Steve and we went together to see Crocodile Dundee, the first one, and we both walked out hating it. Horrid movie. I felt at times we were the only two people who despised it and it was on television a couple of weeks ago and it was still horrid. Same with B&R. In fact, the Batman movie is so much worse that I remembered. I may be a bit biased since I didn’t like the Tim Burton Batman in 1989 which I thought should have been titled The Joker after its main character. Batman Returns was better for me, primarily because I didn’t become as creeped out by The Penguin, though a recent viewing has dropped that movie wayyyyyy down on my favorites because it should have been called The Penguin. Batman Begins has its faults, certainly, and isn’t perfect, but at least Batman is the main character. The Dark Knight is amazing because it takes that character from Batman Begins and twists him into knots, along with the audience around Heath Ledger’s performance. And there were plenty of people who hated it, including a friend who said she couldn’t believe that the world was that dark and nihilistic. In fact, it may be one of the most hopeless movies ever made, but to me that was its appeal. And its weird, Jack Nicholson’s The Joker almost has faded from cultural memory because he didn’t take it seriously. I feel that Ceasar Romero in the old TV series did a better job. I didn’t like Nicholson in the Shining, though he wasn’t the weakest link there (Shelly Duvall! Really! Why don’t you just cast Molly Ringwald as Fran in The Stand? Oh, that’s right, they did! And Jack has done so many good roles that I still admire him like crazy, though Terms of Endearment was almost an unforgivable sin). In the long run, Batman & Robin will fade that all of those early Batman films because Christopher Nolan has me hook, line and sinker, and many others as well, for his vision of not only of Batman and his world, but as reflections of the world as a whole. Tim Burton has disappointed me many times, however, every once in a while he hits it out of the park, such as, in my opinion, Sleepy Hollow (a Halloween movie released at Christmas), Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Big Fish and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Joel Schumaker has a longgggg wayyyy to go for redemption in my book. Best,

    • @ Brian

      If you thought Burton’s Batman(89) film should of been titled The Joker, same could of be done TDK’s title. Like Nicolson, Ledger was’t taken to be great in the role of the Joker but proven people wrong afterwards. First thing i always hear people talk about whenever TDK is brought up is Ledger’s Joker performance, not the rest of the film which i can’t blame because i enjoyed Batman Begins more than i did TDK despite Ledger’s performance. I liked Keaton as Batman more than Bale’s but, Bale is a better Bruce Wayne. Imo, like Nicolson, Ledger’s performance could fade away aswell as time goes on as someone else takes on the role.

  20. batman and robin was a masterpeice in cinema history,, it was fantastic, how could this amazing film be so bad, are you blind it was so amazing i went to see it five times in the cinema on the last time they let me in for nothing even tho i was the only one going to see it five times oh it was super super i only wished they could have kept making them,, and not taking so long to bring poor batman back,, oh i just loved batman and robin it had that old batman feel of the old days thats the way to do batman a bit of fun loads of laughs, all kinds of bat cars and bikes baots,, under water hair driers for catwoman,, ————– yo Im just kidding here having a laugh ,, yeah it was not great, or fantastic ,, it was quite bizare of all the batman flicks, it really was not up to scratch, it lacked and lost its burton appeal allot, it nearly halted batman of from ever been back on screen. But sure we all make mistakes, we all try our best when the situation calls and sometimes we can get so blind in the mist of a project,, it must have been some experience being involved in it, id say it was hard going i would love to hear what the production teams behind it experienced, the artists, the creative teams i wonder what their view and input would be it would be interesting for screen rant to get one or two of these people who where involved to shed some light ,, i have to say Nolan has done a super job on the franchise,, he really has brought Batman up there please God the next one is high performance and a super wrap up of the films,, maybe he might lend more a hand in superman when he gets a chance with all the work load ….

  21. I thought it was the worst Batman film since the campy one in the 60’s with Adam West. But, I didn’t think it was much worse than the previous film, Batman Forever, with Val Kilmer. Both films sucked eggs not because of the leading man but because of the crappy script.

  22. i will admit to liking it the first time i saw it, but that was mostly due to it being the first live action batman i saw and i was hungry for anything batman related, but now i can see it for the rape of my favourite comic character it really is.

    • @ aidan

      I too admit i liked it when i first saw it when i was younger. But hardly at all now but still enjoy the previous 3 films before it.

  23. All I can remember from the B&R film is that I saw it in theaters many years ago and I don’t really recall much except how awful Ahhnold was as Freeze..

        • @ Daniel F

          Well the studio & director’s top choices for Freeze were Arnold, Hulk Hogan, Sly Stallone, & someone else i forget i found lame. They wanted someone would look big & intimidating to Batman aswell could act. Imo, Arnold is one of best action stars. Imo he’s not a bad actor, he’s been in bad movies. Im sure every actor/actress been in a bad film. Arnold isn’t one of those actors goin for a oscar or academy award. Like others, i would of gone for Patrick Stewart as Freeze, but i bet he would of said somthing bad about the script & left the room. Between Hulk Hogan & Stallone, id still would of been fine with Arnold at the time.

  24. @ David Jones

    I didn’t see Catwoman, still havn’t till this day unlike my friends lol. I knew that film would be trash just be one look of Halle Berry as Catwoman as my friends & i like to call her CINO,lol. I was planning not seeing Man Of Steel w/ my friends but i lost the coin toss so i’ll be goin to it.

  25. I know this artical is about Joel Schumacher’s film on whether its unfairly despised or not. But id like to add imo i find that Burton’s film been unfairly critized till this day. Especially when it was great success then as TDK was when it was released.

    • @WallyWest

      Agreed. I stil think Batman & Batman Returns are good in their own right. Its like comparing apples to oranges. There is gritty, campy and gothic. It sorta unfair to compare one to another. Nolan’s work, Adam West’s work & Burton’s work cannot be looked at with the same scope. They each had different goals. I like one better than I do the other but I wouldn’t call the rest bad because of that.

      • @ Ignur Rant

        Thank You. I agree with what you say in your post. Not only does it go for movies, imo it goes for television shows aswell. Like shows based off Superman from the Freisher cartoons to Superman:TAS. The George Reeves Superman series to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Heck there was even the Superboy series & of-course Smallville. I wouldn’t go as far to say one is better than this or that because they were all great at that time.