The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part star Will Arnett feels George Clooney’s Batman from Batman & Robin is underrated. Following the huge success of 1995’s Batman Forever, Warner Bros immediately jumped into development on the next installment. Director Joel Schumacher returned alongside Chris O’Donnell’s Robin, but Val Kilmer exited the part of Batman after just one installment. After William Baldwin was briefly considered as a replacement, Clooney was hired instead based on his popularity from ER.
Batman & Robin proved to be something of an accidental milestone for the comic book movie genre because it was so reviled by critics and audiences it briefly killed the franchise. The movie underperformed financially, and plans for another movie that featured Clooney’s Batman going up against Scarecrow and Harley Quinn were scrapped. Batman & Robin is still regarded as one of the worst blockbusters ever made, and in addition to Schumacher later apologizing to disappointed fans, Clooney has been known to offer refunds to those who paid to see it.
Will Arnett recently returned to voice Batman for The LEGO Movie 2, having previously played the character in the original and The LEGO Batman Movie. During a new chat with Den Of Geek, he was asked his opinion on the previous big screen takes on the character and has something nice to say about all of them.
I've really enjoyed all the cinematic Batmen for different reasons. And I think they've all been interesting. I really liked what Ben did. There were parts about it that I thought were really fantastic. Even Clooney’s Batman is underestimated - there's a whimsical element to it that I quite like. The one that I grew up with - the first one that we all saw in the cinematic universe - was Michael Keaton. He’s such a brilliant actor, and he did have this kind of playful quality to him. I think he struck a perfect balance. And I'd love to see somebody return to that.”
It’s rare to hear a nice word said about Clooney’s work in Batman & Robin, so Arnett’s comments are refreshing. While Clooney definitely wasn’t the best live-action version of the character, he was far from the movie’s biggest problem either. Schumacher intended Clooney’s take to be a little lighter and more humorous after working through his trauma in Batman Forever, and as Arnett says, he brought some whimsy and charm to the role.
Probably the biggest issue with his performance is that there’s no real dividing line between Bruce Wayne or Batman, with both characters being essentially the same. Clooney later admitted Batman & Robin was a turning point in his career because up until then he was just a jobbing actor. Following the response to the movie and his embarrassment over it, he realized he needed to take more control over his career, leading to movies like Three Kings and Out Of Sight.
It was recently confirmed that Ben Affleck wouldn't be reprising the title role for Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and the hunt is now on for his replacement. Reeves' movie is said to focus on the early days of Affleck’s Batman and will be more of a detective story than previous live-action movies. Names like Robert Pattinson are Armie Hammer have been mentioned, but it will probably be a little while before a decision is made. Following Batman & Robin, it's safe enough to rule out Clooney at this stage.
Source: Den Of Geek
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