Batman and Robin (1949)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Batman/Bruce Wayne
as Robin/Richard `Dick'...
as Vicki Vale
as Winslow Harrison
as Professor Hammil
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Critic Reviews for Batman and Robin
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Audience Reviews for Batman and Robin
I think this serial is not better or worse than the first. Both serials lack what really makes Batman great, but at least this one lacks the propaganda filled Anti-Japanese element...it just has a shitty villain. The Wizard is a lame guy in a cloak. The cliffhangers are lame with terrible resolutions...but there is something entertaining about old serials, even the bad ones.
1949 version of good clean fun (for kids) with the required car chases, gun-play and fist fights (including then exotic Judo/Jujitsu shoulder throws used by The Batman), with cliffhangers and vacuum tube era sci-fi effects, this 15 part serial has all the low-budget standards common to all serials of the era, and is similar to the serial version treatment of Marvels Captain America made around the same time. This would be banned by the meddling panty-waists of today for being "too violent" for the kiddie set. Narrow minded or ignorant viewers will carp about issues like Batman's jacked up looking cowl (with Devil-like pointed "ears" and satanic extra long pointed nose) and the "Batmobile" being excused off as Bruce Wayne's borrowed Chevrolet convertible (which was in fact a powerful "muscle car" in it's day), or The Batman pulling out impossible items (like a full sized Blowtorch!) from a rather fey looking "utility belt" that has no pockets (??!!). Unlike most versions, Bats & Bird-Boy get their butts kicked by the bad-guys on more than one occasion. Smoking and drinking is normal behavior throughout. The women (Jane Adams as Vicki Vale) all are feminine, wearing their high-heels no matter the situation, and the musical score, though generic, is exciting counterpoint driving the action. A few familiar character actor faces show up in bit parts here also. This stuff is rather cool in it's own over-the-top way, (because unlike the wretched 1960's TV series, they are not trying hard to be "camp" by making fun of the material, but playing it straight in deference to the material, which is as it should be). Rather than being a lazy snob picking this apart, it's best to take a more open-minded view, get in the mood of the era and enjoy this for what it was intended to be: Fun!!...and it is if you get off your high horse and let it, you Jive Monkey-Heads!!
This is a 15 episode serial based on the Bob Kane comic. It wasn't the first version of Batman brought to the big screen. In 1943, there was another serial that had Japanese villains. This one is pretty innocuous, and also pretty forgettable. I am almost completely ignorant of the medium of serials. The only other one I've seen is Feuillade's Les Vampires, which is strikingly similar in form, even though made much earlier and in France.
American serials are generally known for their cheesiness, their quick pacing and their cliffhangers. If I've gotten that stereotype correctly, Batman and Robin is a perfect example of the form. Some of the cheapness is a lot of fun. Like you notice the one bat that is perpetually flying around in circles in the bat cave. You think he'd die of exhaustion after a while. Vicki Vale appears. While she was in the comic books before this, Bob Kane only incorporated her as a main character after this serial (though he based his design on Marilyn Monroe). Vale here feels a lot like Superman's Lois Lane (I can't say which character in this form was first; I don't know enough about their relative histories to say for sure). It's fun how difficult a time Batman and Robin have at keeping their identities. Half the time Batman is visiting Commissioner Gordon as Bruce Wayne, and he keeps having to tell people that Batman wants him to convey certain information.
The best moment in the series comes when Vicki Vale pulls up behind Bruce Wayne's car (the Batmobile does not exist in this version) and Batman and Robin pop out. "Does Bruce Wayne know you're driving his car?" Vicki asks. Without a pause, Batman replies: "Of course he does." Their capes and costumes always get in the way when they're fighting. One time Batman's cape almost pulls him down, and he's often shifting his mask so he can see better. I wish the villain had been one of the familiar faces from the Rogues Gallery (which literally appears in the serial as a filing cabinet). Instead we have "the Wizard", a dull guy in a black hood and cloak. The serial as a whole is amusing, but hardly worth spending four and a half hours watching.
By the way this movie is NOT aniamted because some people think it is and its not
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