Why 1997’s ‘Batman & Robin’ Might Be ‘The Most Important Comic Book Movie Ever Made’

Newsflash: 1997’s “Batman & Robin” might be the most important film that the comic book movie genre has ever seen.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger—those words are coming straight from the mouth of Marvel Studios bigwig Kevin Feige.

The LA Times recently reviewed the career of Akiva Goldsman, the producer-director-writer with involvement in comic book properties such as “Jonah Hex,” “The Losers” and—that’s right—”Batman & Robin,” the George Clooney-starring film that nearly destroyed the superhero movie genre in the late 1990s.

But Feige, one of the many creative minds behind “Iron Man” and the newly reinvigorated Marvel Studios lineup, said that the current renaissance of comic book movies wouldn’t be possible without the widespread critical failure of “Batman & Robin.”

“That may be the most important comic-book movie ever made,” said Feige. “It was so bad that it demanded a new way of doing things. It created the opportunity to do ’X-Men’ and ’Spider-Man,’ adaptations that respected the source material and adaptations that were not campy.”

In the interview, Goldsman admitted that there were some flaws with “Batman & Robin,” though he wouldn’t fully apologize for the film’s failings.

“What got lost in ’Batman & Robin’ is the emotions aren’t real,” he said. “The worst thing to do with a serious comic book is to make it a cartoon. I’m still answering for that movie with some people.”

Many of the film’s cast members, like actress Alicia Silverstone, weren’t fully aware of the campiness of “Batman & Robin” at the time, but such a lapse in judgment is forgivable if you look at it through Feige’s logic — not only does Marvel have “Iron Man 2” and other movies on the horizon, but fans also have “The Dark Knight” thanks to Hollywood’s newfound respect for the comics genre.

Do you agree with Feige’s logic about “Batman & Robin,” or is there nothing that can be said to atone for that movie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!