If you are new to Batman movies, you may be asking yourself the question: Is Batman & Robin (1997) a sequel to Batman Forever (1995)? The movies were released two years apart, but are they connected?
If you watch the films back-to-back, you will notice they are quite different in tone. Batman Forever is high on action adventure, yet has a certain edge to it. Can the same be said of Batman & Robin? Batman & Robin is far more light hearted, with a greater emphasis on being a family friendly tale.
Then there are the lead actors. In Batman Forever, Val Kilmer plays the role of the Caped Crusader, yet in Batman & Robin it is George Clooney in the Batsuit. So, are the two movies really linked?
Well, despite some differences between the two films (a largely different cast, no specific mention to Batman Forever etc), the answer is yes. Here is why.
Alfred and Commissioner Gordon
I talked about this in a previous post questioning the connections between Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever, but it is an important point to state once again for anyone who hasn’t read that post. The strongest link between Batman Forever and Batman & Robin comes in the shape of two actors: Michael Gough and Pat Hingle.
Michael Gough played the role of Alfred – Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler – in four Batman movies, including Batman (1989), Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Likewise, Pat Hingle played the part of Commissioner Gordon in the same four movies.
Both Gough and Hingle were the only actors to play the same parts across all four movies.
Batman’s crime fighting partner, Robin was introduced in Batman Forever, where the character was played by actor Chris O’Donnell. In Batman & Robin, O’Donnell reprises the role of Robin, only this time he is given joint billing alongside Batman.
O’Donnell isn’t playing a different Robin, he is the same character first introduced in Batman Forever. In Batman & Robin he is a couple of years older, having now established himself as one half of Gotham City’s Dynamic Duo.
Another familiar face can be found in the shape of Gossip Gerty, Gotham City’s resident socialite/show biz reporter. The character makes a couple of appearances in Batman & Robin – once at a charity ball and once at the opening of a new telescope at the Gotham Observatory.
Gerty first appeared in the Batman movie series when she was introduced in Batman Forever. The character is played by Elizabeth Sanders.
The music of Batman Forever was composed by Elliot Goldenthal, who took over from Batman/Batman Returns composer Danny Elfman. The music of Batman & Robin was also composed by Goldenthal, ensuring a musical connection between the two movies.
Not only do Batman Forever and Batman & Robin share a similar sounding overture – which opens and closes both movies – but many of the themes and tracks across the two movies are very similar. Just listening to the soundtracks to the two movies will tell you they are cut from the same cloth.
Batman & Robin is the fourth and final entry in the Batman Anthology and was conceived and released as a sequel to Batman Forever (1995). So, in answer to the initial question, yes, Batman & Robin is a sequel to Batman Forever.
The film retains four notable actors from the previous movie – Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Chris O’Donnell and Elizabeth Sanders – and is set a couple of years on from Batman Forever, with Robin having established himself as Batman’s partner. The film also includes a brief appearance of the Riddler and Two-Face’s costumes from Batman Forever.
Joel Schumacher directed Batman Forever, with Akiva Goldsman on board as one of the film’s three writers. Schumacher returned to the Batman Anthology to direct Batman & Robin, with Goldsman returning as its sole writer.
While Batman & Robin is lighter in tone to Batman Forever, the film was designed as the next step along in the Batman story. The film marked the final entry in the Batman Anthology, which ran from 1989 to 1997.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post on I’ll Get Drive-Thru. Should you want to read more about the Batman film series, please click on the links for one of the recommended posts below.
- What happened to Batman 5?
- Batman movies: What is MacGregor’s Syndrome?
- Who is Bob the Goon in the Batman movies?